One of my favorite methods to learn a language is to read a book, because I just love getting several benefits at the same time. I read something interesting, learn something new and learn a language at the same time. Because the only way to improve your comprehension is to get a lot of input.
Many people ask me for book recommendations, and I usually recommend non-fiction literature. I think it’s much easier to understand in a foreign language you’re just learning, and I generally prefer to read non-fiction, because I like to learn something from the books that I read.
I decided to write two blogs in which I’ll present my 20 most favorite books. I’ll divide them into categories. The first one will be about business and my professional growth. The second blog post will be about my personal growth, and I can recommend a few books to you that might also help you.
Let’s start with the business section. I want to introduce a few books that I really love reading and that taught me a lot.
One of the top guys that I recommend for learning about business marketing is Russell Brunson. I really like the advice he gives in his book Expert Secrets. It’s incredibly valuable for any entrepreneur or someone who wants to be an entrepreneur. Especially if you want to position yourself as an expert in a topic. I think this is the Bible of marketing for anyone out there doing any business. That would be my No. 1 tip.
The second one that I also want to mention is Brendon Burchard. I have this one in Spanish, I think it’s called Millionaire Messenger in English. It’s a very interesting book about info businesses and expert businesses as well, just like Brunson. But this one is more of an introduction for people who are just interested in this topic. So I recommend reading it maybe just to learn about how it works and whether it would be something for you too.
I also want to mention one book I don’t have in a paper format, because I listened to it as an audiobook. It’s called Rework by Fried & Hansson. It’s probably the most practical business manual for entrepreneurs out there. I really really like it. It’s full of advice and practical tips. What I like most of all is that it proves some of the general advice wrong. There are a lot of things out there telling you what you should do and how you should do it.
For example, it’s said that you should plan your exit strategy and you should found a startup and so many other things, and the author of this book explains why all this is not such a good idea to do if you want to create a serious business. I also think it’s written in a very nice and friendly way. So I definitely recommend Rework.
Then we have Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth. I have this one in Slovak, and it’s also a nice story about entrepreneurship and business. I think this is ideal for those who are not businesspeople, yet want to know what it takes. Michael walks you through the process of being an entrepreneur through a character in the book who wants to have a bakery, but doesn’t really know how to run the business and how to manage people. He explains in a very simple way what running a business is all about.
So I think this is easily readable for anyone out there. I actually read this one in Russian and it was my first Russian book. My level was not very high at the time, yet, I could follow it very easily. So language-wise this book is really simple to read. From books I presented so far, this would be my number one choice if you want it for language purposes and you’re interested in the topic as well.
Let’s have a look at another book. This is not as much about business, as about quality of life. I think you have probably heard about this book, David Allen – Getting Things Done or GTD. It’s a huge phenomenon. Many people follow it strictly, and it’s like their lifestyle, because David explains how you should manage your life so that you are not stressed out and you can really have time for things that matter.
What I really loved about this book is that the goal is not to work more hours and get more things done, but that whenever you do something you know that this is exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, and you feel good about it. You know how it is when you are chatting with a friend, having coffee, or just reading a book for pleasure and you are feeling guilty because you should be answering some emails or doing other things.
David explains exactly how to organize your life so that this doesn’t happen and it’s easily applicable. The important thing of course is to apply it in real life, not just read it. I highly recommend this book, it’s really awesome. And it’s been translated into about 30 languages, so you can also use it for language purposes as well.
Another book I want to mention is Charles Duhigg – The Power of Habit. I have this one in Polish. So this book is about creating habits, and how we function based on habits. It’s really interesting and also easily readable, although the book is pretty thick. I think it is useful for everyone out there. It’s not just for people interested in habits for any specific purpose, but this is very easily applicable to everyday life. So I would say these two books (GTD + Power of Habit) definitely improve one’s quality of life.
Now I want to talk about two books which are useful if you’re interested in being a digital nomad, which means a location-independent entrepreneur. A digital nomad lives off something that they like doing while traveling the world – or they can be in their garden at home all the time, it doesn’t really matter. What matters, is that they have the freedom to move wherever they want to.
Book number one is of course Timothy Ferriss – The 4-Hour Workweek. This book has inspired so many people. It’s basically a huge movement out there, where people realized that they don’t want to do a 9 – 5 job all their lives, and they want to have more freedom.
Tim is an expert in taking shortcuts. He will explain to you how you can do your work more efficiently, how you can persuade your boss to raise your salary, and how you can slowly take steps towards having your own business one day. I think it’s useful for people who also don’t necessarily want to have their own business, but just also improve the quality of their work and get a few interesting ideas. This book is definitely worth reading.
The second book about digital nomads I want to mention is Johnny FD – Life Changes Quick. I think it’s a great example story of how this can happen in practice. So Tim Ferriss will tell you the theory and Johnny basically tells his life story about how he has managed to become location-independent, get more freedom in his life, and to gather some wealth through investments.
It’s an incredibly interesting story following his steps from being an American guy who went to Thailand to be a diver, but it didn’t quite work out. Financially, it wasn’t such a good job, so he took steps one by one to improve his life, to work on himself, on his physical condition, on his relationships. He became a digital nomad and now inspires thousands of people with his blog and podcast. I know Johnny personally. He is a great guy, and I know that this story is true. So I definitely recommend reading that if you aspire to be a digital nomad.
We have two more books. One of them is for improving your public speaking skills. I was thinking about what books to include here, and I decided to pick ones that helped me in my professional life in different areas: business and marketing, personal management or improving quality of life, digital nomadism, and now let’s have a look at public speaking.
I want to mention the book TED Talks which is the official guide by the curator Chris Anderson. I read it when I was preparing for my TED talk. It was such a good book that I read it in a weekend. If you do any public speaking, I think you should definitely read this book, because it helps you structure your ideas, helps you decide what you should talk about, and how you should communicate your message to the audience. I’ve learned a lot from this book, and I highly recommend it for public speaking.
Finally, as a language mentor, I need to mention a book about languages. I want to mention Steve Kaufmann’s book The Linguist. I’m sure that if you’re interested in polyglots, you’ve heard about Steve Kaufmann. He has a huge YouTube channel, he’s a comedian, and a very inspiring polyglot because he started to learn languages massively in his 60s. In this book, he basically tells his life story, the story of learning languages, and how he figured things out.
What I love about it is that it gives some general principles about language learning which I very much agree with. His ideas are aligned with my language learning style, and how I see language learning. I like that Steve offers this in a very easy-to-read way. In his story, he basically shares his experience, and I believe it’s very inspiring and full of amazing tips to learn languages.
So these are the 10 books that I decided to share with you, and if you are looking for something to read, you may want to consider these tips. I hope the books will help you in your professional development as much as they have helped me.
In the second blog, I will write about the books that helped me in my personal growth or personal life. So if you’re interested in a few more reading tips, stay tuned!
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