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Top five books every ambitious young adult should read.

“What I love most about reading: It gives you the ability to reach higher ground. And *helps you* keep climbing.” – Oprah Winfrey, What I Know For Sure

Some books are meant to be tasted, while others are meant to be masticated, swallowed, digested and assimilated. In other words, some books are meant to be skimmed through, while others need to be thoroughly studied and applied.

The following five book, in my opinion, should not just be read but thoroughly studied, every single year, by all young adults who are wildly ambitious and want to achieve great things in life.

The application of the knowledge attained from these books could unleash the power of every ambitious individual who dares not just to dream big but take purposeful action.

1.    The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
“When you truly desire something, all the universe conspires in your favour to make it happen.”– Paulo Coelho

We all have dreams, however small or big, and more often than not, our dreams give our lives meaning. The Alchemist is a fable about following your dreams. It tells a tale of a boy, Santiago, who dared to do whatever it takes to accomplish his dream even to a point of risking his own life. But fortunately, he didn’t die.  And you won’t die either, when you follow yours.

Santiago knew “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that make life interesting. We all need to be aware of our personal calling. What is a personal calling? It is God’s blessing; it is a path that God chose for you here on earth. When we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend.”

Yet the biggest obstacle we all face is nothing but ourselves. The extent to which we doubt ourselves and our capabilities while others are intimidated by our potential is alarming.  The reality is that; we were all created to handle the pressure that comes with our respective callings.

Moreover, the universe does not only have abundant resources to help us achieve our greatest desires, but it also conspires in our favour to help us fulfil our wildest and most ambitious dreams. This book will show you how this principle works.

2.    Start with Why, Simon Sinek
We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe.” – Simon Sinek

Start With Why is a book written for people who want to inspire others and for those who want to find someone to inspire them. The author beautifully narrate stories of individuals and organizations who started with WHY they do what they do, instead of WHAT they do.

In comparison to other inventors who were better equipped, you will learn how the Wright brothers successfully stood out and invented an airplane. How Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs revolutionized the computer industry with Apple. How Dr. Martin Luther King’s Junior inspired a nation to change through civil right movement.

These individuals had something in common – they had an ability to think, act and communicate their ideas and their beliefs in a way that inspire those around them.  They started with WHY, instead of WHAT!

For instances, this is how Apple responded when asked WHY they exist as a company.
They said, “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. And we happen to make computers. Wanna buy one?”

The author says “All the inspiring leaders and companies, regardless of size or industry, think, act, and communicate exactly alike.”  They have a clearly defined WHY (their purpose and belief), discipline of HOW, and consistency of WHAT.  Always in that order; WHY => HOW => WHAT.

Simon Sinek reiterates that “Everything you say and everything you do has to prove what you believe.  A WHY is just a belief, That’s all it is. HOWs are the actions you take to realize that belief.  And WHAT are the results of those actions – everything you say and do: your products, services, marketing, PR, culture and whom you hire. With consistency (of WHAT) people will hear and see, without a shadow of doubt, what you believe.”

In addition, he says “We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us”   

3.    No Excuses: The Power of Self-discipline, by Brian Tracey
“How long does it take to achieve mastery in your field? According to the experts, the acquisition of “mastery” requires about seven years, or 10 000 hours of hard work. It takes seven years become a master salesperson. It takes seven years to become an excellent diesel mechanic. It takes seven years to become an excellent brain surgeon. It seems to take seven years, or 10 000 hours or hard work, to get to the top of any field.” – Brian Tracey

In the words of the author himself, this book is written for ambitious, determined men and women who want to achieve everything that is possible for them in life. It is written for people who are “hungry” to do more, to have more, and to be more than they ever have been before.

He continues to say, “Perhaps the most important insight of all with regard to success is that to achieve greatly, you must become a different person. The development of self-discipline is the high road that makes everything possible for you. This book will serve as your step-by-step guide to becoming a remarkable person who is capable of remarkable achievements.”

This is one of the well-structured, beautifully written and easy-to-read books you can ever lay your hands on. It is divide into three parts, each with seven chapters full of practical wisdom and insight.

The author explains with examples and stories how you can use self-discipline to achieve your goals, success, personal excellence, thrive in business, leadership, time management, personal health, Peace of mind, etc and live the live you have ever imagined for yourself.  

4.    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson
“True measure of self-worth not how a person feels about her negative experiences, but rather how she feels about her negative experiences. Your self-worth and self-esteem tends to increase when you accomplish the goals you have set for yourself.”– Mark Manson

This book is about a counterintuitive approach to living a good life. Firstly, the most important thing is to choose your struggles or battles and values carefully. Or as the author put it, you need to choose better things to give a fuck about if you want to live a better, healthy and fulfilling life.

Happiness comes from solving problems. True happiness occurs when you find problems you enjoy having and solving. Challenges such as suffering, pain or fear will always be there even if you find problems you enjoy solving. But you need to embrace all those negative experiences and deal with them accordingly instead of avoiding them.

I love the fact that Mark encourages his readers to define success and happiness in their own terms and choose better metrics to measure either of the two.

Lastly, he says that “long lasting happiness comes from caring (giving a fuck) about something bigger than yourself, believing that you are a contributing component in some larger entity, that your life is but a mere side process of some greater unintelligible production.”

5.    The Storytellers secret, by Carmine Gallo.
“Your career is your business. You are its CEO. Complacency breeds failure. As the CEO of your career, you must continually improve your skills, especially the art of communication.”-  Carmine Gallo

The premise of this book, I could say, is based on the statement by one of the greatest experts in communication, Dale Carnegie who said “About 15% of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85% is due to skill in human engineering – to personality and ability to lead people.

The person who has the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people – that person is headed for higher earning power. “This quote is coming from his book titled “How to win friends and influence people.”

In the storyteller’s secret, Carmine Gallo equip you with communication tools that you will need to use in order to present your ideas and inspire your audiences. These tools include stories and how to craft them. Why you should incorporate metaphors, analogies, and anaphoras in your speeches or presentations in order to start movements and inspire change.

The above-mentioned five books tops the list of all the most inspiring and informative books I personally have ever read. You might have your own, probably it could be books I personally have never read before. Please kindly share yours, and let me know how they inspired.

If  you decide to challenge yourself and read my top five above, please keep this in mind. As you dive into these books, you might not get the hunch they supposed to bring if you just browse through  without focusing and musing on them. Take your time and let their wisdom sink in. As Stephen R. Covey put it, “Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender, it’s holy ground.”


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