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Science of Success

Compiled by West Hollywood Library staff, these books go well beyond self-help. They combine great writing with the latest scientific discoveries and theories to teach us, in a way that doesn't require a Ph.D, what success looks like and how to achieve it.

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The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It  by Kelly McGonigal, 2012

The first book to explain the new science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity. Informed by the latest research and combining cutting-edge insights from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine, McGonigal's book explains exactly what willpower is, how it works, and why it matters.

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The Social Animal : the Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks, 2011

This is the story of how success happens. It is told through the lives of one composite American couple, Harold and Erica--how they grow, push forward, are pulled back, fail, and succeed. Distilling a vast array of information into these two vividly realized characters, Brooks illustrates a fundamental new understanding of human nature. Impossible to put down, it is an essential book for our time, one that will have broad social impact and will change the way we see ourselves and the world.

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Winner's Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success by Dr. Jeff Brown and Dr. Mark Fenske with Liz Neporent, 2010

In The Winner's Brain, Drs. Jeffrey Brown and Mark J. Fenske use cutting-edge neuroscience to identify the secrets of those who succeed no matter what-and demonstrate how little it has to do with IQ or upbringing. Through simple everyday practices, Brown and Fenske explain how to unlock the brain's hidden potential. Compulsively readable, The Winner's Brain will not only give you an edge, but also motivate you to pursue your biggest dreams.

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Drive: The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us  by Daniel Pink, 2009

Forget everything you thought you knew about how to motivate people. It's wrong. As Daniel H. Pink explains in his paradigm-shattering book Drive, the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today's world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

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How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer, 2009

The first book to use the unexpected discoveries of neuroscience to help us make the best decisions. Jonah Lehrer arms us with the tools we need, drawing on cutting-edge research as well as the real-world experiences of a wide range of "deciders". His goal is to answer two questions that are of interest to just about anyone, from CEOs to firefighters: How does the human mind make decisions? And how can we make those decisions better?

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Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, 2008

Malcolm Gladwell has the unique ability to combine numerous unique concepts into an idea that is simple to understand and devilishly convincing. In Outliers, Gladwell pulls together academic studies, interviews, and his own clever brand of narrative to teach us the ins and outs of success.

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Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else  by Geoffrey Colvin, 2008

Fortune magazine editor Geoff Colvin offers new evidence that top performers in any field are not determined by their inborn talents. Greatness, he argues, does not come from DNA but from practice and perseverance honed over decades. The key to this is how successful people practice, how the results of practice are analysed and how they learn from their mistakes.

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Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, 2006

Everyone knows that high IQ is no guarantee of success, happiness, or virtue, but until Emotional Intelligence, we could only guess why. Daniel Goleman's brilliant report from the frontiers of psychology and neuroscience offers startling new insight into our "two minds"--the rational and the emotional--and how they together shape our destiny.

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Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1990

Discover what it means to be "in the zone" in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's famous investigation of "optimal experience"! This major text of the positive psychology reveals what makes an experience genuinely satisfying, and how creating these experiences for oneself leads to a more fulfilling life.

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Frames of Mind : The Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner, 1983

The book that introduced the seminal theory of multiple intelligences to the general public, Frames of Mind, lays the foundation for Gardner's theory before detailing each of the seven intelligences: the linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, and personal intelligences--and their modes of operation, with examples.