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I'll answer your question first, then suggest something I consider more important, having survived several life-shattering crises.

- The Tao Te Ching, especially Ron Hogan's translation (freely downloadable here: http://beatrice.com/wordpress/tao-te-ching)

- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby

- Getting Things Done, David Allen

- Gimp, Marc Zupan

- Thinking in Systems, Donella Meadows

- Leadership Step by Step, Joshua Spodek (full disclosure: me, https://www.amazon.com/Leadership-Step-Become-Person-Others/...)

The suggestion I consider more valuable is to focus more on active behavior than relatively passive reading. Of course, still read. But it's easy to read more and more, telling yourself you're getting more perspective. You are, but nothing changes your perspective like actually moving.

Even if you don't know what will work best -- meditation, fitness, art, music, travel, cooking, gardening, starting a business, etc -- starting with something, even if you soon abandon it, will lead you to things you love and that develop you faster than reading alone. Plus activity will make what you read more meaningful.

I include my book because it's specifically a book of exercises that lead to developing social and emotional skills designed to build on each other.

> more valuable is to focus more on active behavior than relatively passive reading

This, I believe, is the true answer to the OPs question. I suffer from an illusion, very common I think, that in order to get better at something, be it C++, life, or interactions with your SO, one has to first collect information and experiences from other people. Not that this is the wrong thing to do, but it has to be interleaved with acting on the information.

Think of reading books (or, in general, information collection) as earning money. What are you going to do with all that money in the bank? It's a means, right? To what end?

A quote I repeat many times a year from to myself _why: "When you don't create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability."

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