Books to help you beat worry, anxiety, and stress

Give the ol’ newsfeed a rest and feast your weary eyes upon these lovelies instead.

Here for your viewing pleasure are a few tomes that inform my own approach to managing stress, anxiety, and worry:

1. Grow Rich With Peace Of Mind by Napoleon Hill

This is my #1 Napoleon Hill offering.

His book Think & Grow Rich gets a lot more press (and is the best-selling personal development book of all time) but I like “With peace of mind” even more.  Hill was in his eighties when he penned this one, had lived through more ups and downs by then, and the hard won wisdom it reveals practically leaps off every page.

It’s also more concise, and his list of 43 characteristics of the ‘man who is consistently himself’ (Note it was published in 1967 – there’s good advice for the ladies here too) is one of the best things I’ve seen.

2. How To Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie

Again, Dale Carnegie is probably more famous for his How To Win Friends And Influence People, but I can’t get enough of this book.  I’ve given it to clients and they’ve made it mandatory bed time reading too.

Each chapter is easy to follow and it’s filled with great stories and examples of folks thriving by using these principles.

It was first published in 1944, so another one that’s stood the test of time.

3. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Speaking of being tested by time…

Now we go back even farther.

Marcus Aurelius was a philosopher and the emperor of Rome from 161 to 180 AD.  If you’ve seen Gladiator, he was the old emperor killed by his son Commodus at the start of the movie.

This one’s an outlier because it was probably never intended by its author to be a coherent whole.  It’s more like a collection of his notes that were compiled and published after his death.

Some say it’s cynical but I don’t agree.

Many of its ideas are based in Stoicism, and are all about practicing acceptance, not getting attached to things, and focusing on becoming the best version of yourself – all viewpoints which, if you embrace them as your daily MO, can make you almost “worry-proof”.

4. Biographies.

This one’s more of a category than a specific book.

One of the reasons I love reading biographies is they grant you such a long-term perspective.   You can read about a person’s life and all the setbacks they overcame.  And you can read about a life in another time.  Often reminds me there’s nothing new under the sun.

Every age has its shocks.

The world keeps ticking on.

In fact, Warren Buffet makes a practice of reading old newspapers for the same reason.  He says looking at long gone, sensationalist headlines about events that are now mere echoes in time keeps him grounded.

My favorite biography (and perhaps my favorite book) is Titan, the biography of John D. Rockefeller by Ron Chernow.  I also loved Nelson Mandela’s autobiography A Long Walk To Freedom and the Walter Isaacson biography of Benjamin Franklin.

Something about getting lost in these amazing, epochal lives leaves me with a persistent sense of calm.

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Well, there you go.

Books to lighten the load, as it were.

I hope they’ll be as good to you as they’ve been to me.

Happy Stress-Busting,

Conor Kelly

4 books that changed my life

Confession time…

I’m really a nerd trapped in a strongman’s body.

I read voraciously, and when I do, I use a pen to underline important passages (no pocket protector for that pen…YET).  I read many things twice, even three times.  Howevs, once in a blue sunrise, I come across something that inspires me to read it over and over again.

These 4 books are like that.  I’ve read each of them at least five times.

In January, I shalt devour them once more.

To make a short story long, here they are…

1. Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill.  First published in 1937, it’s the best-selling personal development book of all time, AND tops the reading list for most of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs.

But don’t be mistaken, this is not simply a book about how to get rich.  Andrew Carnegie hired Napoleon Hill to interview and stalk crazy successful humans like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Theodore Roosevelt, to discover their methods, and deliver the ultimate success philosophy.

What’d I tell ya?  That’s all kinds of cool.

2. The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol.  Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others, has credited this book with changing his life.  And behold, the little Austrian boy has done okay for himself.

It’s sort of vomited onto the page with little direction in terms of chapter subheadings, but it’s filled from cover to cover with amazing stories that illustrate its core principles.

Truly an eye-opening read.

3. Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.  Dr. Maltz was actually a plastic surgeon.  He found that for most people, if you give them a facelift, a nose job, or remove a prominent scar, it would transform their entire personality.  But in some cases, even when the surgery had been successful, the patient would fail to notice ANY improvement in their appearance.

This led him to posit the existence of a self-image as separate from what we see in the mirror…and that the key to change lies in altering this self-image.

4. The Complete Works of Florence Scovel Shinn.  A contemporary of Napoleon Hill’s, she’s remarkable for being a woman in a field that – especially in the first half the 20th century – would have been uniquely male.

This one’s got a definite Christian bent (a lot of interpretation of the Bible), which might not be your cup of tea, but I still think it’s worth a mention.  I’ve given it to non-Christians who loved it so much it became their Bible.

She writes with a joyful tone, and makes you feel playful about life.  It’s hard NOT to be charmed by her.  Also, her poetic affirmations are great in dealing with fears and anxieties, and have guided me through some tough, valley-of-the-shadow-of-death type places.

By the way, you’ll notice not one of these was published any later than 1960.

There’s a method to my madness…

I like principles that have stood the test of time.

Anywhoo, put these on the reading list for 2017, or don’t.

Whatever minces your mackerel.

Just know that each of the above has helped me bigtime.

For further inspiration – and perspiration – call (416) 826-4844 to request your personal training consultation.

Happy Reading,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com