5 Books That Will Make You Smarter 📚

My name is Kevin and I’m a book addict.

Kevin here.

It’s no secret. I love reading these days, but hated reading when I was a kid. What happened?

Back in school, you were forced to learn about shit you didn’t care about. But when you’re out in the real world, it’s like a Final Fantasy RPG or a Fallout game.

Books are like your points that you put into your stats.

Reading gives you the chance to STFU, reflect, and learn how others think. By seeing the mistakes, thought processes, and come ups, you can make better decisions.

“The quality of our lives depends on the quality of the decisions we make.” -Ray Dalio

I’m also believer that once you stop learning, you start dying. It’s why I was unhappy with pharmacy. Everyday I felt like I was learning less and stagnated.

Some of the most common questions, I get from my readers are…

  • How do I figure out what I want to do with my life?
  • How do I have real ass relationships and feel more confident?
  • What books are good?
  • How do I start investing?
  • How do you balance your life and get more done with less time?
  • Should I do pharmacy?

Sure. Someone could answer your questions directly.

But if you don’t learn to ask yourself better questions, it’ll be harder to figure out the best answers for you. No one can tell you what to do with your life.

Eventually I want to create kick ass courses on all these things, but who says you can’t learn from other people? In fact you should.

Here’s what I’ll tell you with each book:

  • Name of the book
  • How I found it
  • What it’s about
  • Why I love it
  • What you will learn (a link to a book review)
  • My affiliate link of where to get it

If you read them you will learn how to:

  • Figure out what you wanna do with your life
  • Manage money and personal finances
  • Have real ass relationships
  • Feel confident about difficult decisions

You will learn about the 5 books that have impacted my life. Of course there’s more, but these are the first ones that come to mind.

Reading will not only help you create a kick ass life, but will help you be a better person.

Also buy a real book. There’s something about holding a book in your hand that an iPad or Kindle can’t replace (other than space). It’s easier to enjoy the book and stay focused.

Okay. Enough said. Let’s go.

1: Start with Why? -Simon Sinek

How I found it:

When I first met Joe from JK Films, I was telling him how I was feeling lost with my life.

At the time, I just graduated pharmacy school, passed my board, and was making a six figure income, but I honestly wasn’t feeling it.

Near the end of graduation, I was searching for pharmacy jobs that would make me happy. So I was cold emailing and going on coffee meetings with non-traditional pharmacists. But nothing was hitting.

Joe and I were at Barbell Brigade. He recommended this book. It was how he came up with JK Film’s statement of… Teaching Good Things in a Bad Way.

Maybe it would help inspire me with my “why” and figure out what the hell I wanted to do with my life.

What it’s about:

Start with Why talks about the common traits of successful people and innovative companies.

Want to know what people like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers have in common? They all started with why.

The book breaks down why certain people or brands are so influential and how other companies, like Walmart, lost their “why”.

Why I love it:

Most people complain that this book is really repetitive at times… and it is. But the repetition helped me realize why I was having so much trouble finding what I wanted to do.

When I went into pharmacy, I initially went into it for the money, stability, and doctorate title. Those things were enough to get me through pharmacy school, but those weren’t reasons good enough to get my ass out of bed when I was working.

I was focusing on what to do rather than why I was doing things. As I was reading it, it made me ask some important questions like:  

  • How can I apply these other “why’s” to my life
  • What kind of impact do I want to leave on this world when I die?
  • Am I really living up to my full potential?

It’s one of the reasons why I started Refugee Hustle and my YouTube channel.

Refugee Hustle: To inspire and support other hustlers so that we can rethink obstacles, hustle creatively, and live free, together.

…something like that at least.

What you will learn:

[How to figure out what you wanna do with your life] –

Simon teaches the concept of the golden circle. You focus on your “why”, which helps figure out you “how”, which helps you figure out your “what”. 

How do you find your why? You can start with this format.

To (contribution) so that (impact).

Even though you might not want to start a business, it’ll help you think about your own life.

This can help you with your why for a business, why you want to go into pharmacy school, or shoot for a particular career path.

You can watch the Ted Talk here:

Know why you do what you do… whether it’s for your startup or your own life.

