- Lil Nas X credited “self discovery” books for his personal growth during the pandemic, he told GQ.
- The genre “teaches you to block out the things in your life that you don’t really care about,” he said.
- The books include “The Rose Effect,” “The Alchemist,” “The Four Agreements,” and “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F–K.”
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As we all started to emerge from our pandemic winter of isolation, Lil Nas X burst onto the charts with a new song that — like his record-shattering anthem “Old Town Road” — was an instant hit.
He’s also entering the post-pandemic world a more self-actualized and confident person, in large part thanks to the reading habit he picked up in 2020, the 22-year-old rapper and singer said in a British GQ interview.
In fact, the “self-discovery” books, he said, helped him “create this moment” of success. His song “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” amassed 46.9 million US streams in the first week it was released on March 26, 2021.
“It teaches you to block out the things in your life that you don’t really care about,” Nas, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, told writer Jamal Jordan.
“Like, if I read a negative comment or whatever, I get to decide, is this important to me? Is this true? Is this not true? If it is true, then how do we make it untrue? If it isn’t true, then why the f–k do we care?”
Here are four of the books Nas credited for his newfound ability to move past negativity and build confidence.
“The Rose Effect: Eight Steps to Delivering the Performance of Your Life” by Keana “KJ Rose” Henson
“The Rose Effect” is a “performance guide” written by a Grammy Award-winning musician known as the “talent whisperer” in Hollywood.
Henson has also spent time in corporate America, working at places ranging from Pfizer Pharmaceuticals to Clive Davis’s J Records, and coaching.
“The culmination of these experiences shaped KJ’s fervor for pushing performers, actors, singers, executives and artists of all disciplines beyond their perceived capacity,” the book’s description on Amazon says. Its purpose is “to help you occupy your space in every room and on every stage.”
“The Rose Effect,” which was published in April 2020, focuses on courage, according to the Los Angeles Sentinel. “Whatever is your perceived capacity, The Rose Effect is here to take you higher,” Henson said. “Whatever you think about yourself currently, my job is to push your journey further.”
“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
“The Alchemist,” first published in 1988 by the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, set a record in 2014 as the most translated book by a living author. It’s sold more than 2 million copies globally, according to the book’s Amazon page.
The novel follows an Andalusian shepherd boy as he travels from Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a buried treasure. The people he meets, including an alchemist, help direct his journey, which is ultimately about Santiago finding himself.
While not explicitly a self-help book, “the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts,” the book’s Good Reads description says.
As one reader wrote, “reading this book always sets me back on the right path towards achieving the dreams I have put on hold.” Others disagreed, with one calling the book “badly written, righteous, condescending, preachy, and worst of all, the ending was morally questionable.”
“The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Ruiz
“The Four Agreements” is a New York Times bestseller that’s been translated into 46 languages since its 2018 release, helping people dismantle their self-limiting beliefs using Toltec wisdom, according to Amazon.
The agreements are: Be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best.
The book is great “for stress management and personal growth,” Elizabeth Scott wrote for VeryWell Mind. “It’s written in simple language but deals with complex themes that can help you bring sweeping changes to your life.” However, she cautions, taking the agreements to an extreme can backfire.
“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F–k” by Mark Manson
“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” was Nas’s favorite of the four, according to GQ.
It pushes back against positive-thinking, self-help philosophies and teaches readers that “improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better,” its description on Good Reads says.
“Most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many f—s in situations where f—s do not deserve to be given,” like the rude gas station attendant or the cancelled TV show or the rain, Manson, a popular blogger, writes on his website.
Those grudges serve no purpose, he argues. “Because when we give too many f—s, when we choose to give a f–k about everything, then we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that’s when life f–s us.”
Published in 2016, the book has more than 600,000 ratings on Good Reads, mostly positive. “I don’t usually go for self-help books cause to me they are all the same!” one commenter wrote. “Smile more, love more, hate less, don’t give up, it’s gonna be okay, it’s all in your head. Blah blah blah … but this one was the exception.”
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