January 1 was the start of my 23rd year in business – hard to believe it’s been that long!
People have asked me how I’ve done it and I answer by waxing poetically about the books I’ve read and implemented. As a bookkeeper, I know you need a good set of books to run your business. As an entrepreneur I believe it’s the books you build your business on that will lead to your greatest prosperity.
Everything built to last must have a solid foundation – These books are mine. (I should state that they are not in any particular order)
See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar – For more than three decades Zig Ziglar traveled the world delivering self-improvement messages that encourage, uplift, and inspire. This book has captured that wisdom in a single volume. A little dated with some of the stories – just being honest here – but I don’t care. This is a book you can plant yourself on.
There is a companion book to See You at the Top called Steps to the Top – it is currently out of print but if you manage to find a copy or three snag them. They are invaluable.
Millionaire Success Habits by Dean Graziosi – Taking everything I learned from Zig Ziglar and bringing it up to date for the 21st century. I was originally turned off by the title but after getting out of my own way and reading the book I found this to be a real gamechanger.
Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – Talk about dated! But that fact doesn’t change that this book has incredible value to impart. My favorite bit is about building a personal board of directors – This single step has helped me grow and shape the business that I have today as well as give me a place to go to figure out where things have gone sideways and find my way back on track.
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann – This book is a fable which makes it so very easy to read and helps you visualize how you can use the information yourself. The story is based on the “5 Laws of Stratospheric Success” and walks a young “go-getter” thru them. Watching that young man wake up and discover for himself the path to success is pretty powerful and I reread this book anytime I am feeling uncertain of my steps. Okay, I relisten to is as this particular book is one of my favorite on audible.
The One Thing by Gary Keller – If you are at all uncertain of what you need to do next in your business this is the book for you. It guides you thru a process to help you figure out “The One Thing, that such by doing everything else is easier or unnecessary.” It helps you block your time and stay on task. I would double down on this book – read it twice and just do what it says. It will change everything!
Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port – I built my entire sales system around this book. To be honest it is best for a service-based business like mine. Not a book for a retail store owner or a manufacturer. If you want to drop a few extra pennies you have to get the illustrated version of this book. It draws out the concepts and gives you a workbook to guide you thru the entire process. I can directly relate 80% of my sales to reading this book.
Profit First by Mike Michalowicz – if 80% of my sales link to Book Yourself Solid then I can thank Mike and the Profit First system to 100% of my profit. Most of the books on this list I’ve been leaning on for years. This one is a 2017 addition. To put it as simply as I can – Profit First is the envelope system for businesses. It forces you to be honest with yourself and your spending. It makes you pay yourself first – after all, you don’t work this hard to still be struggling at home to pay your bills. In the year that I have implemented this book, my profit has grown a whopping 367.2%. I can’t give a stronger recommendation than that.
Another 2017 entry on to this list is Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson – This book is all about positioning yourself as the expert in your field. That is where we can have the greatest impact as entrepreneurs and if we didn’t want to have an impact we would be working for someone else. No need to reinvent the wheel here – just follow his lead.
The Power of Moments by Chip & Dan Heath – This book changed the way I see my relationship building with clients and prospects. The first thing it gave me permission to screw up….. and showed me how to leverage that for a deeper trust with my clients. How powerful is that? Then it helped me shaped my thinking around the experience I give my clients – where I can intentionally setup those moments of “Wow!” that typically are few and far between. Just realized this is also a 2017 book… Apparently, I had a lot to learn this year!
Last but not least – The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander & Rosamund Stone Zander – First if you are at all interested in this book you have to get the audible version. Benjamin Zander is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and he uses beautiful music to illustrate their points. For me, the music was so evocative that it helped cement the lessons I needed to learn.
His is also one of the best TED talks I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. From “Giving an A” to the mysterious “Rule Number 6” to “Leading from Any Chair” every chapter in this book is solid gold.
Now for my disclaimer – I can’t promise you success if you read these books. If you don’t implement, nothing will change. Not all of these books will resonate with you… that’s okay – take what you need from this list and leave the rest behind.
Oh – and yes – all the links are affiliate links on Amazon so I make a few pennies if you click and purchase. Not much but sometimes they add up to a new book! Now get reading!