Quickie Round-Up: Self-Help edition  

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

We all have our flaws.  One of mine is reading too many self-help books.

Here are some books that might be able to teach you a thing or two -- at the very least, you should learn the areas in which I think I need help!

Books I've previously reviewed are linked to the appropriate post; in between are some quickie reviews, which are linked to Amazon.com through an affiliate link.

The Automatic Millionaire : A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich by David Bach -- The idea behind this one is pretty simple.  You've heard the old maxim, "Pay yourself first," right?  That's pretty much what this book is about.  Figure out how much you want to -- and can afford to -- save, and then have that amount automatically transferred to savings (or investment) on a regular basis.  You don't miss money you never see.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell  -- This is a "Trust your gut" sort of book.  You know things, and frequently you know them before you realize that you know them. A great example kicks off the book, telling about a museum worker who was completely certain that a new statue was a fraud.  This worker was eventually proven right, but the telling details were so subtle that the only thing giving it away was that it "felt off."  And you can do stuff like that, too.

Everything twitter: From Novice to Expert

Fear Less: Real Truth About Risk, Safety, and Security in a Time of Terrorism by Gavin de Becker -- Here is another "Trust your gut" book, this one from the author of The Gift of Fear (see below).  When you're afraid of everything, your natural, protective sense of fear can't figure out what is a threat and what isn't.  If you spend your day watching disasters on a constant loop on the news, worrying, and telling yourself you have nothing to worry about, then when that creepy person in the dark parking lot at 2 AM sets off your warning sirens, you'll be in the habit of squelching that, too. And that's just not safe.

Gendertraps: Confronting Confrontophobia, Toxic Bosses, and Other Landmines at Work by Judith Briles -- Whether due to biology, social conditioning, or some combination of the two, men and women think, socialize, and negotiate differently.  This can cause miscommunications and even major obstacles in the workplace.  This book helps you deal with these situations.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen -- This is the definitive productivity blog.  One of these days I'm going to finally get my hands on a copy I can mark up, and then hopefully I'll be able to start implementing some of these techniques.  Highly recommended pretty much everywhere.

The Gift of Fear

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't by Jim Collins -- An interesting breakdown of comparable companies, some of which made it big and others which fell apart, and where the pairs diverged in their tactics.  More interesting than I'm making it sound, actually.

Made to Stick

The Millionaire Next Door
Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi -- A guide to networking, meeting people, making business contacts, and maintaining them.  Brilliant, but not easy.

Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz -- It's true: when I have too many choices, I freeze up because how can I possibly pick the best one, especially without examining each in depth.  On our honeymoon, if we walked down a street and Chris asked me where I wanted to eat, I'd almost panic -- everything looks so good, and every place we eat at is one more we'll never eat at, and if it's terrible not only will we never get that meal back, but it'll be entirely my fault for ruining our dinner... but if we had a list of five places recommended by our guidebook, it was easy.  Don't want pizza again, don't want to spend too much -- ooh, this place is known for its selection of local wines.  Decision made.

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse -- The author of ProBlogger.com gives his advice on starting up a blog and earning an income from it.  One of these days...
Project Everlasting: Two Bachelors Discover the Secrets of Americas Greatest Marriages by Mathew Boggs and Jason Miller -- I'm not entirely sure this counts as a self-help book, but it can definitely be used as one. Two guys wander the country looking for couples with very length marriages, and asking them what their secrets are.  Very sweet.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money--That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki -- This one is kind of controversial, since apparently the two dads are more metaphorical than the book makes out.  This doesn't make the advice bad, necessarily, but it means you might want to take this popular book with a couple grains of salt.

Six Thinking Hats: An Essential Approach to Business Management by Edward De Bono -- When it's difficult to make a decision, either on your own or in a committee, it's important to look at things from different angles.  The "hats" represent such factors as cold facts, fears, ambitions, and making sure everyone gets along.

Slow Reading 

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcom Gladwell -- Another good one.  Small but significant factors can turn a modest success into a wild one.

Wealth of Experience: Real Investors on What Works and What Doesn't by Andrew Clarke -- There's a big "you should know" here, as this book was published by my former employer.  It's pretty much what it sounds like: high-end investors talking about how they got to be, and stay, high-end investors.

The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by S. Wise Bauer -- The author notes that almost no one is self-educated anymore, then outlines tactics, and an immense reading llist, for anyone who wants to be.

What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question by Po Bronson -- Bronson was sort of asking this question himself as he put together this book, which collects the stories of people who have found their callings.  A good read even if it turns out not to be especially necessary, or helpful, for you.

Why Do I Love These People?

Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget

Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear by Frank Luntz -- Another one that's pretty much what it sounds like, this book talks about communication skills and how you can make sure what you mean is what you say is what people hear.  Probably not a bad one to read together with Gift of Fear, above.

Go forth and be a better person! Enjoy!

Aside for my real-life blogger friends: does anyone need a guest post any time soon?  Let me know.

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