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10 Lessons Learned From 10 of the Most Life Changing Books of All Time

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By: Bobby Rio

I’ve always said a book is worth reading if you get just one good idea out of it.  Well, over the course of my life, and after reading hundreds of books I’ve found that sometimes you stumble onto a book that has a life changing idea.

The 10 books below are books that have changed me, inspired me, and taught me a lesson that impacted my entire life going forward.  I’ve included the book and the single most important idea I got out of it.

1.  Lonesome Dove

I want to start off by saying Lonesome Dove might just be the most enjoyable and entertaining novel I’ve ever read.  But that’s not why its on this list. Its on this list because it taught me a valuable lesson about “coolness” and “integrity.”

At the start of the book we’re introduced to a “ladies man” Jake Spoon.  By all accounts, he is the “cool guy” that every other guy in the book aspired to be like.  Yet, when the shit hit the fan his facade crumbled.  On the other hand, Gus MCcrae steps up and becomes the hero in spite of the fear he faces.

What I learned:  A man’s inner code (taking right action) is the key to his integrity.  Anyone can talk a good game when things are going good.  But your true character is revealed when you have tough choices to make.  Never overestimate someone else until you’ve seen them face a serious challenge.  And never underestimate your own ability to step up in the face of a challenge.

2.  Your Erroneous Zones

I first read this book in college and there were several very important lessons I learned from this book.   However, there was an area where I was fooling myself.  And this book pointed that out to me.

I had always spouted the mantra “I don’t care what people think of me.”

And I believed because I didn’t care if someone didn’t like me or thought negatively of me that I was living this mantra.  But it turns out I wasn’t.  I was controlled by people’s good opinion of me.  I never wanted to let someone down.  If someone had a positive opinion of me I would change who I was or act differently around them just to maintain their positive opinion.

What I learned:  Being independent of other people’s opinion is not just about shrugging off or ignoring the negative comments.  It is equally important that you don’t let being liked by someone guide you into making decisions or acting in ways that are not congruent with who you are.

3.  Choose Yourself

In the past we relied on gate keepers to tell us how successful we can become.  They decided what college we would go to.  What job we would get.  When would we get a raise.  Would they publish our book?

What I learned:  The gatekeepers are gone.  We live in a world right now where you have the ability to choose yourself.  You can learn just about anything you need to learn by typing a few keys into a computer.  You want to write a book?  You can self publish your own book for about $6 and have it sold on the largest bookseller in the world (amazon.com)  What I learned more than anything is there are no more excuses.  Does this scare you? Or inspire you?  Its your choice.

4.  Atlas Shrugged

Ambition. The world is built on the back of ambition of men and women.  And some people will try to make you feel shame about the fact that you have ambition.  They will try to belittle your ambition.  They will try to convince you  to give up on your dreams.  This is because they have already given up on theirs. And seeing you succeed only drives home their own feeling of failure.

What I learnedYour only limit is your ambition.  Man has put himself on the moon.  Connected the world with the touch of a keyboard.  Man can achieve anything.  And that means YOU can achieve anything.  Celebrate other people’s success and let it inspire you.

5.  Four Hour Work Week

The American Dream used to be to get a good job.  Work until you’re 65.  Retire.  And then finally, if you saved enough money, you can live “the good life.”

But why not challenge that assumption?  Why not design a life that allows you to live “the good life” now?

What I learned:  Living your dream life is not nearly as expensive as you think.  And when you eliminate the need for expensive “trophies” and instead focus on “experiences” you can easily live your dream life way before retirement age.

6.  How to Win Friends and Influence People

This was another book I read in college and completely transformed the way I viewed social dynamics. There were so many great lessons in this book about communicating with people in a way that influences them and endears them to you.

What I learned:  People care about and want to talk about themselves.  If you can stop focusing on your need for their approval, and instead focus on giving them the approval they crave, and being legitimately interested in what they have to say; they will become practically addicted to being around you.

7. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

The biggest obstacle to making a million dollars is not your education, your connections, your job, your government, the economy, or any of the other imaginary barriers you believe are holding you back.  The only obstacle you need to overcome is your own beliefs about money.

And reading through this book I quickly discovered that I was being held back by beliefs I didn’t even realize I had.

What I learned:  Rich people constantly learn and grow. Poor people think they already know.  I find it amazing that I can recommend a book to one of my less successful friends 20 times and he still won’t read it.  Yet, I can casually mention the same book to one of my  successful friends (and even though he needs to read it a lot LESS) by the next time I talk to him he’s finished the book.

8.  Real Magic

If there is a such thing as magic this book got me closer to experiencing it than any other time in my life.  Most people are aware of the principles taught in the book “the secret.”  The principles revolve around creating a picture of what you want in your mind, and revisiting it over and over until you get it.  Although I always trusted this idea I never dedicated myself to fulfilling it until reading Real Magic.

What I learned:  Most people say “I’ll believe it when I see it.” But the truth is; until you see it you will never believe it.  This is why you must focus all your attention on what you want to create.  You must actually see it over and over again in your mind.  And that is how it becomes a reality.

9.  Rich Dad Poor Dad

I was at the car dealership last week buying a car.  I was buying the car cash instead of financing it. And the salesman kept trying to talk me into financing the car.  And in the back of my head I kept hearing Robert Kiyosaki (author of the book) saying “rich people use debt to buy assets, poor people use debt to buy liabilities.”  A car is going to lose value over time.  So financing and paying interest on something that is losing value is not a smart move.  While taking out a loan to purchase a rental property that will go up in value and put money in your pocket every month is a smart move.  Had I not read this book I’m not sure I would have really understood the difference.

What I learned:  The secret to getting rich is acquiring assets that create passive income.  Although I later learned the secret to getting rich even faster is creating assets.

10.  The Success Principles

I will always hold a special place in my mind for this book.  I listened to the audio book about fifty times while working at my old job painting houses.  I was at rock bottom at that point in my life.  I had a job I hated.  I was completely broke.  I had no girlfriend.  I had no plan for the future.  And then I listened to this book and learned one of the most valuable lessons anyone can truly learn.

What I learned:  You are 100% responsible for your life.  No one is coming to save you.  No one owes you anything. If you want to change your life right now you have to accept that you are the only one with the power to do it.  When I finally accepted that I felt liberated.  And I embraced the responsibility and went on a personal mission to change my life.

 

 

 

 

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