Here are some books I have enjoyed with commentary on each.
The Bible: The name comes from the the Greek word biblos, which simply means book. There is nothing miraculous about the title. It is a collection of sacred writings by many people over a long period of time. It is not intended to be read straight through like a novel. That is difficult and confusing. Read daily and allow time for personal meditation and reflection. Study it with a concordance and quality commentary. I highly recommend Tom Bradford’s Torah Class for those seeking a deeper understanding.
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley: I wish I would have read this book when my boys were younger. It has an incredible chapter on wealth and raising children. Kids only appreciate what they work for and spoiling them stymies initiative. Surprisingly, most millionaires are average people. A millionaire is someone with a net worth of $1 million, not just someone who earns a million a year. The book is a study of traits that millionaires have in common. I’ll share two: they stay married and self-identify integrity as the most important principle. A really eye-opening book. Read it in your 20’s.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: This is a classic that has stood the test of time. It is a great introduction into human dynamics. The information is useful for understanding and maximizing human interaction. It is a quick, easy read and should be referenced until the principles are second nature.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey: Typically, I loathe numerical lists to success that are plastered everywhere, as if life were ever that simple. However, I make an exception for this book. I have read it several times over the years and it is always helpful for putting life in perspective. The author was Mormon (common critique), but don’t allow that to dissuade you from reading it. As Bruce Lee said, absorb what is useful discard what is not. What is particularly valuable is the way in which he recommends you structure your life. Habit 1 is to Be Proactive. This eliminates the recent victim mentality and puts the onus back where it belongs, on you. Habit 2 is Begin with the End in Mind. How can you get where you are going if you don’t know where that is? Habit 3 is Put First Things First. This deals with priority, something today’s youth are sorely lacking. Habit 4 is Think Win/Win. This is the concept of mutual benefit. Sounds a little cheesy on the surface, but in today’s cutthroat workplace it is important to recognize there is an alternative. Habit 5 is Seek First to Understand Prior to Being Understood. This deals with human communication and is also covered in Carnegie’s book mentioned above. Everyone wants to be heard, but no one wants to listen. Learn to be a good listener, and people will be drawn towards you. Habit 6 is Synergize. Sounds like a motivational poster, but it simply means we can accomplish more working together than on our own. Habit 7 is Sharpen the Saw. This is my favorite. A man is the sum of 4 parts: body, mind, soul, and spirit. Make it a priority (habit 3 see?) to spend time each day focusing on each aspect, neglecting none. Good book. Read it and see if you agree.
How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams: Scott is best known for his famous syndicated cartoon, Dilbert. Unsurprisingly, he is an equally entertaining author. He writes in an easy to read friendly manner that leaves you with the impression that the two of you actually know each other. I believe Scott is the first person to coin the term “skill stacking.” Scott dislikes the concept of short term goals, and prefers establishing systems that increase your odds of success. I tend to agree, although meeting a goal can be a useful metric for evaluating whether your system is useful. Scott seems like a cool guy. Read his book. I think you will enjoy it and find his perspective unique.
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas: Biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor in Nazi Germany during WWII under Hitler’s Third Reich. This book is fairly long. I thank Chaplain Barnes for loaning it to me on deployment. I could not put it down and finished it in 2 days. This intimate study of faith allows you to truly comprehend just how evil Hitler and his ideology were in every sense of the word. Youth today who pretend he had any redeeming characteristics are utterly ignorant of history and the classical European culture that was forever destroyed by his madness. The New World Order so often predicted for the future, actually began with the destruction of the old.
Hitler in Hell by Martin van Creveld: Written by the preeminent military historian alive today. Strange coincidence that I literally read it right before the chaplain loaned me Bonhoeffer (above) so I was primed by the military history and fictional account from Hitler’s perspective. This book is not an attempt to condone him in any way, but to show how it is possible for a man to rationalize his actions along the way.
The Prince by Machiavelli:
The Art of War by Sun Tzu:
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius:
Influence by Robert Cialdini:
What Every Body is Saying by Joe Navarro: This is a former FBI agent’s guide to reading body language. Since 90% of communication is nonverbal, it is crucial you understand how to read other people’s signals while controlling your own.
The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker: Oddly enough, I picked this up off a free book table at Fort Campbell on my way to deployment in South Africa because I found the title intriguing. I read it on the plane and it was quite excellent. It is a MUST read for every female in your life. He dispels the notion that violence is unpredictable. Intuition, curiosity, and fear are all nature’s way of alerting us that something is wrong. I don’t necessarily agree with his position on gun control, but his points are valid and thought provoking. If your women are too disinterested to read it, at least have them watch his videos on YouTube.
Mastery by Robert Greene:
The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene:
The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene:
The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene:
Wild at Heart by John Eldredge:
The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane:
Succeeding by John T. Reed:
SJW Always Lie by Vox Day: This is the only manual on how to anticipate, react to, and survive a Social Justice Warrior attack that I am aware has been written. If you are a straight, white, Christian male in the workplace, you WILL be attacked, it is only a matter of time. It will be a malevolent and direct assault at the heart of your identity. The result will be a dizzying descent into uncertainty, anxiety, fear and typically, unemployment. Read this book now, prepare yourself, defend yourself, and learn how they do it. Every. Single. Time. I speak from my own personal experience and wish I had read this book beforehand as I sure would have been able to see it coming and better predict the outcome. Luckily, I made it intact and emerged emotionally stronger with a firm mental resolve to destroy their degenerate, pathetic ideology. You can visit his excellent blog at Vox Popoli.
The 9 Laws by Ivan Throne: Ivan is an interesting character. He is an imposing man with a background in business and martial arts. You can visit his website at Dark Triad Man. His style takes a little getting used to for those unfamiliar with East Asian philosophy, but his breakdown is thoughtful and intriguing. I respect that he does not shy away from the harsh reality of life; a byproduct of his growing up deaf. He has a unique take on the three dark triad personality traits of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism and explains how they can be harnessed for success. I have the book on Kindle, but recommend purchasing a hard copy as you will want to take notes and mark cross references. Law 1 is Survival. Law 2 is Concealment . Law 3 is Purpose. Law 4 is Endurance. Law 5 is Posture. Law 6 is Freedom. Law 7 is Power. Law 8 is Preposterousness. Law 9 is No Laws. I will flush these out further when I have time.