6 Books That Completely Changed My Life



hey what's going on guys so on this channel in the past we have done several book recommendation videos I enjoy doing these things I know you guys really like them so today we are going to do another one it's gonna be six books that change my life personally now these six books aren't gonna be books that I think are the best breeds in the world but they are books that had at least one idea but in most cases more that actually changed the trajectory of my life or the way that I act or think on a daily basis and as you can see from this stack of books here there are only three print books and one iPad sitting on top of the stack because I do own some of these digitally so with that being said let's get into my list here starting with one of the books that I own digitally which is the motivation hacker by an author named Nick winter so this is probably the book on my list that is the least well-known but it had a huge impact on my life one of the main concepts that I remember from that book was the idea of success spirals this is a term that encapsulates one of the fundamental truths in habit building which is that you have to start small before you can do something big and a lot of people don't understand this they make new year's resolutions like I'm gonna work out every single day from now until infinity and what Nick winter says to do in the book instead is to start with a goal that you can track that doesn't demand absolute perfection and that is at your level but to be honest the part of that book that really changed my life was the part that talks about a concept called pre commitment and the examples from his own life on how he used it to achieve some pretty big goals essentially the idea of pre commitment means that you set up consequences that are gonna happen if you fail to do something that you set up to do and one of my favorite youtubers boyinaband calls this a threat bet which i think is a fantastic name for the concept in the book the Alpha talks about two different goals that he was having a lot of trouble achieving one was skydiving because he was very afraid to do it and the other one ironically was finishing the book the motivation hacker itself so what he did to achieve both of those goals was that he set up those threat bets he was a tool called beeminder which is a had a tracker that actually has you bet money which will be paid to the company if you fail to be consistent on your habits and he went hard-core with his beeminder goals he took half of his wealth for each goal I think he had $14,000 to his name at the time so he bet $7000 that he would write a certain amount every single day for the book and he also bet seven thousand dollars that he would go skydiving and wouldn't you know it he both went skydiving and finished the book and did not lose fourteen a thousand dollars and that is the thing that really changed my life I read about beeminder and I told myself if that is what I am going to use to take my work professionally because up until then I had sort of viewed my business in my blog college info geek as sort of like a side project I wasn't being very disciplined about it and as a result my business had kind of plateaued for about a year and a half so after I read that book I went I signed up for B minder and I told myself I was going to put out one blog post and one podcast episode every single week otherwise I was going to lose money on beeminder and as a result my business actually started to grow don't you know it putting consistent effort on a day-to-day basis actually causes things to happen and the threat of losing money was the catalyst for that change in my life all right book number two on my list which is a much much more famous book is the seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey now this is probably the most well known personal development book in the history of personal development books and a lot of you have probably read it but I do want to share a couple of lessons that really did make a pretty big impact on my life first and foremost was the books advice to seek first to understand and then to be understood a lot of us have this problem where when we're listening to somebody we really just kind of formulating our response and waiting to give it rather than really trying to understand what the other person is saying and the obvious problem here is that when both people in a conversation are doing this and neither one is really understanding the other they're just kind of trying to look cool or express their ideas so when you really internalize this concept you start to tap into what other people are feeling and thinking and then real communication happens and the other big lesson in that book for me came from an account of Covey's conversation with somebody who was having relationship trouble he didn't know if he wanted to divorce his wife or not because he felt like the spark had gone out of the relationship and I remember Covey telling him something very simple to love her love as a verb as an action not as a feeling now I listen to this book when I was probably 18 years old so this was kind of a big revelation to me because up until then society and just basically everyone I knew in the media that sort of convinced me that love was like this feeling that you would have automatically like you just kind of had to find it and it would be there forever but the opposite is true love is a verb it's something that you have to put work into and it is often difficult and I honestly think that that concept in my internalization of that concept is one of the reasons why I'm still with my girlfriend why I've been with her for over five years because I've realized that when the going gets tough you have to as a verb love the other person it's hard but you have to do it and yes sometimes that feeling is going to be there and it is gonna feel like something that's just in you and it's gonna be with you forever but you can't rely on that always being the case all right book number three on my list is the 4-hour workweek by Tim Ferriss now this is the book that probably changed my professional life more than any other see this was the very first book that really and truly showed me that you could build systems which enable your business to profit and make money even while you're not physically putting effort in before I read this book I was a freshman in college that had a freelance web design business on the side so every dollar that I made was a direct product of me putting in the hours and that's kind of how I viewed entrepreneurship but once I read that book I started to realize that I could build systems that would allow me to essentially make money while I slept now obviously building those systems and actually making money is neither as straightforward nor as easy as it might seem in the book and I'm sure that Tim mentions that in the book itself but that book more than any other source of information and drove me to start treating college info geek more as a business and less as a blog and that completely changed the trajectory of my life before College of Voki became profitable my plan was to graduate college move to Minneapolis and become a web developer for a big company and now I'm doing something that is well a little