Reading has always been one of my favorite hobbies. Getting lost in a good book is one of my favorite ways to escape reality. Here is a list of my favorite books of all time, both from foreign and Portuguese authors!
List of My Favorite Books
I’ve been reading all my life, especially this year, since we spend more time at home due to the pandemic of COVID-19. I barely read any fictional books. What I really like are books about self-development and spirituality. Here’s a list with some of my favorite books of all times!
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
This book was written by the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho back in 1988. It is an international bestseller and has been translated to more than 70 languages. The theme is about finding one’s destiny or purpose in life.
This enchanting novel, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and soul-stirring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried near the Pyramids.
Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles in his path. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.
‘The Alchemist’ is a fantastic book and the storytelling is beautiful. The choice of words are impeccable, full of wisdom and philosophy. It became my favorite book of all times ever since! The book shows that the journey to your destiny is as important as the destiny itself. I love how the book emphasizes on the importance of faith, hope and spirituality through the story of an ordinary boy!
The Monk who Sold His Ferrari – Robin Sharma
‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ is a self-help classic telling the story of fictional lawyer Julian Mantle, who sold his mansion and Ferrari to study the seven virtues of the Sages of Sivana in the Himalayan mountains. It turns out, he didn’t need his Ferrari. He needed wisdom, after collapsing from all the stress!
Robin Sharma published this book in 1997, and this message was passed on to over 6 million people around the world! This book is timeless. It’s a really inspiring story and I think whatever it will be, you’ll find out something interesting about yourself from it!
These are the main 3 lessons I’ve learned from this book from the virtues:
- Use The Heart of the Rose exercise to guard your mind against unwanted thoughts: for most of us, our mind looks like a dumpster, not a garden. It’s littered with mental clutter, unnecessary information, ungrounded worries and anxious thoughts. Therefore, the first of the seven virtues of the Sivana system is to control your mind. To practice this exercise you need an actual rose and a quiet space to yourself. Then, you simply stare at the center of the rose and try to fill your mind with thoughts about how beautiful it is. Think of it as a form of basic meditation.
- Develop a simple 10-step morning routine with The Ten Rituals of Radiant Living:
The Ritual of Early Awakening
Six hours of sleep and seeing the sunrise. Of course, you have to figure out how much you need yourself, but this is what they suggest.
The Ritual of Solitude
Always make a few minutes to practice silence after waking up.
The Ritual of Physicality
Move, get up, do some exercise. Whatever gets the blood flowing.
The Ritual of Live Nourishment
A vegetarian diet based on fresh food is what the sages follow.
The Ritual of Abundant Knowledge
Keep your mind stimulated with a bit of reading or studying.
The Ritual of Personal Reflection
Did you do your best today? What could you have done better?
The Ritual of Music
Listen to music often to never get stuck in a bad mood.
The Ritual of Spoken Word
Write down a short mantra you can repeat to yourself throughout the day.
The Ritual of Congruent Character
Always follow your principles. Write them down, be aware of them and stick to them.
The Ritual of Simplicity
Ruthlessly live your priorities and remove everything else that’s unnecessary.
- Selflessly serving others counterintuitively leaves you better off too: whenever you help someone else, some of the benefits will come back right to you. You rarely know when and how, but karma always comes around. This doesn’t mean you have to join the salvation army, small, simple acts of kindness and compassion go a long way. Every morning, take a few seconds to think about what good you can do today.
Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
How liberating it would be to just cast off the reins of your current life and go on a year-long trip to three far flung countries of the world? Elizabeth Gilbert does that in ‘Eat Pray Love’, by embarking on her journey with specific purposes – one country for pleasure of the senses, another for spiritual enlightenment and the third to restore balance in her life. The resultant travelogue is a warm and lively read.
The book begins with Elizabeth lying on the bathroom floor of her house in New York and crying for the 47th consecutive night. She feels the overwhelming need to be free – from her marriage, without fuss. After an ugly divorce and a doomed love affair on the rebound, Elizabeth is a wreck; and completely broke. Leaving New York behind, she sets forth on a trip to Italy, India and Indonesia.
The section on Italy is mouthwatering – savoring a simple Italian meal with wine and tiramisu for dessert on her first day in Rome, roaming around the streets with frequent cappuccino and gelato refreshment breaks, and joining an Italian language class for no practical reason but simply to roll the sounds over her tongue and revel in the texture of the mellifluous language. Leaving Italy, plumper and happier, she is all ready for her four months of meditation in India.
