One of the first things I learnt as I got started chasing the dream of self sustained freedom is that I knew very little about real gritty in the trenches business. So i had to learn on the fly, it was a lot like starting a new video game where your character is dropped into the centre of the map and everything around the edge was in darkness where it’s on you to discover what works and what doesn’t.
Figuring out which way to go as quick as possible is not only in your best interest to save you tonnes of heartache and stress, but it’s also likely to save you thousands in ineffective investments pursuing strategies that won’t work. After reading literally dozens and dozens of business books over the last few years, I’ve dialled in on my top 10 picks that helped on either an inner game mindset level or an outer game tactics and specific strategy level.
I hope they can do the same for you.
Tactics & Strategy:
The Conversion Code – Chris Smith: Get comfortable with the idea of sales funnels, landing pages, ad copy and closing sales. Great book to understand steps you need to make to build the front facing components of your business as well as how to test and learn.
Good For: getting a deeper understanding of the language and sales techniques that really convert to sales and $’s in your business bank account. Chris Smith breaks down the framework for the new era of online business, in just 150 ish pages he breaks down everything you need to know about building your website, generating traffic through content and SEO, landing pages and paid traffic like Facebook ads and Google Adwords. The book is written in a way that’s insanely actionable, which is something I really like about it because there’s tips and insights you can literally implement the moment you put the book down. Add this to your reading list right now.
The Sticking Point – Jay Abraham: Jay Abraham is a marketing beast. He details a number of different sticking points you need to be aware of and have plans for in order to experience geometric growth. Plenty of case studies and examples to help lock the lessons in too.
Good For: unlocking a broader top down understanding of all the elements of your business and how each one links to the other like gears in a machine. To truely unlock geometric growth, those gears need to be able to multiple each other and this book gives you the cheat sheet on how to make that happen. Through this book Jay Abraham breaks down 9 commonly overlooked sticking points that could be holding you and your business back like – not making enough sales, losing to the competition, failing to come up with a working strategy and more.
Ca$hvertising – Drew Eric Whiteman: This is a great book for mastering advertising. The author shares 100 different ad-agency learnings so you can really get your head around advertising strategy and apply it to your business quickly.
Good For: Anyone who needs to advertise their business (so every entrepreneur). You’ll learn in Ca$hvertising the key drivers that trigger your customers to buy and how you can integrate these triggers into all of your marketing touch points from your landing page to your paid traffic drivers. This book will offer an abundance of ideas for how to create Facebook ads and marketing headlines, slogans and ad copy. Great if you lack experience in this area and will ultimately save you huge amounts of money by making your advertising more effective.
The Lean Startup – Eric Ries: A blueprint on how to start your next start up. Everything from how to plan, to how to create your MVP (minimum viable product) and then how to test and adjust all the way up to launch and beyond. A must read if you’re working on a new startup or thinking of starting something (the answer is you should!).
Good For: Anyone wanting to stoke the flames of their entrepreneurial passions. Inside The Lean Startup you’re handed a play by play work book covering all of the steps required to build your next venture which helps take a lot of the guess work out of strategising your next move or your first move. By getting insight into the entire process and an understanding of how to continuously evolve and innovate your core business throughout the creation process you’ll save a lot of the time and pain you’ll be faced with going it alone without this information.
The 4 Hour Work Week – Tim Ferris: I can’t speak highly enough about this book. I’m not sure where i’d be in life if I hadn’t read it. To me it was a “red pill” moment of my life where I wasn’t aware this kind of lifestyle was even possible. Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Workweek opened my eyes to it and now I can’t look back, so it has to make it on the list. Tonnes of information and actionable steps to starting your next business from coming up with an idea to executing and finding suppliers and partners.
Good For: anyone wanting to unplug from the 9-5 worker-bee matrix. Like a number of the other books presented in this list, the 4 Hour Work Week is as close to a work book/cheat sheet as there is about building your dream nomadic entrepreneurial lifestyle where you can literally follow along building your business as you read through the book. If the idea of doing your own thing full time right now or starting a passion project on the side that you can eventually transfer over to is intriguing to you, please read this book as it will ignite that spark into a raging forest fire.
Mastery – Robert Greene: Although not specifically a business book, this book will help you understand what is going on inside your mind as you pursue a new skillset or do anything in life really. Leonardo Da Vinci – “One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself”, he’s right and this book is the blueprint.
Good For: This is a foundational book that has helped me in every area of my life, not just business. Encoded in the pages is a 360 degree view of how our brains, identity, ego, mind and motivation all work together like the operating software on your iPhone to create the human experience. By having a true understanding of this, you’ll suddenly see the ways you’re avoiding or compensating for things you don’t know or understand and how you over emphasise other areas of your life that may not necessarily be useful. I also like to think that the better we understand ourselves, the better we understand the world we live in. This book is the quickest route between those two points that I’ve found so far.
80/20 Sales & Marketing – Perry Marshall: There’s something about the way Perry Marshall writes that makes him both entertaining and engaging, this book has both. A lot of great models and frameworks to look at your business through to maximise growth and opportunities.
Good For: anyone who wants to optimise the way they run their business and create strategies. Perry breaks down how Pareto’s Law is found in all areas of your business and by understanding where to focus your mental energy and resources, you can create true growth by honing in on what’s important and cutting out the things that aren’t.
The Richest Man in Babylon – George S Clason: Another book not specifically about business, but finance is fundamental to being successful in business. Ancient lessons shared through fables that really hammer the points home in a super easy read. Don’t overlook this.
Good For: Everyone. This is another foundational book that I really wish they made us read when we were in school. By understanding your relationship to money, you’ll understand how to make it work for you rather than living as a slave to it. True financial freedom lies in your ability to manage money effectively and this book really does give you the best mental frameworks for managing that relationship regardless of what point in life you’re at right now.
Dot Com Secrets – Russell Brunson: If you’re not familiar with Russell Brunson, he’s the guy who created Clickfunnels and really changed the eCommerce game. This book could easily go into the tactics and strategy list but it’s also a great mindset book. Russell outlines the cheat code on how to build an online business from scratch with very little start up capital required.
Good For: eCommerce entrepreneurs or anyone who wants to take their physical bricks and mortar business into the digital world. I have to admit, before I picked this book up I was highly skeptical of another “guru” trying to sell their products but I can honestly say that Russel Brunson is THE REAL DEAL. His unique and innovative way of seeing online business and sales funnels is truly game changing and this eye-opening book is jammed full of helpful strategies, mindsets, tactics and step by step instructions ready for you to implement and execute right now.
The eMyth Revisited – Michael E Gerber: Learn about the three business personalities – The Entrepreneur, The Manager & The Technician. Until I read this book I couldn’t see how much I was getting stuck in the technician role in my business. Learn to see your company through the lens of each personality and more with this epic foundational business book keep to your startup success.
Good For: Anyone working on their business idea, this is an amazing mindsets book to read before you get sidelined by expanding workloads and scalability challenges. The gift this super easy read gives you is a hollistic perspective on all of the other roles you need to consider when operating your business. It’s awesome to be passionate about your product, but if you don’t understand the other 80% of what’s required to make your business successful, you’re dead in the water sooner or later. This book will help you avoid that.