The best gift to give this Christmas

Since it’s already December, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about Christmas gifts. If you are like me, you might not have a ton of money to spend on gifts this year but if you still want to give the people you care about something, there is only one thing worth spending money on:

BOOKS!

I think books can be some of the greatest gifts you can give. They are not just paper with words on it. They can be experiences, knowledge, or even a ticket to another dimension. If you read the right book it can change your life.

So, without further ado and in no particular order, here is a list of my favorite fiction and non-fiction books.

“Quiet” by Susan Cain

Our lives are highly determined by where on the introvert/extrovert scale we land. It dictates how we interact with people, how we think, create new things, and recharge after a long day. Therefore, in my opinion, understanding the differenced between being an introvert or an extrovert is fundamental to living a happier life, especially if you are more on the introverted side.

I’m an introvert myself, and before I read this book I honestly thought something was wrong with me. I didn’t relate to people the same way my chatty best friend did, and I honestly disliked parties. Reading this book answered so many questions for me that I honestly cried tears of happiness when I finished it. For anyone who has not read this book yet, I highly recommend it.

Where to get the book:  Bookdepository | Amazon UK | Kindle

“Vicious” by V.E. Schwab

This a modern tale of good and evil. Victor and Eli, both brilliant outcasts, bond over a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveal an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, the lines between good and evil have blurred, and Victor and Eli face the past and each other once again.

This is definitely one of those books where you stay up until 3 am on a work/school night because there is no way you can put it down. The story has so many new and fresh elements, its characters are so human and flawed that you can’t really predict where it’s going to go. Pick it up and experience the roller coaster of emotions for yourself.

Where to get the book:  Bookdepository | Amazon UK | Kindle

“The gifts of imperfection” by Brene Brown

I’m a huge fan of Brene Brown. Ever since I saw her first TED Talk, I was fascinated by her research and her work ethics. This book is one of her first. It’s short but it delivers so many great insights about how to let go the hunt for perfection and instead enjoy life as the person you are, not the person you think you should be.

In its essence, this book is a big permission slip to stop caring about looking good in the eyes of people who don’t really care about you. Even though this is a short book, I would advise setting aside some time to read it because you will be going back and rereading every sentence in order to soak up all the knowledge that she is giving in this book.

Where to get the book:  Bookdepository | Amazon UK | Kindle

“The first fifteen years lives of Harry August” by Claire North

This is a story about Harry August. Harry is born, he lives a fairly good life, and he dies. By then he is born again. And again. And again. And then twelve more times, meanwhile he keeps the memories from all of his previous lives. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. “I nearly missed you, Doctor August,” she says. “I need to send a message.” This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow. This book is a masterpiece that has to be experienced!

Where to get the book:  Bookdepository | Amazon UK | Kindle

“I’ll give you the sun” by Jandy Nelson

Warming! This one is a real tear-jerker. At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them.

Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways. This story is told from two perspectives – Noah counts down from the past, while Jude is in the present telling her story backward. When their narratives meet you better have a box of tissues next to you!

Where to get the book:  Bookdepository | Amazon UK | Kindle

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The two ingredients of success

For the past few days, I’ve been thinking about success. I’ve been listening to Dave Ramsey a lot (again) as well as binging on other types of content to keep my pumped to achieve my goals. What I’ve come to realize is no revolutionary idea. It’s something everybody knows.

In order to succeed in something, you need consistency over a long period of time and the right tools. 

That is it. If you want to save money, you need to be putting away some every month. You also need to learn about investing that money so it can work for you instead of declining in value in a standard bank account. For that, you need some tools, like books, podcasts, and courses, that can teach you how the market works.

If you don’t have access to those tools or don’t know they exist in the first place, your chances of success are significantly smaller. Sure, you can be smart and figure it on your own, but it will take longer time than necessary. For me, knowing what I know now (aka in the recent weeks) about money give me much more confidence that I will make it because the tools provide a roadmap.

The tools alone don’t matter. You have to choose to use them.

And you have to do it every day for a longer time than you are comfortable with.

That’s it. I don’t have any speech that will tell you how I overcame laziness and reached my goals. I’m still a lazy person who would rather sit around and dream about the results (at least so far in life). But I feel like that realization helped me understand that my successes and failures are my to earn. Whether I succeed or fail is up to me, and that is a very liberating feeling.

Until next time.
– M