10 books header

The 10 Books That Changed My Life

And why it's okay to adjust your schedule in the hectics of every day life

Hi friends, 

It’s Wednesday, the 24th of January. Yesterday, I wanted to publish the post (re)moving the home pin, about vacating our apartment in Poland, how hard it was to walk out the last time from the empty space (and how it reminded me of the Friends finale). It was meant to be a piece about memories created there and the bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye. Yesterday, I was traveling back to Milan got delayed at the airport, and. Once I got home, I just wanted to sit back on the couch with Natalia, a glass of wine, and Cosmo. I didn’t want to finish writing, edit it, and publish it. Before I knew it, it was well into the am, and I hadn’t published the post. 

In the past, I’d have beaten myself up about it. I was meant to stay consistent. I was meant to stay accountable. “You failed, “I’d tell myself. Not this time. 

I’m learning to take things with more compassion to myself, forgive myself, and adjust as things go. Sometimes I’ll fall behind. Sometimes I’ll forget. That’s okay. Tomorrow is another day, and just because I missed something once, it doesn’t mean it’s time to give up or start from scratch. In that spirit, I’ve made the decision to publish today (instead of waiting a week and feeling bad about it) and to switch up the weeks and do next week’s post today and the piece about moving and saying goodbye next week. I’m coming to terms with the fact that it’s okay, and I should still be proud for following through today. Without much further ado, here are the 10 books that truly changed my life:

  1. Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

  2. Atomic Habits by James Clear

  3. Die with Zero by Bill Perkins

  4. The 4-hour work week by Tim Ferris

  5. Scattered Minds by Dr. Gabor Mate

  6. The courage to be disliked by Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi

  7. Start with Why by Simon Sinek

  8. Someday is today by Matthew Dicks

  9. Pathless Path by Paul Millerd

  10. The Workshop Survival Guide by Devin Hunt and Rob Fitzpatrick

The list above is not in any particular order, except Show Your Work and Atomic Habits. These are two books I have gifted to friends and family, of which I have spare copies at home to keep on gifting. They have had by far the biggest impact on me so far.

Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

This book is why I’ve started this blog. It’s the book that finally made me break the cycle of sharing things online for later because they never seemed to be good enough. It’s a very short read; it’s ADHD-friendly, has wonderful graphics, and explains concepts in a way that is easy to grasp. Since discovering it, I’ve devoured all of Austin Kleon’s work, including his paid newsletter and other books. They’re all worth their weight in gold. His analogy is that we as humans care about the story behind a piece of art just as much as the art itself is transformative.

About: “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon is an inspiring guide that encourages readers to share their creativity and process with the world. It emphasizes the importance of making one’s work accessible and visible to others rather than keeping it hidden. The book offers practical advice on how to build an audience, network with like-minded individuals, and leverage the power of sharing to fuel personal and professional growth.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits is one of these books that changes your perspective. Oftentimes, we talk about the compound effect when it comes to investing and finance, but it’s not often that we realize that “getting better by 1% every day “can have such profound effects on our lives. He expertly shares his approach, techniques, and stories, which help put things into perspective. The key takeaway: make good habits easy to achieve and make bad habits difficult to do is simple, yet world-changing.

About: “Atomic Habits” by James Clear is a transformative book that delves into the power of small, consistent changes in our daily routines to achieve remarkable results. Clear presents an accessible and practical approach to habit formation, focusing on how tiny adjustments can lead to significant improvements over time. The book is filled with real-life examples, insightful strategies, and a clear framework for understanding how habits work and how they can be changed to create a more productive and fulfilling life.

Scattered Minds by Dr. Gabor Maté

This was one of the first books I read after my diagnosis with ADHD last year. It helped me feel understood, less alone as well as more “normal “. I often say that the diagnosis was a moment of understanding and forgiveness for myself, helping me to stop blaming myself for things such as forgetting, procrastinating, or scroll paralysis. Scattered Minds helped me not only better understand this neuro-divergence but also explain it better to family and loved ones. It’s a book I’ve given to those nearest to me, which helped them understand me as well as ADD better. r

About: “Scattered Minds” by Dr. Gabor Maté offers a profound insight into Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), approaching it from both a personal and scientific perspective. Dr. Maté, who himself has ADD, combines his professional knowledge with personal experiences, providing a compassionate and comprehensive understanding of the condition. The book explores how ADD affects people’s lives, relationships, and self-esteem while also discussing innovative and effective approaches for managing and overcoming the challenges associated with ADD.

Die With Zero by Bill Perkins

The approach presented by Bill in his book is novel and, at first, quite un-intuitive. Upon diving deeper into the book (albeit skipping some parts, which felt a little repetitive), I think I walked away with a much better approach to life. We’ve always heard that Time = Money, but the framing of life as the sum of experiences we collect is what was a strong wake-up call to re-evaluate certain choices in life in regards to work and fulfillment. 

The two key takeaways for me were: It’s time to start donating and supporting charities now. There’s no point in waiting until I’m gone if I can help now. If you are in a position to donate, please consider supporting Partners In Health Maternal Center of Excellence. They are combating the maternal mortality rate in Sierra Leon. You can donate here

The second one: there’s a fine balance between making money while working a job that may not bring you satisfaction, and waiting for a future that may not come. This rings especially true after my adventures with my mental health. Tomorrow is not a given. This was one of the books that inspired me to start looking for more meaningful work.

