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The Ultimate List Of 221 Best Business Books To Read In 2021

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” ― Oscar Wilde

 

The 221 Best Business Books To Read Before 2020

 

I previously released a list of my top 21 book list, but now it’s time to go more in depth. This is a serious collection of every important book I recommend you read

 

This is a living, breathing document, that I’ll keep updating. Bookmark this page, and review it regularly.

 

Starting off this list is my absolute Top 10. If you read nothing else, read this list. I consider these essential readings that any man entering the business world should read. Let’s go:

 

Top 10 Business Books To Read In 2021:

  • Sales: Jeffrey Gitomer – The Little Red Book Of Selling
    • This book changed the game for me on selling. Jeffrey Gitomer has been referred to as the “Seth Godin of sales”, and it holds true. If ever you’ve shied away sales because you thought it was “sleazy” or “scammy”, read this book. It will give you a new paradigm for what sales should be. 
    • Recommended for: anyone who hates the idea of selling
    • Key Takeaway: Focus on why people buy, not how can you sell.

 

  • Marketing: Gary Vee – Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
    • Unfortunately this book hasn’t aged very well, however the core principles are timeless. Want to succeed in a social media driven world? Tell a good story. Make people laugh, be relevant, be helpful. Humans like humans, and too many brands sound like robots online. 
    • Recommended For: the aspiring entrepreneur who sweats at the idea of “doing” social media.
    • Key Takeaway: Give, give, give, before you ever ask for a sale.

 

  • Networking: Keith Ferrazzi – Never Eat Alone
    • Networking is one of those words that sends chills up people’s spines. The thought of hanging around in stuffy rooms, filled with strangers you don’t like and awkwardly handing out business cards is enough to make anyone cringe in horror. But Keith Ferrazzi show’s that marketing is more about making connections, and being a helpful human. A few kind gestures can go a long way. 
    • Recommended For: everyone who feels shy and awkward and loathes the thought of attending another “event”
    • Key Takeaway: Help others and they’ll likely help you back

 

  • Mindset: Robert Ringer – Winning Through Intimidation
    • This is one of those books I never expected I’d read. The title initially put me off, I thought it was about how to intimidate others. In fact it’s the exact opposite, it’s about how to survive when others try to intimidate you. The book explains the concept of posture and how if you go into a negotiation with weak posture, the vultures will smell an easy kill and take you for everything you’ve got. This book teaches you to prepare and how to “keep all your fingers”.
    • Recommended For: Business owners who want to negotiate complicated deals
    • Key Takeaway: When life knocks you down, learn the hard lessons and don’t repeat them. 

 

  • Masculinity: David Deida – The Way Of The Superior Man
      • This one is a classic. Honestly, I feel like I should have put it first on the list. If I could recommend only one book from this entire list, this would be it. It was that eye-opening and revolutionary for me. This book lays out the concepts of masculine and feminine polarity, and how to pull out your masculine energy and attract the feminine. Most men (and women) live with neutral energy, extinguishing the spark and enthusiasm for life.
      • Recommended For: Every man. 
  • Key Takeaway: Learn to live in your masculine and find your edge. Find that project that you can get lost in for hours and become obsessed with it. Women can smell when you have a clear sense of focus and direction, or perhaps more importantly, when you don’t. 

 

 

  • Time Management: Brian Tracy – Eat That Frog
    • Ah yes, procrastination. This is one we all struggle with. There’s always another YouTube video to watch, a social media newsfeed to scroll through or another email pinging in our inbox. With so many distractions, how are we to ever get anything done?? Brian Tracy lays out a simple concept dubbed “Eat That Frog” where you start each morning by demolishing first thing, that one, big, scary task, that you know needs to get done. By getting that big task done first, you’ve set yourself up to enjoy the rest of your day, knowing the biggest thing has been taken care of. 
    • Recommended For: anyone who struggles with procrastination, or feels lost in an endless firehose of distractions. 
    • Key Takeaway: Do the biggest, scariest, most important task, first thing everyday. 

 

  • Mastery: Robert Greene – Mastery
    • If I had to pick a #2 book on this list, this would be it. The concept this book lays out is relatively simple, yet exceedingly profound: If you want to get good at anything in life, you’ve got to put in the hours. However, the most liberating statement from this book is that hardworkd is better than talent. Most people are upset they’re not “born geniuses”, but Robert Greene demystifies that and shows that many child prodigies end up ultimately becoming failures in life, but that real success belongs to those who show up and put in the hours. Think: tortoise and the hare. 
    • Recommended for: anyone who feels they’re “not good enough”
    • Key Takeaway: show up, put in the hours.

 

  • Discipline: Steven Pressfield – The War Of Art
    • And this would be a close #3. The beautiful part of The War Of Art is how insanely short this book is. Seriously, you can read it in an afternoon. But the core message is timeless: do the work. We all feel resistance in our lives. We want to write, but we don’t know what to say, we want to create art, but we’re worried of being judged. Resistance beats us. But Steven Pressfield lays out the war plan to beat resistance at it’s own game. The mantra: do the work. 
    • Recommended For: anyone who feels lost and aimless.
    • Key Takeaway: Do. The. Work.

 

  • Biography: Arnold Schwarenegger – Total Recall
      • Sometimes there’s nothing like a real example to show you how it’s done. Arnold lays out his days starting as a rural Austrian, developing a clear vision for his life, laying out his mission, setting up visual cues to keep him on track, and showing up to do the work. The volume of work this man accomplished such a short period of time is astounding. A real testament to what you can do with clarity and focus. 
  • Recommended For: anyone who needs a good kick in the ass and good dose of Arnie. 
  • Key Takeaway: Develop a clear vision and mission for your life, put up photos of what you want to achieve, and dedicate yourself to putting in the work to making it happen. 


  • Leadership: Simon Sinek – Leaders Eat Last
      • Mr. Simon Sinek. A most simple, yet profound message: leaders eat last. Yet, how many of us, have worked a job where we felt our “leaders” wern’t really leaders, but managers at best, and authoritarian tyrants at worst? In truth, I think most people are okay with the idea of having a boss, however most bosses are terrible and have absolutely now idea how to lead. Which leads to people like me saying “cool – but I’d rather do this on my own”
      • Recommended For: anyone who feels called to leadership, or for anyone who wants a clear example of why they have a terrible boss.
  • Key Takeaway: Leadership is about serving your people, not your people serving you. 

 

Bonus Wildcard Book: 

  • Honest Ed – How To Build An Empire On An Orange Crate
    • Wanted to throw a curveball here. For anyone familiar with Toronto, you’ll know the iconic Honest Ed’s thrift shop at Bathurst & Bloor (RIP 2018). This is the story of the man behind the sign, and how he rose to fame from extremely humble beginnings. He lays out the strategy how anyone can work with what they’ve got to move forward in life, no matter where you’re starting from.
    • Recommended For: Those oddballs who have fire in their belly and refuse to give up. 
    • Key Takeaway: “without shareholders, I never had to explain why I did outrageous things, I only had to remember what went wrong and not repeat it” 

 

Best Sales Books:

