INFJs enjoy few things more than seeing people change and grow. Our intuition and desire to help others make us natural coaches, counselors, and teachers. But we also love to experience personal transformation. And one of the best ways to continually invest in personal growth is to read (or listen to) great books.
If it weren’t for the books I’ve read over the past few years, I most likely wouldn’t be blogging, YouTubing, or podcasting to encourage other INFJs. The ideas and messages I’ve read over the past few years have changed me.
Thinking about that fact made me ponder which books have changed me most. I keep a running list of the books that I read each year, so I took a few minutes to review the past three years. In this post, I’ll share the top 5 non-fiction books – and an honorable mention – that impacted my life. They’re books you’ll enjoy and that will change you if you apply their lessons and take advantage of their insights.
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Honorable Mention: Make Today Count (John C. Maxwell)
Just missing the top 5 is John Maxwell’s Make Today Count. This book emphasizes the importance of using each day wisely. Maxwell shows how your agenda today determines your success tomorrow and that intentional plodding will eventually carry you to your desired destination.
I’ve read and enjoyed a number of Maxwell’s books. From what I gather, he’s an ENFJ and, as such, thinks similarly to INFJs. His words encourage, inspire, and motivate me, and they’ll do the same for you. This book kept me blogging before people were reading what I was sharing.
5. Essentialism (Greg Mckeown)
Chances are good you’ve heard of Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism considering how many influencers recommend it. In this book, McKeown examines what’s really important in life and what needs to go. He helps you apply Jim Collin’s advice to make a “stop doing” list, stop wasting time, and focus on what matters most.
The diagram from Essentialism that sticks with me is a circle with lines moving outward in many different directions. The numerous lines represent a person’s energy spread wide and thin, and none of them reaches far. In contrast, a second circle shows one, focused lined stretching across the page, making a big impact in an area of life that counts. Laser focus makes a big difference.
4. Decisive (Chip and Dan Heath)
I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend all of the Heath brother’s books, including Made to Stick, Switch, and the title I’m including here: Decisive. The authors are humorous and insightful. Their books explore human psychology in engaging ways and leave you with actionable tips and takeaways. Aside from Malcom Gladwell, the Heath’s are my favorite authors. (I’m looking forward to reading their newest book, The Power of Moments.)
I’m recommending Decisive here because, of the four books the Heath’s have written, it’s the one I refer to most. We all face decisions, big and small, on a regular basis in our lives. Decisive taught me to look at decisions from new angles and showed me how to test a move before committing for the long haul.
3. The 4-Hour Work Week (Tim Ferriss)
While I don’t agree with everything in this book or the way the author sometimes communicates his ideas, The 4-Hour Work Week improved my productivity, work-life balance, long-term planning, and work. Ferris is well-read, an innovative, original thinker, and an INTJ (I think). I know that Michael Hyatt of MichaelHyatt.com (a fellow INFJ and well-known influencer) has read it at least four times. It’s worth your time, I think.
2. The Slight Edge (Jeff Olson)
Jeff Olson’s book The Slight Edge and Make Today Count are similar books, but for some reason, The Slight Edge had a greater impact on me. Olson does a great job explaining that each day we have a choice that’s both easy and difficult. We can make a decision to challenge ourselves and work toward our goals and what matters most to us, or we can settle for what’s easy and comfortable (TV, social media, junk food, etc.). No one choice on any day will make or break us, but the cumulative effects of our most common choices, over time, will turn us into our future selves, for better or for worse.
The best part of The Slight Edge, in my opinion, is that Olson makes change and progress doable for anyone and the prospect of growth captivating. It’s a great read.
1. The Power of Habit (Charles Duhigg)
If you want to reach your goals, change your life, and grow, you have to start with habits. They’ll make or break you. That’s one principle that’s changed me over the past few years. It was something that I was fighting against when I should have been using it to my advantage. Read almost any truly helpful personal growth book, and you’ll hear about the value of habits. They’re that important.
In The Power of Habit, Duhigg simplifies, clarifies, and explains how to use the habit loop to your advantage. I couldn’t stop listening to this book. Duhigg beautifully illustrates key ideas and concepts with riveting stories. If you haven’t read it, you need to.