(Heads up, I may get a small commission if you use my links to buy any of these books.)
These are all the books, podcasts and videos that have changed my life for the better. I’ve only included resources that had a humongous impact on my life – as in, the moment I was done reading/watching, I became a different person. I’m talking huge epiphany, immediately change a bunch of things you’re doing in your life – that sort of thing.
I hope you get as much out of these as I have. If you have any questions, drop a comment below and I’ll answer.
And if you have your own recommendations, please let me know in the comments below.
- You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought
- The Slight Edge
- Instant Calm & The Little Book of Calm
- “I Have a Very Protective Helplessness”
- Good Looking Loser
- Mike Boyd
- The Rational Male
- 5-Minute Meditator
- No More Mr Nice Guy
- A Workout Routine
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (And it’s All Small Stuff)
- Mini Habits
- Jordan Peterson:
- Social Experiment Videos on Youtube
- Jocko Willink
You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought
Buy it on Amazon
(This version on Amazon is the updated version – I have a copy of the old version).
This should be the first book you ever buy if you’re serious about overcoming depression, working through negative thoughts, are struggling to be consistent with your goals/habits, or just need a kick of movitation. It’s also mind-blowingly good for helping you put your own problems in perspective and let go of the things that have been bothering you for years and getting in the way of your success. This book was instrumental in me fixing my depression.
If you buy nothing else on this entire list, if you only buy one thing I ever recommend anywhere on my sites – buy this god damn book. Right now. I’m serious – right now.
I’ve recommended it to most of my coaching clients, I’ve recommended it in several comments on my site, I’ve recommended it to guys who email me asking for advice. I’ve recommended it to my girlfriend (she fucking loved it), to several girls I’ve dated, multiple friends and family members. Everyone I’ve recommended it to has told me, “Ok, you weren’t exaggerating – this book is life-changing.”
It’s very easy to read (he has a very reassuring way of speaking to you), and you’ll likely have 50 massive epiphanies while reading it. I first read it when I was 23, and I’ve come back to it and re-read it at least once every year since then.
One of my clients said it best: “Finished Luxury of a Negative Thought. Fucking beautiful book isn’t it. Honestly I’ve taken sooooo much away from away. Some amazing tricks in there.”
If you’re feeling a bit hopeless, or aren’t sure how to cut down on negative thoughts, or aren’t sure if you’ll ever make it and be successful – buy this fucking book. I’ll say it again: BUY THIS BOOK.
The Slight Edge
Buy it on Amazon.
(I own the audiobook version myself – you can find that on Audible/other audiobook sites).
Guys have asked me many times how I achieved everything I’ve achieved, and the answer is always, The Slight Edge.
This book is hands-down the best book I’ve ever read on setting and achieving goals. He goes into great depth about why people struggle to achieve the goals they’ve set, why people give up, why they get overwhelmed with their lack of progress – and how you can fix it.
I still use this method today, my girlfriend uses it, my friends use it, I even get most of my coaching clients to use it.
The premise of the “slight edge” is to just take tiny little baby steps towards your goal every single day – even if those baby steps are so pathetically small they seem almost insignificant. Eg if you’re trying to lose fat, make it your goal to walk around your block for 2 minutes a day. That’s such a pathetically small goal that anyone can do it; and that’s the point. If you build that into a habit where it takes no willpower, then you can upgrade it to something a little better – maybe you walk for 10 minutes a day. When that’s a habit, you start walking for 20 minutes.
Over time you build these habits up, and you focus on consistency – doing it literally every day. When something is a habit it is easy as hell to keep doing – and at that point, success is literally inevitable.
I’ve followed this slight edge method myself. Some of the things I’ve achieved with consistent daily habits:
- A photo-a-day project for a year (I didn’t miss a single day).
- A 6-week Approach Anxiety Program I completed to help me get over my fear of talking to girls. The whole premise of it was to take tiny little baby steps each day and talk to a few girls each day, slowly becoming more comfortable with it.
- A 170kg deadlift and 200kg rack pull. My only mission was to hit the gym 3 days a week, and just be consistent with it – I built up my strength slowly over 3 years.
- Losing 77lbs/35kg. I just focused on taking each day one at a time, and over a 9 month period I slowly lost the weight, a tiny bit each day, added up over time.
- Publishing 100 articles for my main site (KillYourInnerLoser.com). I just wrote a little each day, whenever I could – sometimes on the bus to work, sometimes on lunch breaks – and it added up over time.
- Fixing my depression – I just gave myself little tasks each day to keep improving my mental health. Just tiny little seemingly-insignificant things like “I will go for a walk for 5 minutes each day” and “I’ll text one friend or relative each week to tell them I appreciate them and am grateful for them.”
