I'm a pretty avid reader.
And I love book lists.
Why Books Lists (and Reviews) are Important
There are just too many business (and personal development) books to waste time buying + hoping that a new title will be any good.
I put a lot of weight in recommendations and reviews. I love Amazon reviews – their crowd-sourced rating system helps eliminate individual bias and give solid titles a boost of social proof.
I put even more weight in individual blogger reviews, if they reflect my values and perspectives. The following titles have come either well reviewed by someone I respect or carry a solid review rating on either Amazon (or both).
Thanks to audio books, I've had a busy year. Here are the 14 titles I've read this year (so far).
What I'll Cover in the Post
In this post, I'll cover:
- Why I listen to audio-books
- My 11 favorite titles of the year
- 3 books you shouldn't buy
- My future reading list (5 books)
A year ago, I wrote my own: My ten favorite start-a-blog books
Why I Favor Audiobooks (via Audible)
Since discovering Audible a few years ago, I seldom read a book.
Whether I'm driving, working, or showering, I prefer to listen to the book in audio. I make use of time that would otherwise be wasted and I find that my focus is better.
Living in Ecuador can make it hard to get English books. I can ship them here, but it's expensive and takes a long time. With Audible, I get instant download to any of my devices – even to the desktop computer.
Get any one of these titles for free on Audible. Using this link, sign-up for a free account. You'll get one free title – that remains yours forever. You can cancel your account anytime and still keep the free book. Not a bad deal.
My Completed Reading List (11 Titles)
- Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing (Roger Dooley) I'm about halfway through this book and I'm loving it. They are lots of blogs about the science of effective marketing but this book puts it all in one place. As an added bonus, you don't have endure regurgitated blog posts by cocky bloggers in love with their own voice. Learn how to create great marketing without suffering through the over-acting and childish attitudes. Roger Dooley backs up his application with solid science and research. Check it out on Amazon or get it for free on Audible.
- Virtual Freedom (Chris Ducker) Outsourcing is not new – but Chris covers it in detail and in an actionable way. I concluded the book confident that I now have the skills to effectively use virtual assistants to run our business. I need to listen again, before I begin hiring out specific tasks. While the process is simple, he offers lots of great tips that I want to have clearly in mind as we begin. Check it out on Amazon or get it for free on Audible.
- The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business (Josh Kaufman) Based on the very popular PersonalMBA.com author Josh Kaufman takes complex business concepts and explains the need-to-know principals clearly. I enjoy his casual approach and detailed case studies. Check it out on Amazon or get it for free on Audible.
- Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less (Joe Pulizzi) Written from his perspective as the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, he provides many cases studies. The content is useful and can be put to use right away. While the majority of the book will apply to individual bloggers, some of it is better suited towards large companies with a full staff dedicated to content creation / promotion. Check it out on Amazon or get it for free on Audible.
- Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs (Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham) This is part business tool kit and part autobiography. Brodsky's diverse business history (and that of his father) becomes a series of practical business lessons. Basing each point on a real-world event, the application is clear and memorable. I'm eager to cover this material again. Check it out on Amazon or get it for free on Audible.
- The Magic of Thinking Big (David Schwartz) This is a bit of a classic. The style of writing (and the reading in the audio version) is old-school motivational. While the information is good, the tone can come across a little condescending. If you can look past this, you'll probably enjoy the material. We all deal with self-limiting beliefs – and this book addresses what they are and how to grow past them. Check it out on Amazon or get it for free on Audible.
- FREE: The Future of a Radical Price (Chris Anderson) While free as a business model might sound like a fundamentally flawed concept, the book makes a pretty strong argument. Create product users and then offer premium add-ons. Done correctly, it's a great way to build a user-base and awareness of your company. Check it out on Amazon or get it for free on Audible.
- The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Tim Ferriss) Little needs to be said of this business classic. I have the first edition on my bookshelf and the latest version on Audible. I'm not sure how many times I've read / listened to this title, but it continues to give useful tools and perspectives as our business grows. Yes, parts of the book are a little irritating and pointless. But other sections are pure gold. You need to read this book. Check it out on Amazon or get it for free on Audible.
- Time Power (Brian Tracy) This is a classic time management book – I read it the first time more than 10 years ago. Although I have the print book here in Ecuador (it was one of the few we moved with) I most recently listened to it again on Audible – classic time management technique. 🙂 While some of the techniques are for busy executives, the majority of the book applies to our blogging lifestyle. I've been through the book countless times and I improve every time I re-read it. Highly recommended. Check it out on Amazon or get it for free on Audible.
- The Happiness of Pursuit (Chris Guillebeau) This is a new book, but one that I'm really enjoying. Similar to 4-Hour Work Week, The Happiness of Pursuit will make you think differently. With 50+ case studies of people from every life situation, you will find motivation in designing your life. The book focuses on how to “find your quest”. Check it out on Amazon.
- Launch: An Internet Millionaire's Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams (Jeff Walker) I was introduced to Launch via Amy Porterfield's podcast where she interviewed Jeff about how to launch an online product. I was impressed by his knowledge and how he systematized the launch process. I'm reading Launch on Kindle right now – and have lots of great ideas for our upcoming product launch. Check it out on Amazon.
3 Losers on My Reading List
I discovered a few books that aren't worth your time. I recommend scratching them from your list.
- The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding While I loved Focus (also by Al Ries), this book was a fail. Of course, it is old – something I should have checked before buying it. Don't waste your time on this title. It is either common sense or just wrong. Nothing useful in this book.
- Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs (Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah) I guess that this book is okay for a newbie. A true newbie who knows nothing about the internet. Seth Godin says it best: “Buy one for your clueless colleague”, because no one else will want this.
- Internet Riches (Scott Fox) Maybe I shouldn't say that I bought this book. What should I expect from a book that sells the flawed idea that anyone can get rich online? I guess I got what I deserved. If you want hype, just Google “make money online”. Don't buy this book.
Personal Reading (3 Titles)
- 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (Charles C. Mann) I'm only about 25% of the way through this book – but along with my 13-year-old daughter – we are loving it! The writing is entertaining and the audio version is very well done. In spite of this being a history book, we frequently laugh – out loud! The book is about new discoveries about life in the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. I love the history of it and that it is something I can do with my daughter. It is her audio of choice as we work together in the kitchen. If you enjoy history at all, you need to check this out. While I'm sure the print version is good, it would be hard to beat the audio format. Check it out on Amazon or get it for free on Audible.
- Ghengis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (Jack Weatherford) This book is one of my favorites. I love the glimpse into another culture and time. And to understand the affect this nation had on our modern world. I've read this three times – once this year. It is one of the books I use to unwind before going to sleep. Check it out on Amazon or get it for free on Audible.
- Pimsleurs Spanish: Well, this isn't a book, but it is critical to our life here in Ecuador. Using our waterproof speaker, I try to do a lesson each morning. It is the best program for learning a foreign language. You can go from zero to fluent using just this course – and maybe a little immersion. Read our full Pimsleurs Spanish review. Get your first lesson for free on Audible.
What I'm Reading Next (5 Titles)
- The Power of Habit (Charles Duhigg)
- The Lean Startup (Eric Ries)
- The Tipping Point (Malcom Gladwell)
- Duct Tape Marketing (John Jantsch)
- The Secret History of the Mongol Queens (Jack Weatherford)
Now it's your turn
Have you read any of these titles? What recommendations do you have for my reading list? Please share your comments below. (I'll be responding to all comments.)