100 Books for 1 Life

As Naval Ravikant said, I'd prefer to re-read 100 books than all the world's books combined. But there's a problem. I still haven't read 100 books.

I will although provide a comprehensive list of my favorite books, which I will update from time to time, capped at 100 references. This will be a way for you to better understand who I am, and what I place value upon.

For each book, I will only pick the "top of mind" idea that resonates the most with what it brought me.

The Magic of Thinking Big — David J. Schwartz, PhD

This book was the first personal self-help book I've read. While browsing at my Amazon shopping list for the past years, I've just discovered the buy date of this book: 21 August 2021!

This book taught me about the power of thoughts, and especially how limiting they are. One clear analogy that I also remember is the brain always wants to be right: meaning, if you want to find some ways an idea will work, you will find them — and vice versa!

However, reading it a second time 6 months later, this copy feels outdated and outer repetitive. It is perfect for a first read and introduction into self-help books, but pass your way if you've already made the jump.

The Enchiridion — Epictetus

Just learned the "Manuel d'Epictete" (Epictetus' Manual) reads "The Enchiridion" in English! I've read it around 2022, bought it in the streets of Paris for around 3€ at a homeless bookshop on the quay of the seine.

This book reminds all the core concepts of the Stoic philosophy. From "what you control and what you don't" to more practical mindset. One lesson which truly stroke me was the view of the world as deterministic: everything happens for a reason.

Another important lesson of this manual is the search of the Stoic mindset is not met by being emotionless and antipathic. You have to see the grief of the other, acknowledge it, but never feel it as it is not yours.

A great example found on lesson 16:

"When you see anyone weeping in grief because his son is dead, be careful that the appearance may not misdirect you. As far as words go, however, don't reduce yourself to his level, and certainly do not moan with him. Do not moan inwardly, either" - The Enchiridion

Such simpleness in 52 chapters. No fuss. No unnecessary storytelling. This is because the book are simple notes, from Epictetus classes, and were not meant to be published.

How to Make Friends and Influence People — Dale Carnegie

Give this book to any high-schooler, and he watch him become the popular kid at his local school. This is basically what happened to me, while I read this piece on the summer break before joining a brand-new school.

The most influential lesson of this book is to let the people talk. Everyone is interested in themselves and their story, not of yours. Meaning, you should also let them talk in public and not disagree with them in public: never say "you are wrong".

This book is very concrete and adapts well to its time. It transforms anyone into a networking beast.

7 Habits of Highly Successful People — Stephen Covey

This is the second and probably the last mindset book of this list. I've read it around 2022, and it was quite great.

The greatest lesson I learned from it was the importance of time (and what a great lesson). Especially time management, as I bought the sequel of this book titled "First Things First". From then, I learned that schedules must be blocked by the hour on a weekly basis. Friends of mine (specially Elliot) thought of me as a robot — but it was kind of worth it.

Overall, it gives simple but honest and practical advices on life. I don't remember much about it, but I know it was very insightful.

Never Split the Difference — Christopher Voss

This book was so much recommended to me that I had to buy it. It went all the way through social medias in the self-help ecosystem, you could not avoid it. So I gave it a try.

The brightest lesson it gave me was that during negotiations, it is not "Him versus I" but a work you have to make together with your prospect. By not devaluating the person in front of you but the perceived value of the product, you can win big. Always make the seller your friend.

It is one of the few business books I really liked: grounded, precise and still relevent.

The Psychology of Money — Morgan Housel

I was never a fan of Ferraris, Rolexs, and Louis Vuitton bags (although it changed a bit recently) as I read this book in mid 2022. Fortunately, I still have to include this book because of one quote — which has nothing to do with finance.

"No one is crazy" - The Psychology of Money

Simple, yet profound and impactful when you think about it. Even the craziest don't think they are crazy. Because everyone looks at the world from their own experiences. This also resonates with one quote, which I do not remember the origin:

"If you had lived the life of this person to the extent of every action, you'd have made the same choices at this time" - Unknown

And I still feel like 80% of the population don't live these quotes.

50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive — Noah J. Goldstein, Ph.D.

I've read this book as it was recommended on R.Cialdini "Influence and Manipulations" which will not appear in this list.

One of the best lessons I read from it was the illusion of choice: when given more choice about a jam brand, a mother would buy less because of confusion. Basically, fewer choices mean more sales.

This is, hands-on, the best marketing book that I've read so far. Each chapter is 3 pages long and follows a unique story explaining a key marketing principle.

Letters to Lucilius — Seneca

I've read this as one of my first Stoic books, right after the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. It shocked me to the bones, as I still remember the school chair in which I read it.

The topic of death, longing for about a third of the book, really stroke me. I did not before encounter such direct interaction with even the thought of dying. One of the lessons I recall from this cover is if someone wants to die, he will.

As this book is a suite of letters from Seneca to Lucilius, it is very openly written and human. It is as if a father was writing to his child. Very easy to read with the right translation but - ugh. Some passages are though.

Made to Stick — Chip and Dan Heath

I've read this one a week before my interview at iExec for Web3 Communication Manager… and boy did it help!

One of the lessons I recall the most for this book is to be get the core message, and communicate it concisely. Less is more. Learn just that, and you've got 80% of the copywriting skills needed for any marketing job.

I found this book really insightful and easy to read. If you don't know anything about communication and marketing, go for this one. It's the only one you will need.

Sapiens - Yuval Noah Harari

Obviously. I did not buy the book when everyone told me, I thought it was too mainstream. Only when I saw a dumb girl from high school reading it, it shattered a bit of my ego and precipitated me to get it.

The only lesson I remembered was that the prime differentiation which allowed Sapiens to overtake the world was its imagination — the ability to imagine what does not physically exist… and that we still don't know what caused it.

Great book, very easy to read and a good recap of the past thousand years. It is nice to read a book about humanity, which is not too much alarmist or woke.

Le Grand Livre de la Vente — Nicolas Caron

This book seemed boring and awfully long (600 pages) but I still took on the challenge to finish it in 2023. This book is about sales, for the non-french of my readers.

The only lesson I remembered which I use all the time is that selling is incredibly easy if your product is tailored for your seller. So shut up and listen.

Although it was a very long book, it was still 100% worth it.

...89 Books to go!