  • Jill Konrath – Selling To Big Companies
      • I never expected I’d enjoy reading a book on “sales” as much as I enjoyed this epic by Jill Konrath. She brings a humanity to selling that is deeply lacking from an industry that generally lacks much empathy. Her message is to be useful and helpful, instead of rude and obnoxious (crazy idea, right?). Jill talks of the importance of speaking to your prospects problems, rather than beating your own chest. For example, no one cares that you have an “incredible track record”, with “years of experience” and won “multiple awards”. Honestly, they don’t care. Instead, take the time to research (yes, research!) your clients specific problems and how you’d solve them. Think about it, imagine you’re a CEO and you receive an email that says “digging into your last quarters letter to your shareholders, it seems to me the biggest problems facing your department is struggling sales after a new product launch. We work exclusively with [companies like yours], and have effectively helped companies launch new products with 50% more revenue…” – Do you feel they took the time to personally understand your needs? Did they present a custom tailored solution specific to your needs and problems? Do you feel like they care about you? 
  • Recommended For: Anyone who’s thinking of getting into sales (read this before you get bad sales advice shoved down your throat)
      • Key Takeaway: people don’t do business with strangers, people do business with people they know care about them. 
  • Jeffrey Gitomer – The Sales Manifesto
  • Jeffrey Gitomer – The Sales Bible
  • Grant Cardone – The 10x Rule
      • Mr. Grant Cardone – love him or hate him, he’s a bit of a legend. Without going much into my personal feelings, I’m not actually a big fan of Grant Cardone – I think he’s one of those guys that gives sales a bad name, and focuses too much on the material aspect of sales (it’s all about money, money, money!). However with that said, he writes some great books and gives great advice. My thought is learn what you can from him, but don’t become him. The 10x rule is all about thinking big. It’s all about taking whatever goals you have and 10x’ing them, to make them bigger, more ambitious, more audacious, and ultimately more exciting. Grant preaches that we all think too small, and we need to open up our minds to what is truly possible. Think geometric, exponential growth. Think 10x.
      • Recommended For: anyone trying to find motivation in their goals. 
      • Key Takeaway: Whatever goals you have, 10x them and dream bigger. 
  • Grant Cardone – Sell Or Be Sold
  • Grant Cardone – Be Obsessed Or Be Average
      • Another behemoth from Grant Cardone. Building off the theme from The 10x Rule, this book (as the title so nicely implies), is all about being obsessed with your goals, with your projects, with your life. Most people dip a toe in the water, but they never truly commit. Whether it is fear, indecisiveness or lack of prioritization, Grant argues, that that lack of focus is what’s killing you. Let’s face it, we live in a world of constant distractions and endless entertainment. It is so easy to get lost and lose focus. This book teaches that truly if you want success in life, you need to learn to block out all those distractions, and focus 110% and your chosen project. Pick one project, pick one goal, and obsess over it. Learn every detail, every nuance – all the things that others are too lazy to take the time to learn. 
      • Recommended For: Anyone struggling with distractions and lack of focus.
      • Key Takeaway: As the title says – be obsessed, or be average. 
  • Neil Rackham – SPIN Selling
      • SPIN Selling has become one of those “books of legend”. Look up any list of top sales books, and this one always makes the cut. (see here, here, and here). While I must say I liked this book, I wasn’t blown away by. Likely that’s because this book has been so widely copied, dissected and spoken about, that I’d already heard most of the ideas when I’d read them. Still recommended reading for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of sales and human psychology. 
      • Recommended For: Everyone getting into sales (if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, that means you)
      • Key Takeaway: Selling to big companies requires a higher level of professionalism, and not some cheap sales “hacks”.
  • Chet Holmes – The Ultimate Sales Machines
  • Matthew Dixon & Brent Adamson – The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
      • The Challenger Sale puts a new spin on selling (no pun intended from SPIN Selling), and puts you as the seller in the driver’s seat of the conversation. So most sales people try to “sell”, meaning they try to convince someone of why their product is “superior” and why the other should buy. The Challenger Sale argues that the answer is to focus on diagnosing the problem, similar to how a doctor diagnoses your illness by asking questions and poking around a bit. It is only once you’ve done your investigation that you can truly offer a meaningful solution to their problem. This book also asks you to challenge your prospect in terms of what a problem might cost them. For example, does $1000 for a high quality air conditioner seem expensive? Maybe. But how much would it cost you if your current air conditioner keeps breaking down, and customers keep leaving your store out of discomfort? How many thousands each day? Suddenly that “expensive” air conditioner doesn’t seem so expensive now does it?
      • Recommended For: anyone who feels their prospects dominate the sales conversation.
      • Key Takeaway: Challenge your prospects to see the true costs to their businesses bottom line if they fail to address a problem. 
  • Jeb Blount – Virtual Selling: A Quick-Start Guide to Leveraging Video, Technology, and Virtual Communication Channels to Engage Remote Buyers and Close Deals Fast
  • Jeb Blount – Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Calling
  • Jordan Belfort – Way of the Wolf: Straight Line Selling: Master the Art of Persuasion, Influence, and Success
  • Jeff Thull – Mastering the Complex Sale: How to Compete and Win When the Stakes are High! 
  •  Robert B. Miller – The New Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by the World’s Best Companies
  • Linda Richardson – Perfect Selling: Open the Door. Close the Deal.
  • Brian Tracy – The Psychology Of Selling
      • Brian Tracy is the godfather of sales – one of the OG’s. I recommend Brian Tracy for anyone who is just starting out, because I feel that he offers a gentle introduction. Mr. Tracy offers a lot of advice around getting your mindset right to make the sale, that positivity and having an optimistic attitude will get you through the tough times. In this book he breaks down the psychology of selling, and why people buy. People buy to solve their problems, not because they want your widget. Focus your conversation around how you can uniquely solve their specific problem better than anyone else, and the sale will be yours. 
      • Recommended For: anyone who’s just starting in sales.
      • Key Takeaway: Keeping a positive, optimistic attitude will help you get through the tough times. 
  • Jim Rohn – 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness: Power Ideas from America’s Foremost Business Philosopher
  • Zig Ziglar – See You At The Top
  • Zig Ziglar – Secrets Of Closing The Sale