These four months are spent in a Guru’s ashram near Mumbai. Having grown up in a non-religious family, she approaches the road to spiritual enlightenment with a fair degree of skepticism. Now at the ashram, she is keen to practise yoga and find God. By seeking what she had come for, Elizabeth moves on, calm and grateful, to the final destination of her journey.
Finally, in Bali, Elizabeth interacts with a few local Balinese and her impetuous involvement in their personal lives is quirky and amusing. The book then meanders into Elizabeth’s romantic dalliancewith a Brazilian and ends with her finding true love.
The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
The Four Agreements draws on the long tradition of the Toltecs, an ancient, indigenous people of Mexico, to show you that we have been domesticated from childhood, how these internal, guiding rules hurt us and what we can do to break and replace them with a new set of agreements with ourselves.
Mexican surgeon and author Don Miguel Ruiz, who turned from science to spirituality after a near-fatal car accident, shares the wisdom of the Toltecs in this book published in 1997, that spent eight years on the New York Times bestseller list, selling over six million copies.
These are four guiding principles to live by:
1. Be impeccable with your word
2. Don’t take anything personally
3. Don’t make assumptions
4. Always do your best
I liked The Four Agreements because it draws on a stack of knowledge we don’t bump into too often. These principles aren’t revolutionary, but solid ground to build on! I want to share with you why we need them, which one I think is most important, and how you can work on embedding them into your life. Here are my three favorite lessons from the book:
- We’re domesticated from a young age and it leaves us living by a set of rules we haven’t chosen ourselves: parents, peers, teachers, religion, all these influences instill a set of rules in us. As children, we have no power over them. We’re rewarded when we do good and punished when we step out of line. Compound this for almost two decades and eventually, we’re so domesticated we continue to do it ourselves without questioning it
- What people say and do to you is a reflection on them, not you. Know who you are and you won’t take things personally: when someone calls you ugly, it says a whole lot more about them and their problems than about you. Whatever issues they’re dealing with has led them to take their frustration out on you
- There are three ways to break your old agreements and live with new ones you choose yourself: start noticing the beliefs you have which are based on fear and make you unhappy and pick them apart; learn to forgive the people who hurt you, most of all yourself; and remember that each day could be your last to stay in the present because the initiation of the dead brings clarity about how you want to live.
Conversations with God Volume I – Neale Donald Walsch
‘Conversations with God’ is a book trilogy in which the author transcripts the dialog he had with God (the meaning of God is discussed in the book) through the process of automatic writing or channeling. You DON’T need to be a religious person to enjoy this book – in fact, I am not.
With over 7 million copies sold worldwide, this extraordinary dialog was a huge hit in the New Age bookstores due to its groundbreaking and hopeful testimonial on spirituality. Accused of blasphemy and wanting to reinvent Christianism, Neale Donald Walsch didn’t make everyone happy when publishing his books. He was just laying down questions in his notepad and would get answers filled with wisdom directly through his writing.
Highly criticized, the author’s statements put the human experience and free will at the heart of the spiritual experience on earth. He also suggests a new definition of God, more like a best friend than a taciturn father figure whose love would come under certain conditions.
This book often bring up questions that we all once asked ourselves: life, love, purpose of life, the Good, the Evil, guilt, Heaven, Hell, power, health, joy, pain, marriage, money, death… It is definitely one of my favorite books EVER, and it really had an impact on the way I think and see the world.
Here are the main points I took from this book:
To experiment his greatness and his own being, God needs an external point of view
So God (or The Universe, The Energy) divided itself in an infinity of souls – us – and created the concept of Great Polarity: Love and Fear (Yin and Yang). God can only experiment itself though us, its creation
Then, he wanted to also experiment ourselves in materiality
So we, tiny souls, created a collective scheme: we would incarnate ourselves in a physical way in this world to experience life! But somehow, along the way, we forgot that we all came from the same Whole and that we are all tiny pieces of God (would be too easy otherwise!)
The purpose of our soul is to fully thrive while still part of a physical body; to become the incarnation of what it really is
Life experience is a beautiful process of Creation. It is the opportunity for our soul to experiment what it already knows deep down inside: we are divine and our thoughts are creative. We have the power to experiment who we want to be and create our lives with the best version of ourselves in mind.
We can do whatever we want with our lives. God is just observing it, not judging it.