- Getting my dating life to a point where I’m really happy with it. I just focused on improving myself a tiny bit each day (baby steps), and over a couple of years, girls naturally started wanting to be around me more and more.
- Many other little goals I achieved just by working on them, a tiny bit each day.
The slight edge really is mindblowingly good at forcing you to make daily progress – so you’re never relying on motivation or willpower. It feels like your goals are literally guaranteed, and they take no effort (since you’re just keeping up easy daily habits). It makes it feel like you get to achieve your goals for free – it’s amazing. Success just came for free.
The book also explains how to break down big goals into tiny manageable ones, so you don’t feel so overwhelmed or hopeless. Most big goals are scary as hell, but if you can break them into multiple “part-goals”, you’ll find they’re pretty doable. String enough of those little accomplishments together, and you’ll achieve your massive goals – with and it’ll be relatively easy.
I’m halfway through writing a very in-depth guide on using the book to hit your goals, including how I’ve achieved most of my goals over the last 4 or 5 years. I’ll link to it here when it’s done.
Instant Calm & The Little Book of Calm
Two books by the same author; both worth reading, especially if you struggle with anxiety, worry, stress or panic attacks. Especially Instant Calm – he has tonnes of actual techniques you can do in the moment when you’re feeling anxious; tips that actually work.
My girlfriend has struggled with anxiety, neurotic thoughts and panic attacks – these two books have done wonders for her mental health. She highly recommends them.
I’ve had my fair share of anxiety and mild panic attacks too, and got a lot out of these two books. My favourite tip from Instant Calm is to get a tennis ball (I prefer to use a lacrosse ball because it’s much harder). I press it hard into my chest (my left pec tends to tense up when I’m super anxious), rubbing in circles, pushing it as hard as I possibly can – to the point it hurts a bit.
It’s saved me from a tonne of panic attacks (something I used to really struggle with – less so these days). Just knowing this little pink ball is sitting in my cupboard makes me a hell of a lot more chilled these days. It’s nice knowing it’s there if I need it.
“I Have a Very Protective Helplessness”
If you struggle with hopelessness or feel like maybe it’s too late for you to change, watch this right now:
It’s maybe the best resource I’ve ever seen on dealing with the root cause of hopelessness – the fact that if you’re convinced nothing you do will really work, then you won’t go all-in, and you won’t fully commit to fixing yourself. And because you’re not all-in, you won’t do the things you need to do to actually change.
It’s one of the big challenges of my site; helping guys who seem like they’ve already given up. This video is the first thing I send a lot of people, and for most of them, it’s been eye-opening. It’s been the catalyst they needed to let go of their hopelessness and actually start making changes and building success.
Do yourself a favour and listen to this podcast. For a lot of you, it’ll be life-changing.
The follow-up interview is just as awesome:
Once you’ve watched that second video, this image will make you smile:
The entire HealthyGamer_GG channel is a goldmind of amazing and insightful videos on mental health, reaching your goals and improving yourself. There’s videos on dealing with porn addiction, videos about dealing with loneliness. Videos on improving your self-knowledge, videos on dealing with depression, videos on beating social anxiety, and videos on finding your life’s purpose.
Good Looking Loser
Good Looking Loser is the sole reason I was able to meet as many girls as I have – this site would not exist without Good Looking Loser.
It’s a self-improvement website covering everything from improving your looks, meeting women, getting bigger in the gym, losing fat, dealing with insecurity and become a more well-rounded man. I owe the owner, Chris, a great deal of thanks for everything he’s given me – and absolutely everything on his site is free.
A huge portion of my philosophies have stemmed from ideas he gave me – particularly the concept of cutting out the Pickup Artist nonsense and just telling women you think they’re cute – no games.
His (completely free) Approach Anxiety Program was the sole reason I was able to eventually start hitting on girls in person – it’s a step-by-step 6-week program where he holds your hand the entire way and eventually gets you comfortable meeting women during the daytime and asking for their number. I kept a log/journal of my entire progress (including vlogs) – check it out if you’re curious to see what I was like early on in my self-improvement journey (you’ll need to be logged-in to view that).
He’s also provided a tonne of advice on his second site about starting a blog, making money, and most importantly – how to share your ideas in a way that actually helps people and changes their lives.
The forums are also hands-down the best forum I’ve ever found for dating advice, motivation, help with gym/losing fat, style, online dating advice, making money – anything to do with self-improvement. I’m a moderator on the forums there and will continue to be for years to come – it’s a great place.