 

Best Books On Handling Rejection:

  • Susan Jeffers Ph.D. – Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway®: Dynamic techniques for turning Fear, Indecision and Anger into Power, Action and Love
  • Matthew Del Negro – 10,000 NOs: How to Overcome Rejection on the Way to Your YES

 

Best Marketing Books:

  • Seth Godin – Purple Cow
  • Seth Godin – All Marketers Are Liars
  • Seth Godin – Permission Marketing
  • Seth Godin – Linchpin
      • Linchpin is one of Seth Godin’s earlier works, but still remains profound to this day. In a world of outsourcing, commoditization and cheaper prices, companies are constantly looking for ways to streamline and make their organizations more efficient. And while I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong or evil with that attitude, it does leave you vulnerable as an employee. If you work in a position where the boss can snap his fingers and instantly and easily replace you with someone who is just as qualified, and possibly works faster and can be paid less, then you my friend are in a vulnerable position. If you can be replaced easily, then you have no real leverage, and to be honest, you’re not really offering any particular value to your organization (harsh truth, I know). Seth argues that to stay relevant (read: employed and earning serious money), you must position yourself so that you can’t be replaced. Processes can be automated, but creativity cannot. There is no replacement for someone who can produce novel and creative ideas. Find ways to bring value to your organization (or better yet, start your own business and be your own boss), that aren’t easily replaced by outsourcing or RPA. 
      • Recommended For: anyone who feels like a “cog in the machine”. 
      • Key Takeaway: Position yourself as being irreplaceable within your organization.
  • Seth Godin – The Dip
  • Seth Godin – Tribes
  • Russell Brunson – Dotcom Secrets
      • Mr. Russell Brunson – a bit of a legend in the entrepreneur space. I must admit that I have some mixed feelings about his Click Funnels program and 2 Comma Club (it’s become a bit of a racket and MLM scheme), but my personal feelings aside, this book is pure gold. A little dated now (was published 2015, technology moves so fast), however many of the concepts here are evergreen and still relevant. Most importantly, this book lays out the framework of selling products or services online, and introduces the concept of the “funnel”. When most people think of getting into online sales, they only think of the “sale”, as in, show the consumer an ad, and then expect that they’ll buy it (you have such an amazing product/service, remember?). But it doesn’t work that way, and this is where most aspiring entrepreneurs get tripped up. They assume that advertising and sales is a simple process like “if you build it, they will come”. But nothing could be further from the truth. Russell lays out the concept of the funnel, which has a basic level looks like: Produce free (and valuable) content > build an audience > collect emails > start a newsletter drip campaign > sell a low-end (top of funnel) produce > build trust > sell a mid-tiered product > build more trust > sell your high-end, top of the line product/service. A quick story on Russell Brunson – for those who don’t know his mentor was Dan Kennedy (also widely featured on this list), and back in the early 2000’s a bunch of Russell’s buddies started getting into building spammy SEO sites (the early days of google). Russell got excited and wanted to do it to, but Dan told him no, and to “focus on building his customer list”. Russell was annoyed but went along with it. Some months later, Google issued a “slap” and overnight destroyed all of those spammy SEO sites, leaving their owners with nothing to show of their hard work. But Russell had a customer list – he had an asset that he owned, that he could actively sell to, and no one could take that away from him. 
      • Recommended For: everyone who wants to understand the internet. Seriously, it’s called “Dotcom Secrets” for a reason. 
      • Key Takeaway: Nobody buys $100k services from a complete stranger, you must take your prospects on a journey (possibly over multiple years) before they learn to like and respect you enough to buy from you. 
  • Russell Brunson – Expert Secrets
      • The next book in the trilogy from Russell Brunson (Dotcom Secrets, Expert Secrets, Traffic Secrets), this book takes you from building your funnel, to building a following. In Expert Secrets, Russell lays out the framework and gameplan on how to start positioning yourself as the expert. Again, people don’t buy from strangers they don’t know, they buy from people they trust, and respected professionals in the field. By sharing your thoughts and your wisdom, you start positioning yourself as a thought leader – people learn to like and respect you. Over time, you build a loyal following because you keep delivering the goods to help them (remember: it’s ultimately about helping them in their journey). This book is the definitive guide on growing from someone that nobody knows, to the respected expert in their field. 
