Shelf with lots of books

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Since I have been reading “self-help” books my wife suggested I check out The Alchemist. Luckily she owned a copy, so I grabbed it from our bookshelf and stuffed it in my backpack. I gotta say that I really enjoyed this book. I can now see why so many people consider it a “self-help”, book. Here are a two of my favorite passages:

 

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer”, the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse that the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity”.

I loved this part because it closely aligns with my own personal beliefs on suffering. You cannot hope to succeed without a bit of hard work.

“Every second of the search is an encounter with God”, the boy told his heart. “When I have been truly searching for my treasure, every day has been luminous, because I’ve know that every hour was a part of the dream that I find it. When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve”.

 

I got teary eyed when reading this part. It’s funny how sometimes you read something and it spurs such a deep emotion. That’s how I felt reading this part in the book. I’ve always characterized myself as an optimist and I believe that it takes a bit of courage to remain an optimist in this day and age.

Man reading book

Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg

I had heard so much of Charles Duhigg from many “entrepreneurial youtubers”, so naturally I became curious of his work. Most people recommend his bookย The Power of Habit,ย I even remember a colleague reading it. But I didn’t find a copy of it at my local library but I did find a copy ofย Smarter Faster Betterย instead. Oh boy was I happy with this book. I highly recommend this book for anyone, especially if you are looking for ways to be more “productive”. The book is full of stories of how people, organizations, or businesses overcame serious obstacles to come out on top. Here’s my favorite part from the book.

This, ultimately, is one of the most important lessons of places such as NUMMI and the lean and agile philosophies: Employees work smarter and better when they believed they have more decision-making authority and when they believe their colleagues are committed to their success. A sense of control can fuel motivations, people need to know their suggestions won’t be ignored, that their mistakes won’t be held against them. And they need to know that everyone else has their back.

 

There has been very few work environments where I felt trust between myself and management. This always left me alienated and demotivated. But I’ve had other jobs where I truly felt like I was part of the team. Those were great jobs and enjoyed my time at them. Not just because it was a fun working environment but because at the end of the day I felt that my work meant something.