About: “Die with Zero” by Bill Perkins presents a thought-provoking approach to personal finance and life planning, challenging conventional wisdom about saving and retirement. Perkins advocates for a paradigm shift in how we view money and time, urging readers to optimize their life experiences and spend more purposefully to attain maximum fulfillment. The book provides strategies for balancing saving for the future with living fully in the present, emphasizing the importance of experiencing life’s adventures before it’s too late.

Someday is today by Matthew Dicks

Following the theme of “Tomorrow is never given”, this book is a kick-in-the-butt to start today. There never will be a perfect time, there never will be an optimal time, and things will not get “easier, “and “Monday “will never come. This is one of the books that instill this fire in you to put the book away and just start. It’s one of the books I find myself recommending the most, together with Show Your Work.

About: “Someday Is Today” is a motivational book that serves as a call to action for readers to stop postponing their dreams and start taking steps towards them now. It emphasizes the idea that the perfect time to pursue one’s goals and passions is the present, rather than waiting for a vague “someday” in the future. The book combines inspirational stories, practical advice, and actionable tips to help readers break free from procrastination and fear, encouraging them to seize the day and make the most of every opportunity.

The Workshop Survival Guide by Rob Fitzpatrick and Devin Hunt

This is one of the strictly “business “books and how-tos that I absolutely adore. I found it through a recommendation of Chris Do from The Futur. It’s a wonderful book that distills tried and tested methods for making workshops that are engaging and informative and provide a win-win for everyone involved – from the host to the organizer and the attendees. I used to like to call this “Required Reading “at The Codeero Group for all our partners working on events. This YouTube video between Chris Do and Rob Fitzpatrick is a great listen and perfect addition to the book.

About: “The Workshop Survival Guide” by Rob Fitzpatrick and Devin Hunt is an essential resource for anyone looking to run successful workshops. The book offers a comprehensive guide on how to plan, execute, and facilitate workshops that are engaging, productive, and memorable. It covers various aspects of workshop planning, including setting objectives, choosing the right activities, managing group dynamics, and ensuring that participants leave with valuable insights and skills. This guide is particularly useful for educators, trainers, managers, and team leaders who seek to create impactful learning experiences through workshops.

The 4-hour work week by Tim Ferris

This is a book that perfectly pairs with Someday is Today and Die With Zero. This trifecta is an amazing introduction to finding meaning in life and work, the things we do, and how to derive maximum enjoyment and value from our limited time on earth. I love Tim Ferris’s content, and even though this book came out all the way back in 2009, it applies even more today than it ever did. The key takeaway, same as with Die With Zero, is that our time is finite, and we should use it wisely to go on adventures and live a life worth remembering. He also did a wonderful interview with Colin and Samir over on YouTube. 

About: “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss is a groundbreaking book that challenges conventional work norms and offers strategies for living more and working less. Ferriss introduces the concept of lifestyle design and advocates for creating a life that balances work with personal freedom, adventure, and fulfillment. The book provides practical tips on outsourcing, automation, and efficient time management to drastically reduce the workweek. It’s a guide for those seeking to escape the 9-5 grind, travel the world, and achieve financial independence through unconventional and innovative approaches to business and lifestyle.

The Courage To Be Disliked

This is one book that I’ve read and then re-read. It doesn’t feel like a book, both through the way that it is presented as inter-generational dialogue and yet still telling a story. It makes bold claims rooted in Alfred Adler’s concepts and approach to trauma and the past. It strays away from the traditional approach and school of thought of psychology, taking a more logical-oriented and mathematical approach to life. It challenged a lot of my beliefs and approaches, and while I don’t fully agree with everything it tries to do, the key takeaway and message are incredibly true. Be “unapologetically yourself “, and it’s important to feel valuable and needed.

About: “The Courage to Be Disliked” by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga presents a thought-provoking dialogue that explores the concepts of happiness and freedom based on the philosophies of Alfred Adler. This book challenges conventional thinking, emphasizing that happiness is a choice and not bound by past traumas or experiences. It delves into the psychology of interpersonal relationships, the pursuit of recognition, and the courage required to change one’s life perspective. The book is a compelling read for those seeking personal growth and a deeper understanding of what it means to live authentically and be true to oneself.

Pathless Path by Paul Millerd

About: “Pathless Path: Imagining a New Story for Work and Life” by Paul Millerd is a thought-provoking exploration of redefining success and finding fulfillment beyond traditional career paths. Millerd challenges the conventional narrative of linear career progression and the relentless pursuit of more, advocating for a more intentional and reflective approach to work and life. The book intertwines personal anecdotes, philosophical insights, and practical advice, encouraging readers to embrace uncertainty, forge their own paths, and discover a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in their personal and professional lives.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

About: “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek is an influential book that revolutionizes the way we think about business, leadership, and success. Sinek introduces the concept of the “Golden Circle,” explaining that the most inspiring leaders and organizations start by asking “Why” – their purpose, cause, or belief that drives them. The book emphasizes the importance of understanding this core motivation to create more inspired and loyal customers, employees, and communities. It’s a compelling read for anyone looking to inspire others or find more inspiration in their work and life.

Honorable Mentions from 2023

That’s it for this week. Tune in next Tuesday for what was originally scheduled for this week :). Until then, I hope all is well my friend.

With love from Milano,


Similar Posts

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *