Imagine yourself a year from now.
You’re completely content, have a shredded body, and your bank account is overflowing with cash.
Sounds too good to be true right?
The perfect life is hard to come by. The chances of you excelling in all three areas — health, wealth, and happiness — are slim.
What should you do?
I don’t believe in living life with rose-colored glasses. Life can suck at times.
I do believe you can improve these three areas. Maybe you won’t be a billionaire with six-pack abs and no worries, but you can work toward financial independence, healthiness, and contentment.
I use books to make my life better, and I love recommending them.
This list includes books to teach you how to grow your income, improve your mindset, and get healthier.
Feel free to send me your book recommendations in the comments below.
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! — By Robert Kiyosaki
I wish schools required students to read this book. Robert Kiyosaki is a multimillionaire and a serial entrepreneur. In his youth, he learned lessons about life from his “two dads.”
His poor dad was his actual father — a teacher who never spoke about money in the home and had financial troubles his entire life.
His rich dad was his best friend’s father — a business owner who preached the value of building assets and becoming financially independent.
This book taught me the value of creating assets — things that put money in your pocket time and time again.
It also taught me to avoid major liabilities — things that take money out of your pocket.
The wisdom is simple, but the lessons are profound.
I also love the book because it’s contrarian. It makes the claim that owning a home isn’t an asset and that it’s actually a liability.
I don’t know how people believe the opposite when so many are crushed by mortgage debt.
Anyway, this book provides valuable lessons about money I hadn’t heard anywhere — certainly not from my parents — before reading it.
Stumbling on Happiness — by Dr. Daniel Gilbert
We try to make our future selves happy and fail.
We incorrectly imagine how we’ll feel in the future and have a skewed view of the past.
In Stumbling On Happiness, psychologist Daniel Gilbert hits you with a barrage of counter-intuitive ideas about the way your brain works. I took notes on just about every page of this book.
He describes how we piece together pieces of the past and fill in the gaps with our minds — to the point where we remember things that didn’t actually happen. He also says we use this faulty information to predict our futures.
The book also highlights other odd findings such as the idea that we cope with traumatic experiences better than we do with minor annoyances. Gilbert writes with wit and humor throughout, so unlike many psychology books, it’s fun to read.
Malcolm Gladwell’s blurb for the book captures its value perfectly — “If you have even the slightest curiosity about the human condition, you ought to read this book.”
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom — by Dr. Jonathan Haidt
The happiness hypothesis centers around the idea that we have two brains. The authors call them “the elephant and the rider.”
The elephant represents our primitive brain that acts on triggers like fight or flight, hunger, and instant gratification.
The rider represents our prefrontal cortex that uses rational decision making and ponders long-term implications of choices.
I’ve read multiple books on the battle between these two brains (Stumbling on Happiness is based on this idea as well) but each book offers its own unique perspective.
I included both Stumbling on Happiness and the Happiness Hypothesis because they come to different conclusions on how to find happiness. I happen to agree with both and found both useful.
The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease — by Daniel Lieberman
Evolution can be a boring and dry subject to read about. The story of the human body tells a compelling tale about the path we took from our origins to become homo sapiens.
Evolution usually takes millions of years to make major changes. In essence, we’re still the same humans as our hunter-gatherer ancestors, which explains many of the poor choices we make with our health.
Back then, sweets and fats were rare, so it was wise to eat as much of them as possible when you found them. You still have the same biological wiring that causes your body to believe sweets are scare, even though they’re in abundant supply.
Both the agricultural and industrial revolution create a world our brains and bodies haven’t “caught up to,” yet. This leads to health issues.
After you learn the story of the human body, the author gives you tools you can use to adapt to your “new world,” and live a healthy life.
The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime — by M.J. Demarco
I know, the title sounds spammy, but this book gives the best advice on getting rich I’ve ever heard.
The author considers five to ten years a “fast lane,” to riches compared to a lifetime of working for meager pay. The author argues you should spend those five to ten years working as hard as possible to get rich, then once you’ve built your business you can enjoy the rest of your life worry-free.
I’m not rich yet, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I’ve never read a book with more practical, tangible, and actionable advice on the subject.
Similar to Rich Dad Poor Dad, it gives examples of assets you can build and walks you through the step by step process of building a business.
The book gives straight talk advice with none of the bullshit.
These books didn’t make the cut, but they’re still valuable and worth reading. Check the rest of these out and consider adding them to your library.
The Richest Man in Babylon — by George Classon
This book is an excellent primer on financial literacy and the power of compound interest
The Alchemist — by Paulo Coelho
I rarely read fiction, but there’s a reason why this book has sold millions of copies. The story is fictional, but the truths about living out your legend are ones we can take away.
Think and Grow Rich — by Napoleon Hill
This book teaches you the mindset you need to get rich, but it’s short on practical application. Still, it’s a cornerstone book that should be in every library.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future — by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters
This is one of the best business books I’ve ever read. Thiel, a co-founder of pay pal and early investor in Facebook, was teaching a class on business and entrepreneurship. One of his students took the notes from his class and worked with Thiel to create a book. This book contains eye-opening business insights from someone who clearly knows what they’re talking about. I was floored by the ideas in the book, so much so that I listened to the audio version two times in a row. Read this book.
Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect — by Matthew Lieberman
Human beings evolved to become social animals. According to the author, understanding the importance of social interaction is key to understanding our species. He backs up his words with research and it’s a fascinating look into the way our brains work. The most interesting thing I learned was the fact that social and physical pain is registered in the same part of your brain. Read this book if you want to go deep and read above your normal level.
Sam Walton: Made In America — By Sam Walton
One of the richest people in history offers his wisdom on building a business. Enough said.
A Few Lessons for Investors and Managers From Warren Buffett — By Peter Bevelin
Peter Bevelin compiled notes from decades of Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meetings and turned them into a book. The book provides a laser-focused and timeless business advice.
The 4-Hour Workweek — By Tim Ferriss
This book gets a lot of flack, but it does provide great insights into building your “muse,” business and optimizing your time. Just don’t take its title literally.
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind — By T. Harv Ecker
The book lists the differences in mindset between rich and poor people. Take it with a grain of salt, because it doesn’t take serious institutional problems and inequality into account.
Ayodeji is the author of You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You. Want a free copy of my first book? Get it here.