10 books like First Things First

By Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill, Rebecca R. Merrill

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like First Things First. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Sapiens

By Yuval Noah Harari,

Book cover of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Harari weaves an engaging and intriguing story about where we came from. Unlike Bryson’s Western Hemisphere view, he provides a Middle Eastern perspective to these deep issues. Like Bryson, the arc of his volume addresses some of the biggest questions troubling humankind. So, two views of similar issues that we can compare and contrast—which stimulates our own thinking about those issues and how our own regionality might affect our thinking.

Sapiens

By Yuval Noah Harari,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Sapiens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the…


Bird by Bird

By Anne Lamott,

Book cover of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Lamott recalls when her ten-year-old brother put off a three-month project on birds until the night before it was due. She describes him as immobilized. Their father sagely advised, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

Although these soothing words were indisputably not directed towards me, I cannot overstate how regularly they calm me in moments of thinly disguised hysteria. The metaphor is brilliant, plus I adore birds. Lamott frequently reminds the reader how quality writing requires—demands—full attention. So does deep reading. So does deep living. While this book is primarily about writing, it is equally about life—nestled atop a solid foundation of singletasking.

Bird by Bird

By Anne Lamott,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Bird by Bird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An essential volume for generations of writers young and old. The twenty-fifth anniversary edition of this modern classic will continue to spark creative minds for years to come. Anne Lamott is "a warm, generous, and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps" (Los Angeles Times). 

“Superb writing advice…. Hilarious, helpful, and provocative.” —The New York Times Book Review

For a quarter century, more than a million readers—scribes and scribblers of all ages and abilities—have been inspired by Anne Lamott’s hilarious, big-hearted, homespun advice. Advice that begins with the simple words of wisdom…


Influence

By Robert B. Cialdini,

Book cover of Influence: Science and Practice

Entire industries exist to manipulate us based on characteristics of human psychology that nature has programmed into us. An important part of knowing ourselves is to know these characteristics and understand how to use them for our benefit, instead of the benefit of those who would use our human nature against us.

Influence

By Robert B. Cialdini,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Influence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Influence: Science and Practice is an examination of the psychology of compliance (i.e. uncovering which factors cause a person to say "yes" to another's request).



Written in a narrative style combined with scholarly research, Cialdini combines evidence from experimental work with the techniques and strategies he gathered while working as a salesperson, fundraiser, advertiser, and in other positions inside organizations that commonly use compliance tactics to get us to say "yes." Widely used in classes, as well as sold to people operating successfully in the business world, the eagerly awaited revision of Influence reminds the reader of the power of…


On Writing Well

By William Zinsser,

Book cover of On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

This is the “classic guide to writing nonficition,” says the cover, and it’s true. Reading it fueled my own motivation to develop practical ways for people to improve their own writing with easily learned techniques, shortcuts, and “insider” tips. Zinsser’s most recent update is the 30th Anniversary Edition, 2006, so don’t expect coverage of contemporary media. The book is journalism-based and later chapters focus on writing articles, but the first few chapters remain golden. “Clear thinking becomes clear writing,” Zinsser says. “Simplify, prune, and strive for order.” His best gift to us: demonstrating how to cut any copy to its core. Beyond helping readers with the mechanics, he reminds us of the need for humanity and warmth in writing.

On Writing Well

By William Zinsser,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked On Writing Well as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On Writing Well has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet.

Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, On Writing Well offers you fundamental priciples as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher. With more…


Atomic Habits

By James Clear,

Book cover of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

When I was getting my side hustle off the ground, I found myself running into a lot of my bad habits. For example, procrastination was a huge problem area for me. As such, nipping these bad habits in the bud is essential for success with your hustle. Atomic Habits shows you how to not only rid yourself of bad habits, but replace these with better ones. Above all else, this book demonstrates how the small things we do each day can compound to have massive results.

Atomic Habits

By James Clear,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Atomic Habits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestseller. Over 4 million copies sold!

Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results

No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the…


Flow

By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,

Book cover of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Flow is a groundbreaking book, embodying the ideal combination of depth and simplicity. A trendsetter from 2008, it offers readers a compelling case for the value of entering a ‘flow’ state—which can also be described as immersion or singletasking. Beautifully presented, memorable, and—yes—a life-changer. I learned from Mihaly that the impact of immersing in tasks is immeasurably profound.