2: Rich Dad Poor Dad -Robert Kiyosaki

How I found it:

This was also a recommendation from Joe from JK Films. We were both at Barbell Brigade and Joe and I started talking about investing.

When I told him about my “dreams” of being a Public Health Officer or government healthcare worker, he immediately suggested this book.

Thank god he did. He saved my life. I never wanted to be a Public Health Officer after reading this book.

What it’s about:

It’s about Robert Kiyosaki’s story about his “rich” dad and “poor” dad. His Rich Dad was his friend’s baller dad and his poor dad was his actual dad.

He takes you on the journey and stories of what his “rich” dad taught him. Some of the “promises” in the book are (taken from the book):

  • Explode the myth that you need to earn a high income to become rich
  • Challenge the belief that your house is an asset
  • Show parents why they can’t rely on the school system to teach their kids about money
  • Define once and for all an asset and a liability
  • Teach you what to teach your kids about money for their future financial success

Why I love it:

I don’t agree with everything in this book and sometimes his book is scammy, often promoting his CASHFLOW board game. But still it’s a must read.

One of the things, I personally love about this book is that he challenges a lot of the common beliefs that you need to have a high education, income, and stable job to get rich.

This book is also great for those that hate reading. This book is told as a story rather than a “how to”.

Honestly by challenging the social norms of going to college and getting a stable job, you can find better “life” answers for yourself.

For the longest time, I thought I never wanted to be a business owner because of the headache, but this book made me believe it was not only possible… but it’s easier in the long run.

It’s almost like the matrix. The red or blue pill. It’s your choice.

What you will learn:

[How to figure out what you wanna do with your life] –

Although this book says it teaches you about personal finance, it’s a better book to decide whether you want to start your own business or the job route.

Robert Kiyosaki teaches you in this book about the concept of liabilities and assets. In short…

  • Liabilities: Take money from your pocket
  • Assets: Puts money in your pocket

He also promises you, “what the rich teach their kids about money that the poor and middle class do not”.

In short it’s that rich people throw their money in assets and pay themselves first. Poor people spend their money on liabilities and furthering the “rat race”.

So how do you pay yourself? He introduces this concept of the cashflow quadrant… or E/S/B/I.

In his sequel book, Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom, he goes deeper into this concept.

The poor and middle class people are usually in Employee and Self-Employed quadrants… exchanging time for money.

On the other hand, the richest people are in the Business and Investor quadrants. These are passive investments.

Ever curious how the rich always just seem to avoid taxes? In this book, he teaches you how the rich use the Business and Investor quadrants use the tax laws (eg… business write offs and tax loss harvesting) to their advantage.

There’s a quick review by Fight Mediocrity below.

3: I Will Teach You to be Rich -Ramit Sethi

How I found it:

In 2009, I was in Hong Kong for a study abroad program at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. I was having the time of my life. I even found a girlfriend in HK too.

Every weekend I would do the following…

  • Go clubbing in Lan Kwai Fong
  • AYCE sushi
  • Eat again at a Hong Kong style diner

It was a pretty good life too, but like anything it caught up to me. Why?

My mom called me and told me that I hit an overdraft fee (click here for the full story). Fuck.

From that moment on, I knew I had to take more responsibility for my finances. So I picked up this book.

What it’s about:

This book is simply about personal finance. You learn everything from credit cards, bank accounts, investing, and how to put everything together. Here’s the table of contents.

But honestly it’s more than just money. It’s about how to set up systems for your life.

Why I love it:

Even though this book was written back in 2009, a lot of the concepts are still sound. To be honest, this was the thing that really launched me in the world of investing.

Rather than focusing on just hard work, Ramit focuses on “front loading” the work and focuses on automating your finances.

In general, it’s a pretty easy read. Best book on personal finance… ever.

What you will learn:

[How to manage money and personal finances]-

One of the best things about this book is the practical action steps it gives you to financially afford your dreams… without guilt.

After reading this book, you’ll really understand and define your own “rich life”.

If you want a sample of Ramit’s concept, he has an OG video right here.

4: No More Mr. Nice Guy -Robert Glover

How I found it:

In 2014, I realized my dating life was shit.

