Some of the books here literally changed my life. When I look at myself 5 years ago, 10 years ago, and 15 years ago I notice one common pattern. The more books I read, the more time and money I have. If you don’t have time to read books, it’s like you are driving a car and saying you don’t have time to refuel your car!
AWAKEN THE GIANT WITHIN – TONY ROBBINS
In case you missed Tony’s Unlimited Power, this is a must-read. Believe it or not, I recently read this book again (2019). The reason why I am mentioning this is that it is still relevant. A lot of what Tony is preaching today can be traced back to this book.
Awaken The Giant Within will bring you closer to understanding how the human mind works (yourself), and how you make decisions. This is where I learned about belief systems and how questions play a huge role in our lives. (Also mentioned in Unlimited Power).
Word of warning, this is not a small book. At more than 500 pages, you are going to need more than one boring Sunday afternoon to start your life-changing journey. Even more so because the book is filled with actionable advice, tasks, homemade workshops, and quotes that will have you thinking for an entire day.
THINK AND GROW RICH – NAPOLEON HILL
I’ve read this book several times, and I listened to an audiobook (available on Audible) it’s that good. It was written back in 1937 and reportedly sold over 100 million copies. Millions of people swear by it, and countless legends attribute their success to it. This book is like a short version 2.0 of Napoleon Hill’s series of books titled “The Law of Success”.
Word of caution, The Law of Success is over 700 pages long, so unless you are a Napoleon Hill fanatic, and seriously determined to become successful, stay away from this book until then. Think and Grow Rich, on the other hand, is perfect, and once you master that book, then take on The Law of Success. In case you are wondering, I’ve already read The Law of Success as well but I feel it’s not worth recommending compared to Think and Grow Rich.
THE POWER OF HABIT – CHARLES DUHIGG
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle and Will Durant. This is why I essentially picked up this book. And haven’t regretted it. I am sure you “do something” each morning as you wake up. You either brush your teeth, pick up a smartphone or go for a jog. Just this one small decision starts the ripple effect of how your day will turn out. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months. Before you know it, you are an alcoholic. You become diabetic. Or, you are on your way of becoming happy, healthy wealthy.
How do you turn things around? Can we really be at the driver’s seat of our lives? One small habit at a time, Charles Duhigg thinks we can. The power of habit is a wonderful book, and if you are no stranger to human psychology it should definitely be on your reading list.
HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE – DALE CARNEGIE
There’s only one problem with the book How to win friends and influence people. I fear that the people that absolutely need to read this book will never pick it up. While the ones who genuinely care about improving their relationships with other people (spouse, friends, employees, co-workers) will read this book. It’s like “the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer” all over again.
After reading this book you will realize how much there is going on between two people. How much of “you” is in “them” and how universal all this is. Dale Carnegie wrote this book back in 1936, and it is on almost every “entrepreneur must-read” list for the past couple of decades. With the rise of “social media”, technology advancements I think we can all use a little bit of “how to win friends”.
OUTLIERS – MALCOLM GLADWELL
I was pitching my startup to a VC and since he wasn’t interested very much, our conversation was moving away from the startup. On one hand, I wish I knew that so that I stop wasting time, but on the other hand, at least I got this great book recommendation. The VC told me how my story reminds him of the book he read recently (this conversation took place in 2011). I turned into one giant ear because at the time I was my first year into reading everything and anything.
He mentioned Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell which ultimately lead me to Blink, The Tipping Point and later David and Goliath. Although Blink and The Tipping Point are great books, I would recommend only Outliers. If you ever heard of the 10,000-Hour rule, book Outliers popularised the term. However, the book might leave you depressed because of some statements (birthdate is one example). And also, there are people making claims that some of the “facts” stated in the book aren’t accurate to begin with.
HOW TO THINK LIKE EINSTEIN – SCOTT D. THORPE
This book took me by surprise and is probably the least famous of this entire list. Maybe there are even better books on the topic or maybe I see something in it, that other people don’t. If I find a better one, I’ll replace it. This book taught me to approach problems differently. I dive deeper into explaining this here, but I’ll scratch the surface here as well. Everything is relative, and each problem is viewed from your perspective. Einstein was great at changing his perspective through imagination. Even if this leads him to impossible and weird places.
