Disclosure: I may be compensated via the links clicked in this article. The opinions expressed are my own and stand by my recommendations. Please read my disclaimer for more info.
Everyone needs a coach.
Even I consult with others when I hit a sticking point in my business. I belong to several mastermind groups and take several online courses a year. I always want to learn more.
Think of books as coaches in an alternative form. They’re cheaper too!
I’ve read hundreds of books over the years, but a few still resonate with me. This is a list of those business books I recommend.
You may note that some of the books on this list were written before the days of the internet. Why have I included them?
The answer is simple: Although digital marketing may seem different than previous marketing methods, it’s really not. In fact, it’s an extension of direct marketing.
Direct marketing has been around for ages, but its techniques still work. That’s because, although technology changes, human psychology never does. These books definitely still apply.
The Millionaire Fastlane
Even with this somewhat scammy title, this book is a must-read. It’s a foundational book for entrepreneurs just starting out, especially online. MJ DeMarco’s book outlines step-by-step what you should do (and not do) when starting a business. I first read this book when I owned Investor Junkie, and it helped me both to confirm I was on the right track and to narrow my focus. His follow-up book, Unscripted, is on a similar tack and recommended as well.
The E-Myth Revisited
I first read this book in 1997. It’s a business classic that helps you create SOPs (standard operating procedures) and automate your business. It teaches that, because it’s hard to hire rock stars, you should hire average employees whom your procedures make the excel. Don’t fall into the trap of believing your business can’t be automated. The E-Myth Revisited is a foundational book to make you think more like a business person.
Rich Dad Poor Dad
Written by Robert Kiyosaki in 1997, this book is light on actionable content but packed with motivation.
Robert Kiyosaki’s controversial book details how entrepreneurs think differently. You won’t get much actionable advice, and it’s really geared toward the budding entrepreneur taking the first leap. It’s a foundational book that motivates you to stop thinking like an employee. I wrote a review on Investor Junkie on the accuracy of the statements in the book.
Ayn Rand’s fictional book is also controversial. I first read the book eight years ago, when we were just coming out of the financial crisis. This book is very polarizing. People either love this book or hate it. There doesn’t seem to be much in between.
However, I’ve found the ones who hate it either haven’t read the book or (if they have) mischaracterize what the book is about.
While not a business book in the traditional sense, it’s great at helping you understand the foundations of capitalism. It’s about rational egoism.
As an entrepreneur, you need to have a basic understanding of why you’re in business in the first place. It’s a long book, and in my opinion, Ayn Rand needed an editor to shorten it. Keep in mind Atlas Shrugged is really a philosophy book wrapped around fiction. So read it as such. Who is John Galt?
Jeff Walker is very well known in the digital marketing sphere. If you’re looking to understand email marketing (and you should be), you’ll find many classic recommendations of what’s possible in this book. I recommend not only Walker’s book but also his online courses as well.
This classic direct marketing book was written by Eugene Schwartz in the 1960s and is just as relevant now. This book teaches copywriting techniques that are still valid today because psychology never goes out of style.
Although editions can cost more than $300, this book is worth its weight in gold. It’s very hard to find and can retail as high as $1,000. If you can get yourself a copy, read it, learn it, and know it.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
A classic psychology book that details six methods for affecting others. While the book doesn’t directly discuss anything about internet marketing, its teachings can easily be applied to online sales. See if you can spot one of the six methods being used with anything sold online.
Ready, Fire, Aim
Michael Masterson (the pen name of Mark Ford) teaches about how building a business ad hoc is a better method than planning everything. Michael tells you what you should focus on when just starting out and what you need to do as you grow your business. What’s needed to grow to a $1 million per year company is much different than what you’ll need if you’re making over $10 million. This book tells you the process every step of the way.
Russell Brunson’s book discusses how to promote and market your online business. It demonstrates that, by using storytelling, you can create a captive audience that will turn into raving fans. He walks you through the steps to get yourself started so you can position yourself an expert and how to market your business. A must-read for any person offering consulting or online courses.
What’s Your Favorite?
Readers, what are your favorite business books? What books have helped you be successful?