Seven Nonfiction Books That Changed Lives

I asked readers, “What book changed your life?” Here are seven of their responses:

The New One Minute Manager“The book that changed my life (and business) was The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard, Ph.D. and Spencer Johnson, M.D. The book uses the story of a young man who hears about a manager with an excellent reputation for how he manages. He seeks out an introduction and learns the manager’s ‘secrets’ to effectiveness:

One Minute Goals
One Minute Praisings
One Minute Re-Directs

The book improved my communication style to make me much more to the point and direct with my employees, and the book itself was such a simple read.” ~ Georgette Blau, On Location Tours

(The One Minute Manager was first published in 2003; the photo links to the updated 2015 version.)

Guerilla Marketing
“The book that helped me the most recently as a communication specialist at a software company, is Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson. Marketing a small business with a limited budget is a tricky job, especially since marketing graduate programs and seminars tend to focus on how big corporations do it. Although this book should be used by everyone, its focus is on small business with little resources.

The most useful advice I read was that more than half of your marketing operations should be focused on existing customers; otherwise, all your efforts to acquire them in the first place go to waste. The second most useful advice is that ‘it’s not about you, it’s about them.’ Since I started following this advice, I see more responses to my messages and a better engagement for my posts.

Without a doubt, hands-down recommended.” ~ Eirini Kafourou, Megaventory

(Guerrilla Marketing was first published in 1983; the photo links to the updated 2007 version.)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
.“I’ve always had a love for order and tidiness. Growing up, whenever I felt, anxious, vulnerable or overwhelmed, I would pick up or purge my things to clear my mind. This seemingly mindless activity came naturally to me as a way to reboot when life would inevitably get messy. This habit turned into showing my friends how to purge half of the stuff in their apartments during summer breaks. Doing this never felt like work. With glee, I would help those I care about find calm in order, even though it was often a temporary fix.

For my career, before I became a tidying consultant, I tried engineering, project management, interior design, hospitality, art, and workshop facilitation. All of these choices shaped who I am today, but I’ve always desired to take a more direct route to navigating life. After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, something clicked. I spent ten years being intimidated by entrepreneurship, only to uncover my inner girl boss, which was hidden under a mountain of life’s ‘stuff.’

I turned my hobby into a side hustle and then my full-time job. Through the KonMari Method, I found a way to serve by doing something that matters and makes a difference. For me and now for my clients, order plus freedom equals harmony.” ~ Kristyn Ivey, For the Love of Tidy, LLC

The End of Stress
.“I am a full-time college student that also works 30 hours a week for my dad’s company. A major issue that I struggled with was stress. I read a few books on the issue to help me understand stress and to be in control of it. The best book that I found is The End of Stress: Four Steps to Rewire Your Brain by Don Joseph Goewey.

This book taught me how to cope with stress and how to make mental mind shifts to prevent such a high level of the stress in the first place. The author managed the Psychiatry Department at Stanford Medical School. He has worked with people facing terminal illness, parents struggling with the loss of a child, prisoners adjusting to a life sentence, and refugees of the genocidal war in Bosnia.

The steps are: (1) Building awareness, (2) Getting to choice, (3) Expanding beyond stress, and (4) Sustaining it. His advice turned my life around by teaching me to manage all types of stressful situations. The practice strategies that are recommended are very effective. I highly recommend this book because it has made my life so much better.” ~ Patrick Aniol, Friendly Windows

Tell to Win
.“I started my communication and leadership coaching and consulting company because after nearly eight years in corporate America, I saw many people moving through life like robots instead of like people. I strongly believe that even as a corporate employee, people can express personality. The book that influenced this belief the most for me was Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story by Peter Guber.

I read this book in 2011, about 2 years into the corporate game. After reading this book I realized that my ability to speak was a good thing and that if I worked on strengthening this skill, I could be successful. Guber shared many stories about how his knack for telling a story helped propel him in his career, but what stuck with me was not how he told a story but how the telling of a story impacted those who heard the story. People just want to feel. They want to connect. They want to be a part of a shared experience, even if just for a moment. This book taught me that. I make sure that whenever I speak with people I focus on the human element, not just the task.” ~ Ashley René Casey, Be Bold and Speak

The 4-Hour Workweek
.“After 10 years working as an accountant and in marketing in London, I felt done with the rat race and I took a year out to do a ski season in Canada. While there, I read Tim Ferriss’ The 4-hour Workweek. A lightbulb went off in my head when I realized that I didn’t need to work 9-5 every day for the next 30 years and I could create my own business to suit my lifestyle. This thought had literally never occurred to me before.

Now I live in Bondi Beach in Sydney and I earn a living from my website which provides guidance on buying an engagement ring.

While I may not be working just four hours a week, I have been able to build a business which utilizes my skills and knowledge, has helped hundreds of people get a beautiful engagement ring for a fair price, and build the lifestyle that I want. ~ Alastair Smith, Ringspo

How to Win Friends and Influence People
“This question is easy. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a book that I read every year and I have been doing so for over 20 years.

I have the audio book as well. While riding my bike — typically 10 to 30 miles per ride — I mix chapters into my music playlist, so I can get shots of wisdom while I ride. At the end of my ride, I usually have two to three significant thoughts to use for the next day.

There are lots of jewels in this book. The one on which I’m concentrating now is, ‘Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.’ It’s helpful in leadership (which is what I do every day), sales (which my customers at Confirmed do, and which all leaders should do) and around the house (helping to keep a healthy marriage and relationship with family & friends). I’ve noticed throughout my career that when I’m listening well, I’m more successful — and in those times of lower attention to this skill, I don’t get the same amount of positive traction toward my own goals.” ~ David Radin,

(How to Win Friends and Influence People was first published in 1936; the photo links to the updated 2012 version.)

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