It’s also a great place to follow other people’s success – a lot of guys post logs of their journey. I’ve got a 150+ page thread of my journey here; I post on there several times a week, and have done since May 2016. Everything from my struggles to my successes, my lays and my failures, the things I’ve learned and the things I’m working on.
Before you read any further, go watch the video I just listed above so you can see why I love this guy so much.
This motherfucker reminds me so much of myself – he’s a stubborn bastard who refuses to ever lose. He just doesn’t give up, despite frustrations, doubts and slow progress. He’s the embodiment of The Slight Edge. He grinds away on his goals, day by day, making a little more progress every single day – until he eventually breaks through and achieves success.
He’s taught himself a crazy number of different skills, and achieved some really impressive feats – things he thought would be utterly impossible when he first started. This one is amazing:
He’s got many awesome videos where he only achieved his goals through sheer tenacity and complete refusal to give up. The guy is a legend.
His entire channel is worth watching – I’ve watched every video he’s ever posted, multiple times each.
The Rational Male
The Rational Male, along with the book No More Mr Nice Guy taught me a tonne of masculine values I was completely lacking. They both taught me to value myself, to go for what I wanted, and to stop treating myself like a second-class citizen – especially when it came to women.
The articles that have helped me the most:
- The Myth Of The Lonely Old Man
- Wait For It?
- The Medium Is The Message
- There Is No One.
- Rooting Through Garbage
- The Desire Dynamic
- Three Strikes
- Playing Friends
I really, really wouldn’t be the man I am today without The Rational Male.
If you’re not sure where to start, grab his first book The Rational Male (Paperback). He’s condensed his best articles into a book format – it’s a great place to start. Otherwise, just go through his site and read everything he has listed here.
I don’t agree with everything on his site (I think he can be a bit combative with men vs women), but if we agreed with every single opinion other people had, the world would be a pretty boring place.
I’ll add in the caveat: Try not to get too caught up in the “men vs women” stuff he focuses on. I focused way too much on the differences between men and women early on, and it just made me miserable – it made me see every woman as the enemy. Go through his site and read the foundational articles (they’ll change your life if you’re a bit of a “nice guy”), buy his book if you want to, and then move on to more positive sources of dating/life advice.
Again, nothing against the Rational Male – he really did have a massive positive impact on my life. I just don’t want you to get caught up in obsessing about the differences between men and women, because I’ve found (and my coaching clients have found) life is much more rewarding when you focus on the similarities between men and women.
This book brought so much inner peace to my life, and helped me deal with a very serious crisis. The author teaches you how to meditate as you go about your day, in little 5-minute sessions while you’re doing other things. He teaches you how to meditate as you’re doing the dishes, while you’re on the way to work, while you’re working out at the gym, while you’re walking around outside.
None of it requires you to know how to meditate; the book is written for people who have absolutely zero interest in meditating. He teaches you to just “be present” and focus on what you’re currently doing – no matter what it is you’re doing. And that’s all meditation really is – just focusing on what you’re currently doing. Or a better way of saying it is noticing what you’re doing.
My favourite types of meditation are the “sound meditations” – as in, just paying attention to and focusing on the sounds around you. I do this one often, just letting myself notice the sounds going on. The hum of the air-conditioner, the honking of cars in the distance, the sound of leaves scraping on the pavement, the tweeting of birds in the trees, the way leaves rustle in the trees, the sounds of people talking as they walk past. Noticing all these sounds is incredibly calming – like I said, the techniques in this book got me through a very rough time in my life, and I came out the other side a much calmer and more in control person.
No More Mr Nice Guy
If you have issues with being a “nice guy” – as in, being a people pleaser and letting others walk all over you, then this is the book for you. It’ll teach you how to start actually asking for what you want in a direct manner, without needing to be “passive-aggressive” and without manipulating people.
If you’ve never had much luck with women, and find you get friendzoned a lot or just completely ignored – read this book. The author pushes masculine values like going for what you want and not sitting back being passive. I wish I’d read this book when I was young; it would have saved me many years of hell with women (and people in general).
In short, it’s a book about honesty, integrity and masculinity.
My girlfriend even bought a copy for one of her male friends who is the biggest pushover she’d even met.
A Workout Routine
A Workout Routine is my go-to site for guys who are first starting out in the gym – this workout is the one I recommend to complete newbies. I myself do the 4-day version of this workout routine he created.
More than that, he’s put a tonne of effort into answering all sorts of questions like:
- Progressive Overload: The Key Workout Requirement
- Bulk or Cut: Should I Build Muscle Or Lose Fat First?
- How To Lose Fat Without Losing Muscle (Burn Fat, Not Muscle)
- How Many Calories Should I Eat A Day To Lose Weight or Gain Muscle?