We are fooling ourselves when we think that God decides what happens in our lives. It created the process of life, yet, it gave us Free Will! There are no obligations, no prohibitions. We decide on all choices we make.
All lives are created by choice. We don’t decide in advance, yet, we can choose the people, places, challenges and events with which wewill create our live experience
Nothing is random and there are no coincidences. The process is perfect and each incarnated sould, even in the tiniest body, has a purpose. Even if we don’t always understand it, it’s important to remember that each soul has a purpose and we must let them follow their own path, without being judgmental.
Every human action is motivated by either love or its exact opposite: fear
These are the only Two Emotions in the soul language. Each thought, word or human action is based on fear or love. There are no other choices. But we are free to choose between these two.
Our thoughts are creative and our words are productive
Put together, thoughts and words are remarkably effective to create reality. Each one of us is a giant machine of creation! So, everything that happens to us is created by our own conscious. Collective consciousness is powerful enough to create worldwide events with global consequences!
No concept can exist without its contrary. The whole birth-death cycle is part of a movement of polarity between one another.
Life is a rhythm. Natural disasters are only movements of elements from one point to the other. The events are created by the collective consciousness. It is the entire world that creates these experiences through co-creation.
We collectively and individually create the life and the time we all experience in order to let our souls thrive
All the events and situations that happen to use are just opportunities to experiment who we want to be. By choosing how these events impact us, we modify our inner experiences and master our lives.
God communicates with each one of us through our thoughts, feelings and experiences
Feelings are the language of the soul. If we want to know what’s true for us for something in particular, observe how we feel about it: our innver voice (God) will know how to guide us.
Because our parents love was conditional, we persuaded ourselves that God would act like a parent that judges, rewards and punishes
This reality around love, based on fear, dominates our experience with love and deceives us. Not only, we believe we receive love conditionally but we also believe that we give it in the same way.
Each prayer (each thought, each affirmation, each feeling) is creative
The adequate prayer is never a plea but rather a prayer of Gratitude. When we thank the Universe in advance for the experience we choose to live in our reality. This is how we attract experiences to us.
The 5am Club – Robin Sharma
The 5 AM Club helps you get up at 5 AM every morning, build a morning routine, and make time for the self-improvement you need to find success.
You wake up to your alarm, press snooze, and roll back over for an extra few minutes of sleep. This is what your average person does; wake up and let the day take over. But do you want to be average? If you want to be like the top 5%, you need to stop acting like the 95%.
There is a way to start your day with purpose and energy, a pattern that will help you accomplish more and increase your mental and physical health. It all starts with waking up at 5 a.m.
Robin Sharma uses in this book a fictitious story about a billionaire mentor teaching a struggling artist and an entrepreneur about the importance of waking up early to show how revolutionary it is for success. He makes a convincing case that will persuade even the most sleep-loving people that to be truly excellent, we need to start our days intentionally.
Here are the 3 biggest lessons I’ve learned from this book:
- Waking up at 5 a.m. will provide you with the solitude and improved brain state to perform like the pros: our minds have a limited amount of “bandwidth.” When we fill our day with social media, interactions with those around us, television, and so on, we fill this bandwidth to the point that we can’t take in anything more before the day is even over. If you wake up at 5 a.m., you will find you can focus on one thing without these distractions and accomplish much more.
- Balance your 4 “interior empires” to achieve self-mastery: don’t just focus on Mindset. While thinking optimistic thoughts will help you, there are 3 other “interior empires” when trying to find balance: Healthset (physical health), Heartset (emotional well-being), and Soulset (spirituality).
- Don’t waste time when you wake up early, use the 20/20/20 formula: this formula says you should 20 minutes on three highly valuable activities each: the first 20 minutes of that first hour should consist of exercise, the next 20-minute block should consist of reflection and meditation, and finally make time to read and learn something new, instead of wasting time on useless entertainment.
If you’re ready to take your life to the next level and become great, it all starts with an effective morning routine! The science-backed case Sharma makes for joining the 5 AM Club is likely convincing enough for even those who aren’t morning people.
The Secret – Rhonda Byrne
This 2006 global bestseller with almost 30 million copies sold is by many considered the perfect blueprint for achieving your goals. These are the three main lessons I learned from this book:
- The law of attraction is one of the most prevalent principles in the world: While Byrne packaged the idea in a new way, which appealed to the masses, the law of attraction itself is as old as we are: like attracts like. In essence, the law of attraction states that what you think and feel determines what you’ll attract into your life.
