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Obviously, any meaningful change in your life comes down to making a commitment and having the discipline to keep it.

But that’s easier said than done.

Here’s one way to prepare for it:

This doesn’t necessarily mean diving into a pile of self-help literature. All you really need to do is engage into truly thought-provoking works that cause you to focus on topics delving deep into the human consciousness.

The objective is to drill deeper into them than you’ve ever done in your reading before and further than you ever thought you could or would.

The five books listed here are capable of enabling intense focus. You’ll most probably learn from them, but here’s the key: in your mental journey through their well-crafted passages, literally place yourself into the narrative and constantly analyze the direct effect it’s having on you, right then and there.

In the process, you’ll learn even more about yourself and what you can accomplish when you focus your mind.

1. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Brief history of timeBeyond brilliant, this tome isn’t the easiest in the world to read. That said, if you stick with it, you’ll start to see that the big message here is the importance of time and that it has a clear direction.

A top priority of the Dot Com lifestyle is the value of time. While Hawking’s priority is the properties of time, the connection between these two concepts is inescapable.

Even if his presentation leaves your head spinning, your takeaway will be that time is a precious commodity that deserves your respect.

It’s mind-bending, but getting into it will make you feel a little closer to understanding the universe.

2. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Crime and punishmentThis classic travels in a completely different direction: into the inner reaches of the human psyche.

Rodin Raskolnikov is a student fraught with making sense of his place in society. His ego maintains he’s above it all, but is he?

There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to commit an unspeakable act and get away with it. He considers this a privilege of the destined, who justify causing harm to others in the name of a greater cause.

It’s a dark tale, but shining through the tragedy is its theme of personal accountability to oneself and to society. We do the right thing not merely because it’s the thing to do, but because it’s the right thing.

There is no greater good to be served through inequality of any kind.

3. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Yes, everyone knows the basic story, but the richness of this fact-based novel is its detail of imagery, both real and symbolic.

With characters named after Old Testament figures and ambiguity laced throughout this tale of obsession, friendship, greed, defiance, and ultimately, death, Melville’s use of the pen as a paintbrush affords readers the license to draw their own interpretations as to what it all means.

Some have said that within this work, he foretold the coming of the American Civil War, while others consider it the ultimate allegory of Free Will vs Fate.

 

Moby Dick‘s reputation as the Great American Novel grew during the 20th century. William Faulkner confessed he wished he’d written it himself, and DH Lawrence called it “one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world”.

Call me Ishmael is one of literature’s most famous opening sentences.

4. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Catch-22First of all, Catch-22 is just plain funny, and that makes it wonderful all on its own. But it’s also a truly great read, because it skillfully points out the absurdity of war.

Of course, war isn’t the only target of satire here. It’s the ossification of organizational structure that replaces reason with ritual and the resultant effect it can have on an individual.

Frankly, that’s the sort of rigidity that makes the Dot Com lifestyle so much more appealing.

It’s simply another way of explaining the rat race, which is an insane way to go through life when desirable alternatives exist. And they do.

5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey

7 habits of highly successful peopleAfter those forays into the nature of the universe, society, and humanity, here’s a read that suggests how to make the best of it all.

Your mind will surely be attuned to the principles that are listed here.

Covey details an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls true north principles of a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless.

This book is a classic in time management and should be mandatory reading for anyone who aspires to the Dot Com lifestyle.

Before you can succeed in an individual endeavor, you have to win in your head.

The mental training involved in heavy reading and the critical thinking that accompanies it will go a long way toward accomplishing your life’s goals.

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