Before I go on, I first want to give a mention to the late Jennie Gorman, who recently succumbed to long-term illness. If you’re a business owner in South-East Queensland, chances are you either knew Jennie or knew of Jennie. While I didn’t know her as well as many other people did, I know she was always very well connected with the business community in the South-East, and her regular ‘Mastermind’ groups came from an idea featured in the very first title in today’s list. Jennie understood that no successful business person achieves their vision solo- that any successful person relies upon their connections, the people in their circle and the shared experience and wisdom they provide in order to achieve great things in life. While I unfortunately didn’t get the chance to ask Jennie, I’m sure she read the majority of these titles and would endorse their worth to people on this same journey as us. RIP…
“Readers are leaders”
I don’t remember where I read this one, but it absolutely rings true. Since I was 13, I’ve always had a great interest in reading books to do with personal development in some form or another. My “gateway” book (if you could call it that) was titled Being Happy, which I found in my parents’ book collection one day and opened out of curiosity. I think it was the title and the cartoon illustration on the front that drew me in. Written by author/ cartoonist Andrew Matthews, it wasn’t a thick book by any means, with easy to read paragraphs that were punctuated by Matthews’ cute illustrations. As I delved into it, I became fascinated by the novel idea that a great deal of what manifests in our lives is the result of how we think about ourselves, the world and the thoughts that dominate in our daily lives, before anything else.
Maybe I had more power than I thought?
I put some of the concepts into practise (e.g thinking about what I wanted rather than what I didn’t want, imagining that “how life is” was in fact changeable and under my scope of control to a great deal). Beyond just thinking it, I had to live it and- surprise surprise- I saw results. The rest is history…
Fast forward to now and considering my job, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a lot of books I’ve read are focused on improving in business, writing or some form of personal development. In fact, much of what I’ve shared here over the years can be traced back to the ideas of dead authors, whose words live on many years later, still just as useful, relevant and full of transformational potential as ever.
So after all these years, here are my top picks, in no particular order. As another saying I heard once goes “If you ask 10 different people you’ll get 10 different answers”, but for me, these 7 titles have the potential to make a huge difference in how you market your business, how prolific you are at selling, how well you can write copy- and how much true contentment you get from life. So in no particular order, here we go:
#1: Think And Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill)
What you learn: In Think & Grow Rich you discover the 13 steps essential to achieving riches (not just material riches but also riches of opportunity and personal success), in addition to the potential power each of us has to shape our destiny via our subconscious. Through the countless examples Hill discovered over the 20 years of research he invested putting this book together, Think & Grow Rich overwhelmingly outlines what is possible to each of us when we tap into the right mindset and take the time to understand how our subconscious mind directly affects the path our life takes, for better or worse.
Why you should read it: Think And Grow Rich is great because there’s just so many examples of people unlocking all kinds of successes through history by utilising the steps outlined. This is one of those books where page after page you get flashes of revelation and highlight single sentences or entire paragraphs that are well worth the revision later. Hill has a way of explaining the concepts in a language that is straightforward and simple, taking into account how our language has changed in the 80+ years since Think And Grow Rich was first published. To date, this is still one of the best books to just flick through from time to time and reacquaint yourself with the great wisdom found within.
#2: The One Sentence Persuasion Course (Blair Warren)
What you learn: Quite simply, you get a clear, stripped-down-to-the-framework understanding of the art of persuasion and why it works. It’s one of those concepts where once you learn it, you can’t unlearn it- and you begin to see examples of it everywhere…examples you’ve encountered time and time again, but hadn’t been able to join the dots until now.
Why you should read it: Firstly, this is a short book- you can finish it in less than an hour! You’ll reach the end and go “Is that it?” But this is a great example of a good thing coming in a small package. If you work in marketing or just want to get a clearer understanding of how persuasion works, you can’t afford to miss this one. On top of that, like I said once you learn ‘The 27 Words’ you’ll spot them everywhere- and save a LOT of time when it comes to devising a strategy (big or small) that encourages your desired audience to take action!
#3: Words That Sell (Richard Bayan)
What you learn: Not so much a book you read cover to cover, but more a quick reference guide. At your fingertips, you have thousands of different words and phrases designed for all types of copywriting catering to all kinds of audiences. With this as a reference guide, the copy you write becomes bolder, more interesting, powerful and effective.
