Life Lessons I Learned From Books

I have found that if we are constantly on the look out for them life lessons can pop up anywhere.  I have also found that books, movies, even songs often represent a rich source from which we can take truth, inspiration and guidance that can influence our thinking, our interaction with others and our view of happiness and success.  Here are a few of the lessons that stuck with me from some of the books I read.

Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch. This book brings with it the recognition that you do not have to always give every employee the same reward just to seem fair when the level of performance may not merit the level of reward.  That it is more important that you be honest and clear about the results you expect and the consequences of achieving or not achieving those results.

The Art of Growing Up by Veronique Vienne.  From this book, I learned a few lessons.  How to be at peace with yourself.  Accepting your truth; never pretending to be more or less than you truly are.  How to enjoy your life and the moments that make it whole.  How to enjoy being an adult while never truly letting go of your child like soul.

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield.  There are no coincidences and everything is connected.  For us to be truly useful to the journey we have to be connected to the source from which all love flows. Only then can we have enough in ourselves so that we can be in a position to share with others.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.  Life is a journey we are on and every encounter we have helps us to learn something.  We have to be open to each possibility and value it for its own worth.  We also have to be willing to press onward when the place we are seems comfortable but is not fulfilling our soul’s vision for our life.  Additionally the biggest thing I learned from this book is that the greatest challenges will often come just before we reach our great reward.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  This reinforced the power of the mind and the power of our vision.  If we are going to make anything happen in our lives we have to envision it and then move forward accepting that our efforts will make it happen. If we can do that and keep going in spite of whatever comes up to slow our progress, ultimately we will make our vision a reality.

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason.  This book reinforced for me the concept that if you cannot manage your money effectively when you have $1,000 you will never be able to manage it when you have a million.  It also reinforced the value of helping others, being able to see the far reaching impact that you have on people’s lives when you are able to pass along to them ideas that they can find useful to shape their own destiny.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.  This book talks about the Fixed Mindset and the Growth Mindset.  It also highlights the value that exists in us having a growth mindset and being able to learn from failures, challenges and ignorance. This book helped me to see that there is value in not always knowing and in feeling clueless sometimes because it represents a golden opportunity to learn something new.  It also helped me to remember those days in my life when I would utter those fateful words “I love a challenge” and to remember that while I now groan at the memory of the times when I came to question that ‘love’, I also have to acknowledge that there was usually something valuable which I leaned from the experience.

Most of these books are major works and they are filled with complex ideas and insight that go far beyond what I have summarized here.  Many other people who read them will find many other things that are more important for them.  When I read these books again, I no doubt will also see other things that resonate with me.  However, as I reflect on them now, these are the lessons that I took away from them and these are the ones that have had some major impact on my perspective of life, people and the way the world works.

I hope that you find books that do the same for you.


Marjorie Wharton is a trainer, facilitator and coach who works with individuals and organizations to help them improve their performance.  She is based at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business in Barbados. Follow her on twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.  For more of her writing visit


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