Two weeks ago, by a series of happy accidents (as if the internet is anything BUT happy accidents), I stumbled upon a link that led to this book:
The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsburg
Now, I’m not much of a nonfiction reader. Most of my life I’ve buried my nose in fantastical tales of far-off lands with kings and queens and dragons, or tales of young people who face unimaginable obstacles only to battle their way to the top. Only recently have my eyes opened to the learning opportunities that nonfiction offers. And if you know me, you know I am a Knowledge Sponge. That’s an official title.
But before now I’ve never read a book that will change my life.
Education teaches you that real-life skills are infinitely more important than academic skills. To write this book, Ellsburg interviewed millionaires and billionaires who don’t have college degrees to discover how they succeeded in business. This book tells how they became successful, touting street-smarts and teaching you how to teach yourself marketing, sales, and network-building. For those who don’t want to work for ‘the man’ in an office 9-5, or for those who don’t want to work for anyone else but themselves for that matter, this is the book to read. At the very least, this book might change your mind about college degrees.
If you’re cynical about this kind of book and think that the author only tells you these things to sell his own product, I can’t help you. As for me, Ellsburg sold me in the first chapter. I honestly think my career path will change because of this book. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but when has optimism ever hurt anyone?
But anyway, this isn’t a marketing blog. This is a book blog! What about the other inspiring books out there? I know that countless books have stuck with me long after turning the final page, and it’s always a joy to discover new ones. Without Harry Potter I would not have made some of my best college friends, and it helped me bond with older friends too. Sabriel and Biting the Sun gave me strong female characters as role models who inspired me to follow my own path regardless of what others tell me. And countless other books helped me escape into worlds that expanded my imagination and put myself in other people’s shoes.
As for other books that have changed people’s lives, I’ve heard good things about The Alchemist and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Open Culture has a great user-voted list on life-changing books, and RealSimple asked authors about their picks. Just looking at those lists, I know I have a lot more books to pick up!
Another word of advice: read books that you know you’ll disagree with. There’s no better way to open your mind.
Have any books changed your life for the better? Or are you still looking for The One?