Learnings from 69 audiobooks in 2019

Peeking in the writer’s mind can be highly addictive.

Recently I was in an elevator where I was asked what I learned from all the books I’ve read this year. It was difficult to give an answer because of the short elevator ride. If I have to sum all learnings into an elevator pitch it will be something like this:

Ask, listen, understand and decide, let your frequent and consistent behaviour build a strong compound effect in everything you do, invest wisely your finite time, focus on getting better than yesterday and create valuable outcomes not only for yourself.

However, this probably seems like a very generic statement for most of you even though for me it has a much deeper meaning because of all the attached thoughts and reflections from the different books I’ve consumed.

To summarize the main learnings and principles that stayed with me from my reading list in 2019, I decided to put together this post/story.

Learnings and the books are arranged into a few buckets for the sake of simplification. I’ve tried to distill as much as possible the points. I recommend the 28 books that are highlighted in this post. Check them and read them. The same book can tell different stories to each reader.

Side note: You might end up with a lot of browser tabs open from all the Goodreads references.

Learning how to get better than yesterday

I found the 5 books below to be well written and encouraging me to become more focused and intentional on how I create value for myself and others. Let me share the more prominent learning points.

Don’t obsess over building preset habits like getting up at 5 am and then do first this and then that. Rather focus on reflecting! Reflect what works for you and WHY. Connect your new habit/activity to another one or several that you do already. Try to connect it to well-established activity that is consistent otherwise you will risk dropping the new habit as soon as you stop doing the main habit/activity. e.g. Listen to high-quality content such as audiobooks while you commute or do other activity that allows you to keep the focus on the content.

Make sure to spend time with yourself and reflect on what you’re thinking and why. Today we are spending so much time just consuming but not spending time to assimilate consciously what we’ve consumed. Reflection is a key activity. Do a journal, notebook or whatever works for you that allows you to braindump your impressions and learnings so you can deepen your understanding of them.

Change is one of the few constants in life, make sure to master your adaptation skills. Learn to accept the current situation for what it is and learn how to push forward towards change. Make a habit of reflecting on what is going on and consciously choosing an action that has the WHY behind it. After that, practice, practice and more practice.

Don’t be just a thermometer be a thermostat that can change the environment.

Keep a memory bank in your mind of all the winning moments and emotions. Withdraw energy from it when you hit a wall or a dip so you can feel empowered and continue forward.

Self-development books that I think will be valuable to check:

Learning how to be healthier

A healthy brain makes attaining a healthy lifestyle easier. Build stable habits of eating nutrition-dense foods. Focus on plant-based whole foods and cook more.

Keep moving, either exercising or any motion that involves the majority of your body. Aim to incorporate motion into your daily activities. Take the stairs, go around the office, go for a short walk after lunch. The compound effect will take care of the rest.

Sleep well and long enough to feel rested. Spend quiet time to allow your brain to adapt better and solidify what you’ve consumed as information.

Don’t expect immediate results, be patient and trust the process of transforming your body. It is similar to cultivating plants, it takes time to see the effects of a well-managed environment. Take care of the soil(nutrition), temperature(emotions) and light(consumption of information).

Check out these books if you wish to improve your health:

Learning about Leadership and Management

Give to others especially to people who deserve it, it is one of the best investments you can do. At the least, you can give a smile and a happy greeting.

Make sure you connect to people with your heart and your brain. Lead by asking questions and gaining a deeper understanding. Show people the direction and let them figure out the best way to get to the objective.

Be candid with yourself and the people around you. Know who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing. Make sure to clearly communicate to others with the understanding of what might hurt them. Try not to be a hammer but a sharp edge that cuts at the right places without completely smashing the foreign opinions.

Understand all of us are people made from a similar dough, full of desires, insecurities, and uniqueness. We can achieve much more once Trust is established and we multiply the efforts by the quality connections with our teammates.

Check out these books if you wish to improve your leadership and communication skills:

Books that made me think about life in general and its principles

Life is complex and we should not pretend or live under the illusion we understand it all. Paradox and Change are the constants that connect all of the system elements with an invisible net.

Use data and facts to make your statements, everything else is hypothesis and questions.

The future depends on how well we can ask questions and find nonbiased answers. Technology is just an extension of our brains and it is a tool that can be used for both good and bad.

Always think about how things connect with each other and never lose sight of the fact that there is a bigger system that can be impacted by the decisions you make. e.g. Consumers decide every day the future of our planet by making purchasing decisions.

Find the happy moments in your life and store them as bright seeds that can feed you positive energy in dark days.

Check these books below and please do share your impressions of them.

I found all of them really thought-provoking and with potential lessons for all types of situations in your life.

Fiction books that kept me entertained

Here a few fiction books that I thought were entertaining. Check them out if you like sci-fi and fantasy related books.

This is the full list of books I consumed in 2019

You’re welcome to follow me on Goodreads (free website). So we can discover together good books we would like to read/listen.

Final thoughts

I realize that many of the statements above are not related to a concrete book or supported by examples. My purpose was to share the main points that made the biggest impression from my reading material this year with good book recommendations so you can get to experience these books yourself.

Please do share this post with people that like reading/listening to books. I do believe the books mentioned here can provide you with valuable information and insights.

Follow me on Medium if you wish to see more book learnings. I am planning to try and do them monthly bases instead of a full year, which was more challenging than I anticipated.

Sharing what I study & practice. Pragmatic tips about designing, health and self-development with the hope it might help someone else.

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