bit different than that all right moving on to the books that I own physically starting with number for the happiness equation by Neil bus Riccio now this book has a lot to say on the concept of happiness and on how to be happy on a day to day basis consistently but there is only one idea that I want to share from this book and that is the dim view that it takes on the concept of retirement this book taught me that the origin of our modern concept of retire the idea of stopping work at age 65 and then just relaxing for the rest of your days originated in Germany back in 1889 at that time the government introduced a program that would allow people who were 65 or older to stop working and the state would take care of him and this was meant as a way to free up jobs for younger people but as time went on it started to be thought of as the kind of goal in life you'd work up until 65 and then you'd retired to a life of leisure but the problem is this concept is at odds with the way that the human body and mind work we are built to constantly progress we're built to work we're both struggle life is a type of combat and that is what we are adapted for so this whole idea of just stopping at a certain age is kind of awful but it's something that we all seem to be striving for we don't really question it so until I read this book that was basically how I thought my career was going to go but now I'm committed to it never retire sure I may try new things as I go on in my career I might maybe slow down a little bit or try some things that don't necessarily make money but I'm never going to stop learning I'm never gonna stop progressing and I'm never going to stop working and that is actually very liberating all right book number five on my list is pragmatic thinking and learning by Andy Hunt and we think this is actually the first real productivity book that I ever read one of the most useful tidbits in the book for me was the advice to capture insight 24/7 which was the direct inspiration for my philosophy that I like to call quick capture essentially this means always having a way to get information or ideas into a system that you trust that you can access later on for instance when I'm taking a shower and I have an idea that I really want to remember I actually have a waterproof notebook suction-cupped to the walls of my shower so I can write down the details of that idea and then once I'm dry it off I can take a picture of it and then I can get it into my note-taking system and beyond that concept I'm actually looking at the back flap of the book right now there are about 48 different concepts in this book so if you are looking for a good productivity book I do recommend giving this one a read and that brings us to the final and easily the most dense book on this list Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman this book more than any other that I've read gave me a detailed knowledge of heuristics and biases the mental shortcuts that our brains naturally take to make decisions that can all so lead to faulty thinking now there are a lot of these to learn about but to give you one example we often tend to confuse what is probable with what is plausible for instance in one experiment the condiment did people were told about a fictitious person called Linda who majored in philosophy and who's also very concerned with issues of social justice and discrimination and then they were asked what was more probable that Linda was a bank teller or that Linda was a bank teller and heavily involved in the feminist movement now if you think about this objectively the second answer actually contains the first answer with in it Linda is a bank teller in either case but in the second case she is also involved in the feminist movement therefore the first case is more probable but more people actually thought that the second case was more probable it's not but it seems more plausible because it fits the narrative and once I learned about this along with many of the other heuristics and biases reported on in a book I started to notice them cropping up in my own thinking and decision-making and as a result I was able to catch them before they made me make bad decisions and because I'm able to catch those bad decisions I can stop them before they happen I can step back and I can rethink them now an interesting secondary effect of this book was that it also got me interested in a much broader range of topics before I read this book I kind of stuck to productivity books and business books but afterwards my interests really broadened out and I wanted to start learning about math and science I read books like Bill Bryson's a short history of nearly everything or Sam Keynes the disappearing spoon which is all about the periodic table at chemistry and as a result from reading those books my general Bank of knowledge really started to grow and spread out and widen and I was able to make more connections from different areas which allowed me to be more creative now one thing to know is that if you decide to go out and read those last couple of books I just mentioned they definitely will teach you lots of information about math and about science but they won't teach you how to use and apply it but luckily that's what brilliant is for brilliant is a learning platform that can help you become a much better practitioner in the fields of math science and computer science they take an incredibly active approach to learning growing you immediately in the challenging problems right at the start of their courses that actually give you something to apply the information you're learning to which is going to help it stick much better and which accelerates the learning process now in my opinion a great course to start with would be their course on probability we talked about a little bit before in this video if you could learn to think in probabilities and think about them accurately you can make much better decisions and as an interesting tidbit one of the very first problems in that course actually features the Linda character from Kahneman's work and in addition to that course you also find math courses on topics ranging from algebra to calculus science courses on astronomy quantum theory and coming in the near future which I'm pretty excited about an automotive engineering course and for those of you who are interested in computer science you'll find courses on algorithms on machine learning and neural networks and a lot more so to start learning for free heading over to brilliant org slash Thomas Frank which you'll find links and description down below and if you're among the first 83 people to sign up with that link you're also gonna get 20% off of their annual premium subscription big thanks to brilliant for sponsoring this video and being a big supporter of this channel and as always thank you guys so much for watching and before you go if you haven't followed me on Instagram yet you should definitely follow me at Tom frankly I'll have a link in the description down below I'm posting new stuff basically every single day so if you want more of what you find on this channel but in like a shorter form factor definitely go over there to get it otherwise you can find one more video on this channel by clicking right over here and I will see you in the next video

