1. The LDS Standard Works - OK. I am cheating a little here. This is actually 4 books. The Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. But I am going to include them all as one for this blog post. What have I learned from them? I will put it this way. In each of these books there are multiple gems of wisdom and doctrine that have informed my worldview about God, my relationship with Him, and my reliance on Jesus Christ. This is knowledge that informs my beliefs and my actions and so I think that these works belong as number one... even though I said that the list isn't in any particular order.
2. As a Man Thinketh - I was first introduced to the book almost 20 years ago and I had never before thought to ask myself the question, What do you think about when you don't have anything to think about?
That question blew me away, because I really couldn't say. I just let my mind wander and I had no idea that those wandering thoughts had any impact on my life. Knowing that they do has helped me to work at being more intentional about what I think about. Which has changed my life in dramatic ways.
Randy Gage once said that this short book (it is only about 30 pages) should sell for $50,000 because of the value that the ideas in the book can bring into your life. One of the biggest names in the field of personal development, Tony Robbins, mentioned that this is the book that he has recommended or has given away more than any other. It is a powerful read. Because it is so old, you can find free pdf versions of the book super easy. I can email you one if you want.
The quote that has impacted me the most from this book is... "Men are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves. Therefor they remain bound." If I don't like my life then I need to work on myself instead of trying to get others to change.
PS on this. I have been rewriting a version of this book, along with three friends. Our hope is to have it ready to go to print (we are self publishing) by the end of the summer. So be on the lookout.
3. The Science of Being Great - The science teacher at the school that I work at retitled this The pseudoscience of being great which is probably more accurate. But this book set in my mind the idea that there are principles of greatness that someone could practice that would lead them to be great. One of those is that great people do small things in a great way.
4. The Anatomy of Peace - I have probably recommended As A Man Thinketh more than any other book, but this probably the book that more people have read after recommending it. My main take away from this book is to always try to see people as people instead of objects. My way of being toward someone is more important than what I say or do. Also, it is important to honor the impressions that I have to help or serve someone.
This is a great book written in the form of a story which makes it an easy read and seriously, it will change your life.
5. How To Win Friends and Influence People - I read portions of this book every year and I mention it in almost every speech that I give. I am always fascinated that the very first and most important principle talked about in this book is to never criticize, condemn, or complain. It automatically creates a barrier between you and the other person. I think the most powerful principle though is the importance of being genuinely interested in other people. That is something that I am consistently working on, and falling short of my vision of what that looks like. But, the principle works.
6. The servant - This book is by James C. Hunter. It is one of the best books on leadership that I have ever read. I would recommend it to anyone who is in, or would like to be in a position of leadership. In a nutshell, the principles of good leadership are the same, or at least are very similar to, the traits of charity described in 1 Corinthians 13. And, when we talk of loving those that you serve and lead, we are not talking about the feeling of love, but the actions of love. This makes it possible to love someone that you may not even like. It is a cool idea.
7. The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life - Written by Terryl and Fiona Givens, two Latter-Day Saint scholars, this book is a treatise on faith. That faith is a choice that is made in between not knowing that something is true and having an assurance that it is. There are reasons to believe and reasons not to believe... and we have the freedom and responsibility to choose either. We should also seek to understand and accept (I'd like to say, embrace) that others have legitimate reasons to make a different choice than we do.
8. The Success principles - I read this book about 10 years ago. I am reading it again, but this time I am committed to practicing each of the principles until they are totally ingrained into my life. What am I working on right now? Reading my goals multiple times a day and making sure that I am taking steps toward reaching them. If you go to buy this, there is a 10th anniversary edition that is all updated. I would suggest that one.
9. Shut Up, stop Whining, and Get A Life - The title basically sums up the book. If you are basically a sissy and can't take direct criticism, then this book is not for you. I am a sissy, but I found this book hilarious and direct. It is full of great no-nonsense advice. The thing I remember most is that most people aren't even doing five things that will move them towards what they really want in life.
10. Atlas Shrugged - I am not a follower of Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy. This is, however, my favorite novel of all time. It is long... like this looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong. And it starts out a little slow. But if you stick with I think you will find the story fascinating. What did I learn from this book? To be a producer. To give more value than I get paid for and to give as much value as possible.