- In order to use the law of attraction, you must think about what you want, not what you want to avoid: When it comes to our internal monologue, we’re a lot more worried about losing what we have, rather than getting what we want. That’s why most of us subconsciously play not to lose, instead of playing to win. Fewer people shoot for great than for average.
- The three steps of the law of attraction are asking, believing, and receiving: Ask – Use a present tense structure and write down what you want from a perspective of gratitude: “I’m grateful to have [INSERT DESIRE].” / Believe – This is about radiating confidence, so that the people you meet along the way will support you. / Receive – Imagine how you’ll feel once you accomplish your goal. What would life be like? Visualize it!
Ayurveda – Geeta Vara
Ayurveda is a 5000-year-old system of medicine that takes a much needed holistic approach to life and wellbeing. Through balancing the three energy forces in the body known as ‘doshas’, Ayurveda goes beyond the boundaries of conventional practice to reveal your unique physical, emotional and mental needs.
Expert practitioner Geeta Vara BSc and PGDip in Ayurvedic Medicine gives simple, daily applicable rituals and wisdom that can be personalized to suit you, including guidance on food as medicine, detoxification, movement, and meditation. By teaching us to reconnect with our natural bio-circadian rhythms, Ayurveda will lead you on a journey towards self-healing.
With this book, you can discover your mind/body type, learn to identify early signs of imbalance, transform your diet through taste and mindful eating, be empowered to take a preventative approach to healthcare and tackle stress and fatigue, immune system issues, gastro-intestinal problems, disturbed sleep, migraines, weight management and more.
Losing my Virginity – Richard Brandson
Losing My Virginity was originally published in 1998. It is amazing to think that Sir Richard Branson had done THIS much by age 48! Magazines, record stores, labels, signing artists, airlines, balloon races, islands, the list goes on and on. It’s tougher to find something the man hasn’t done than what he’s already been through.
Since the blinks and book mostly detail specific adventures, I thought I’d take one step back and look at which general lessons you can learn about entrepreneurship and life from the way he does things. Here’s a list of the main three lessons:
- Don’t feel bad if you haven’t been born and bred as an entrepreneur: Don’t let yourself get discouraged if your parents didn’t instill a sense of entrepreneurship in you.
- Always look out for the next thing, but take it one adventure at a time: Branson is always on the lookout for the next opportunity, but when he seizes one, he seizes it with all he’s got. So keep your eyes open, but don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking you can do many things at once. One adventure at a time, that’s how you build an empire.
- The number one skill you should practice is creativity: The only reason so many of Richard Branson’s businesses work out is that he sees profits where most people don’t even see business. He turns his own quagmire into cash, and the only way you can do that is by being incredibly creative. You can’t make up stuff like this on the spot, unless you’ve practiced the creativity you need way before even getting there.
Quiet – Susan Cain
Here goes another book by a top TED speaker. Susan Cain’s talk about the power of introverts has been viewed over 10 million times. The reason is that her book and talk made a lot of people feel heard for the first time. In the seven years of research leading up to the publication of Quiet in 2012, Susan uncovered the slow rise of the extrovert ideal in the public and American workplace.
- Whether you like small talk or not is part of your personality type: Introverts are what’s called “highly sensitive”, meaning they take in the information given to them, for example via stimuli from their environment, a lot more thoroughly than their extrovert peers. For example, an introvert can stand in front of a single big picture in a museum for 10 minutes, continuously observing and looking for new details to be found – a horror fantasy for an extrovert. In a similar manner, introverts don’t like small talk. They are engaged by profound conversations about life, values, morals and ethics, because it allows their highly sensitive information processing to thrive.
- Western cultures portray extroversion as the ideal of success: We often perceive whoever’s the most confident to be the most competent as well. That couldn’t be further from the truth, since just being a charming speaker and captivating figure does not make one a good leader.
- Companies need to adjust their workplaces to introverts as well: Due to the extrovert success ideal, most companies are tailored to extroverts. Think about it: open offices, meetings, group brainstorming sessions, presentations of PowerPoint slides, workshops and of course, lunch at the canteen. For introverts this means they feel constantly interrupted, overloaded with information and stressed, which makes it hard for them to thrive in such an environment. But when you think about it, not all great things were achieved by extroverts or even groups of people.
