I love books. But sometimes, I read a life development book with a great premise, then, halfway through it just dries up. ::cue the music:: Wah waaaahhhh. Ever have that happen?
Photo credit: sebastiansantanam8qnfs (MorgueFile)
It’s a shame, because the author put a lot of time and effort into writing the book.
But. Every now and then, a book comes along that is completely unique. It takes the same subject, but writes in a way that causes it to stand out.
I’m always on the hunt for those.
Don’t get me wrong. Straight forward has its time and place. In fact, sometimes it’s essential. For example, I don’t want my prescription medication to be written in sonnets.
Tis my sole wish to care for thee,
To cleanse thine body of infection.
You shall take me two times each morn, nought three,
Else your ailment is beyond my protection.
So even though we need cut and dry, I crave variety. Especially when I’m reading a book with great information. Help me out, author. Make me laugh. Tell a tale. Make it memorable. This stuff could change my life!
So that’s why I compiled this list of 5 life development books – each one treading off the beaten path, inviting you to slosh through the mud with it.
1. “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything”
by Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
This book uses statistics to answer the questions you never would have asked. Ever wonder what school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? One chapter is called “Why drug dealers live with their mothers”.
There’s even a chapter on baby names and how they affect a person’s chances for success. Is that really a thing? This book will tell you!
2. “The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions That Determine Personal Success” by Andy Andrews
Category: Life Development
I can’t think of a “self-help” book that breaks the mold more completely than a work of creative fiction.
Rather than list the seven decisions that determine personal success with bullet points, examples, or the ever popular mind map, Andrews takes you on a quest. You journey through time and converse about life with presidents, kings and soldiers. You duck behind boulders as bullets whiz by. You walk through a warehouse next to an angel.
What a remarkable departure for your brain to take while learning great life lessons.
3. “Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck” by Jon Acuff
Acuff had me in stitches from the first chapter.
He issues a very clear challenge to “rescue Monday” and “reinvent your work”. Then he spends the rest of the book dishing out truth while making you laugh. What makes this book stand out, other than its screaming yellow cover, is that you are in community with him. It’s like you’re sitting around his kitchen table. I kept expecting him to pause, mid-paragraph, and ask, “Can I get you some more tea?”
Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
[Tweet “”The distance between comfortable and comatose is surprisingly short.” @jonacuff”]
“Want a better job right this second? Choose your attitude and adjust your expectations.”
“When a stranger criticizes your entire life because of one thing you posted on Facebook, that’s like someone driving by your house and yelling from his car, ‘Your yard is horrible, I bet your heart is too!’”
4. “The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)” by Seth Godin
In 80 pages, you will change your life. Godin doesn’t flower things up, he doesn’t use bullet points, he doesn’t use lists. I’m pretty sure I know how he feels about mind maps.
The “dip” occurs in everyone’s business or personal endeavors. When the going gets tough, most people quit. However, people who push through the dip are those same people who achieve greatness.
Godin raises the stakes. He walks you to the starting line of the race. By the end of the book, you’re running.
Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:
[Tweet ““You’re astonishing. How dare you waste it.” – Seth Godin”]
“If you’ve got as much as you’ve got, use it. Use it to become the best in the world.”
If it’s not going to put a dent in the world, quit.
5. “Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son” by Anne Lamott
Here’s a parenting memoir that skips everything conventional about a baby’s first year and goes straight to belly laughs. Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers because she says what everyone else is thinking. And she relates to her readers by sharing all the ups and downs of her imperfect, unconventional family dynamics.
“Jax [Lamott’s grandson] mostly sleeps, nurses, poops, blinks at you with black google eyes, pees on you while you are changing him, passes out.”
“Either you learn to live with paradox and ambiguities or you will be six years old for the rest of your life.”
I’ve chosen to give away a brand new copy of #3 on my list, “Do Over” by Jon Acuff! This book rocks and is SO funny. It’s changing a lot of people’s careers (and lives). And now it’s time for me to pass it on to you.
Here’s how to enter:
Leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post, sharing your thoughts on this list, or what books you might add to it. I love to read people’s recommendations. One commenter will be chosen AT RANDOM and announced on Friday, July 24th!
P.S. The easiest way to follow my blog for future giveaways is to subscribe. Click here to make sure you don’t miss the announcement of the winner next week!
P.P.S. If you see a book you like, follow my affiliate link to buy it. It’s my Amazon portal, so I receive a small commission every time you do – which is one way you can support my blog – so thank you!
(GIVEAWAY UPDATE 7-24-15: THIS GIVEAWAY HAS EXPIRED. Congratulations to Christine Naglewski, the winner of Jon Acuff’s newest book, “Do Over”! May it be of encouragement and inspiration to you! Stay tuned, Piggy Bank Readers – this will NOT be my last giveaway!)