The Top Five Books You Need to Read Right Away
Many of you that have followed me for a long time know that I'm an avid reader and I attribute much of my knowledge and success to books that I have read. I've written multiple reviews of business books that I've finished like Rich Dad Poor Dad, Cashflow Quadrant, and The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down, but I only wrote those immediately after reading them and haven't gotten a chance to go over the books that have had the biggest impact on my life.
My top five is going to be different than yours of course, but that doesn't mean that my top five is any better or worse than yours. I think we can all learn something valuable from any book and these are just the top five I would recommend you check out when you get a chance.
These recommendations are in no particular order and I think you'll garner a ton of valuable information from each of them. If you want any more information or have questions about a particular book, please feel free to comment and I will do my best to answer you. Remember, these are just my recommendations so don't be up in arms if I don't mention your favorite book (but I am always looking for new reads so please comment below!). I've also listed other recommendations that go along with each book if you want to dive even deeper.
Quick Disclaimer: The links to all of these book recommendations are Amazon Affiliate links. I don't care where you get the book whether it be through my link or bootlegged off some website. I just ask that if you do decide to purchase one of my recommendations through Amazon, that you use my link. Your price isn't affected, I just get a small percentage of the sale when you do. Thanks!
#1: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Work Anywhere, and Join the New Rich - By Timothy Ferriss
This is the book that started everything for me. This book completely opened my eyes to an entirely new world that I hadn't even known existed. I read this book in January 2014 and basically inhaled it cover to cover in a couple of days. I then read the entire thing again a week or two later. Then I read it again a couple months later. I've never read a book from beginning to end so many times, but there's a reason I have with this one.
It's utter genius. Ferriss invented the term "lifestyle design" with this book and has since gone on to become one of the most read authors of all time including being a five-time New York Times best selling author and has one of the highest rated podcasts (The Tim Ferriss Show) that has something like a bajillion downloads. But this book is where Ferriss got his start and this is the one that introduced me to the world as I know it.
This book is more than just "quitting your job and working four hours a week." It's a set of principals that can completely change your life. You don't have to work only four hours a week, but what if you could? What would you do with the extra time? Could you work even less if you wanted? The answers to all of those questions and countless more are answered in this book.
I put The 4-Hour Workweek first on this list because it's the title that pops into my head whenever someone asks for a book recommendation. It really is that good. The thing about it is though, that you've probably already read it or at least heard a lot about it. Some of the principals that Ferriss first introduced in The 4-Hour Workweek are so ingrained in modern life that you wouldn't even know they came from this book.
It's about as close to a perfect piece of non-fiction as I've ever read.
Other Recommendations: The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss. Hell, just pick up anything by Tim Ferriss and you won't be disappointed. Along the same lines, The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau is also fantastic and a great read alongside Ferriss' work.
#2: The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumphs - By Ryan Holiday
I found out about Ryan Holiday through Tim Ferriss actually. I'm not exactly sure if it was a blog post or a podcast that Ferriss did with Holiday, but I was instantly hooked by Holiday's ability to weave a narrative and portray a message through historical examples. The book portrays itself as non-fiction, which it is, but it's so much more. It's philosophy, spirituality, and self-help all combined into one perfectly written and concise text.
I'll be completely honest, I hadn't known much about Stoicism or Stoic philosophy until I read The Obstacle is the Way, but it's the perfect entrance into the ideas and principals that have guided some of the greatest thinkers, politicians, and business minds in history. This book completely changed the way I looked at the world for the better.
The basic premise of the book and Stoicism in general is that you can't control what is out of your control and can only control your reactions to outside events. For example, somebody hits your car while it's parked on the street and doesn't leave a note. No amount of huffing and puffing is going to fix the dents and scratches, nor is it going to help the situation. You cannot control what has already happened, but you can control your reaction to it. You can calmly assess the damage and move forward with a plan to fix it as well as insure that it doesn't happen again. Being upset is counter-productive and does not help to solve the issue at hand.
It really is that simple in theory, but it's much more difficult in practice. It's hard to simply let the punches roll off of you. That's where the true growth lies and that is why this book is so important to being the best person that you can possibly be. That shift in mindset from getting upset at external events that you have no control over to understanding what is in your control and doing your best to work with what you can is paramount and I 100% believe will change your life.
Other Recommendations: Ego is the Enemy and The Daily Stoic also by Ryan Holiday are great reads. If you're looking more for a primary text then Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and [Letters from a Stoic}(https://amzn.to/2GRh75t) by Seneca are great starting points.
#3: Crushing It - By Gary Vaynerchuck
I hesitated slightly about including this book since it came out just a few months ago, but I think it's perfect for understanding where the world of marketing and branding are going. You probably just smirked at the idea of a "marketing and branding" book being on this list, but hear me out. This is not your typical theory based book. Sure, there is theory involved, but everything in the book is tested by Gary V himself.