Why you should read it: Think of Words That Sell as your copywriting toolkit- if you have any interest in writing the marketing copy for your business or for somebody else’s business, then this is your one-stop quick reference guide if you’re searching for just the right word or sentence to use on your website, social media platform, sales letter or special offer. Never lurch to a grinding halt with writers’ block ever again, because this handy guide is always within reach and ready to give you a tonne of options so you can get on with the job- and pump out effective copy that sounds just right. But if you’re writing for somebody else, don’t let them know you use this as a guide- better to take the credit and have them think you’re a genius!
#4: Awaken The Giant Within (Anthony Robbins)
What you learn: The concept of our personal beliefs, how they’re formed, why we feel the way we do about certain circumstances and most importantly; how we can improve our sense of wellbeing simply by understanding the basis of these beliefs and asking the right questions. Robbins also goes into further depth exploring the concept (and application) of kaizen, which I talked about here (Revealed: The Success Formula That’s Made In Japan)
Why you should read it: I’d actually recommend reading this in conjunction with listening to Robbins’ 10 part audio series Time Of Your Life, and doing the daily exercises he sets out. I know Tony is a guy who polarises opinion- some people regard him as one of the great modern personal gurus, while others view him as a snake-oil salesman peddling nothing more than reheated feel good platitudes and short-term fixes- and I admit I was once in that latter category. But then (from a friends’ encouragement) I reluctantly began listening to Time Of Your Life and not only did I go on to finish the series- it had a BIG impact on how I went about evaluating myself, organising my top outcomes, setting priorities for those outcomes and implementing ongoing checks and balances to make sure I didn’t stray too far off course while chasing down my big goals. So call me a believer all you want, I still highly recommend reading Awaken The Giant Within and (if you like to be thorough with such things) listening to the Time Of Your Life series plus doing the exercises in both- because it may just be one of the most productive, life-changing investments of your time in a long while!
#5: Unlimited Selling Power (Donald Moyne, Kenneth Lloyd)
What you learn: As the title boldly suggests, in this book you learn the core principles that underpin successful selling, in depth examples of exactly how a great salesperson operates, and what motivates people to buy from them.
Why you should read it: If you work in marketing or selling your company’s products or services, then you can’t afford to miss this one! It’s not just an effective guide when it comes to selling on the business front, but also on selling yourself- selling your ideas, your plans, your concepts, your desires to people. If you’re somebody who feels a tinge of anxiety when it comes to selling, or you need certain circumstances to be “just right” in order to sell, then this book is a great guide to graduate into the most effective salesperson of all- the one who can “sell from anywhere”. There’s also (obviously) the advantage that you’ll never hear another pitch the same way again- because you’ll recognise exactly how they’re making their pitch and why certain salespeople appear to have that Midas touch.
#6: How To Wow (John Dwyer)
What you learn: Authored by John Dwyer, the man who (amongst many feats) convinced Jerry Seinfeld to appear in adverts for a Hunter Valley based building society, How To Wow is a refreshing guide that encourages you to think outside the box, look at previously untapped possibilities and dare to do things differently- regardless of what your industry looks like or what you’re selling.
Why you should read it: If you’re not content to be just like every other business in your industry and you instead want to become the stand-out name, then this is the book to read. Even if you don’t finish it with some amazing idea that completely transforms your marketing or promotions, it at least will encourage you to take a completely fresh approach when it comes to delivering maximum value for your customers and brainstorming your next big promotional idea in future. So get hold of a copy- and dare to think differently…
#7: The 3 Posts People Stop Everything To Read (Ben Mackie)
What you learn: Quite simply, at a time where the battle for people’s attention has never been more critical, you learn what kind of blog articles people still stop to read- and why this is.
Why you should read it: I know, you might accuse me of giving myself a free plug here. But this is my site, so why not? In all seriousness though, you should definitely grab a copy if you recognise what regular blog articles achieve for a business online (as we unpacked here: Some Real Numbers To Make You Re-Think Blogging) AND you want to write/ publish articles that are actually worth the time it takes. Because as you already know, there’s so much bland content out there clogging up our feeds, fading away unnoticed on somebody’s website- and the tragedy is two-fold. Not only did people waste time and energy to publish articles nobody cares about- but so many times the topic they share could’ve been a hit- if ONLY they’d followed the principles I outline in this easy to read e-book.
You know what the best part is? You can read The 3 Posts People Stop Everything To Read without paying a cent. All you need to do is enter your details, join our database and your very own copy gets sent straight to the e-mail inbox of your choice with just one single ‘click’. And even in the unlikely event you decide to unsubscribe from our database, you still get to keep your copy!
You can easily read this AND The One Sentence Persuasion Course in less than a day- and that’s 5 of the 7 here crossed off already! So what are you waiting for? Join up and get your FREE copy of ‘The 3 Posts People Stop Everything To Read’