- Starvation Mode: Is It A Myth? Is It Real? Is Your Body In It Right Now?
- Workout At Home: How To Build Muscle Without Weights
- Exercise Frequency: How Often Should You Workout Per Week?
- How To Build Muscle And Lose Fat At The Same Time: Can It Be Done?
- How Long Does It Take To Lose Weight, Get A Six Pack or Build Muscle?
His second website, A Calorie Counter is equally as awesome. He’s got a tonne of useful articles on there about losing weight, counting calories, keto diets, intermittent fasting, and more. This is the best article on his site:
He’s got some paid workout plans/books on his sites – one of my clients bought one of his workout routines and was very happy with it. (I personally haven’t bought anything on his site; I’m very happy with all the free content he’s put up.)
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (And it’s All Small Stuff)
In a similar vein to “You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought”, and “The Little Book of Calm”, this book helps you take a step back from your problems when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. This book is all about perspective – it helps you put your problems in perspective so you’re not weighed down by them.
I re-read this book every couple of years as a reminder to myself not to get bogged down worrying about shit that really doesn’t matter.
It’s a very similar concept to The Slight Edge; the idea of doing tiny little habits each day, that add up over time to bring you success. I actually bought this book because the author had an awesome article on his blog called The One Push-up Challenge, which got me hooked on his stuff. The book goes into more detail about creating habits that are so pathetically easy you can’t help but do them.
This book supplements The Slight Edge really well. His writing style is different (more practical, less “feel-good” than The Slight Edge), and he gives you plenty of suggestions for little habits you can implement into your own life.
If you don’t have the cash to buy this book, at least read the One Push-up Challenge article – it’s great.
If you’re depressed, if you’re stuck, if you’re unsure of your goals or your place in the world, Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life will set you straight:
The man’s an absolute genius; watch one podcast or lecture of his (he’s a professor and a clinical psychologist) and that’ll be instantly apparent. His Youtube channel is amazing – full of free lectures, videos about his philosophies, ethics and suggestions on how to improve your life.
One of his core philosophies is to take responsibility for your own life – don’t ever let yourself be a victim. The best advice he’ll ever give you is to clean your room:
He’s essentially advocating for the slight edge – doing just the smallest, most easily-manageable task you possibly can – even if that’s just making your bed or cleaning your room. It seems like such a pathetically small task; after all, if you’re depressed, how the fuck is cleaning your room going to help with your deep issues?
But you find after you clean your room, you look around and think, “Wow, my room actually looks quite nice now. And it was a pigsty before… I am the one who changed that. If I can change my room, maybe I can clean the whole house?”
You’ll clean the whole house, and then realise – “Wow. I did that too. Maybe I can start working on my resume so I can get a job? Maybe I can actually get my butt into the gym and at least start working out and improving my health?” As you show yourself that you’re able to complete small tasks and then medium-sized tasks, you’ll eventually be able to move on and tackle the really big issues that have been bothering you for years.
After you’ve watched the video above, watch this:
There’s also another channel called Bite-sized Philsophy, dedicated to taking snippets of Jordan Peterson’s lectures & interviews and cutting them down to smaller clips. Definitely worth checking out. This one impacted me:
This one is great too:
Social Experiment Videos on Youtube
Social Experiment videos were my go-to entertainment a few years ago, and they were a huge factor in me working up the courage to actually start talking to girls myself. I prefered the wholesome channels (rather than the over-the-top prank channels where the intention seems to be to insult or belittle other people). My favourites:
This one in particular is extremely insightful:
That video was instrumental in me finally giving myself permission to start talking to random girls in public. I really needed to see a video like this to start believing girls would be nice to me if I went up to them and said hello. And guess what? 99.99% of girls I talked to were just as sweet as the girls in this video.
I used to watch hundreds (thousands) of these videos, to give myself the motivation to go outside and talk to women. I wouldn’t have had the courage to start putting myself out there and risking rejection if I hadn’t watched other people doing it first.
Jocko Willink is a badass; you can tell that just from looking at him. Ex-Lieutenant Commander in the Navy SEALs, honored with a Silver Star and Bronze Star, black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Fought in the Iraq War, became a public speaker and motivational consultant, and now hosts his own very successful podcast here.
Much like Jordan Peterson, a huge part of his philosophy is taking responsibility for your problems and never letting yourself be a victim. No matter how much current circumstances are kicking your ass, there’s always something you can do to fight back. His book Extreme Ownership goes deep on this topic.
One of my favourite philosophies of his is “Good” – reframe every setback as a good thing, because it’s a chance to learn, grow, and become a stronger, more resilient human being.