The entire “problems are challenges” debate went to an entirely different level for me after reading this book. Problems turn into millions of dollars, and happy surprises turn into worst death-threatening scenarios. If you are facing an unsolvable challenge, grab this book that holds a single idea. How to think like Einstein.
THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP – MARIE KONDO
In case you are wondering what the hell is this book doing here, bear with me. If you are reading this, I know you are human, and I know you’ve been in plenty of situations Marie Kondo writes about. Ever bought something you didn’t like after a while? Have you ever given something to someone, just so that you can get rid of it? Have you ever wanted to work in a more organized office? Were you ever confused about why your entire life is one big clutter?
I get it. My desk is one big white space cover with absolute essentials. No wonder I wanted to read this book. But even I saw improvements in my wardrobe, purchasing habits, gifts I gave, and productivity. Are you confused by this statement? Well, although this book mentions how to fold clothes properly, it will teach you much more than this. If only my dad (a.k.a. the hoarder) would also read this book. That way I can stop quoting this book to him.
TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER – DAVE RAMSEY
If you are struggling financially, you need to do the things advised in this book. Dave Ramsey is an absolute genius when it comes to personal finances. He will advise you to cut up your credit cards, something that other experts don’t think it’s a good idea, but he is on a mission to get you out of debt! Debt is Dumb, Cash is King! He pioneered the 7 baby steps that will get anyone on the road to heaven.
Everybody is scared of looking at their finances because they are scared of what they will see. After you are done reading this book, and I know you will. Hop on to his YouTube channel. Advice he gives there is priceless, but also sometimes shocking. Sometimes, people need a good jolt to get them out of the mess they put themselves in.
THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON – GEORGE S. CLASON
This book was written back in 1926, and although Tony Robbins mentions this book in his books Unlimited Power (mentioned above) and Money: Master the Game it is actually Jim Rohn who recommended it to him and to the attendees on one of his seminars. That’s how I was compelled to read it.
Inside, there is timeless advice on investing, saving and making money. We may not like some of it or disagree with it, but this book withstood the test of time, even after nearly 100 years. Besides, this is a small book. It is easy to read in one afternoon, but reap the rewards for a lifetime!
THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR – THOMAS J. STANLEY & WILLIAM D. DANKO
This book just blew my mind and turned me into a believer immediately. But, have in mind that there are people like Nassim Nicholas Taleb that totally disagree with what is written. So, why are there two polarized clans? The book (and research behind it) explain how millionaires among us don’t actually, statistically, live an outrageous lifestyle.
They don’t waste money on fancy drink, they buy used cars (mostly domestic), they marry “only” once. What you really want to be is “Prodigious Accumulator of Wealth”, this doesn’t mean you are making a lot of money but spending it all. It means you genuinely have a lot of money and live on your terms. This book completely changed my opinion on what it means to be a millionaire.
HOW AN ECONOMY GROWS AND WHY IT CRASHES – PETER D. & ANDREW J. SCHIFF
If your knowledge of the economy is advanced, you should probably skip this book. I remember when I read I kept saying to myself, this is so fun, and true, I wish I read it earlier. Essentially, what this book is talking about is productivity. If your finances or business (or country for that matter) are struggling, you should put into good use the teachings of this book. Similar to Rich Dad Poor Dad (below) this book explains good debt and bad debt.
If you borrow money to increase your productivity (from fishing 1 fish to the ability of fishing 2 fish) you are doing yourself a favor. However, if you are borrowing money to watch more TV, you are on a road to problems. As I was saying, I wish I read this book earlier in my life. If you have any kind of debt attached to your name, it might be a good idea to pick up this book regardless of my recommendation. Maybe you put two and two together.
RICH DAD POOR DAD – ROBERT KIYOSAKI
With this book, I finally learned what it means to have your money work for you. I also learned the power of assets and more importantly cash flow. I read plenty of books by Robert Kiyosaki, (like the Cashflow Quadrant), and although they are very easy and fun to read, mostly it is just repeating the good stuff. I don’t mind it, but I won’t recommend it. For example the Cashflow quadrant is also a good book, but revolves around a single (genius) idea – the cash flow quadrant. Plus, you get some of Kiyosaki’s stories. If you are going to read anything by Kiyosaki, start with his best book, Rich Dad Poor Dad.
