Too cheap for therapy? Read these books!
Listen I get it. Therapy is expensive!
No, but seriously this is just a list of 5 great books that had an impact on my life, all of them massively instructional and helpful.
Give these great resources a chance, and I am sure that you will find yourself deeply motivated and inspired to develop yourself!
An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean – Antarctic Survivor
This first one is not too known, but it is incredibly gripping and seriously inspirational. The start of the 20th century was the heyday of polar exploration, with the Brits and the Norwegians racing to be the first to the south pole.
The book is a biography of Tom Crean, a humble farmer’s son who ran away to join the navy when he was 15 and who ended up serving on 3 of the great expeditions of the time. He was one of the very few men to serve under both Captain Scott and Shakleton.
You can basically look at this book as an account of a humble hardworking optimistic funny guy who saved loads of people’s lives on a number of occasions and always seemed to be cracking jokes and singing, even when they were well and truly in the sh*t.
Here’s an unbelievable (true!) account of how Tom Crean saved the life of a man with scurvy:
“On the return journey, Tom Crean performed what I think is the greatest act of individual heroism in the history of polar exploration. He saves the life of a man called Leftenant Evans, who was dying of scurvy.
Tom had already walked if you can imagine 1500 miles, and the food had run out and Evans was dying.
Tom agreed to walk the last 35 miles on his own, without a tent or a sleeping bag, with only a couple of sticks of chocolate and some biscuits.
And he did the walk in 18 hours, and he saved the man’s life. And a few months later he went back onto the ice again and was one of the men who discovered captain Scott’s dead body in the snow. And the only reason that we know Captain Scott got to the south pole is that Tom Crean found him.”
The wild thing about it is that this is literally one of the dozens of inspiring true stories about a group of brilliant men who lived incredibly adventurous and full lives.
Alright. Fine. 1 more story.
So under Shackleton, on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, their boat Endurance became wedged In the ice and drifted for 2000 miles before sinking.
The men sailed and rowed for 5 days to the tiny “Elephant Island” in shoddy lifeboats. They set up camp on this island in brutal conditions and realized that no one had any way of even guessing where they were.
The only way to survive was to modify one of the lifeboats and have 6 men row/sail for 800 miles to South Georgia.
One of the most extraordinary feats of seamanship and navigation in recorded history
After months of brutal punishment, the men were able to secure a boat and rescue their friends. The account tells us how a small boat was lowered into the water, rowed towards the castaways, and Tom Crean stood on the boat and started launching packets of tobacco to the men from 20 meters out, which must have been emotional.
If you choose one from this list, honestly, make it this one.
The book is a memoir of Phil Knight, and his experience creating and growing Nike. Phil was a shy smart business graduate from Stanford University who loved to run and ran under legendary collegiate and Olympic coach Bill Bowerman but was never quite at the level to make anything of it. (“I was good, not great; a fact to which I had finally resigned at age 23”). It accounts for this incredibly relatable, down-to-earth, passionate young man absolutely determined to follow his vision to the very end.
To grasp the brilliance of the man, you have to understand that running was an incredibly fringe and nerdy kind of endeavor until Nike came along. The very idea that a respectable Stanford graduate was selling Japanese running shoes out of the boot of his car for a job was laughable, and there were a number of times throughout the life of Nike that it really was as good as dead.
Unlike Tom Crean, and I mean this as a compliment, the brilliance of this book is really because of how down-to-earth and relatable Phil Night comes across. You really do get the idea from reading the book that it was pure passion and competitive spirit, taking the opportunities when they come, really following that deep inner voice that talks to all of us, and never ever ever quitting when in the face of basically certain death, that was really the difference in Phil’s story. Go and read it for crying out loud.
Can’t Hurt Me
I bought the audiobook of this one and it’s kind of a blend of autobiography, interview, podcast, motivational speech, and instructional guide. David Goggins lived in an incredibly dysfunctional and painful household growing up and was obviously incredibly damaged by what he had to go through. I mean no one would give this guy a chance. And honestly, he was what you might call a failure well into adulthood. By his own definition. Fat, comfortable, victim mentality, an awful job, no prospects.
The guy then becomes obsessed with becoming a navy seal, a dream he once had as a teenager. He flicks a switch. To cut an unbelievable story way too short he went onto:
Go through hell week twice.
When not a runner, he ran 100 miles on 2 broken legs.
Became the only member of the US armed forces to complete seal training, the US army ranger school, and Air Force tactical air controller training (straight off his website)
Completed over 60 ultra marathons and endurance races.
Break the pull-up world record after failing twice, once on live tv.
He has an incredible warrior spirit. He often says that to his mind, the whole meaning of life is found in overcoming pain. His story is guaranteed to make you think, and you definitely should check him out.
Read also: 5 of the most heroic acts in history!
This next one’s much less “F*ck yeh let’s go you bunch of w*nkers”.
We can all calm down a bit.
A former all-American baseball pitcher in university, James Clear basically goes deep on habits, and why they are so essential. Here are the key areas of the book just to give you a sense:
- The power of 1%: how tiny changes consistently over time are the way forward. “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement”
- Rather than just goals, focus on your systems. “winners and losers have the same goal”
- Work on your identity, not your outcomes. “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”
- The 4 fundamental laws of behavior change. “When scientists analyze people who appear to have tremendous self-control, it turns out those individuals aren’t all that different from those who are struggling. Instead, “disciplined” people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self-control. In other words, they spend less time in tempting situations.”
It comes across as a very well-thought-out and logical set of ideas that are absolutely applicable to us all. We’d all do well to chew these things over. (Link to Amazon)
12 Rules for life
I’ll start by saying that I am pretty biased towards the author here.
I think Jordan Peterson is one of the most brilliant, humble, influential academics working today.
He’s a former Harvard professor and practicing clinical psychologist, who started writing short responses to life’s pressing questions on Quora just to kind of see what happened. He also put over 200 hours of his Harvard and Toronto lectures on YouTube, just to kind of see what happened.
He has an incredible way of explaining something about the world in a way that makes it seem so obvious and created the book as a kind of 12 general rules that everyone should live by.
I’ll include a few quotes below from the book, but I can guarantee that they will barely scratch the surface. I will say that not everyone agrees with his political beliefs (I guess like anybody), but I can say that I am a slightly more focused and mature man for having read his stuff.
“When you have something to say, silence is a lie”
“And if you think tough men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of”
“Women select men. That makes them nature because nature is what selects. And you can say “Well it’s only symbolic that women are nature”, it’s like no, it’s not just symbolic. The woman is the gatekeeper to reproductive success. And you can’t get more like nature than that, in fact, it’s the very definition of nature.”
“Perhaps you are overvaluing what you don’t have and undervaluing what you do.”
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