Don't Read These Three Books If You're Happy Being Mediocre

By Davis Nguyen I love being able to spend a Sunday afternoon with just a glass of lemonade and a book in my hand, but although a Sunday alone is my ideal, it doesn't happen all that often.

Luckily (or unluckily), between the 7-hour road trips, 5-hour delayed flights, and 2 hours waiting at the DMV this summer, I’ve found myself with plenty of time to read. A few of the books I've read lately have even been life-changing.

A disclaimer before we jump in to my favorite summer reads: some of you might not be in the mood for a life-changing, enlightening, all-around-awesome book. Some of you may be happy with mediocrity. You might not want to improve yourselves and bolster your careers.

So, to save you the trouble, I'm just going to tell you right off the bat why you shouldn't pick up these books.

Meditations: A New Translation

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”

Marcus Aurelius

Why You Shouldn’t Read It:

Sure Aurelius lost his father when he was 3, his son when he took the throne, and his wife a few years after. And, sure, he inherited political unrest in the Roman senate and one of his most trusted friends tried to stage a civil war to take over his empire, but that's kid's stuff, right? You’ve definitely been through more, and you're happy to suffer. Aurelius might offer insight into how to find tranquility when it seems your life is just a tragedy for an audience to watch, but really you're just ready to take your own personal tragedy into Act II and continue with your sob-story. You’ve don't need to overcome your self-doubt and your fear of death. Definitely don't read this book if you don't want to find the calm in the storm.

The Obstacle is the Way

“What matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure.”

Ryan Holiday

Why You Shouldn’t Read It:

You enjoy complaining and making excuses for yourself. In fact you get as much pleasure from thinking of why you can’t do something, than from actually achieving it. Once you read Ryan Holiday’s book, you’ll lose your ability to find pleasure in making justifications for not being who you want to be. Why would you want to read about people like Abe Lincoln, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela who found ways to turn their obstacles into opportunity? Just put the book back on the bookshelf and continue staring at all those obstacles that seem impossible to overcome.

The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life

“The best time to start was last year. Failing that, today will do.”

Chris Guillebeau

Why You Shouldn’t Read It:

You don’t need Chris to inspire you with stories of ordinary people working toward extraordinary goals and making daily down payments on their dreams. You don’t want a book that challenges you to take the controls of your life, because, well, that's too much effort anyway, isn't it?

So please, whatever you do, don't waste your time on these books.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below:

What was the best book you’ve read this summer?

Davis Nguyen

About Davis

Davis (@IamDavisNguyen) graduated from Yale University in 2015. He currently lives in San Francisco and works at Bain & Company. When he’s not helping CEOs transform their companies, he is helping recent graduates figure out the type of life they want for themselves and helping them get there.