7 Books That Have Transformed My Thinking in 2023 so Far…

1. The Marshmallow Test, Mischel, Walter

The Marshmallow Test is based on a psychologist’s test famous for delayed gratification. Mastering self control, everyday challenges, and overcoming heartbreak. As I read this book, I continued to ponder that maybe much of this is due to socioeconomic status – rich people typically can delay gratification for a greater prize and children of the same situation can also wait for things. There is no question that having the ability to delay gratification leads to better outcomes.

10 lessons from “The Marshmallow Test“:

  1. Self-control is a key skill for success. The ability to delay gratification and resist temptation plays a significant role in determining our achievements in life.
  2. Cultivate self-discipline. Developing self-control is crucial for achieving long-term goals. This applies to various aspects of our lives, such as careers, finances, health, and relationships.
  3. Learn from successful strategies. Observing the tactics used by those who excel at self-control can help us improve our self-discipline.
  4. Identify your temptation hot spots. Once you know what tempts you, you can start to develop strategies for resisting temptation.
  5. Make a plan. Having a plan for how you will resist temptation can help you stay on track.
  6. Take it one step at a time. Don’t try to change everything at once. Start by making small changes that you can stick with.
  7. Be patient. It takes time to develop self-control. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately.
  8. Don’t give up. The more you practice, the stronger your self-control will become.
  9. Celebrate your successes. When you resist temptation, take a moment to celebrate your success. This will help you stay motivated.
  10. Help others. Helping others to develop self-control can also help you to strengthen your own self-control.

These are just a few of the many lessons that can be learned from “The Marshmallow Test.” If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to developing stronger self-control.

Book: The Marshmallow Test

2. Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life Burgis, Luke

Mimetic desire affects our lives in work, politics, parenting, and fitness. It is a secret, I acknowledged, sophisticated form of adult imitation that drives a larger degree of human behavior than anyone realizes. Intentional desire is what propels us to create a better world. Each of us is surrounded by people who generate, shape, and manipulate our desires at every turn. Because people want what other people learn to want, people are drawn to rivalries and conflict. More people are more upset by the person who works in the office next door making more money than Bezos having billions of dollars – this lends to the fact that rivalry is a function of proximity.

10 Lessons Learned From “Wanting”:

1. We desire is mimetic or imitative – not intrinsic

2. Mimesis can hijack noble ambition

3. If people don’t find positive outlets for their desires, they will find destructive ones.

4. Homogenizing forces are creating a crisis of desire

5. The greater the obstacle, the greater the attraction

6. Humans learn – through imitation – to want the same things other people want, just as they learn how to speak the same language and play by the same cultural rules

7. Any idea that challenges commonly held assumptions can feel threatening – and that’s all the more reason to look more closely at it: to understand why

8. Striving to gain admission to a prestigious university without questioning why you want to go there – it’s just what people with that background do

9. Strange or shocking behavior mesmerizes people. People are drawn to others who seem to play by different rules

10. Perception trumps reality

Book: Wanting

3. The 4- Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich Ferris’s, Tim

Uncertainty and the prospect of failure prevent people from trying new things. Most will choose unhappiness over uncertainty. Ferris suggests that slowing down and remembering that often, being busy is a form of laziness as it prevents you from thinking. Being selective in what you do, and even doing less is the path to being productive.

10 Lessons from the “4 Hour Work Week

1. Less is not laziness. Despite spending fewer hours in the office, the New Rich produce more meaningful results than a dozen deferrers combined

2. Retirement is the worst case scenario insurance. It rests on the assumption that you are doing something you dislike for the ablest years of your life rather enjoying those years now

3. Interest and energy are cyclical. Alternating between periods of rest and activity is essential. The New Rich distribute “mini retirements” throughout their life; instead of hoarding it all for retirement

4. Money alone is not the solution. We often use not having enough money as a scapegoat for not self- reflecting and working out what we want out of life

5. Distress is bad, eustress is good. Distress refers to harmful stress that makes you weaker. Eustress refers to the type of stress that helps you grow. The New Rich seek out eustress and reject distress

6. Relative income is more important than absolute income. Relative income looks at both money and time, whereas absolute income only looks at money.