To this day, the book has remained relevant with its advice. And it is still being discussed by popular podcasts such as Tropical MBA!
THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK – TIMOTHY FERRISS
With all the bad rep this book gained over the years, I am almost ashamed to admit that this book changed my life. At the time I first read it, it never occurred to me it was possible to have a location independent business. My small business was hit with the recession, and I would lose clients because they shut down their business! I can tell you, it’s a super weird feeling asking for a contract renewal, only to find out they shut down their business.
I also loved the tasks that this book gives you. I am not sure if I would find my fiancee if I didn’t have the courage this book gave me. Not to mention stand in front of 300 people to pitch my startup. Sometimes, all you need is a little nudge, and this book was it for me. Here I go ranting about me again, but I really hope this book can do for you, what it did for me! Other people were working 80 hours per week, and were able to significantly drop that down! I’ve recommended and gave this book as a gift so many times, I can’t remember how often.
THE 10X RULE – GRANT CARDONE
In order to balance our reading portfolio, we need our 10X guy. If some of these books are too “woo-woo” for you, 10X will break this pattern. Life is a journey, it’s not a destination? Not according to Grant Cardone! This book will force you to think big and take even bigger action to get there. Word of warning, do not, I repeat, do not read this book before going to bed. If the late night is the only time you have to read books, skip this one!
The 10X rule is a book that revolves around a simple concept. Whatever goal you had in your mind, you need to 10X that goal. The easiest way to explain this is with numbers and money. So, if your goal was to make a million dollars, commit to making ten million dollars. Then take more action than you thought was needed to get to ten million dollars. Grant Cardone thinks that by doing this, you have a much better chance of getting ten million dollars, let alone your initial goal of one million dollars. Can’t wrap your head around the idea of taking so much action, and you are concerned about work-life balance? Don’t be confused if 5 years from now you are still broke and short of your dreams.
LITTLE RED BOOK OF SELLING – JEFFREY GITOMER
This was one of the first books on selling that I ever bought. I only wish that I have done so sooner! Although it has the word “little” in its title, be sure that this is a great book, and it shouldn’t surprise you that it is often listed as one of the highly-rated sales books of all time. Even 7 years after I’ve read Little Red Book of Selling for the first time, I still have an image of one page imprinted in my mind. Page 207. “The more you watch TV, More competition will kick your ass.” We could talk about replacing social media with TV, but I’ll leave that for another time.
Jeffrey Gitomer will teach you how to ask questions. How to make rapport and turn leads into clients. Truly, if you never read a book about sales, this one of the best places to start. If you are a solopreneur or a small business owner, and you think that you are not in sales? You definitely need to read this book. The price of this book will pay itself in a single day if you implement but one idea.
PRESENTATION SECRETS OF STEVE JOBS – CARMINE GALLO
Do you plan to pitch your startup? Are you creating a webinar to attract clients? Do you need to present your big idea in front of your team? Are you scheduled to unveil your revolutionary product? Situations, where a great presentation is necessary, are endless. If you are not a Steve Jobs fan, get a different book. But read at least one good book on presenting. For me, this one was enough, and it certainly helped me fundraise $250.000.
What I liked about this book is because it used a lot of Steve Jobs presentations, that you could watch on Youtube! That way you could connect the dots. My presentation skills are nowhere near, but they have improved greatly! One thing that’s especially important to mention is that just like with any other book, you have to practice what you learn! You have to stand in front of that crowd, and test what you read. Record yourself (at least today everybody has a decent smartphone camera), and evaluate your progress.
LAUNCH – JEFF WALKER
Are you launching a website? A new service? An ebook, or a course that your clients can take? Jeff Walker wrote a step by step process that made him millions of dollars. The Launch is all about building your list, a real high-quality list, that will convert and make you rich. It will take you from 0 (zero, zilch, nada) to a profitable business. How to get first people to sign up on your list, and which questions you need to ask them. And how to use the answers from those people to build the product they will end up buying.