You are a Badass – Jen Sincero
Opinions don’t matter. Especially not those of haters. The sad thing about learning this lesson only late in life is that you might not have the energy or time to still achieve your dream, whatever that may be. So the sooner you learn it, the better. If you’re young and worried about what other people think, this book is for you.
After working for a record label, starting a rock band, failing, and then writing a book about that, Jen Sincero became a lesbian, failed at that too and wrote another book about that, before ultimately coaching people to improve their sex lives and later their lives altogether. You Are A Badass is the culmination of several years of helping people transform their lives from loser to happy-go-lucky and it comes packed with fun stories and valuable lessons. Here are my favorite three:
- Decide you’ll stop caring what other people think. Right now: Being serious means putting in days, months, years of work. You’ll lose some friends. You’ll go to less happy hours and football games. You’ll be laughed at. Ridiculed. Made fun of. But none of that matters if you’re happy spending time chasing what others don’t dare to: To really go for your dream, you must put your inner badass in charge.
- Figure out what you want but don’t obsess about how you’ll get there: Know what you want, but be flexible about the how.
- If your habits, surroundings and friends don’t support you, it’s time to change them: If your environment, your habits, your friends, even your family, don’t lift you up in your journey towards a life you’ll be glad to have lived when it’s over, it’s time to make some changes.
The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
Leading a very troubled and problematic life, coined by many periods of serious depression, Eckhart Tolle found peace overnight, quite literally. Plagued by depressing late-night thoughts, he started questioning what it is that made his life so unbearable and found the answer in his “I” – the self-generated from the power of his thoughts in his mind. The next morning he woke up and felt very much at peace because he’d somehow managed to lose his worrier-self and live entirely in the now, the present moment.
Eckhart published The Power of Now in 1997, which eventually went on to become a New York Times bestseller in 2000 after Oprah Winfrey fell in love with it and recommended it. Here are 3 lessons from it to help you worry and regret less:
- Life is just a series of present moments: The reason we regret and worry about a lot of things lies in the way our minds work. The constant stream of consciousness and thoughts in our head, which plays 24/7 in our heads, is mostly preoccupied with 2 things: the past and the future. When you think about it, the past is nothing more than all present moments that have gone by, and the future is just the collection of present moments waiting to arrive.
- All pain is a result of resistance to the things you cannot change: We think a lot about the future and the past, but can live only in the present and have therefore no means to change many things from the other two that we’re unhappy about. When you’re angry, that anger usually makes you think and act less rational, which more often than not results in a worse situation and thus, more pain – but it’s really all in your head.
- You can free yourself from pain by constantly observing your mind and not judging your thoughts: Constantly ask yourself: “What will my next thought be?” and stop judging your thoughts and urges.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harari
How do you prepare your children for the year 2050? Or even the year 2100? It’s a great question, especially because nowadays, no one knows what the world will even look like then. In 21 Lessons For The 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari helps us do just that. After his previous bestsellers Sapiens, which explored the human past, and Homo Deus, which focused on our distant future, this book is about our biggest challenges in the here and now and how we can deal with them.
Here are 3 from his 21 lessons to help us and future generations thrive in the 21st century:
- Whoever owns the data wins, which is why everyone struggles for it: Data has become the most valuable asset, which is why technology disrupts all our systems.
- We don’t know, we just think we do – and that’s a problem: Basically, we think we know a lot more than our ancestors when, actually, we know less in many regards. For example, we all rely on many experts to live our everyday lives. We can’t hunt our own food, build our own shelter, or make our own clothes. We think we’re smart, but just because we can access all the world’s knowledge doesn’t mean it’s already in our head.
- Education must show us how to navigate information, not give us more of it: School needs to start teaching us how to think, not what to think. A basic understanding of history, biology, math, and other subjects is important, no doubt. But beyond that, it’s more important that we learn how to navigate the modern sea of information, how to filter out the important, and how to determine what’s downright false, than just remembering more facts. Future workers won’t need to know as much as possible, but how to find out only that, which they really need to know.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck – Mark Manson
Mark gets that life has become overwhelming and the only way to find our center around the things that really matter to us is to not give a f*ck about anything else. Mark’s writing is funny and to the point. No bullshit, lots of curse words, but lots of insight too. Here are my 3 favorite lessons from this book:
- Values you can’t control are bad values to follow: Take your values, for example. I know it’s hard to put them into words, but if you try to describe yourself in, say, three adjectives, you already have a good idea of which values most dictate your life. Let’s say you chose the words honest, punctual and popular. Here’s where Mark makes an interesting remark: Only choose to have values you can control.
