3 Life changing books

I hesitate to use “Life-changing” as it is way too casually thrown out but it is definitely applicable here. While I was traveling, I was looking for a few audio books to digest on the flight(s) and came across these three books.

1. Why We Sleep - By Matthew Walker

If you are not getting 8-9 hours of quality (uninterrupted) sleep on a daily basis - then you need to make a change.

Sleep is the greatest performance enhancer we have available to us - why not make the most use of it?

Top athletes like LeBron James, Usain Bolt, Roger Federer - routinely get 8-12 hours of sleep on a daily basis. The book explains in detail how sleep benefits you and what the downsides are of not getting enough sleep.

Matthew Walker makes a good case for how we don’t value sleep on a societal level and this should be considered an epidemic. For example, we respect the CEO that comes to work at 6AM and responds to an email at 1AM and applaud him for how hardworking and dedicated he is but is he efficient as he could be?

Not necessarily - bottom line is you need more quality sleep which will make you do better in every aspect of your life.

2. Atomic Habits - By James Clear

We are what we do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit

—  Will Durant

The book is a comprehensive guide on how habits are formed, tips on how to make the good ones stay and eliminate the bad ones.

When you have a new habit that you want to form, for example: I want to get fit. Then this book will give you the tools to make sure that you can make that habit stick and incorporate it in your daily routine.

James introduces these 4 laws that can be used to form a habit.

  1. Make it obvious
  2. Make it attractive
  3. Make it easy
  4. Make it satisfying

How do you incorporate the above? Well it depends on the habit.

Let’s say that I want to get fit.

Then, to make it “easy” - I could say that every day I will go to the gym but I will only exercise for 5 minutes. I can leave after that point - and I’ve accomplished my goal.

If I stay consistent and do this every day, at some point I will feel that, hey five minutes isn’t that long of a time - let’s do 10 minutes and so on. The idea is to start small and build up slowly, if your goal is too ambitious (e.g. I will do 100 push ups every day) from day one then it’s going to be difficult to form this habit.

Another example, how do I make something obvious? I choose a gym that is on the way to home or work - that means I will always walk past it and it’s not a hassle to get to it.

Finally, how can I make it attractive? If I go to the gym every day for two weeks then I am allowed to buy myself a massage (you could say, I get to have a cheat day but that would be counterproductive to the goal of being fit).

Lots more practical examples are included in the book, I highly recommend you at least check out his cheatsheet.

3. Can’t Hurt Me By David Goggins

David Goggins has done some incredible things: become a navy seal, held a record for the most pull ups in a day, completing Badwater-135 Ultra marathon (which is described as world’s toughest footrace) - and the list goes on.

It requires an enormous amount of mental strength, fortitude and resilience to do these things. In this book, David shares what helped him develop the mental strength to push through and overcome any obstacle that came his way or that he put there.

The main takeaway from this book, is that if you are too comfortable - you need to make a change. Being comfortable means you cannot quickly grow as a person. When life gets too easy, add something to make it difficult. For example: waking up every day at 6am - when that get’s easy, make it harder - go for a run after you wake up.

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