While there are thousands of ebooks being published everyday and countless self-help books on the market, there are three must-reads for millennials building companies.  Don’t judge by the year they were written, as many of those who have “made it” still pay homage to these timeless texts.  Often, I am taken aback by the foresight several of these books had.  Some of these were written almost 60 years ago!  How is it that they are still relevant? The answer is that while the rules of success may change from generation to generation, the principles stay constant.

The Magic of Thinking Big

Written by David J. Schwartz, this gem is less common on the must-read lists you’ll see online.  It is more than just positive thinking and motivation, strategies for unleashing your brain’s potential are provided.  One thing readers will learn is how to practice conversation generosity.  Personally, this was big for me.  Light bulbs flashed in my head when he spoke of conversation, as I related it to pieces of advice my father had shared with me after coming home from a long day of selling furniture.  It’s in these moments that I learned people like to talk about themselves, as well as how to add value to a conversation.  In my humble opinion, a large percentage of people aren’t good at this.  They wait to speak rather than listen to your point.

I find myself quoting Dr. Schwartz often, most of the time unknowingly.  Just a few days ago, I was preaching to my nephews “You are what you think you are!” and then suddenly realizing there is a full chapter dedicated to this theme.  At the end of this day, this book will teach you how to dream.  Don’t deprive yourself of doing so, as it can add much to your quality of life.

Awaken the Giant Within

If you’ve ever been to the self-help section of the bookstore, you’ve heard of Tony Robbins.  Undoubtedly, he’s more than in demand by the most successful people in the world.  That point alone should be reason enough to buy this book.  I see it as a blueprint on how to live a fulfilled life.  His work on describing the six needs of a human being are truly remarkable.  While I don’t believe success should fit into a concrete formula, this is as close as it gets.  Think of the needs and their deep yet understandable descriptions as cliff notes on the human psyche.  In short, it explains why we do what we do and how to live in the best life possible.  As Tony says, “success without fulfillment is failure.”  

I was fortunate enough to attend one of his live events where many of the points in this book were taught.  If you get the chance to make a Tony Robbins event, please do.  You won’t be disappointed.  Seeing his work with your own eyes is to be in the presence of a high level professional.  During my time there, he mentioned that he charged $1,000,000 for 12 hours of his time and there was an 18 month waiting list.  That should tell us something!  His ability to understand people is unmatched.  Why else would he be so so sought out by the powers that be?     

Mud, Sweat, and Tears

I got into this book because I’m obsessed with Bear Grylls’s TV show “Man vs Wild”.  If you haven’t heard of it, Bear goes out into the wild and gets himself into precarious situations (to say the least).  He teaches his audience how to survive in all corners of the world.  While the show is more than entertaining, his personal story is impressive.  

His story is one of overcoming adversity, a lesson we can all use.  He’ll take you through his journey of getting into the prestigious British Special Forces, as well as climbing the great Mount Everest after being told he may never walk again.  His description of these events will most likely make you question the difficulty of your life, as well as the nature of your goals.  While we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, their journeys can be inspiring and influential.  The power of reading, to a certain degree, is that we are able to download the life experience of others into our own mind.  Bear’s experience is to achieve the seemingly impossible, it would be in our best interest to use this book to be better than you were yesterday.      

Books like these are what I like to call my own system of checks and balances.  They help me look inward for answers that can change life in an instant.  Something new is learned each time I pick up one of the aforementioned titles, that is the mark of a true classic text.  I wonder what would happen if these were the required reading assignments for students throughout the country.  I encourage all teachers to do so.

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Eric Estevez is a freelance writer, blogger, finance coach, and tax accountant. He has been training in the grappling art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 2010, currently holding the rank of Purple Belt. JiuJitsuFinance.com combines his passion and life's work where he teaches you how to do Financial Jiu-Jitsu! The blog focuses on financial literacy, as well as current financial issues for all ages.

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