For several years now, I have been on a personal mission to find out, or discover, what it is that motivates me. Through this journey, I have read countless books, articles, listened to hours and hours of podcasts, ted talks, lectures, etc., and spoken with other people.
Through all of this I have learned that motivation truly is an “inside job”. Which means, it is different for everyone and comes from within. With that said though, there are certain factors and environments that can develop or exist, that can propel myself and others, to be sprung in to action, where we might not have been as willing before.
Of all of the books that I have read around this topic, I found eight that helped me the most. When I say, help. I mean they gave me insight on the conditions that must exist. They provided me further information on why I might be feeling a certain way. They pointed out conditions that existed or should exist that either motivate me or demotivate me. Some of these books were text books, some of these were best sellers, and some of them are just books that I stumbled upon while doing research.
Now I am not an authority on motivation. However, I have for years picked a topic of choice, such as motivation, leadership, emotional intelligence, sales, marketing, etc. And then sought out the most recommended, to the least well-known books on that particular topic.
If it requires roughly forty classes to obtain a bachelor’s degree on a particular subject, which would have forty or so books on that topic. I have read many more than that on most of the subjects I have studied, and the area of motivation being one of my most read topics.
Here are the books, with the links to purchase them through Amazon.com Just click the link where the title, subtitle, and author is. By clicking on any of it, it will take you to Amazon.
These books are in no certain order. I give a few of the takeaways to get you thinking about the book, but I would encourage you to read or listen to the book to get the full benefit from them.
Title: Drive Subtitle: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Author: Daniel Pink
- The author points out the fact that often times internal factors are what drive us versus the external factors. So things such as autonomy and purpose are more motivating than just money. And when you couple the two together, a whole new motivation will come out. The book is well structured and provides a lot of tips for leaders to use to create a more motivating workplace. Even though the book is geared towards managers and leaders, I walked away from it knowing a lot more about myself.
Title: Power of Habit Subtitle: Why We Do What We Do In Life And In Business Author: Charles Duhigg
- The author of the book is focused on habits and how habits are formed. I found this book to be motivating to me, because I walked away knowing what triggers my good habits and my bad habits. This book helped me to be more aware of my triggers that cause me to do certain things. The book dives into how and why we form habits. The process is simple: we have a cue, that pushes us to develop a routine, from that routine we expect to receive a reward. The motivation starts with the cue.
Title: As a Man Thinketh Author: James Allen
- I have recommended this short read, about 100 pages or so, to lots of people. This book helps you look at how and what you think, and based on that, what you do. The title is from the bible in the book of Proverbs 23 verse 7: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. All of us truly are a product of what we put into our head, what we think about, and then lastly, what we do with what we think. This book helped me discover that for me to stay motivated I must think about what I am thinking, because that is what will push me to take action or not take action.
Title: Leading an Inspired Life Author: Jim Rohn
- I doubt there will ever be a book list I create that doesn’t have a Jim Rohn book on it. This book is a compilation of most of his stories and opinions on everything in life and in business. Jim is considered to be one of the most influential speakers to ever speak professionally in a business setting. This book has short little chapters on every topic under the sun. The reason this book will help you understand what motivates you, is each chapter has a message, and many of these messages are put in a way that will make sense to you, and get you motivated on how you can apply it to your life or in your business.
Title: WillPower Subtitle: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength Authors: Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney
- This book is littered with lots of research. Now sometimes, too much research can be annoying. However, in this book the authors do a great job with giving you enough research to support the thesis, and then they move on and tell you how to actually apply it. The reason I found this book to be so helpful in determining what motivates me. Is that I never understood or even thought about how fatigue, decision fatigue (which was really new to me) and lack of food could impact my motivation so much. I know it seems simple to think about the impact of it as you are reading this, you are saying, “Duh”. However, this book helped me understand why what I do and when I plan to do it, is so important in my motivation for doing whatever I need to do.
Title: Primed to Perform Subtitle: How to Build High Performing Cultures Through Total Motivation Authors: Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor
- This book really takes the book mentioned above, Drive, to the next level. It provided even more insight on the are conditions and the environment that must exist for you and I to be motivated. This book is written for managers and leaders. However, it will definitely get you thinking about the conditions where you do your best work. It will also help you understand why you are driven to do the things you do. This book will help you make better decisions on ensuring you are always motivated at home or on the job.
Title: Handbook of Self Determination Research Authors: Edward L. Deci and Richard Ryan
- This book really is a textbook. You can read a more succinct version of the book in Edward Deci’s book “Why we do what we do” . However, since I have read both of them, I found this textbook to be the better book. This book will help you understand yourself better than you currently do. Yes, this book is filled with lots of research. However, you don’t have to read the entire thing. You can read a few concepts, what is the application, and then how it can help you. The reason this book makes my list, is again, it really helped me to understand myself better.
Title: The Willpower Instinct Subtitle: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It Author: Kelly McGonigal Ph.D
- This book is based on Kelly’s class at Stanford University “The Science of Willpower”. This book is similar to all of the ones on this list as a reference to get you thinking about your ability to control yourself. The book is centered around self-control and how we can get more of it and what conditions limit our self-control. After reading this book you will definitely understand yourself much better, which will allow you to control and discover your motivation.
I encourage you to go out and buy each one of these books. They will help you understand yourself better. They will help you discover your triggers that propel you to do the things you do or why you don’t want to do them. If you read these eight books, you will make better decisions on employment and in your personal life, I guarantee it.
To your success and your future.
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