There are a million personal development books out there these days, so it’s hard to sort the gems from the fluff. A heuristic to solve this is: find authors who were the pioneers of their disciplines, and have written books that stood the test of time.
Brian Tracy (1944-) is like the Jedi Master (grey hair included) of self improvement books He’s a best selling author who’s wrote over 70 personal development books. Crazy right? But it shows he’s truly dedicated to his craft.
The first book of his that I read was Eat That Frog, which is a 100 page book which distills all the best personal productivity books into a simple paperback.
I prefer his writing over other authors since he is highly pragmatic, and focuses more on action rather than mindset.
Here’s an excerpt from another one of his books, Million Dollar Habits where he shares his inspiring background story.
When I could no longer find a laboring job, I got a job in straight commission sales, cold calling from door to door and office to office. For a long time, I was one sale away from homelessness. If I did not make a sale that day, and get my commission immediately so I could pay for my room at the boarding house, I would have been out on the street. This was not a great way to live.
Then one day I began asking the question, “Why is it that some people are more successful from others?” Especially, “Why is it that some salespeople are more successful than others?”
Looking for an answer to that one question, I did something that changed my life and began the formation of a habit that profoundly affected my future. I went and asked the most successful salesman in my company what he was doing different than I was. And he told me. And I did what he told me to do. And my sales went up.
I soon developed the habit of asking everyone, in every way possible, for the answers I needed to move ahead more rapidly. The Law of Cause and Effect states that every cause has an effect. If you do what other successful people do, you will eventually get the same results that they do. And if you don’t, you won’t.
Brian Tracy, Million Dollar Habits, 2004.
I relate to this story quite deeply because I remember one day while working last Summer, my roommate asked me if I could cover the grocery bill because he didn’t have enough money. He showed me his bank account statement with less than $10 in it. He had expected to make a sale that week, but didn’t. A week or so later, I also recall us high-fiving each other because we had both made a sale that day. and we went out to go eat Popeyes chicken together.
Brian Tracy tours the world speaking and teaching. I hope to catch him the next time he’s in Toronto!