I hooked up with one of my “xanga” friends. She came down for a wedding in LA and asked me to be her date. 

Things were good in the beginning, but slowly she was starting growing more negative. I got criticized constantly for my opinions and thoughts. And honestly I stopped really expressing how I thought.

I tried sticking through it to be a “nice guy”. But to be completely honest, I didn’t think I could do better. Eventually she ended things with me and found some else. 

The truth was when it came to relationships, I didn’t communicate because I was scared to look like an “asshole”.

No lie. I felt like emasculated and was reluctant to stand up for myself and express how I really felt. I constantly asked myself… Why can’t I do the right thing?

That’s when this book came into my life.

What it’s about:

No More Mr. Nice Guy talks about the “nice guy syndrome”, which is when you try too hard to people please others, neglect your own needs, and as a result the person feels unhappy, resentful, and unfulfilled.

He gives informations and tools to stop seeking approval and start getting what they want in life.

Why I love it:

With most nice guys, we just get turned down. Most people don’t tell you why things don’t work out.

No lie, it kinda sucked reading this book because I realized that I suffered from “nice guy syndrome” my whole life. I didn’t have the life I wanted and girls weren’t attracted to me because i wasn’t owning it.

Being a “nice” guy was actually manipulative. Instead of being straight up with what I wanted, I was constantly victimizing myself to get attention. I wasn’t really giving unconditionally.

It taught me how to finally be a man through by giving to myself.

What you will learn:

[How to have real ass relationships]-

This book will teach you about “Nice Guy Syndrome” and how most men with this syndrome try to caretake, avoid conflict, repress feelings, and are actually dishonest.

Most of all it teaches you how to stop giving out of manipulation and actually give because you want to. It’ll give you the tools to say no and set boundaries in a respectful way.

Compared to The Game by Neil Strauss, I think this is a lot more comprehensive and focuses on the inner game.

It was a toss up between this book or The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, but if you’re a man and suffer from “nice guy” syndrome, definitely read No More Mr. Nice Guy.

Here’s a quick 3 minute recap video by Practical Psychology.

 

5. Principles -Ray Dalio

How I found it:

At the end of 2017, my dad was in the hospital and I lost my job.

I took an overnight flight to see my dad before he went into surgery. That was the last time I got to talk to him.

This was one of the last texts with my dad. And I kept looking at it. No lie. I felt alone and unsure about my future.

My heart wasn’t really in pharmacy anymore. I wanted to go full time into my business. I already had the knowledge and the heart to do so. But how do I balance my life and work?

And that’s why I picked up Principles to figure out exactly that.

What it’s about:

The book, Principles, is a collection of lessons that Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, learned over the course of his life. Some people consider Ray Dalio as the “Steve Jobs” of investing.

In this book he teaches you to have difficult conversations, ground yourself in reality, and how to make better decisions for your life and business.

Why I love it:

This book is one of the most practical books on business, life, and self help I have ever read.

With my dad’s passing, I’ve had to have real honest conversations about money, death, and our future going on. For running a business, I’ve had to ground myself with realistic expectations and be honest about my strengths and weaknesses.

But most of all, it’s been really refreshing to see similar patterns in my life to see what’s working, what’s not working, and the opportunities that I’m not currently doing with my life and business.

It’s helped me be more optimistic… even during the darkest times.

What you will learn:

[How to feel confident about difficult decisions]

In this book, you the process of getting what you want in life through designing a “machine” to work toward your goals, trusting in truth, and how to learn from your mistakes rather than run from them.

Tony Robbins actually interviews Ray Dalio and he talks about a lot his concepts in the book below.

Chances are if you fuck with this interview, you’ll fuck with his book.

Now it’s your turn…

Of course there’s more books, I want to know what books you love. Are you a reader? Which of these books interests you the most?

Until next time,

Kevin the Refugee

PS… Huge props to Malan Darras. This article was inspired by him. Check out the original article here.



ABOUT KEVIN YEE
This article was written by Kevin Yee and posted at RefugeeHustle.com. To get posts like this delivered once a week, for free in your inbox click here to automatically subscribe.

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