Books that influenced my life

I love reading. Even as a child, I was a bookworm. I loved spending my afternoons in the library, and whenever I’ve got a new book for my own, I read it hundreds times again and again.

Today it’s the same and still different. First of all, I can already afford buying books for myself as well as for my children. Second, we have three Kindle Paperwhites in the family, so accessing ANY book from around the world is not a problem anymore.

I’m reading Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World from Tim Ferriss these days. In this interview-style book, he’s asking ten questions from everyone — so I thought it would be fun to respond the very same questions on my blog (however, I am not asked by Tim ;-) ).

Here is the first one:

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

The #1 book is definitely Tom Rath’s StrengthsFinder 2.0. It’s not a new book (dates back to 2007) but still relevant. The reason I find it useful is that it doesn’t only introduce several types of personalities but also contains an online test that you can do for yourself, and result is a detailed PDF report — which I have done more eight years ago but still get back to it once in a while.

The report describes the top five themes and also provides a guide as well as examples what everything means and how you can use it for your benefit.

And yes, I have given this book to several friends of mine who I thought needed it at that moment of their lives. Each of them confirmed it was helpful and much valuable.

Another one is a novel, with a real story behind: Sully: My Search for What Really Matters by Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III and Jeffrey Zaslow. The book is about Capt. ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, the pilot who emergency landed a crippled US Airways Flight in New York’s Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew on January 15, 2009. Very emotional, but at the same time rational read, with lots of important life lessons.

Further questions I’m going to answer in this series

What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? My readers love specifics like brand and model, where you found it, etc.

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)

What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore? What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)

(From Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Tim Ferriss.)