Booklist For Timeless Wisdom

Though I’m always keeping up with contemporary reading, there are certain books that I’ve returned to again and again. Whether they’re books on philosophy or business management — sometimes they’re both — these books are undeniable classics.
 
Some of these books have shaped the way we think for decades, or even centuries. All of them are guaranteed to influence us for years to come.
 
Here are six books full of timeless wisdom:

  1. The Essential Drucker by Peter Drucker

Drucker is often described as the father of modern management strategy. This book, which includes wisdom from his classics The Practice of Management and Management Challenges for the 21st Century, is a foundational read for managers at every level.
 
from The Essential Drucker: “Management is about human beings. Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.” And my favorite Drucker quote: “Without a customer, there is no business.”

2. The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton may be the closest thing to a pop philosopher of our time. In this accessible read, he explains how classic philosophers, from Socrates to Nietzsche, can inform your everyday life. I’ve been drawn to philosophy recently as a source of timeless wisdom about the human condition. There’s something interesting in finding that many of our struggles and ideal are as old as mankind itself.
 
from The Consolations of Philosophy: “Established views have frequently emerged not through a process of faultless reasoning, but through centuries of intellectual muddle. There may be no good reason for things to be the way they are.”

3.How To Win Friends and Influence people by Dale Carnegie

It’s been over 80 years since this book came out, but its advice will never go out of style. This classic is loaded with practical suggestions laid out in a straightforward fashion. We all work with people every day, and we all stand to learn something from Dale Carnegie.
 
from How to Win Friends and Influence People: “Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness. “To know all is to forgive all.”

4. Team of Teams by Stanley McChrystal

The General turned Yale professor pulls from his extensive experience to reshape the way we think about teamwork. Command and control is dead. Distributed teamwork is necessary to keep ahead of accelerated change.
 
from Team of Teams “As the world grows faster and more interdependent, we need to figure out ways to scale the fluidity of teams across entire organizations: groups with thousands of members that span continents

5. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

When he wasn’t ruling the Roman Empire, Marcus Aurelius wrote this central work of Stoic philosophy. Nearly two thousand years later, we can still learn from his simple advice to think calmly and clearly. To me, they’re still fresh ideas about how to deal with change.
 
From Meditations: “You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

6. It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden

The motivational handbook for creative thinkers. Arden’s deceptively simple observations are surprisingly profound. I often give this book as a gift to new colleagues.

From It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be: “Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you got, and fix it along the way…” 

And be on the lookout for my next Booklist here on Medium. Next up are books on creativity, with insights about how to tap into your latent creative potential and leverage it in work and in life.