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Top 5 Books to Hack Your Life

Updated: Apr 16

Life can be chaotic and monotonous, with sprinkles of joy and happiness. We could always use a little bit of help.

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Life can feel like you are on a giant hamster wheel. It seems to be a constant circle of waking up, meetings, appointments, kid performances or games, grocery shopping, dinner, laundry, and maybe some quality time with loved ones or perhaps some tv, and off to bed to begin again tomorrow. Don't get me wrong; great things do happen to us. But, things can spiral out of control right from under us when we are running the hamster wheel.


Finances, Communication, Motivation, Connection, and Spirituality are big heavy hitters in life. If one, some, or all turn sideways, it can affect all the other aspects of life. Now you are trying to hobble with one foot on the hamster wheel and one foot flaying or dragging behind you. In my journey, I found my current top 5 books for these heavy hitters that have helped me get back on track and keep me going on a good path for my goals.


I also wanted to mention that I lost my love affair with books for a long time and struggled with reading non-fiction books. I get easily bored or lose concentration and often don't finish them. I blame this mainly on the mountains of textbooks, articles, and peer reviews that I was required to read while earning my college degrees. I know that it's essential to continue learning and growing, not only professionally but also personally. I also was missing my love affair with suspenseful crime, wizards, warriors, far-off places, and maybe even a little bit of romance that I found in the pages of books. I even missed exploring non-fiction concepts and gaining some perspective on the tangible world. So, I did what any person would do. I tried audiobooks.


I started with audiobooks for road trips. I then found myself turning off the radio to turn on an audiobook while running errands, cleaning my house, or driving to and from work. Thus, a new love affair began! I could finish a non-fiction book, enjoy it and retain the knowledge! The mundane did not seem so mundane! I'm embarrassed to admit it but I have listened to more books in the past year than I have probably read in the last 15 years of my life (minus the obligatory study reading). I say this to let those who think it's cheating (like I once did) that it is a game-changer. It's not cheating; it's more like taking a pre-workout drink before exercise. I'm priming myself for success. It was a hack to my hamster wheel and might be for you as well. I like to use Audible. If you have it, you know, there is a great selection! If you would like to try it for free for 30 days plus get free books that you keep, you can find out more or check out the books from this post at this link.


Yes, all of these books I listened to on Audible. I liked them so much I bought physical copies. Enough rambling, on with it!



 

I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No B.S. Just a 6-Week Program that Works (Second Edition)

Author: Ramit Sethi

Finances




This book changed how I looked at my finances. I would do weird things with my finances, like taking money from my savings for silly things, like clothes or hair appointments. Ramit looks at how to manage finances realistically, and he shows that we don't have to do those kinds of things. He actually tells you to have "No Guilt spending". You want shoes? Buy Shoes. You want a watch or to get your hair done? Buy the watch, or get your hair done! He breaks down everything for you. Investing, saving, and spending. He gives tips on dealing with credit card companies and options for managing your monthly budget. The book (and audiobook) gives downloadable tables and cheat sheets to help you keep track. The only critique I have for this book is that the numbers used for examples are high for some people. He uses 100k or 50k yearly income examples when in my experience, many people are surviving on a 20k or 30k annual income. Although that is the beauty of his method and information, you can make it work for whatever budget you have.





Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

Author: Vanessa Van Edwards

Communication


Vanessa Van Edwards and her team have hacked human behavior. She shares secrets, shortcuts, and formulas to navigate work, home, or social interaction. She presents the information with real-life scenarios. And to add more oomph, its research and science-based approach to "captivate" anyone and build connections in a new and more genuine way.

It helps to navigate and solve problems with human interactions. This book has downloadable worksheets to make the information digestible. It is a great companion to the Science of People website if you want to dive into more details or a particular aspect of the cover topics. Being a self-proclaimed ambivert, this book helped me look at how I was interacting with others and gave me ways to improve my connections and positively impact those around me. It also provides a literal map to enhance social interactions when my confidence is lacking, or my introverted self wants to run home.






The High 5 Habit

Author: Mel Robbins

Motivation



Mel is one of my favorites, and I really struggled with which book would make this list. The 5 Second Rule was fantastic and helped get you out of bed, at the front of the conference room to present, or take a chance on a new relationship or business. But what about the in-between? We have hacked starting the thing, but what will keep us going and take control? The High 5 Habit will. It isn't what you think. You aren't going around high-fiving everyone. You already doing that by cheering on your friends, family, coworkers, and sports teams. Imagine if you did that for yourself?

Mel goes over how to do this in the book. In her usual fashion, she breaks down the info into bite-size, tasty pieces to change your mindset and behavior to Immediately boost happiness, confidence, and most importantly, your results. The information is sound and backed by science, as silly and weird as it seems. (You'll know once you start the book!) She has given us yet another daily habit to hack self-doubt, the annoying inner critic, and start being who you are meant to be...invincible.






Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience

Author: Brené Brown

Connection



Another favorite of mine is Brené Brown. I only recently discovered her and could not help but dive in headfirst. She is a shame and vulnerability researcher for those who don't know. She also happens to be a phenomenal storyteller which has helped her get her message across and change the lives of millions of people. Me included. In Atlas of the Heart, Brené takes us through 87 emotions and all the experiences that come with them. She gives us the words and tools to explore new ways of navigating through decisions and offering second chances to share our stories that build connections. She has designed this book as a map that draws from her research and many others to give us the language and power to explore experiences and find meaning, choice, and understanding of what is happening within us and others. The illustrations are stunning and heartfelt so I would recommend getting a hardback or paperback to enjoy the whole world she has created.


If you are interested, there is also a docuseries on HBO Max Brené Brown: Atlas of the Heart!





The Alchemist

Author: Paulo Coelho

Spirituality



No wonder it has a devoted following. The Alchemist was enchanting and haunting. It is one of the books you are almost sorry you read because you may never experience those profound feelings in the same way again. But you want to read it over and over again. Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy, travels from Spain to the deserts of Egypt to find buried treasure. He meets many people along the way who point Santiago in the right direction to complete his quest. Although, no one knows what the treasure is or whether he will make it past surmountable obstacles in his path. He began his journey for what could be jewels and gold, and it turned into discovering a treasure within. Santiago's story speaks to the power of our dreams and listening to the voice within to guide our hearts. Jeremy Irons narrates the audiobook and now I feel he must read all my books to me




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