The more books I read, the less I'm interested in  breadth and the more I'm interested in depth.

I've read each of these books at least twice (generally back-to-back), but some five or more times. These books have profoundly impacted the way I think and live in the world. I plan to read each of these books several more times in the coming years.

"The outer conditions of a person's life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state ... Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are." --James Allen

There is no denying it. You are what you think. Your external world is a reflection of who you are, inside. The most honest personal inventory you can take is simple: Look at your life.

Whether you're willing to admit it or not, you've planned on being where you currently are. Everything thought and decision you've made has brought you to this point.

"Essentialists see tradeoffs as an inherent part of life, not as an inherently negative part of life. Instead of asking, "What do I have to give up?" they ask, "What do I want to go big on?" --Greg McKeown

Almost everything in life is a distraction. Removing every nonessential element will allow you to be happy, healthy, and productive. Like our minds, our lives are also like a garden. Weeds are continuously popping up, taking us away from those things that matter most. If we don't continuously prune the garden of our lives, we'll find we missed the best and most important parts.

"It is rarely a mysterious technique that drives us to the top, but rather a profound mastery of what may well be a basic skill set." --Josh Waitzkin

Becoming the best in the world is not a fluke but a process. It requires a level of mastery so deep that winning becomes automatic. The harder you train, the more successful you'll be in the game.

"From this point, your strategy is to make everyone else get on your level; you're not going down to theirs. You're not competing with anyone else, ever again. They're going to have to compete with you. From now on, the end result is all that matters."  --Tim Grover

Being unstoppable is a state of mind. To be unstoppable, you must act on instinct -- with complete trust in yourself. To do this, you must block out all external noise and pressure.

"It all starts with a tiny, stupid idea, then one thing leads to another, and suddenly you find something amazing: yourself." --Richie Norton

Stupid is the new smart. Every brilliant innovation was once considered a crazy -- stupid -- idea. Don't let the fear of looking stupid hold you back from doing your life's work.

"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine." --Darren Hardy

How was your day today? If not so good, you're future isn't looking so good either.

What you do on a daily basis determines everything about your life. Small things become big things. The things you do every day -- whether good or bad -- compound over time. If you have good habits, your future will explode with exponential goodness. If bad, the opposite.

"In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves." --Orson Scott Card

Science fiction is just as essential as nonfiction. This book is my favorite sci-fi. There is an absurd amount of leadership and strategy in this book.

"Abundance is not about providing everyone on this planet with a life of luxury -- rather it's about providing all with a life of possibility." --Peter Diamandis

Want to be a billionaire? Help a billion people. Although an enormous task, thanks to technological advances it's never been easier. The future is bright for those who consciously contribute to the global good.

9. Rework

"Working without a plan may seem scary. But blindly following a plan that has no relationship with reality is even scarier." --Jason Fried

Don't get caught up in long-term planning, which is little more than guesswork. Instead, focus on execution and iteration.

"All failed companies are the same: They failed to escape competition." --Peter Thiel

Unlike most entrepreneurship books of late that preach minimum viable products and iterations, Thiel challenges the reader to have definite plans and go big. This book is the dialectical opposite of Rework, which is why both books are incredible. Both books are the best I've read on the opposite sides of the same coin.

Published on: Jun 9, 2016