This entire process is covered in the book. Although times have changed since Jeff made his millions, his advice is still valid and probably best out there. As far as I’ve seen what other bloggers are selling, it is mostly Jeff’s original idea reshuffled or watered down. You don’t need a $999 course on how to launch your new business, execute on what’s in this book, and you should be well on your way.
THE ONE MINUTE MANAGER – KEN BLANCHARD
A very short book that was originally published back in 1982, it will take your management skills from 0-60 in one reading. Although a very simple, and sometimes criticized book (some think this is just a fad) I wish that I read it sooner. I love a short, easy-to-read book, with a simple idea, that you can start utilizing as soon as you step into your office. Great for a Sunday afternoon reading, and start using it on Monday morning.
The book is very easy to read and understand, as it follows a story of a young manager who is looking for advice on how to become a better manager. His search is over when he finds “the one” who calls himself The One Minute Manager. Then he receives advice (and the way he receives advice and executes on tasks you also learn how to manage) on how to become a better manager. If you are looking for another great book on leadership and management, check above for “How to win friends and influence people” or just click here.
GOOD TO GREAT – JIM COLLINS
Here are some of my notes for this book. There are five levels of leadership. Top leader builds a company that can endure without him. This type of leader doesn’t build his ego by acting as if he is irreplaceable. Personal modesty and professionalism will play a big part here. Hire the right people, fire the wrong people. First what, then, why. Hedgehog concept, deep understanding, and amazing simplicity.
Technology speeds up the flywheel, but it is not responsible for its starting. Flywheel instead of our perceived destiny, evolutionary process of our company. Who are we? BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goals with the Hedgehog concept. 1) what you are deeply passionate about, 2) what you can be the best in the world at, and 3) what best drives your economic or resource engine.
THE LONG TAIL – CHRIS ANDERSON
To be honest, I am not sure if it is too late to recommend this book. I read it over a decade ago, long before long tail took over the Internet. However, if you need clarification on how Amazon was able to take over book stores and publishers around the world, you should still read this book. Especially if you need to catch up and get on with the program. For example, in SEO, many target “long-tail keywords” in order to get ahead of their competition.
Who knows what long tail trend you can spot, and take advantage of that insight. After all, according to Chris Anderson, our economy, culture is moving away from mainstream products and markets into niches in the tail. You don’t have to be better, you just have to be different is making more sense than ever before.
THE POWER OF NOW – ECKHART TOLLE
Are you considering meditation? On your way to work, are you asking yourself, “Is this all there is to my life”? Eckhart Tolle’s message is simple. Don’t lose yourself in past regrets or future worries. There is only one thing, the present. Which reminds me, there is a great book that didn’t make this list. The present. Getting back to The Power of Now, it may sound simple, but we all know it could be very hard. Just like losing weight is very simple (eat a lot of vegetables, drink a lot of water, avoid everything else and exercise three times per week for 30 minutes).
What is very interesting in the book is that it feels like a combination of several different religions. Essentially, it is only advocating good! Another great takeaway for me personally was Eckhart Tolle’s approach to materialistic thoughts. If you skipped my recommendation above “Marie Kondo – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“, and you are frustrated because you don’t own the latest iPhone, buy this book! It is much cheaper than the iPhone, and it will make you happier.
THE ALCHEMIST – PAULO COELHO
I remember one time I was lying on the beach, and overheard some old ladies sitting right behind me. They were briefly discussing books, and I suppose without me thinking about it, my ears perked up. Anyway, one of them mentioned that her favorite book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. At first, I was judgmental, because what else was she going to say? So many people read that book. But I quickly changed my mind, because I never read The Alchemist, so I have no way of knowing.
I’ve decided there and then to read it. To be more precise, I bought an audiobook “read by Jeremy Irons – OMG”, and I loved it. Not sure how much his voice contributed to this, but it sure made it a better listening experience. If you are looking for a clear path in your life, I recommend this book. Somewhere along the path with a shepherd boy Santiago, you just might find yours.
THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK – MARK MANSON
Are you wondering if this book delivers on the title? Yes, it does, and it over-delivers. As Mark Manson explains, it’s not just about not caring about the wrong stuff. It’s also about caring about the right stuff! If anything, it’s even more important! If you can get past the profanity, all the f*cks and sh*t sandwiches, and you are an overachiever who sometimes freaks out, I would definitely recommend this book.
Last summer I drove for 440 km (273 miles) to the beautiful beach of Bol (Brac, Croatia) and I needed to wind down from my 24/7/365 online entrepreneurship. It was just what the doctor ordered, and I am recommending it ever since. If you feel stuck, or that you are not progressing fast enough, definitely pick this book.
AS A MAN THINKETH – JAMES ALLEN
One of the reasons I mentioned this book here is because it is ridiculous how old it is, but at the same time relevant to the issues we are facing in our modern daily lives. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “Change of diet will not help a man who will not change his thoughts.”. Although written in 1903, you have to admit, this is as good of dieting advice as you can get today.
The title of the book gives away what it is about (as you think, so it becomes) but since the book is pretty straight forward you will immediately see how YOUR thoughts impact YOUR life. Since the book is very old, you can get it for pennies on the dollar, and my guess is you can read it during one nice Sunday afternoon. Once you start to pay attention to your thoughts, your life could go in a different direction.
MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING – VICTOR FRANKL
This is such a powerful book. Occasionally hard to read, and by that, I don’t mean the structure of the sentence. The author has gone through the horrible experience of being in a concentration camp and losing his family in the process. Tony Robbins recommends this book any chance he gets, and after a while, I succumbed. I am glad I did, because this book is a must-read. If you have millions of dollars and you are wondering where is the meaning? Or if you are going through hell (then keep going) and you are confused why is this happening to you.
This book can guide you, and if nothing else give you plenty of reasons to be grateful for. I remember how happy I was just with the warm soup, while I was reading this book. Yes, it’s that powerful in providing a new perspective. For all you beginner readers, this is a small book that is very easy to read and you definitely need to pick it up.
STEVE JOBS – WALTER ISAACSON
For me, this wasn’t just a book. It was an opportunity to get a peek into the life of one of the greatest figures of our time. The changes this man, and his company brought into technology is nothing short of spectacular. But, like any other biography or autobiography, this book spends a lot of time on seemingly irrelevant things. After reading the book many people debated how Steve’s biological parents left an impact on him, and how this resulted in creating the man we all know. Not sure why then we don’t have more orphan / billion-dollar company / founders but seems like this is the consensus. Another example is Steve’s calligraphy class… right.
Now that my negative remarks are out, the book will deliver on ins and outs of Apple co-founder’s life. This story is told from his perspective, and I am sure that every Apple fanboy read it. However, if you are using Windows, Android phones and are not excited by one of the biggest business turnarounds of the century, you might want to skip this one.
TOTAL RECALL: MY UNBELIEVABLY TRUE LIFE STORY – ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
Bodybuilding, acting, politics, entrepreneurship, how in the world is something like this possible? The explanation resides in this unbelievably true life story! If you decide to opt-in for an equally entertaining unabridged audiobook, have in mind that Arnold Schwarzenegger reads only a small portion of the book. Anyway, I feel like I don’t have to pitch the book, but here’s just a tidbit. Arnold’s story is simply amazing and inspirational.
Although his career and life are not spotless, you would miss the bigger picture if you avoided this book because of it. The thing that shocked me most from Arnold’s life, was that he earned his first million dollars as a real estate investor! If you are confused with this statement as much as I was, then you should pick up this book!
OPEN – ANDRE AGASSI
Does it make sense to read this book even if you are not a tennis player? Absolutely yes! Beautifully written, easy to read, entertaining and occasionally thought-provoking. If you are like me, and occasionally need a break from the online business world, this book might do the trick.
But don’t be fooled. Agassi’s highs and lows have a striking resemblance to the startup founder’s life. On more than one occasion I was able to relate and find comfort. We even share the same hair cut, haha! The only thing that could be a downfall to this book is the part when Andre Agassi talks about… Tennis. I know, it’s shocking. I didn’t mind, so I am recommending it here.