Flow

By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Flow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Csikszentmihalyi arrives at an insight that many of us can intuitively grasp, despite our insistent (and culturally supported) denial of this truth. That is, it is not what happens to us that determines our happiness, but the manner in which we make sense of that reality. . . . The manner in which Csikszentmihalyi integrates research on consciousness, personal psychology and spirituality is illuminating.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

The bestselling classic that holds the key to unlocking meaning, creativity, peak performance, and true happiness.

Legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's famous investigations of "optimal experience" have revealed that what makes an…


The Little Prince

By Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Richard Howard (translator),

Book cover of The Little Prince

One of my favourite of all time since first reading it in my French class at school. Le Petit Prince is such an enchanting story of innocence, beauty, and love that it touches me every time I read it. And I find new meaning every time. There are so many quotable lines and the illustrations are gorgeous enough to carry the story. It’s just one of those timeless treasures that stays with me forever. 

The Little Prince

By Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Richard Howard (translator),

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Little Prince as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Few stories are as widely read and as universally cherished by children and adults alike as 'The Little Prince'. Richard Howard's new translation of the beloved classic-published to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's birth-beautifully reflects Saint-Exupery's unique and gifted style. Howard, an acclaimed poet and one of the preeminent translators of our time, has excelled in bringing the English text as close as possible to the French, in language, style, and most important, spirit. The artwork in this new edition has been restored to match in detail and in colour Saint-Exupery's original artwork. By combining the new…


Focus

By Daniel Goleman,

Book cover of Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence

The subtitle of Focus is The Hidden Driver of Excellence, yet this driver is arguably hidden no more upon the book’s release. As a journalist, psychologist, and top-notch researcher, Goleman is uniquely qualified to delve into the ‘science of attention.’ Plus, he has accumulated plenty of street cred from the various iterations of his Emotional Intelligence canon. 

Goleman compares attention to a muscle; requiring regular use to build it up. I couldn’t agree more. This premise is supported by myriad examples, accompanied by useful techniques for application in all aspects of life.

Focus

By Daniel Goleman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Focus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For more than two decades, psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman has been scouting the leading edge of the human sciences for what's new, surprising, and important. In Focus, he delves into the science of attention in all its varieties, presenting a long overdue discussion of this little-noticed and under-rated mental asset that matters enormously for how we navigate life. Goleman boils down attention research into a three parts: inner, other, and outer focus. Goleman shows why high-achievers need all three kinds of focus, as demonstrated by rich case studies from fields as diverse as competitive sports, education, the arts, and…


Strengthsfinder 2.0

By Gallup, Tom Rath,

Book cover of Strengthsfinder 2.0

Knowing yourself can be difficult, but essential for success as a founder. Instead of focusing on our weaknesses, Rath argues that we should double down on what makes us unique and he provides us with the tools to discover those strengths. We wear many hats as startup founders, so by understanding our own strengths, we can be more effective leaders and build a more balanced team.

Strengthsfinder 2.0

By Gallup, Tom Rath,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strengthsfinder 2.0 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

StrengthsFinder 2.0 features an access code for the new and upgraded version of the StrengthsFinder program, the main selling point of mega-bestseller Now, Discover Your Strengths (over a million copies sold).

Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?

Chances are, you don't. All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.

To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced the first version of its online assessment, StrengthsFinder, in the 2001 management book Now, Discover Your Strengths.…


Peak

By Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool,

Book cover of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

There are three legs to the creativity stool: craft, timing, and distribution. When I started researching creativity, I assumed that craft was heavily reliant on natural born talent. K. Anders Ericsson is the leading academic in the field of talent development. This book makes clear a surprising, but important point: natural-born talent is probably at best grossly overstated, and probably non-existent. We can learn world-class levels of talent if we have the right access to time, resources, and motivation.

Peak

By Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peak as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Selected as a Book of the Year by New Statesman

Mozart wasn't born with perfect pitch.

Most athletes are not born with any natural advantage.

Three world-class chess players were sisters, whose success was planned by their parents before they were even born.

Anders Ericsson has spent thirty years studying The Special Ones, the geniuses, sports stars and musical prodigies. And his remarkable finding, revealed in Peak, is that their special abilities are acquired through training. The innate 'gift' of talent is a myth. Exceptional individuals are born with just one unique ability, shared by us all - the ability…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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