Communication, Persuasion, Critical Thinking, Money & Time Management.
One of the core abilities that will help you thrive in this information age is to continue learning relevant skills. Skills that you can rely on, that will help you move forward in your life, that will serve you in many walks of life.
Schools and colleges haven’t been very successful in teaching us those skills. Reading nonfiction books can help you learn a lot of valuable skills which can be applied across various areas of your life.
A lot of entrepreneurs, world leaders, and other successful people attribute a big part of their success to these skills. So here I’ll be talking about 5 such universal skills that can be learned from 5 nonfiction books.
Skill 1: Communication
Book Name: How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
It’s one of the finest books ever written on human interaction and communication to this day. It talks about the
1. Fundamental techniques in handling people.
2. Ways to make people like you.
3. How to win friends by your way of thinking.
4. How to change people without giving offense or arousing statements.
Key features of this book:
One of the best parts about this book is its sheer simplicity. In a world where we are losing our appetite for other people’s opinions and we so dearly cling to certain beliefs without doubting them, this book will give you a paradigm shift.
The core essence and goal of this book is to enhance human interaction by
1. Being genuine in praising them.
2. By acknowledging our own mistakes.
3. Using the power of our smile.
4. Asking questions instead of giving direct orders.
5. Being a good listener and encouraging others to talk about themselves.
How this book can help you?
I’ll tell you my experience, this book taught me to address people by their name and that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
It can help you to lose your desire to “win” an argument. So instead of criticizing or condemning them try and understand them to discover the motive of their action.
As Warren Buffet says “Ultimately, there’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself,” Nobody can take away what you’ve got in yourself, and everybody has potential they haven’t used yet. This book will be that investment and definitely has the potential to change your life.
Skill 2: Persuasion
Book Name: Influence by Robert Cialdini
What are the factors that cause one person to say YES to another person?
Which techniques most effectively use these factors to bring about such obedience?
Why is it that a request presented in a certain way will be rejected, while a request that asks for the same favor in a slightly different manner will be successful?
If you want to know the answers to these questions and techniques that get people to say YES then read along.
This book is organized around 6 principles. These are
- Social Proof
Each of these principles is discussed in terms of their function in society and in terms of how their enormous force can be exploited by individuals to serve their vested interests.
These principles are also known as “WEAPONS OF INFLUENCE.”
Key features of this book:
1. Commitment and Consistency:
This rule says our nearly obsessive desire to be(and to appear) consistent with what we have already done. Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressure to stay true to our word to remain consistent with our commitments.
2. Social Proof:
The more people follow a certain idea, the better(truer) we deem the idea to be. And the more people who display a certain behavior the more appropriate this behavior is judged by others.
If in a crowded room if the majority of the people are doing a certain behavior then that is considered to be correct, no matter the merits of that behavior. We’ll view this behavior as more correct.
Our tendency to assume that an action is more correct if others are doing it is exploited in a variety of settings.
The more we like someone, the more inclined we are to buy from or help that person. Our initial liking of a person is based on their physical appearance. If a person is good-looking then our chances of saying yes to their requests will be very high.
The second major reason is similarity, if someone shares or even pretend to share the same interests as you do or share the same origin(same country, background, color) then you are more likely to comply with their requests or help them in need.
A fundamental book if you want to learn about persuasion techniques and the psychology behind it, it has applications in sales, marketing, social media, e-commerce, in your daily interactions with people. You can use it to correct those blind spots or for making people comply with your requests in your business.
Skill 3: Money Management
Book Name: Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
The thought behind this book is that doing well with money has little to do with how smart you are and a lot to do with how you behave. And behavior is hard to teach, even to really smart people.
It teaches us that financial success is not hard science, It’s a soft skill. This book includes very practical arguments to convince you that these soft skills are more important than the technical side of money.
Key Features of This Book:
This book can help you achieve long-term financial success by instilling in you the correct behavior and the right goals towards money.
There are a few ideologies that are worth practicing while dealing with money:
There are things outside of our control where luck plays a major role and it is okay if all of our investment decisions didn’t turn out to be great, we just need a few good choices to overshadow all the bad ones.
Your goal shouldn’t be to earn the highest returns but the ability to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, and for as long as you want. It’s the highest dividend money pays.
We all want respect and admiration but we need to earn these things from kindness and humility rather than from money.
Always have room for error, a life full of surprises, and crazy things happen all the time.
How this book can help you?
It will make you believe that achieving financial success is not rocket science. By making some behavioral changes you can do wonders for your finances. The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.
It’s one of the best books on personal finance and Don’t miss out on some crucial money lessons.
Skill 4: Critical Thinking
Book Name: The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli
We are self-proclaimed great thinkers. But as much as we hate to admit it, the opposite is true. We are irrational beings driven by emotions rather than logic. Every day we make irrational decisions & most of the time we are not even aware of it.
We like to believe that we have made a decision after considering all the facts, data, & different perspectives in mind. But is it so? Our minds are not evolved to process statistical data.
These are not occasional errors that we make, We make these cognitive errors in judgment on a regular basis. There are different questions floating in your head right now
How do we tackle them?
How should we avoid them?
How can we make better decisions?
Well, the first step is knowing these systematic cognitive errors that we’ve been making for centuries.
Key Features of this book:
This book contains 99 short chapters each of 2–3 pages covering each cognitive bias and logical fallacy with relevant examples, this book will keep you engaged as you’ll be able to relate to every other chapter as you yourself commit these errors on a regular basis.
And you’ll also find techniques to tackle these to improve your decision-making skills be it in investing, marketing, persuading, negotiation, or any other areas of your personal or professional life.
Confirmation bias: We like to see & process information that aligns with our already established beliefs.
Outcome bias: We tend to evaluate decisions based on the result rather than on the process of making the decision.
Action bias: Look active, even if it accomplishes nothing.
That’s just three you’ll learn 99 in total.
Pick this up to improve your decision-making skills, start your journey of becoming a clear thinker, and change your life by making world-class decisions without blind spots.
Skill 5: Time Management
Book Name: Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, do it well, and finish it completely, is the key to great success, achievement, respect, & happiness in life. This key insight is the heart & soul of this book.
The book includes 21 methods, techniques, & strategies focused on increasing your overall levels of productivity, performance, and output. Each one of them is action-oriented & you can apply them to your personal and professional life right away. You can choose to employ any of these strategies in any given situation or task.
Key Features of This Book:
Let’s discuss some of the techniques that worked for me in the last 12 months.
1. Eating the ugliest frog first thing in the morning i.e accomplishing your most high-value task first because it’s usually the task we tend to procrastinate on. & accomplishing it will produce incremental growth in your life.
2. Think on paper: Put every plan, goal & task on paper so that you put it in tangible form. Putting it in written form alone will increase the probability of accomplishing it in many folds. And use the “ABCDE” method to prioritize your tasks.
3. Do not procrastinate unconsciously but do it on purpose. Most people tend to do it unconsciously which is why they tend to procrastinate on the big, valuable, important tasks that have significant consequences on their long-term growth. Instead, procrastinate on low-value tasks.
4. Ask 3 questions to maximize your productivity
Q1: What are my highest value activities?
Q2: What can I & only I do, that if done well, will make a real difference?
Q3: What is the most valuable use of my time right now?
If you could read only one book on productivity then this is it. It’s the most complete book on time management. All of these techniques are quite easy & they actually work because I’ve been using them for over a year now and they have transformed the way I work & get things done. Read this & I’m quite sure they’ll work for you as well.
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