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Are you looking for a boost of motivation, inspiration, and encouragement to help you reach your goals? 

I’ve read many many books in my life. Books have fueled my career and growth as a human being. Out of all the books I’ve read, these five lit a fire under me like few books ever have. 

Check out the list.  Also, feel free to share your own book recommendations in the comments below. 

Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim Grover

I’ve listened to this one on audio more than five times. Tim Grover has been the personal trainer for world class athletes like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade. Working with some of the world’s fiercest competitors for decades must teach you something about motivation.

Throughout the book, he details the work he did with these athletes throughout their careers and talks about what it takes to become the best in the world at what you do.

Tim believes in having a relentless attitude — always pushing for the next championship or achievement — even to the detriment of your personal life.

I don’t agree with all the lessons in the book, but no other book in the universe has helped me eviscerate my excuses like this one has.

Listen to this one on audio and you’ll literally feel the author drag the wimp out of your soul.

The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David J. Schwartz

The title makes the book seem like a new-age pep talk filled with fluff, but this book provides the most thorough examination of self-doubt, limiting beliefs, and fear I’ve ever read.

The premise of the book claims our thinking is the crucial factor in our own success, happiness, and achievement. We’re almost always thinking too small. Thinking big stretches you and makes you demand more of yourself.

The book provides detail after detail to describe how you can begin to think big. If you’re an aspiring creative or entrepreneur, you need to read this book.

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

This book gives the best advice on goal setting I’ve ever read.

The one thing teaches you how to develop laser sharp focus and build momentum for your future.

Instead of “chasing two rabbits and catching neither,” you should focus on one thing at a time, working backward from your “someday,” goals to what you need to do right now to take the first step.

If you start with a two-inch domino and line up a Domino 1.5 times taller repeatedly, the 57th domino will span the distance to the moon. Even better, you can flick the first domino and the rest will topple down.

To achieve monster goals, start with a tiny domino because it has the power to topple the rest.

The book shows you how to “line up your dominoes,” and reach unimaginable heights in your career and life.

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

The Everything Store profiles the life of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Bezos had an ambitious dream. He wanted to create an online store for every product imaginable. Starting with an online book store, Bezos turned Amazon into one of the most successful companies of all time.

Several times throughout his career, people told him his ideas were insane or impossible.

But Bezos doesn’t believe in impossibilities.

He pushed new initiatives to his staff and told them to figure out how to make them work.

Some call his tactics into question, saying his dedication to customer service comes at the cost of his employees’ sanity, but others say working for him taught them lessons they couldn’t have learned elsewhere.

Bezos’s thinking is only “bound by the laws of Physics.” Anything else is fair game.

The book tells tons of amazing stories. My favorite was the story of Jeff creating a secret space station. I never knew he did that.

When you see the path he took to building Amazon, you’ll realize how much more you’re capable of, especially when it comes to business.

Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger

When someone recommended this book to me, I scratched my head a bit. Why the hell would I want to read an autobiography by a guy who can barely put two sentences together on camera?

After reading this book, I know why.

It’s the best autobiography I’ve ever read…by far. It reads like fiction because it doesn’t seem like the story could be real.

Arnold grew up poor in Austria. At a young age, he was into fitness. He learned about the sport of bodybuilding and began training to become a body builder.

He decided he wanted to become the world’s strongest man.

At the age of 20, he became the world’s strongest man.

After becoming the world’s strongest man and putting the sport of body building on the map, he decided he wants to become an actor.

He became an actor.

After becoming an actor, he wanted to become the highest paid actor in Hollywood.

He became Hollywood’s highest paid actor.

As if being rich wasn’t enough, he wanted to learn how to diversify his income. He started learning how to invest real estate.

He built a multi million dollar real estate empire.

The Terminator was always into politics, and he wanted to run for office. He wasn’t born in the United States, and couldn’t run for president, so he decided to run for Governor in the largest state of the country.

He went on to become the governor of California.

How does a poor kid from Austria become an extremely wealthy and highly improbable success story?

He applied the same logic for building his body to other areas of his life — repeat until you succeed.

If you want to figure out how to do something, repeat it, because the repetition will help you improve each time.

Honorable Mentions

Those five stand above the pack, but there are several other books in the genre worth reading. Here are some of the ones that didn’t make the cut, but had a major impact in my life.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

This book gives you a guide on how to live.

Bounce by Matthew Syed

This one tells the most interesting story I’ve heard about “the 10,000-hour rule.”

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles — By Steven Pressfield

This is the motivation bible for all creative types. It would’ve made this list, but it was on my last list. Still, I had to put it in here again because it’s a must read.

Also see: Do the Work and Turning Pro by Pressfield.

Awaken the Giant Within How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny by Tony Robbins

People never give Tony a chance without being skeptical. His work can change your life.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Steven Covey

This is the gold standard of motivational and productivity books.

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  • Ayodeji Awosika

    Author of "You 2.0"

    Ayodeji is the author of You 2.0 - Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You. He helps people define their own version of success and gives them insights to help them achieve it.