- Don’t believe you know anything with certainty, for it keeps you from improving: Imagine you could choose between two modes of moving through the world: one in which you think everything you know is 100% true and one in which you think nothing you know is 100% true. Both are stressful, but which one do you think would help you make better decisions? The latter, of course. While there’s some middle ground to be found here, rejecting the idea that you know anything for sure is a great base to start learning from.
- Trying to leave a legacy might ruin your life: Here’s an uncomfortable, but important reminder: You’re going to die one day. The more we’re driven to build a great body of work, the more start chasing fame, working too much and focusing on the future. What if instead, we just tried to be useful in the present? We could still help a ton of people, enjoy our days and fully be here, while we’re here.
What I Know for Sure – Oprah Winfrey
Everybody knows Oprah Winfrey. She produced and hosted one of the most influential TV shows in American history. Her ingenuity brought a brand-new format to television with book clubs, self-improvement segments, and calls to philanthropic efforts. But most of all, Oprah has been a champion in shaping her own existence. And in What I Know For Sure she invites you to take responsibility for your own life, too.
In the author’s view, this means working hard to reach your goals. But you must also learn to enjoy the small and big pleasures you may experience on your journey, and create more of them. Here are 3 lessons you can learn from Oprah’s extraordinary life:
- Not only can you overcome hardship, but you can leverage it to become stronger, self-sufficient, and happiness-oriented: From bad experiences, you can learn to take responsibility for your own happiness. The biggest problems you may face are a chance to build your courage, discipline, and determination.
- The path of progression is easier to walk if you let great stories and great people inspire you: Use inspiration from books and people to strengthen your motivation for achieving greatness. These have inspired Oprah, and they can do the same for you too!
- Being grateful for what you have will change your outlook but also enable you to manifest better things in your life: Practicing gratitude makes you feel better but also brings you more things for which to be grateful. Gratitude works because it raises your energy, allowing you to attract more goodness in your life.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
I’m about to finish reading this one at the moment. The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People teaches you both personal and professional effectiveness by changing your view of how the world works and giving you 7 habits, which, if adopted well, will lead you to immense success.
If you hadn’t at least heard about this book, I’d be shocked. It has sold over 25 million copies. I’m not sure if Stephen R. Covey had any clue about what a success The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People would be when he published it in 1990, but, even several years after his death, it’s still the bible of leadership and modern management.
The original 7 habits are:
1. Be Proactive
2. Begin with the End in Mind
Do the funeral test
3. Put First Things First
You’ll often find that the important things aren’t urgent and vice versa. That means some things don’t deserve to be done at all
4. Think Win-Win
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Practice active listening
7. Sharpen the Saw
The first 3 serve your own independence, so that you may “win in private”, as Covey put it. The second 3 aim to shift your focus to interdependence. When you strive for cooperation instead of competition, you’ll also “win in public” and find worldly success. The last habit serves your own renewal so that you’ll never burn out or overextend yourself. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this book is: whatever you do, be effective, not efficient!
Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
Even though our existence on Earth is relatively short, we’ve come far. What steps led us to dominate the planet like we do? In Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, he reviews each step that got us here. You’ll learn each of the elements in our history, from language and money to science, that made us who we are. Here are the 3 most interesting lessons this book teaches about our species:
- The ability to think gave early humans language, which eventually led to agricultural advances allowing them to grow exponentially: Language set our species apart from others because it made us able to distribute information more freely. This helped early people share lessons about predators and food with each other. Because humans could cooperate as a society and flexibly, ideas spread which made even more progress possible.
- Improvements in trade were only possible with the invention of money and writing: It’s easy to see how having writing and money would make your situation a lot better. With the ability to record your transaction with the farmer, you can make sure he keeps his word if he needs to promise you a pig. And if you don’t have anything he needs, you can just sell your knife for currency, like barley, to make the transaction. From here, advancements for Homo sapiens began happening rapidly. Pretty soon laws helped regulate everything to be safer. With the ability to write, economies and governments could grow. Society began to flourish, and the next step was science.
