In my twenties I enjoyed reading self-help and motivational books. The greatest of these authors and speakers are well know, such as Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, and even Gary Vaynerchuck.
My all-time favorite is Jim Rohn. This video was a huge inspiration to me. It is four hours of knowledge and wisdom and not to mention a masterclass in public speaking. It set me on a path of developing my own philosophy.and while I fail to always embody it, the kernel is there. I revisit my notes and rewatch every so often.
It feels good to get a fresh dose and revisiting this old content. But today I receive little value from self-help and motivational content. Maybe someday that will change. Today the content is repetitive and the messages along the lines of ‘being successful’ provides less value because it’s all internalized.
Literature and Biographies
As you read more you upgrade your reading. You move onto more difficult reading that requires deeper thinking and reflection. This is what separates the great books from the bad books. Today, I receive much more value from literature. The great stories in history nudge open the door to deeper truths and meaning that simple directives cannot.
Reading the Moviegoer, for example, a book whose character is on a quest for finding meaning in life, is more powerful and impactful than a book simply telling me how to find meaning. I experience the nothingness, emptiness, and self-delusion that Binx feel. I heed its lessons and come way changed.
Another great genre is biographies. I’ve written about this before, but they are vastly underrated for their teaching of history. You cannot tell the story of FDR or Lincoln without also setting the context of the Civil War or WW2. And better yet, they are superior in providing lessons on life through the mistakes and triumphs of their subjects.