It's all about personal branding and understanding what you can do to build your online persona. The basic premise is that you need to be producing content that is true to yourself and producing a metric fuckton of that content. Whether you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Music.ly, podcasts, Alexa Skills, or even Steemit, you need to be putting out content. You should be dominating the attention of your audience because that is what makes you relevant in this world.
Gary V talks often about "day-trading attention" and how that is the way to become an influencer. It's 100% true fact and something that I have attempted to do in my own life. I've started posting more often here on Steemit and have been working on building an audience on other social media as well, but I think Steemit is one of the best places to do so. After reading this book, I was inspired and while that is half the battle, the tactics that Gary gives in this book are invaluable.
It's a pretty quick read, but if you have any intention at all to build a personal brand, you need to read this one. This book is about understanding the principles that will make you successful in this technology and social media driven world. Do yourself a favor and get ahead of the rest of the world with this one.
Other Recommendations: This one is a little more difficult since it's so brand new that there isn't much that touches on the same subject matter. Crush It, which is the predecessor to Crushing It is probably the closest, but it's eight years old now. If anything, pick up Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook also by Gary Vaynerchuck to help your social media game.
#4: The Great Gatsby - By F. Scott Fitzgerald
The first piece of fiction that graces this list and for good reason. Arguably one of the greatest pieces of historical fiction, The Great Gatsby is simply stunning. It weaves an intricate tale of love, loss, and friendship in 1920's America. You aren't going to find any tactical takeaways or life principles in this novel, but you will be supremely entertained and captivated by the characters, settings, and overall mastery of the written word.
I first read The Great Gatsby in high school and while I enjoyed the novel, I didn't understand the nuances and sheer genius until I read it as an adult. It's one of the most well known stories in US literature and has won countless awards. It's a book that needs to be read a few times over to truly understand the subtle nuances that pepper the beautifully written story. Even if you've seen the Leonardo DiCaprio starring movie, the book is 100 times more incredible.
Quite possibly the greatest American novel, this book deserves your full attention and luckily it's not a long read. You'll want to flip the pages to find out what happens next, while simultaneously building a framework for the world Fitzgerald plops you into. The novel is perfect in every sense of the word. Seriously, just go out and grab it right away.
Other Recommendations: The Day of the Locust by Nathaneal West is similar in style and subject matter to Gatsby, but is not quite the masterpiece. Jazz by Toni Morrison is a modern day writing of 1920's Harlem, which harkens back to Gatsby in a masterful way. Morrison is also one of the greatest writers of our generation and deserves to be on this list in her own right.
#5: Choose Yourself - By James Altucher
My journey to Steemit traces its roots back to this book, but we'll get to that in a minute. This book has had one of the most profound impacts on my life of anything I've ever read. I still write 10 Ideas a Day and try to improve myself 1% per day. Both of which are tactics detailed in Altucher's Choose Yourself. Part of the reason that this book is so important to me is that Altucher writes in a totally unique style. Everything is first person and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. The best descriptor for Altucher's writing style is simply "vulnerable."
The thing is, the style works to perfection. The book is easy to read and the important points are blatantly obvious. Altucher's also not one to theorize and give advice that he hasn't personally taken himself. All of his prescriptions are from his own learning. He has gone from $0 to $1 million, back to $0, back to $1 million multiple times over and with each iteration he has improved upon his framework of life.
Altucher is not one to sugar coat anything, and within the first few pages you'll understand what I mean. He can be polarizing, so be sure to open the book with an open mind. You might just be surprised at what you find.
But how does a self-help book called Choose Yourself explain my journey to Steemit. Well, I joined a facebook group thanks to reading Altucher's book called "Choose Yourself" (I know, Altucher is very creative). Someone by the name of @stellabelle posted the link to Steemit.com early on and I was hooked. Getting paid to do what I was already doing was awesome and luckily for me I got in early enough to actually make a difference.
The book is entirely based on the titular phrase, which is something that more of us should probably do. I've often found myself doing things because of outside forces, whether that be my parents, girlfriend, or my boss, but we all have to remember that nothing is worth doing if it isn't on your own terms. This book will teach you what that truly means and I assure you that you'll become a better person for it.
Other Recommendations: The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth and Reinvent Yourself are both powerful followups to the original Choose Yourself and are both done in the same Altucher style you know and love. I highly recommend reading Choose Yourself first and then following it up with either of these two. They're all fantastic and remarkably helpful.
As I mentioned in the beginning, I highly recommend picking up any of the above suggestions immediately. Obviously, some are going to be more suited for you than others and only you are going to know which one will best fit your interests. My goal was to give you a relatively diverse collection of books that can provide value to you no matter what. I chose these books specifically for the fact that I think anyone can derive some tidbit of value from each of them.
I would love to hear what your favorite books are and which ones you would recommend. I'm always looking for good book recommendations and I think this would be a great start.
Thank you for reading and I hope I could give you at least a couple books worth reading!