I love reading. No, seriously. I LOVE reading. Over the years, I’ve gone through some books that have deeply impacted my thinking. Impacted my marketing strategies and philosophies. Impacted my musical views and challenged me in ways I never thought possible.
I challenge myself to read 2 books each month. Given my life’s focus, these books tend to fall into a few categories: Marketing/Business. Philosophy/Spirituality. Music. Novels.
This section is a current list of my favorite books with a quick summary of why YOU should be reading these. Start with a few, follow the link to purchase, and share your thoughts below after reading.
Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth – Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares
It’s pretty common understanding that most startups are capable of creating and producing a decent product. Heck, maybe your product is great. But if you can’t create traction, you’re dead in the water. This book takes 19 traction channels ranging from PR, blogging, business development, to community building and breaks down each channel into a simple explanation of what this channel can do for you based on your business model. Learn all about “The Bullseye Method” and how you can go about being efficient in choosing the correct traction channel.
This is a must read book for your entire marketing department. I’d even go so far to say this is a must read book for your entire staff, especially if you’re in the startup world and looking to boost traction or create it from scratch. This book will meet you where you’re at.
Purchase: Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers
Trust Me, I’m Lying – Ryan Holiday
This was the first book that opened my eyes to the manipulation that occurs in modern media. Yes, we all know it exists, but as an insider to some of the largest manipulations to take place, Holiday offers some insight on how little it actually takes to manipulate bloggers into publishing your crafted story. The take away? You can use this manipulation for good or evil. How will you use the power you’ll learn from this book?
Definitely worth reading if you work in PR / Blogging. You’ll learn everything you need to know to get your story in the hands of bloggers who desperately need content (one of the major reasons manipulating the media is so easy). If you run a team of content creators / PR / Bloggers, buy them all a copy of this book. Also worth reading if you just have a fascination for how these things work and what little effort it takes to blast your fake story potentially to millions of people who will take it as truth.
Purchase: Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
You’ve heard it before. Maybe from your boss. “We need to be lean in our decisions.” Chances are, they have no idea what they’re talking about. So what does it mean to be lean in your business decisions? In this book, we take a look at real life examples of CEOs that were too stubborn to realize the need to pivot. Sound familiar? Pivoting on someone’s (maybe yours?) vision is always a tough thing to do. This book examines why the pivot and creating the feedback loop is so urgent.
This is like the holy bible for anyone in the startup world. If you follow just a few of these steps, you’ll potentially save your business a ton of money in unnecessary work. Work in production. Work in unwinding mistakes. Work in marketing a product that ultimately has no fit in the market.
Purchase: The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday
Have I mentioned I have a major crush on Ryan Holiday? This book should technically fall under “philosophy” but I grouped it up top with these business books because the art of stoicism is one that can be applied to all areas of your life, including your business.
If you are unfamiliar to the concept of stoicism, it can be defined as taking things as they come to you, accepting the situation as reality, and turning any disadvantage into your strength. This book sits on my nightstand as I continue to read through it. It’s my daily meditation. Each chapter is broken into short segments so it makes it an extremely easy read. 15 minutes each day will greatly impact the decisions you make.
Purchase: The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
Replay – Ken Grimwood
My boss came into work one day and we chatted over coffee (ok, my morning diet coke) about some recent books we’ve read and what our takeaways were from each book. We quickly got into our favorite books of all time. He demanded that I find “Replay” by Ken Grimwood. Not only was the book the best book he’s ever read, but the author has a pretty interesting history. I’ll let you look into that.
The book revolves around a man named Jeff who dies in Chapter 1. Literally, our main character is dead by page 10. But by chapter 2, Jeff awakens back in his college years fully aware of the life he previously lived. The book asks the age old question: “If you could go back and live it all over again, what would you change?” This book is heartbreaking, hilarious, moving, and not many books will leave you saying “damn” by the end, but this one sure did. If you’re looking for your next fiction book, this is it. Thank me later.
The Replacements: Waxed Up Hair & Painted Shoes – Jim Walsh & Dennis Pernu
My dad turned me onto The Replacements early on so they have a pretty special place in my heart. When he turned 50 earlier this year, we got to see them front row in Los Angeles. The whole ride home, we were talking about how frickin’ cool the show was. When we pulled in the driveway, The Replacements’ Can’t Hardly Wait came on the radio. It was perfect.
This is a fantastic coffee table book. It’s a photographic history of the band, but there are some great essays in the book that document certain eras. Great interviews. If you’re into The Replacements at all, this book should be in your collection.
Purchase: The Replacements: Waxed-Up Hair and Painted Shoes: The Photographic History