- With better economic and communication means, scientific progress gave our race the abilities necessary to get to where we are today: Now that they had efficient food, trading, and writing methods, our ancestors could begin thinking more. This led to a scientific revolution with many people considering ways to improve their way of life. Governments helping fund explorers and scientists saw great expansions in their empires.
Although we’ve had our times of war, the history of mankind has now come to a place of great peace and prosperity. Some may see our unification as homogeneous and boring, but the lack of war in recent years is unprecedented. And while we may deal with other modern problems, but we can thank the advancements of each of our ancestors for the pleasant place we find ourselves in now.
The Power of the Heart – Baptiste de Pape
With its unprecedented convocation of eighteen of the world’s greatest spiritual thinkers, writers, and scientists, including Maya Angelou, Deepak Chopra, Paulo Coelho, and Eckhart Tolle, this spiritual guide—which ties into a film of the same name—reveals how you can overcome limitations and fulfill your highest potential.
Baptist de Pape, a young lawyer, was mired in anxiety and fears about his future when he felt the call to investigate the incredible power of the heart and how it can lead us to our true purpose in life. On a quest that took him around the world, de Pape interviewed eighteen living icons—all on camera—including Isabel Allende, Jane Goodall, Marci Shimoff, Marianne Williamson, and Gary Zukav. Generously sharing their touching personal stories as well as profound guidance, these leaders co-created with de Pape a multidimensional, illuminating portrait of the heart as an inexhaustible source of love and wisdom that far surpasses that of the mind.
With exciting spiritual and scientific insights, The Power of the Heart presents fascinating evidence that the heart is more than a physical organ. It possesses its own intelligence, capable of transforming your views of money, health, relationships, and success. Mindfulness exercises and contemplations guide you to activate the heart’s special powers—including intuition, intention, gratitude, forgiveness, and love. These unforgettable lessons from the world’s greatest teachers will inspire you to find your hidden talents, hear your inner voice, and fulfill your highest purpose in life.
Books in Portuguese
Liberta-te de Pensamentos Tóxicos – Rute Caldeira
We go on diets to lose excess pounds, but we forget that we accumulate toxic thoughts in our minds that condition us on a daily basis. Padlocks like fear, guilt, anger, hurt, low self-esteem, inability to forgive, or impatience, which pollute our souls and prevent us from being happy.
Rute Caldeira, reiki master, yoga instructor, meditation guru, and spiritual retreat organizer, shares in this book ‘Liberta-te de Pensamentos Tóxicos’ (Get Rid of Toxic Thoughts) a diet with 7 simple steps that will help you to free himself from toxic thoughts and negative charges, to find tranquility, and achieve inner well-being. The author shares her own experience of spiritual evolution that included an important visit to India. The book includes practical meditation exercises.
Simplifica a Tua Vida – Rute Caldeira
In this book ‘Simplifica a Tua Vida’ (Make your Life Easier), Rute Caldeira shows you 9 steps to simplify your relationships and be happier. If relationships are the foundation of everything, then why is it so difficult to deal with others? Why do most of our anxieties arise in family, loving and friendship relationships? How can we feel more and think less? Why can’t life be simpler? Rute Caldeira guarantees that it can.
Grab the ball you created, full of knots, suffering, pain and fear, and learn to unfold it, thread by thread, with the wisdom of your soul. The author helps you with these 9 steps that will simplify your relationships and teach you how to live in a lighter and happier way. Steps that the author herself had to go through and overcome, at a difficult stage in her life.
First of all, you have to let go of the people who hurt you, the feelings that provoke you, the dependence they create. You cannot put your happiness in the hands of others. Next steps: free yourself from the fear that chains you, awaken your conscience to the signs that appear and show you the way, separate yourself from the Ego that limits you, disconnect from what makes you lose time and wears you out without reason and connect with what is valuable in life.
It is essential not to carry the weight of others, their demands, and expectations, and draw your map of the mind and the world. Only then will you be able to reconcile yourself and others and simplify your life. Where are you not happy? When are you not you? In what situation does your soul go out instead of shining? If you are not happy, then don’t stay. You have everything, you have all the resources, all the answers to make your life uncomplicated.
O Poder da Meditação – Rute Caldeira
First of all, this book ‘O Poder da Meditação’ (The Power of Meditation) is the holy grail of meditation. And I will explain why. I had never read a book that was so easy to explain the power of meditation. Easy to read, understand, and apply. With each page we are absorbing more, and more and more.
