6 Books that changed my life (for real)
Around a year and a half ago, I wrote a blog about the 5 Reasons Why Reading Will Change Your Life, which has surprisingly gotten over 3000 reads, which I think is amazing. Because of that, I thought it would be interesting to explain how reading changed my life over the last five years. But changes for real, not like I read "The 5 am Club", and then I woke up at 5 am for a week. I want to explain the actions I have taken upon reading books that have changed me in three different aspects: Financials, Work, and Life/Well-Being. Let's go with it:
1. Financial Impact
Rich Dad Poor Dad. Robert Kiyosaki - Read in January 2019
Maybe a simple book on understanding the differences between working for money and making the money work for you. At the time, this was the perfect start for me --sweet and simple. It pushed me to invest my first savings in a cheap flat in my village that could give me a decent return on the investment (Most likely the best financial move I will ever make). However, it went beyond that as I managed to pass that vision to my parents, and we acquired a new flat in early 2023.
Put the money to work for you. Action taken: Invest in cheap flats looking solely at ROI
Quit Like a Millionaire. Kristy Shen & Bryce Leung - Read in February 2023
Amazing book narrating the story of how Kristy and Bryce followed a protocol to quit their jobs and pursue any life they want. What I enjoyed the most was that they used a method to become millionaires. If you follow it, chances are you will make it. In my head, I was like: A mathematical method to get wealthy? Let's go! One more time, it is about putting the money to work for you. They used a big part of their monthly salaries to build an investment portfolio that grows yearly. If you do that consistently, markets say it will work. It needs significant mental strength, but it is the way to go. Since this year, I have been putting a bit of money monthly --not much though-- into a long-term portfolio so that it grows.
Being consistent is crucial. Action taken: Invest a monthly amount in investment funds
2. Work Impact
Flow. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - Read in October 2020
I have always heard my dad talking about him not feeling like working when doing math research. I guess that is exactly what flow means in the book by Mihaly. In short, flow is a state of deep engagement and immersion in an activity. Since I read the book, I have tried to do things that put me in a good spot to have such "flow" situations. For instance, when I was doing my Ph.D. I openly followed technical projects, which I greatly enjoyed, and now, despite having all sorts of tasks, I keep coding daily/weekly to have that feeling of flow.
Follow what gives you a "flow" feeling. Action taken: Pursue projects and daily/weekly activities that I enjoy
Deep Work. Cal Newport - Read in December 2022
Fantastic book! Cal expresses in the book the relevance of concentration to achieve deep work. He talks extensively about how difficult it is to concentrate in the current world with social media, emails, and all sorts of distractions. He also talks about strategies to get immersed in deep work situations and how by achieving it we can do more in less time. I wish I could do a fraction of his Deep Work hours, but at least it helped me see that I had some useless distractions, such as Instagram, and I got rid of them. It has been almost a year, and it has helped me to be more focused and calm mentally.
High-quality work needs concentration. Action taken: I quit Instagram and related social networks.
3. Life/Well-Being Impact
Thinking Fast and Slow. Daniel Kahneman - Read in May 2020
This book is considered one of the top 100 of the century if I am not mistaken, and rightfully so --not an easy read but a must one. The book explores the differences between two modes of thought: "fast" intuitive thinking (System 1) and "slow" rational thinking (System 2). However, the most interesting part for me is when he discusses the various cognitive biases and flaws our brain has in the frame of these two systems. Things like the Anchoring Effect, Loss Aversion, Base Rate Fallacy, Endowment Effect, and others are concepts I found really interesting to read about. Despite probably being the most challenging action, I have tried since then, and with the support of other groups, to be more aware of these fallacies and think a bit more in terms of probabilities in life --especially regarding decision-making scenarios.
Our brain is full of flaws, and we do not even realize it. Action taken: Try being aware of them and thinking in probabilities
Man's Search for Meaning. Viktor E. Frankl - Read in March 2021
Incredible story of Viktor sharing his brutal experiences and how he survived Auschwitz during World War II. The book has a lot to it. He poses that the primary motivational force in humans is to find meaning in life. Frankl argues that life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones. I guess everybody can take something from this book. However, for me it was this: life is not against you. Your attitude towards it determines how your life looks back at you. Sometimes, things are just the way they are. Take them and do your best about these circumstances.
Nobody said it was easy, but your attitude will determine how you live it. Action taken: Be positive and don't bother about things out of your control
Books I read August-November
The Daily Stoic. Ryan Holiday
The Adventures of a Mathematician. Stanislaw Ulham
The Art of Thinking Clearly. Rolf Dobelli
Think Again. Adam Grant
Noise. Daniel Kahneman
Fiction (Auf Deutsch)
Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen. J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter und der Kammer des Schreckens. J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter und der Gefangen von Askaban. J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter und der Feuerkelch. J. K. Rowling
Die Chirurgin. Tess Gerritsen
Thank you for reading the blogs!
From a friend,