One of the things I get asked quite a lot is “Can you recommend a book I should read”?
That’s a difficult question, the answer is “It depends”
It depends on where you are in your life and what you’re looking for.
Back in the day when I first started my ‘personal development journey’ the books on personal development or ‘self help’ as it was called were always at the back of the bookshop in a poorly lit area next to the section on ‘Occult’.
I remember climbing several flights of stairs in the famous Foyles bookshop in Charing Cross Road to see what they, as the foremost booksellers in London, had on sale.
I have a lot of books, and I’ve read most of them. There are a few I stopped reading after a few chapters as they just didn’t resonate with me, and some that I didn’t read for a long while after I acquired them.
The trouble with ‘reading books’ is that many people think that just by ‘reading a book’ they will somehow absorb the content and automatically turn it into knowledge and understanding to enhance their lives.
It doesn’t work like that – that’s what’s called ‘shelf development’ – the only result is you need more shelves.
My tagline is ‘turning ideas into results’
Books will give us ideas tut then you and I have to do something to make use of those ideas and turn them into the results which will cause us to take actions and develop in a way which will change our lives.
It’s what ‘Personal Development’ means and as a Transformational Coach, Mentor and Therapist I help you do that.
I’m going to talk about some of the books which have helped my own personal development journey starting with the book I’m reading at the moment.
How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World (recommended to me by Jason Jackman, one of my mentors) was written by Harry Browne in the 1970s. He has made several references to global events of the time which may give some people the impression it’s not relevant to ‘now’ – but it is, possibly even more so that it was then.
The essence of this book is how we understand personal freedom. It’s about freedom in relationships, freedom in work and business, freedom within societies, states and cultures and every other situation.
Browne’s thesis proposes freedom is to be in a continuing personal situation where everything you feel and believe makes you happy
But he also makes it clear this desired state of happiness can only be achieved through your own direct action and your own personal choices.
You and I have to think really clearly about what we mean by our personal freedom in these contexts because there’s a lot of pressure on us to conform to other people’s ideas, or the state’s ideas on what personal freedom means. The book is very clear and explicit on this.
Second, Browne explains why and how freedom can only really be fully achieved through our own direct actions and not depend on indirect actions which are when we are relying on or expecting others to do something (or not do something) that will bring us happiness and allow us to be free.
It doesn’t work like that because, Browne explains, others will only do whatever it may be that enhances their own happiness and freedom.
If of course you believe you will be happy when you put others first or help to help them to be happy, then so be it, but is it really true or is it something you’ve been conditioned into believing.
True freedom however is a state of personal independence – the ‘world’ can only be truly free when every person is individually free.
The book describes many ‘traps’ you can I can unwittingly fall into which restrict or even remove our personal freedom.
Browne examines all these questions in the light of his own experience and for me it has given rise to many insights and explanations about how I have felt and what I have done in the past.
Freedom is ne of the fundamentals of Life Mastery and this book goes a long way to helping us understand what freedom really is and how best we can achieve it.