With each exercise, we want to apply and feel immediately. A writing that takes you to meet the author, and as she says as if she were at your side reading to you. This book is a sharing of her knowledge in years of training and meditation practice. Throughout the book, Ruth takes us to the teaching of what is essential for our survival, the breath. Teaching you to stop and breathe, guided with your sweet, quiet voice in 5-minute meditations every day of the week.
Through this book, she invites us to free our bodies in active meditations and at the same time sharing her stories and those of others who inspired her. As said in a book that is easy to read and understand. It is not a technical book, but a book with easy teachings that lead us to put each of them into practice. Through meditation, we can reach our essence. So if you want to learn the techniques of meditation, I invite you to read that book and apply its teachings.
Alma Feliz – Grace Kelly
When she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, Grace Kelly felt that challenge as an opportunity to change, deciding to better listen to her body and integrate healthier options into her lifestyle. He became vegan and created the Yoga Vibes modality with energetic postures to balance the chakras and work on emotions.
In this book ‘Alma Feliz’ (Happy Soul), Grace shares her daily care with you to achieve a balance between body, mind, and soul. Get inspired by this woman with an open and contagious smile and add more color, health, and joy to your life. Fill it with Good Vibes! She shares amazing things, such as her morning rituals, magical affirmations, yoga postures, vegan recipes, lunar rituals, crystals for chakra alignment, and many spiritual exercises.
Vive a Tua Luz – Inês Nunes Pimentel
‘Vive a Tua Luz’ (Live your Light) is a guide that will allow you to truly fall in love with yourself so that you can live the life of your dreams. This book is a sincere sharing of stories, experiences, exercises, and mantras.
With it, you can transform your life from the inside out and become the most authentic and brilliant version of yourself. In a society that constantly tells us that we have to be better, this book reminds you that you are already perfect. Each page will help you to remove each layer that prevents you from feeling it so that you can finally connect with your true essence and live your unique light.
Embark on this journey of self-knowledge. Learn to live for love and to love you unconditionally, to free yourself from toxic fears and thoughts, to nourish your body, mind, and soul, to find your life purpose, to discover the unique gift you are to the world and to manifest the life of your dreams and know that everything is possible. This author also has a podcast that I love and totally recommend!
Em Caso de Dúvida, Escolhe o que Te Faz Feliz – Manuel Clemente
Being ourselves may seem simple, but it is not always easy. Since we were born, we have been deeply conditioned and fully formatted. We are the result of a society ruled by fear and ignorance, and empathy is a sign of vulnerability and kindness is easily confused with weakness.
We are told not to take any risks, not to break the rules and to do what we are supposed to do. But what if all this is just a tremendous lie? Why is it that most people do not live satisfied with the life they have and feel lost or suffer for fear of taking risks?
Through his personal experience, Manuel Clemente invites us to see the world through a clearer, pragmatic, and optimistic lens. It motivates us to respect our essence, to relativize the fears that block us, and to accept life as a huge classroom.
Uma Horta em Casa – Isabel Mourão & Miguel Brito
Increasingly, urban and community gardens are part of the landscape of modern cities; the next step, very desirable and perfectly attainable, is to bring the garden… into your house! Making creative use of the available space contributes, on a small but considerable scale, to combat climate change; substantially improves the quality of food and helps to reduce family expenditure, and provides a healthy and fun environment for socializing among all family members. ‘Uma Horta Em Casa’ (Creating a Home Garden) teaches you how to grow different plants by the window, on the balcony, or on the terrace, in organic production.
Nowadays, a large part of the world population lives in cities, almost always with limited access to the natural environment. The food we consume is transported from ever-greater distances, which implies that the food is treated and preserved with chemicals, increasing not only our dependence on fossil energy but also the general lack of knowledge about the origin and production of those that are our essential nutrients. On the other hand, this weakening of the link between man and nature – which has already been referred to as “nature’s deficit disorder” – can cause emotional stress associated with urban life. Over the past few years, however, this trend has reversed.
Discover in this book the advantages of having a vegetable garden at home, what plants you can grow (horticultural, aromatic or medicinal or edible flowers), how the life cycle of different plants works, when, where and with what tools you can grow them, how to cultivate organically (from sowing to composting and treating pests and diseases), and you can also find specific indications for the cultivation of more than 50 plants – from pumpkin to mushrooms, from rosemary to thyme, and from home joy to verbena. I just finished this book, and my plan is to start my own home garden next spring!