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Stop Spending Money on Courses — Read These 10 Books Instead

Get to readin’

Stop Spending Money on Courses — Read These 10 Books Instead
Pexel Photo by Tuur Tisseghem

Courses can be scams.

Everyone is selling them these days.

But nothing beats good old book reading. Reading a book allows you to take control of your learning journey. You can learn and grow as much as you want.

From history and science to decision-making and business, each of these books is a course in itself.

Let’s go through an overview of each of them!

Stop Spending Money on Courses — Read These 10 Books Instead

The twists and turns of human history.

This book takes us through the ups and downs in mankind’s history.

We learn of the Big Bang, the creation of the universe, and the evolution of life. Life increased in complexity and humans came into being.

“We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us.”

Six species of humans lived on earth but Homo sapiens were the ultimate winners.

Homo sapiens went through multiple revolutions.

The first of them was the cognitive revolution. It helped them discuss imagined realities.

Then came the agricultural revolution.

Before the agricultural revolution, humans hunted and foraged. Agriculture allowed them to settle down. Humans were ‘domesticated’.

“Money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.”

The scientific revolution started 500 years ago. It was a precursor to the industrial, information, and biotechnological revolutions respectively.

According to the author, the biotechnological revolution will put an end to the humans of today. The future belongs to cyborg humans.

Stop Spending Money on Courses — Read These 10 Books Instead

Focus over distraction!

Cal Newport has many important things to tell us.

In today’s world, we are losing the ability to focus. As a result, we are losing the ability to do quality work.

“Human beings, it seems, are at their best when immersed deeply in something challenging.”

The author warns us of our addiction to our devices and social media. He gives us practical advice on how to inculcate healthy technology habits.

Newport gives us his own example too. For example his shutdown ritual after work.

“Once your brain has become accustomed to on-demand distraction…it’s hard to shake the addiction even when you want to concentrate.”

Technology is not going anywhere. If anything, its use will increase in the coming years.

We will have even more devices and more ways to connect digitally.

When such is inevitable, it is important for us to take back control of our lives. We can teach ourselves to be responsible with our time, attention, and concentration.

This book will teach you how.

Stop Spending Money on Courses — Read These 10 Books Instead

The hare and the tortoise of the brain.

Our brain is a powerful processing machine. Every day it controls hundreds and thousands of tasks that we are completely unaware of. That includes our regular body functions.

But then, there are instances where we consciously use our brains to think, analyze, and make decisions.

“The easiest way to increase happiness is to control your use of time. Can you find more time to do the things you enjoy doing?”

This book explores exactly that.

The author tells us about the fast and slow thinking systems of our brains. Fast thinking is impulsive. Slow thinking is analytical.

Kahneman teaches us about the power of these systems as well as their pitfalls.

“The confidence that individuals have in their beliefs depends mostly on the quality of the story they can tell about what they see, even if they see little.”

This book will give you a rare glimpse inside your brain. It will also make you humble as you realize that you are not as logical as you believe yourself to be.

Stop Spending Money on Courses — Read These 10 Books Instead

Organizing a day keeps the stress away.

‘Getting Things Done’ is a time management system. It will help you put your life in order for the better.

The GTD workflow includes the following 5 actions:

  1. Capture

  2. Clarify

  3. Organize

  4. Reflect

  5. Engage.

“Your ability to generate power is directly proportional to your ability to relax.”

Has it ever happened where you have a task on your mind and it interferes with your ability to do the current task? Like your brain keeps thinking of this other task that you are not doing?

The author focuses on the importance of having a clutter-free brain. We need to free our brains so we can fully focus on the task at hand maximizing our productivity and work quality.

For this, the reader is advised to have a ‘collection bucket’. It can be anything. For me, it is my to-do diary.

Once something goes into the collection bucket, the stress gets taken off of your mind.

And obviously, you also have to empty your collection buckets periodically. This will ensure that these tasks get completed.

“Things rarely get stuck because of lack of time. They get stuck because the doing of them has not been defined.”

There are many other tips in the GTD. Even if you don’t feel like applying them word for word, you will find inspiration to curate a custom system for yourself.

Stop Spending Money on Courses — Read These 10 Books Instead

Ten questions, ten answers!

This book is amazing. I fell in love with it when I read it.

Hawking’s style is accessible, easy, and humorous. Plus, you’ll definitely learn a lot.

“I have spent my life travelling across the universe, inside my mind.”

