Gary Bencivenga, once the highest-paid copywriter in the world, was once asked what he would do if he could do it all again, he said, “I’d read the 10 best books over and over again.” He went on to explain that reading 10 books 10 times is more valuable than reading 1000 books.
The book doesn’t change, but you do, and because you change, so does the book. You understand things more deeply and take away new ideas and concepts. Jim Rohn, the late great American business philosopher used to say that Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill alone made him over a quarter of a million dollars. He read it several dozen times.
Books are powerful so the question beckons, with so many books to choose from which books should we invest our time (and money) in? With a library over 800 physical books and another 1200 in my digital library, I deliberated over what my ten books would be. It wasn’t easy, but here are mine:
#1 Leading an Inspired Life by Jim Rohn
Rohn has many amazing audio programs, but only a few books to choose from. I decided to go with his compilation of quotes from his lectures. It makes for an easy read, but the ideas contained in it are profound. It’s a book I turn to when I’m pressed for time as just a few pages are enough to get the gray matter working up top.
#2 The Four-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Many business books focus on theory. Not with this book – it’s a collection of personal experiences, lessons, and insights that the author had during his own journey. As such, it works as a very practical guide with a lot of relevant recommendations. He shares his frameworks, how-to guides, and mistakes to avoid along the way. A great book for those youngsters out there wondering what to do with their lives.
#3 The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman
An absolutely amazing book for anyone who wants to understand why people buy. His 30 triggers are nothing short of genius and he has some great little stories that will stick with you long after you read the book.
#4 Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
Despite this book being written more than 20 years ago, it’s as relevant today as it was back then. It’s no wonder that it’s in many people’s like of their all-time favorite self-help books. He pulls no punches and touches on every aspect of success from psychology to health to language. Not one to be missed.
#5 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The go-to book for businesses and executives the world over for more than 30 years. It’s simple in design but rich in content. Covey himself even admitted that after ten years of working on the seven habits, he still struggled with them.
#6 In Search of Excellence by Thomas Peters and Robert H. Waterman
A classic in business that once talked about the most successful companies of the time. Today, however, it reads of a whos-who of failures making it that much more interesting. Anyone reading the book should take one lesson to heart – never rest on your laurels.
#7 The Essential Executive by Peter Drucker
Drucker is a household name in any MBA course and for good reason. This book is an edited collection of his most influential thoughts about the practice of management. A powerful resource for any manager or leader.
#8 He Can Who Thinks He Can by Orison Swett Marden
For a book written in 1907, you’ll be amazed at how modern the ideas and concepts feel. If not for some of his examples, you’d swear this could have been written last year. A powerful book and one that reminds us that fundamentals never go out of fashion.
#9 Thick Face, Black Heart by Chin-Ning Chu
One of the three books recommended by legendary marketer Dan Kennedy as a must-read. It’s hard to disagree. Powerful insight into the Chinese culture and along the lines of Think and Grow Rich, only easier to pull from.
#10 How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Rock-solid advice that continues to work today. You’ll learn six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to win people over to your way of thinking, nine ways to change people without arousing resentment and more. Don’t let the simplicity of the ideas contained in this book fool you, these ideas work both in business and in our personal lives.
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