34 thoughts on “6 Books That Completely Changed My Life

  1. Atomic Habits is (in my humble opinion) the best book ever written on habits. Also, I'm not sure if you've checked out any of Tony Buzan's books? You would love them.

  2. After 5 years with your girlfriend, isn't it time to get married? I have been married to my husband for 36 wonderful years. It's worth it to take that next step.

  3. Maybe you could marry your girlfriend…after 5 years…this part of your life will compromise your success

  4. Hi guys

    Ive just now started a book review channel.

    I really like to read and I thought this would be fun.

    Check it out and mlet me know what you think.

    ait cheers

  5. Hey Thomas, Hey everyone! I'm looking for some good book recommendations for non-profit startups. Not sure if anyone has any expierece in that field but I figured I might as well just throw my net out there 🙂

  6. Love your videos Frank. I have been watching your channel since 2014. You provide amazing content and evolve over time.

  7. I love when I see practical people relearning the value of a liberal arts education with an autodidactic spin.

  8. I remember reading that line about Covey telling the man to love his wife. Love, the verb! It was beautiful. Thank you Thomas!

  9. 'The reason I'm with my girlfriend is because I realised that there is no feeling of love, I've just committed to acting love out a a pantomime.'

    Dude.

  10. Just wanted to express appreciation for the fact that you don't use affiliate links for your book recommendations. It speaks volumes about your credibility.

  11. The book that changed my life was How to Win Friends and Influence People, upon learning all the skills needed to win the liking of other people, I was catching myself notice who used or did not use those skills described in the book wether they knew it or not. So choose your friends wisely, wining them is easy, but liking them yourself and wanting to hang out with them on the regular not so much…

  12. U know I get sick of ppl aways saying abour a certain book change there life and the book all be the same alot of bs

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