Below is a collection of book summaries, arranged in alphabetical order, that are primarily in the self-help category. Each book summary contains notes that convey the overall essence of the book, whilst some are more detailed, containing additional insights as well as takeaways.
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A Liberated Mind (2019), is a distillation of the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT is a type of behavioral therapy, with a core philosophy that revolves around (1) changing one’s relationship with their thoughts and feelings rather than trying to change their content, and (2) turning towards one’s suffering in a way that is non-judgmental and compassionate. The author, Stephen C. Hayes is a clinical psychologist.
A Guide to Rational Living (1975) suggests that it is our irrational thoughts and beliefs which are the root cause behind most of the emotional disturbances that we experience. The author, Albert Ellis (1913 – 2007) was one of the most influential psychotherapists to have lived. He pioneered Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) which gained widespread popularity in the 1960s and is the foundation of this book.
Harnessing scientific research and drawing from ancient wisdom, Becoming Supernatural (2017) explains how the average person can free themselves from self imposed limitations and transcend their lives. The author, Joe Dispenza is a doctor and educator -specializing in the fields of neuroscience, epigenetics and quantum physics.
Everything is Fucked (2019) leverages psychology and philosophy to explore the idea of hope and how it brings meaning in our lives whilst also attempting to provide the antidote for many of the existential dilemmas we face today. The author, Mark Manson is a personal development consultant, internet entrepreneur, blogger, and writer.
Everything is Figureoutable (2019) is an effective life philosophy that aims to inspire readers on adopting the fundamental mindsets and habits to figure anything out! Labeled as a thought leader for the next generation by Oprah Winfrey, the author Marie Forleo teaches artists, entrepreneurs, and people from all walks of life on how to dream big and achieve their goals.
Full Catastrophe Living (1990) introduces the reader to the concept of mindfulness. The author, Jon Kabat-Zinn is a professor, and teacher who founded The Stress Reduction Clinic. In Full Catastrophe Living, Kabat-Zinn draws from decades of experience – combining personal stories along with a plethora of scientific evidence to teach us about the techniques and benefits of harnessing intelligent awareness.
The central theme of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (2016) is that when it comes to achieving success: one’s ability to commit to their goals and persevering in the face of obstacles matters more than their innate talent. The author, Angela Duckworth is a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
High Performance Habits (2017) presents findings from one of the largest studies conducted on high achievers around the globe. It explores six habits that have shown to be the most effective when it comes to achieving extraordinary results and sustained success. The author, Brendon Burchard is a high performance coach and personal development trainer.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (2006) highlights the importance of adopting a ‘growth mindset’ and demonstrates how an individual’s mindset plays a crucial part in determining how well they do in practically any domain of life. The author, Dr. Carol Dweck is a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.
Indistractable (2019) provides a framework that readers can use to improve their attention and eliminate distractions. The premise of the book is that much of the distractions that we encounter arise from within and that the distraction itself isn’t the problem, but rather, how we choose to respond to it. A former lecturer at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, the author Nir Eyal is a writer and blogger covering topics in the field of technology, psychology, and business.
Psycho Cybernetics (1960)provides a framework of how the mind operates as a goal striving mechanism. The book draws insights from both machine principles and self image psychology to help readers understand this system of ideas so as to incorporate them to improve their own self image and achieve their goals.
The author, Maxwell Maltz was a cosmetic surgeon who also wrote several books both fiction and non-fiction, with Psycho Cybernetics being the forerunner and a foundation of many of the self help books published today.
In ‘Power vs Force (2014),’ readers are presented with a ‘Map of Consciousness,’ a compelling framework that demonstrates the human spiritual evolution from its lowest expression (shame) to the highest expression (enlightenment). The author, David Hawkins (1927 – 2012) was a renowned spiritual teacher, researcher, physician and lecturer.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (2012), explores the psychology of 2 distinct personality types, that is, introversion and extraversion and explains how cultures tend to undervalue introverts. The author, Susan Cain is a writer and lecturer who co-founded ‘Quiet Revolution,’ a company with a mission to ‘to unlock the power of introverts for the benefit of us all.’
Radical Compassion (2019) introduces readers to a 4-step meditation tool called R.A.I.N, which can be incorporated as a mindfulness program and is aimed to help individuals cultivate compassion and bring greater presence in their life. The author, Tara Brach is a psychologist, author, and renowned spiritual teacher who founded The Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C.
“I had two fathers, a rich one and a poor one,” writes the author, Robert Kiyosaki. Although well educated, his biological father (poor dad) struggled financially whilst his best friend’s father, whom Kiyosaki refers to as ‘rich dad,’ dropped out of middle school but eventually became a millionaire. The book Rich Dad Poor Dad (1997) examines the perspectives of both his father’s as well as how they helped shape his thoughts regarding money, investing and life in general.
Think And Grow Rich (1937) is one of the most popular self-books to have ever been written. The author, Napoleon Hill (1883 – 1970) spent more than two decades studying over 500 individuals of great wealth and success; the likes of which include Theodore Roosevelt, F W Woolworth, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. In his book, Hill explains a set of principles that he claims are the 13 steps towards riches.
Think Learn Succeed (2019) contains valuable insights on mindsets and stresses how adopting an effective mindset can be the differentiating factor as to the levels of success and well-being that one attains in life. Furthermore, the book distills a great deal of neuroscientific research on the processes of learning as well as memory formation -helping readers to gain a better understanding of their own unique style of thinking.
The author, Dr. Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist, her research, for the last 30 years being mainly on the mind and body connection.
The Upside of Stress (2015) explains that it is our mindset that determines the impact that stress will have on us. The book also provides evidence to suggest that embracing stress can actually have a positive impact on our mental and physical health.
The author, Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist at Stanford University. She is widely known for her work in ‘science help’ which combines insights from psychology, neuroscience, medicine, and biology to provide strategies that support overall health and well-being.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) written by Stephen Covey (1932 – 2012) details 7 habits, which are based on principles that help readers develop what the author describes as a strong ‘character ethic.’ A graduate from Harvard Business School, Covey was a teacher, writer, speaker, and a businessman.
The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind (1963) explains the inner workings of the mind, mainly –the subconscious mind and postulates that our thoughts, feelings and imagery is what largely influences the outer world that we experience. The author, Dr. Joseph Murphy (1898 – 1981) was a writer and minister of the ‘New Thought’ movement.
The premise of the book The One Thing (2013) is that at any given point in time, your success in any domain will depend on prioritizing all your efforts in identifying and working on that one particular thing, by harnessing what the author Gary Keller calls the ‘Focusing Question.’
What To Say When You Talk To Yourself (2017) explores the principles behind self talk. In the book, the author Shad Helmstetter provides examples of the various levels of self talk as well as precise self talk scripts that readers can use to improve their inner dialogue and optimize their lives towards success.
Who Moved My Cheese (1998) by Spencer Johnson is a fable that revolves around four characters; two mice named ‘Sniff’ and ‘Scurry’ and two humans ‘Hem’ and ‘Haw’ who are referred to as little-people.
In the fable, the mice and the little-people make their way through a maze in search of cheese. The ‘Cheese’ is used as a metaphor for the things that we desire in life such as a house, good health, achievements or activities like jogging or tennis. The ‘Maze’ represents the places that we spend time searching for our ‘cheese’ (what makes us happy) such as our workplace, our home, or the community.