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5 Books That Will Make You Happier, Healthier & More Successful

5 Books That Will Make You Happier, Healthier & More Successful
On the scale of “fun” life experiences, commuting to work typically ranks somewhere between seeing the dentist and compiling tax forms. Faced with an evening drive home that can range between 30 minutes to well north of an hour, I decided to make the most of that time by listening to audio books for personal growth and education. This audio book club habit has helped me stoke the fires of inspiration while keeping a Zen attitude during the worst traffic jams. Here are the five best books I’ve devoured over the past year that can make you happier, healthier and more successful:

1. Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success by Brad Stulberg & Steve Magness.

You’ve got inspiring stories, science and more coming together in the form of tips that will enhance your career, well-being and personal performance. One of the biggest lessons I learned is the importance of rest periods to avoid burnout. Applying these principles has helped me balance a challenging full-time job and book project with improving my wellness.

2. Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being by Shawn Achor.

Full disclosure – I’ve become a Shawn Achor groupie; was so enthused about its message of how happiness fuels success rather than vice versa that I gave his book The Happiness Advantage to each of my employees as a holiday gift last year.  I selected Big Potentialfor this list because of its key message of how helping others thrive makes us all become better. Companies are ultimately more successful when they focus on helping teams improve rather than just focusing on a few super stars.

3. The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win by Jeff Haden.

Haden writes about how motivation is the result of a process, not the cause – which means that anyone can create great momentum by putting the right habits in place. My favorite takeaway from the book is “embrace the routine, not the goal,” which would be one heck of a bumper sticker. His way of thinking has transformed my approach to strength training (I lifted 100 lbs. during a hex bar deadlift this morning, which would have not seemed achievable a year ago) and increased my writing productivity.

4. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller.

This is one of the best books on branding I’ve ever read. Liked it so much that I bought a hard copy after finishing the audio book. Applied the principles in creating my personal website at last year. Whether you work for a big corporation, a start-up or want to focus on your own brand, Miller presents easy-to-understand, actionable advice and steps that will boost your marketing know-how.

5. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear.

You may already be familiar with Clear’s terrific weekly email blast that is chock-full of well-researched advice on improving your life, one habit at a time. Talk about truth in advertising with this book title; he breaks down the process of creating positive habits and kicking the bad ones to the curb often using himself as the test subject. I’ve applied Clear’s advice in my work and personal life, most recently in how to build a new habit of practicing overnight intermittent fasting.

Curious about what made an audio book soar in my humble opinion? Well, I choose these reads to become a better me, not because they were assigned for work. Content had to be presented in an engaging, entertaining manner, without any narrators that sound like a failed game show announcer. Authors that made the top of my list were truly passionate about their topic. As a book-loving nerd, I did my homework by checked out reviews and listened to audio samples before downloading. But in the rare case when something disappointed, I didn’t hesitate to return the audio book for a credit.

What books have truly inspired you to greater heights of success, happiness or well-being?

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