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5 books that could change your life

An insightful book has the potential to shift your mindset, boost your productivity and make you happier, healthier or wiser. In short, the right book, read in the right circumstances, can change your life.

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People

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This classic offers food for thought and plenty of real-world examples to help you apply Stephen Covey’s seven habits to your own life. The habits: “Be proactive” – essentially, take charge of any situation. “Begin with the end in mind” – act in pursuit of goals, and make sure they’re the right goals. “Put first things first” – strive to create a healthy balance in your life. “Think win/win” – rather than trying to defeat others, form alliances with them. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” – in other words, listen, and then communicate your point of view while keeping the other party’s perspective in mind. “Synergize” – look for ways to cooperate with others. And, finally, “sharpen the saw” – keep yourself on top of your game through rest and rejuvenation.

2. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

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Dale Carnegie delivers timeless advice about dealing with anxiety and frustration. Carnegie advises a regimen of positive thinking and focusing on large, important tasks rather than small, trivial ones. But he also urges you to be brutally honest with yourself. “True peace of mind comes from accepting the worst,” Carnegie writes. “Psychologically, it means a release of energy.”

He draws on his own and other people’s experiences to show a number of techniques for letting go of worries and becoming more productive. This classic is a must-read for anyone interested in their self-development.

3. Finding Your Element

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In this guide to career satisfaction, Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica urge you to drop preconceived notions about your strengths and weaknesses. Too many people are unhappy and unproductive, they argue, in part because they’ve closed themselves off from fresh ideas and novel approaches. “If you open yourself to new experiences,” they write, “the odds improve exponentially of one of those experiences changing your world in a profoundly positive way.”

To find your element, keep three principles in mind: “Your life is unique,” “you create your own life,” and “life is organic.” If you’re dissatisfied with your current career or life direction, this book is for you.

4. Outliers

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How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice – and be born in the right place and time.

Many of use give up too easily or give too much credit to talent. But Outliers – the source of the oft-cited and ever-controversial 10,000-hour rule – reminds us of the importance of mindful, persistent practice.

The 10,000 hour rule may or may not be true, but one thing is clear: Determination and persistence play a huge role in success.

5. The Power of Habit

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Have you ever wondered why some people can adopt a healthier lifestyle or realize professional achievement, while others flail and fail?

It turns out that successful people have learned to control and change their habits.First, they had to understand that the three steps of the “habit loop” – “cue, routine and reward” – determine what individuals do without thinking. By analyzing how undesirable habits such as overeating, excess drinking or smoking operate in that loop by satiating cravings, people who want to change can control habits that may seem to control them. Are you ready to embark on a journey of self-improvement? This is just the book for you!

getAbstract has more advice from these five books, plus summaries of plenty of other works that might change your life.  Want to start changing your life now? Start a getAbstract free trial or check out our subscription plans.

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