The author believes that physics without cumbersome calculations would pique the interest of many.

Hawking answers many questions. They range from time travel and space to the existence of God and AI technology. Hawking speculates that alien life could be out there.

The author tells us about the preciousness of time. He motivates us to start ‘doing’ today.

“Seize the moment. Act now.”

Hawking is one of the best science teachers you will ever have.

Because of its light content, and dense knowledge, this book makes a perfect gift for a science lover.

Stop Spending Money on Courses — Read These 10 Books Instead

Is a swimming pool worse than a gun?

What is more dangerous? Gun or swimming pool?

Most of you would’ve said guns. Well, news flash! A swimming pool in your backyard is 100 times more likely to kill a child as compared to a gun.

“If you both own a gun and a swimming pool in your backyard, the swimming pool is about 100 times more likely to kill a child than the gun is.”

This seems crazy. It is because we are usually not aware of the facts.

This book brings us interesting correlations, fascinating results, and many mind-bending theories.

‘Freakonomics’ shows us that incentives drive human behavior.

This book also shows us the role of information asymmetry. All professionals benefit from it.

“The conventional wisdom is often wrong.”

Once you read this book, you will be a changed person.

Stop Spending Money on Courses — Read These 10 Books Instead

Why do we say yes?

We are persuaded by others. And we persuade others.

How so? What is the science behind this phenomenon?

This is what Cialdini explores in his book. Using 6 principles, the author uncovers the reality of being persuaded.

“We like people who are similar to us. This fact seems to hold true whether the similarity is in the area of opinions, personality traits, background, or life-style.”

Nothing is a gift. So we must be careful. When we get something for free, we have to repay. This comes under ‘reciprocation’.

The principle of scarcity is far too common around us.

‘Limited stock!’ or ‘Sale till stock lasts!’ are the most common marketing slogans that employ scarcity.

“The feeling of being in competition for scarce resources has powerfully motivating properties…”

This book enlightens us in a deep and profound way. We can learn to save ourselves from the common persuasion techniques by learning all about them.

Stop Spending Money on Courses — Read These 10 Books Instead

Go to business school without going to business school!

This book is a dense MBA for everyone.

We learn about value creation, marketing, sales, value delivery, and finance.

Kaufman tells us the reality of business school. They only take credit for the already skilled people. They do not create skilled people.

“Improve by 1% a day, and in just 70 days, you’re twice as good.”

We learn tips and tricks for understanding humans and building systems.

Kaufman focuses a lot on value-creation for the customers. He teaches us to increase customer satisfaction.

“Every time your customers purchase from you, they’re deciding that they value what you have to offer more than they value anything else their money could buy at that moment.”

Needless to say, this book is an important one for entrepreneurs and businesspersons, regardless of the time they have been in the game.

Stop Spending Money on Courses — Read These 10 Books Instead

What is the secret to being the best?

The author of this book was a world-class chess player. He is also trained in martial arts.

Using his own experiences of pursuing skills and learning to be the best, the author shows us how we can come out at the top too.

“It is rarely a mysterious technique that drives us to the top, but rather a profound mastery of what may well be a basic skill set.”

He teaches us to abandon our comfort zone and to discover growth. Waitizkin tells us to be a lifelong learner.

What does growth happen? When we push ourselves to the best of our abilities.

“Growth comes at the point of resistance. We learn by pushing ourselves and finding what really lies at the outer reaches of our abilities.”

Waitzkin warns us against letting emotions take over after we make a serious mistake.

We need to learn and grow from them.

He also tells us about the importance of being focused and being in the present moment.

Stop Spending Money on Courses — Read These 10 Books Instead

A self-help course, but only better.

Naval Ravikant is an investor and a businessman.

This book is a treasure trove of his wisdom.

We learn the importance of three fundamental things in life and business. They are important in the following order.

  1. Happiness

  2. Health

  3. Wealth

“If I say I’m happy, that means I was sad at some point. If I say he’s attractive, then somebody else is unattractive. Every positive thought even has a seed of a negative thought within it and vice versa, which is why a lot of greatness in life comes out of suffering.”

The readers also get to know the dichotomy of life. Greatness in life comes out of suffering. Happiness exists because sadness does. This stands true for almost everything.

We also get to know the importance of specific knowledge and of being a learner forever.

“The hardest thing is not doing what you want — it’s knowing what you want.”

This book has tons of important life advice. That makes it an important read.


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If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out the rest of my book lists on my blog-

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