7. Ask for forgiveness, not permission. People deny things according to their emotions but they can learn to accept them after the fact

8. The timing is never right. Holding out for the perfect moment to make a decision will rarely come to fruition. Waiting for someday means that you will take your dreams to the grace

9. Emphasize strengths. Don’t fix weaknesses. By improving your strengths over your weaknesses, you focus on multiplying the results as opposed to incrementally fixing your flaws

10. When things are done to excess, they often take on the characteristics of their opposites. Too much and too often of what you want will soon become what you don’t want.

Book: The 4-Hour Work Week

4. Four Thousand Weeks Burkman, Oliver

The average person lives just four thousand weeks – assuming you live to be 80. The sense of anxious hurry with to-do lists, life hacks, and struggles – daily struggles with time and ultimate time management problem – challenge of making the most of 4,000 weeks.

10 Lessons “Four Thousand Weeks

1. Learn how to enjoy the little things, find pleasure in hobbies and reconnect with dear ones

2. To do lists have no more than 10 items. Fix time limits and don’t work beyond them

3. Decide on what to fail at. Fail at things for fixed times and don’t beat yourself up

4. Consolidate your caring. Focus your energy. Finite capacity for caring.

5. Focus on one big project at a time – finish before moving on

6. Cultivate instantaneous generosity. Give compliments, make a donation, act positively

7. Seek out novelty in the mundane. Routine fills up more of our lives.

8. Embrace boring and single purpose technology. Don’t get distracted

9. Focus on what you have completed, not just on what’s left to complete. Small wins are motivating.

10. Be a researcher in relationships. You can take this attitude to everything and embrace the uncertainty in life.

Book: Four Thousand Weeks

5. How to Win Friends and Influence People Carnegie, Dale.

This book helps to deal with handling social situations. It reminds you of the social building blocks required for success and how practicing good social skills can improve your life.

10 Lessons from “How to Win Friends and Influence People

1. Do not criticize, condemn or complain.

2. Be generous with praise

3. Remember their name

4. Know the value of charm

5. Be genuinely interested in other people

6. Be quick to acknowledge your own mistakes

7. Don’t attempt to win an argument

8. Begin on common ground

9. Make people feel important

10. Have others believe your conclusion is their own

Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People

6. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There Goldsmith, Marshall

This reminded me to listen, behave and think better. The next station or stop on the work train requires a new set of skills and it’s the small things that make all the difference. Looking at your phone or multitasking at a meeting shows that you are not really here.

10 Lessons “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

1. Winning too much: the need to win at all costs and in all situations

2. Adding too much value: the overwhelming desire to add our 2 cents to every discussion

3. Starting with “No, But, or However” – the overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say “I’m right. You’re wrong”

4. Speaking when angry. Emotional volatility as a management tool

5. Negativity. Let me explain why it won’t work – the need to share our negative thoughts when we weren’t asked

6. Playing favorites. Failing to see we treat others differently

7. Punishing the messenger. The misguided need to attack the innocent who are trying to help us.

8. Refusing to express regret. The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit when we’re wrong or recognize how our actions affect others

9. Not listening. Passive – aggressive form of disrespect .

10. Failing to express gratitude. The most basic form of bad manners.

Book: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

7. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Journey Lansing, Alfred

Ernest Shackleton’s story was shared on The History Channel when I was a kid and I can remember being enamored with this person who took such risks to see the world. This iconic book is about crossing Antarctica in 1914 – when trying to reach the South Pole – his boat got stuck in the ice and how they survived on the ice for more than a year. The strong will, the skill, and the determination and endurance truly captivated me and led me to visit Antarctica this year.

10 Lessons from “Endurance

1. Keep your own courage and confidence high; when weary, never let anyone know

2. Have to have unshakeable faith in your mission, yourself and your abilities

3. Keep your friends close and enemies closer

4. Devote yourself to worthy goals

5. Be persistent and resilient

6. Learn from your mistakes

7. Pivot when necessary

8. Gratitude when things get tough

9. Pursue engaging distractions

10. Diffuse conflict

Book: Endurance

Happy Reading Friends!




A travel, home, & lifestyle blog written by Heidi Stevenson. Follow along for affordable ways to travel, sophisticated and savvy style, expensive looks for less for the home, and everyday style



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