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For every output there must be an input. What we consume daily has a direct effect on what we produce. For this reason I set a goal for myself to consume one book per week. The new content and different perspectives keeps my mind in active learning mode. We are after all – eternal students. While one book per week may seem like a challenge, it is doable by setting an hour aside to read a number of pages per day that will guarantee completion by the end of the week. For example, if a book is 350 pages, read 50 pages a day and then it is only a matter of time and discipline before the task is done.

An affordable and free way to borrow e-books, audio-books and physical copies of books is through your local public library depending on availability.

Most books I consume by listening to the audio-book version while exercising, cooking, driving, doing household chores, and any chance I get during repetitive tasks. If you are like me and want to take advantage of listening to books on the go, consider signing up for an Audible membership (paid link) to start building your very own library of audio-books.

For books that are only available in text format, I try to read the digital ebook version if available because of the handy built-in dictionary and the weight and space savings. I own the Kindle touch but if I were to get one now I would choose the Kindle Paperwhite E-reader (paid link) because of the built-in light.

If you find yourself getting a lot of e-books from Amazon, consider signing up for an Amazon Prime membership (paid link) to get unlimited reading on a Kindle device or smartphone app.

Below are some great books to learn real-life skills and gain exposure to topics beyond those commonly delved into in the academic world.


Title and Author (paid links)

Einstein by Walter Isaacson

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius by Marc Seifer

The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley by Malcolm X and Alex Haley


Title and Author (paid links)

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée A. Mauborgne

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder

Entrepreneurial DNA: The Breakthrough Discovery that Aligns Your Business to Your Unique Strengths by Joe Abraham

Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got: 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform, and Out-Earn the Competition by Jay Abraham

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz

Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big by Bo Burlingham

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Management of Innovation and Change) by Clayton M. Christensen

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success by William N. Thorndike

The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean

The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company by Steve Blank

Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want (Strategyzer) by Walter Isaacson

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters


Title and Author (paid links)

CASE IN POINT: 9th Edition: Complete Case Interview Preparation by Marc Cosentino


Title and Author (paid links)

The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming by Masanobu Fukuoka and Frances Moore Lappe


Title and Author (paid links)

A Guide to the Good Life : The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William Braxton Irvine

A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton G. Malkiel

Beyond Wealth: The Road Map to a Rich Life by Alexander Green

Borrow: The American Way of Debt by Louis Hyman

Early Retirement Extreme: A philosophical and practical guide to financial independence by Jacob Lund Fisker and Ann Beaver

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby

Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science by Charles Wheelan and Burton G. Malkiel

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth by Juliet B. Schor and Karen White

Smartest 401(k) Book You’ll Ever Read: Maximize Your Retirement Savings…the Smart Way! by Daniel R. Solin

Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises by Timothy F. Geithner

Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2013 by Carol J. Loomis

The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Incerto) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Economics Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) by DK Publishing

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing by Benjamin Graham

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns (Little Books. Big Profits) by John C. Bogle

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Rich by Cotter Smith and Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D.

The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias

The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life by J L Collins and Mr. Money Mustache

The Smartest Money Book You’ll Ever Read: Everything You Need to Know About Growing, Spending, and Enjoying Your Money by Daniel R. Solin

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

The Stock Market Cash Flow: Four Pillars of Investing for Thriving in Today’s Markets (Rich Dad Advisors) by Andy Tanner

You Can Be a Stock Market Genius: Uncover the Secret Hiding Places of Stock Market Profits by Joel Greenblatt

Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

The Economist Guide to Economic Indicators: Making Sense of Economics by The Economist

The Intelligent Asset Allocator: How to Build Your Portfolio to Maximize Returns and Minimize Risk by William J. Bernstein

The Little Book That Beats the Market (Little Books. Big Profits) by Joel Greenblatt

The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read: The Proven Way to Beat the “Pros” and Take Control of Your Financial Future by Daniel R. Solin


Title and Author (paid links)

Barefoot Running Step by Step: Barefoot Ken Bob, The Guru of Shoeless Running, Shares His Personal Technique For Running With More by Roy Wallack and Ken Bob Saxton

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger MD and Gene Stone

Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg

Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe (Author), Jason Kelly (Illustrator)


Title and Author (paid links)

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam M. Grant Ph.D.

Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team by Simon Sinek

It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership by Colin Powell

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

Leading Change by John P. Kotter

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker and Jim Collins


Title and Author (paid links)

Difference: The one-page method for reimagining your business and reinventing your marketing by Bernadette Jiwa

DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online by Russell Brunson and Dan Kennedy

Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers by Seth Godin


Title and Author (paid links)

3-d Negotiation: Powerful Tools to Change the Game in Your Most Important Deals by David A. Lax and James K. Sebenius

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury

Public Speaking

Title and Author (paid links)

Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions by Guy Kawasaki

Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo

Self Improvement

Title and Author (paid links)

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink

Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong by Eric Barker

Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes–But Some Do by Matthew Syed

Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence by Rick Hanson

Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

Quitter by Jon Acuff

Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim S. Grover and Shari Wenk

Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff

The Magic of Thinking Big: The true secret of success to sell more, manage better, lead fearlessly, earn more, enjoy a happier, more fulfilling life by David J. Schwartz

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and Arthur Pell

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen and James Fallows

Social Media

Title and Author (paid links)

Fans, Friends & Followers: Building an Audience and a Creative Career in the Digital Age by Scott Kirsner

How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk


Title and Author (paid links)

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery

Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences by John Allen Paulos

The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty by Peter Singer

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger


Title and Author (paid links)

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss


Title and Author (paid links)

Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness by Jeffrey Gitomer

SPIN Selling: Situation Problem Implication Need-Payoff by Neil Rackham

The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies by Chet Holmes and Michael Gerber

Zero-Resistance Selling: Achieve Extraordinary Sales Results Using World Renowned techqs Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz


Title and Author (paid links)

1984: Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Chris Hadfield

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach and Russell Munson

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe by Mike Massimino


All Marketers are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works–and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All by Seth Godin

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire by Paul Smith

Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story by Jerry Weissman

Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte

The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby

The Elements of Persuasion: Use storytelling to pitch better, sell faster, and win more business by Richard Maxwell

The Elements of Style by William Strunk

The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell and Arthur Morey

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers

The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall

Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron


Title and Author (paid links)

The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life by Parker J. Palmer

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