5 books, 5 lessons

Anetshelani Maselesele
3 min readJul 19, 2022


So, one day I decided I needed to get back to my productivity routine — I’ve been slacking a bit since school started. One way that I wanted to do this was to go back to writing short articles, but I didn’t know where to start. So I decided to let it go and rather start by reading novels again, and then I’ll do a review of that book when I finish.

So I started reading “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon (Ali Abdaal recommended this book btw — check out his YouTube channel — he’s brilliant). As I started reading this book, I thought, ‘maybe I should start compiling a list of lessons that I’ve learnt from the books I have read during the past summer holidays.” So here it goes:

The Richest Man in Babylon — George Samuel Clason:

- Start saving as early as possible, and save at least 10% of what you make. The best way to think of this is, pay yourself first before you pay everybody else. And no, I don’t mean before you pay the people that you owe — before you buy those groceries, or pay for that Netflix account, put away 10% of whatever you make, and start investing. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT spend the interests that you make from your savings and investements — my brother and I like to call this “don’t eat the babies, rather let the babies multiply and make their own babies.” This is how you grow your wealth.

‘What Happened To You’ — Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry and ‘The Boy who was Raised as a Dog’ — Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavits

- Everybody in life has some sort of trauma, and this trauma has played a significant role in shaping us into who we are today. But it doesn’t have to stay like that — the brain is malleable that you can restructure it and become more of what you desire. How? Go to therapy (yes, you do need it), journal down your thoughts, cry your lungs out if you need to. Basically, engage in activities that will lead to healing. Unhealed trauma can be passed onto the next generation — just like genetics.

Get Over It — Iyanla Vanzant:

- Your daily thoughts can ultimately become your reality, subconsciously. What you tell yourself is exactly how things are going to manifest in your life, for example, that coffee or energy drink is not keeping you awake — it’s because you tell yourself that you won’t fall asleep, and you don’t. So, the next time negative thoughts creep unto you (for example, rather than fixating your thoughts on how much you don’t understand how to write that literature review), turn that into a positive thought and say something like “I know how to do literature reviews” 8x and see how life changes for the better.

Born a Crime — Trevor Noah:

- ‘Hustling is to working, what surfing the net is to reading.’ This one is self-explanatory but to make it simpler — in as much as hustling is how most of us survive, it is important to put in the work for yourself as well. Hustle, but make time to learn a new skill, read books, or anything that will contribute to your own personal growth as a person.

- The biggest regrets you’ll ever have in life are the things you did not say or do. It’s better to fail rather than to live your life wondering ‘what if’. That brilliant idea you’ve been thinking about for months now? Execute it and see what happens. If it succeeds, great! If it fails, cool, at least you know you’ve tried.

I’ll end the list here, just to try to keep it short and to the point :) — Next up is a review of ‘Show Your Work’ — stay tuned! Congratulations, now you have officially read the 5 books that have some of the greatest lessons — No I’m lying, it doesn’t work like that — Go read some of these books, they are definitely life-changing. I would recommend starting with ‘What Happened to You.’