On New Years Eve this year I spent it in an idyllic fashion – dinner at my all time favourite restaurant, Host, with Conor and both his best friend and his fiancé. Afterwards we retired home allogether for board games where we ended up reading from “the book of questions.” If you haven’t used this book at a dinner party or in any social capacity please do – it is genius. Anyway, this book is full of situational questions providing topics for discussion and is just an amazing way to create honest and real connections with yourself and others.

One of the discussions began with the question : Which out of the following areas do you rate in your life as most important from 1-5 and why? Love, success, accomplishment, security, excitement. In this discussion, Conor made a statement about me which I was shocked by. In passing he commented that I was extremely driven as a person. ME? Driven? Honestly I have always seen myself as a little lazy, when a lot of the time I look for the shortest or easiest route, and more often than not give up due to self doubt or impatience (things I struggle with incessantly and is a topic I will address here in a few months in a post I am working on currently). So, the fact that Conor saw me in this way made me wonder : in 2020 could I begin to see myself in this new light?

This overly-circulated and forced idea of a ‘new year new you’ to be honest has made me feel uncomfortable, anxious, and all round unsuccessful. But instead of start this year with a long-ass blog post about how looking back on this year, for me personally, will result in sharing some painful truths, I thought I would begin by sharing my top business books that motivated the fu*k out of me! Start small and positive – here goes.

1. The Ego is The Enemy

Ryan Holiday

Many of us insist the main impediment to a full, successful life is the outside world. In fact, the most common enemy lies within: our ego. Early in our careers, it impedes learning and the cultivation of talent. With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure, it magnifies each blow and makes recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back.

The Ego is the Enemy draws on a vast array of stories and examples, from literature to philosophy to history. We meet fascinating figures like Howard Hughes, Katharine Graham, Bill Belichick, and Eleanor Roosevelt, all of whom reached the highest levels of power and success by conquering their own egos. Their strategies and tactics can be ours as well. Has to be one of my top 10 books ever!

2. Essentialism

Greg McKeown

Essentialism shows a new way of thinking about productivity and life. It’s a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.

Essentialism: only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter. Less but better. Essentialism is not a way to do one more thing; it is a different way of doing everything.

3. Girl, Wash Your Face

Rachel Hollis

Even though this isn’t necessarily a business book and could be included in a ‘self improvement’ genre, this book gave me the self belief and no bullshit drive to get shit done. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals.

4. The Obstacle is The Way

Ryan Holiday

The first audiobook Conor ever advised me to listen to, and the first gift I ever bought him, this book holds a special place in my heart.

We are stuck, stymied, frustrated. But it needn’t be this way. There is a formula for success that’s been followed by the icons of history—from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs—a formula that let them turn obstacles into opportunities. Faced with impossible situations, they found the astounding triumphs we all seek.

These men and women were not exceptionally brilliant, lucky, or gifted. Their success came from timeless philosophical principles laid down by a Roman emperor who struggled to articulate a method for excellence in any and all situations.

This book reveals that formula for the first time—and shows us how we can turn our own adversity into advantage.

5. Atomic Habits

James Clear

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.

6. Radical Candor

Kim Scott

Radical candor is the sweet spot between managers who are obnoxiously aggressive on one side and ruinously empathetic on the other. It’s about providing guidance, which involves a mix of praise as well as criticism—delivered to produce better results and help employees achieve.

7. Unlimited Power

Anthony Robbins

If you have ever dreamed of a better life, Unlimited Power will show you how to achieve the extraordinary quality of life you desire and deserve, and how to master your personal and professional life.

Tony Robbins has proven to millions through his books, tapes and seminars that by harnessing the power of your mind you can do, have, achieve and create anything you want for your life.

I really hope you invest in your true potential and realise how life is limitless!

PS I shop audio books via Amazon (I pay less than €10 a month for 1 book credit monthly) and buy hard copy on Book Depository.

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