“Jesus Christ”, I exclaimed, as I slammed my book shut.
I didn’t know it, but I had just experienced my most recent “quake” book, as Ryan Holiday would call it. A book that rocks you to your core. A book that changes the way you see the world. Whose words hit you right between the eyes, knocking you nearly unconscious. A book whose message is so crystal clear that it must have come to you at this exact time by the grace of God.
A few weeks prior, I was struggling. Thrust into my first position leading people, given a map with no words or directions on it, I was overwhelmed. Filled equally with imposter syndrome and a pit in my stomach from knowing I wasn’t living up to my potential, I reached out for help. A book, Trillion Dollar Coach, had been recommended to me by a new business colleague as a book that can help with my struggles.
The next morning, unprovoked, I see an Amazon box at my door. It’s the book, a gift from my father. He didn’t know about that book suggestion, but he knew me.
They say when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. That’s the only way to describe how a “quake” book can really drop into your life.
You see, I didn’t grow up as a reader. Youth memories are filled with looking on Cliffnotes, Sparknotes, or copying a friend’s homework an hour before the dreaded book report was due. I didn’t see the value that books could have, the way they could act as a new pair of glasses, shifting the way you look at your everyday world.
As I graduated from college and headed into the “real world”, that all changed.
I found “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill. I generally have a good recollection of where my books come from. Like a foreign rainfall to a dry desert, this book seemed to have mysteriously appeared in my life at just the right time.
A recent graduate, I spent my waking hours switching between being drunk at local Boston bars and shaking off the resulting hangover in my entry-level sales job. I had always been ambitious and competitive, but this book showed me exactly the steps it would take to be successful, with real examples. It fueled me with the desire to set and achieve lofty goals and instilled the work ethic needed to get there.
From there, I was hooked. The Book Gods conquered another soul.
Two years later, I found myself beginning to read voraciously while living on the other side of the country, curious for what else life had to offer. A new roommate, who later became my brother, tossed me a book: Man’s Search For Meaning. It was written by Victor Frankl, who documented his experience of living – and surviving – in a Nazi concentration camp. His message: the people who survived this tragedy were those that had a strong enough purpose to keep pushing forward day by day, minute by minute..
Books have given me the confidence to launch a podcast. They’ve helped me understand the power of a growth mindset. They helped me to not take criticism personally. How to love myself and others. How to become the best version of myself (always a work in progress).
Which leads to my book buying rule.
If you have a thought, a hunch, even the slightest intuition that you should buy a book: do it. Right now. Go to the counter at the bookstore. Go on Amazon. Steal it from your roommate. It’s $12 that could very well change your life. It could help you make $1,000,000 or find the love of your life or get you in shape or completely alter the course of your life.
At the very least, you come away with 1 idea that makes the $12 worth it. It always is.