      • Recommended For: aspiring influencers 
      • Key Takeaway: Become a respected thought leader by sharing your wisdom. 
  • Russell Brunson – Traffic Secrets
  • Jim Edwards – Copywriting Secrets
  • Gary Vee – Crush It!
  • Gary Vee – Crushing It
  • Jay Conrad Levinson – Guerrilla Marketing
      • Guerrilla Marketing is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Written back in the 80’s, Guerrilla marketing blazed a new trail for entrepreneurs. This book is definitely dated now (despite multiple revisions and updated concepts – it still talks heavily about radio and TV advertising), however many core concepts remain. I feel that Gary Vee has taken many of these ideas and updated for the modern economy, however I’m also a big believer in reading history, and understanding where it all started. What set Guerrilla Marketing apart, was that in unabashedly opened the door for small business and entrepreneurs to get in the advertising game. Up until then, if you wanted to advertise, you needed deep, deep pockets. Think billboards, think national TV campaigns, think major newspapers – if you wanted to advertise here, you needed the big bucks. Guerrilla Marketing changed the game by showing the small timers that with a little wit, cunning and creativity, they could eek out their position amongst the sharks, by playing smarter and more effectively than they do. Today, these concepts are even more true than ever, with the likes of Facebook/Instagram and even LinkedIn, allowing small business owners to reach massive audiences for pennies on the dollar. The gatekeepers are gone, anyone can enter the arena, but now the smartest survive, not the most financially backed.
      • Recommended For: Everyone who wants to understand marketing.
      • Key Takeaway: In today’s economy, you don’t need big buys to advertise, you just need some elbow grease and creativity. The gatekeepers are gone.
  • Jay Conrad Levinson – Guerrilla Marketing In 30 Days
      • The book Guerrilla Marketing provides an excellent overarching framework to the concepts of marketing and channels, however, if you’re like me, when you read through it you thought “wow this all seems so cool, but there’s so many pieces and channels and it all seems so complicated and I’m not sure where to begin!” – and Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days is the answer to that – this book breaks down a very simple step-by-step plan, to get you started on your marketing attack. Laying out in 30 days, all of the actions, and channels to tackle. Now I would recommend adapting to this plan to your specific situation, and the specific channels important for you (for example, TikTok probably wasn’t invented when that book had been written – social media and the internet evolve at an exceptional rate), but the core principles are solid: lay out a clear 30 day action plan, focus on execution, adapt where necessary – but your highest priority is to get momentum and see some initial results. 
      • Recommended For: anyone who struggles to prioritize or feels overwhelmed by all the different marketing channels, and feels unsure where to begin. 
      • Key Takeaway: This is the tool to layout your clear 30 day marketing battle plan to get momentum and to light a fire under your ass. 
  • Jay Abraham – The Mastermind Marketing System
  • Jay Abraham – Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got
  • E. Haldeman-Julius – The First Hundred Million
  • Al Ries & Jack Trout – The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Exposed and Explained
  • Al Ries & Jack Trout – Positioning
  • Dan Kennedy – The Ultimate Marketing Plan: Target Your Audience! Get Out Your Message! Build Your Brand!
      • This is another one of those great “introduction to marketing books”. Similar to Guerrilla Marketing above, many small business owners and entrepreneurs understand that they need to do “marketing” but struggle to truly understand what that means, or to know exactly what to do. In this book, Dan Kennedy takes his iconic “No BS” approach to laying out a marketing plan. He dissects the different marketing channels available and how to plan your strategy and your time to maximize effectiveness. This book is a great eye-opener to understanding what tools and techniques are actually available. One of the hardest things about getting into any new field is understanding what is available to you. “Digital Marketing” is so broad and widely reaching, it is hard to break it down and understand what it actually means and what you can do with it. The Ultimate Marketing Plan lays out the clear battle plan for you to get your business off the ground.
      • Recommended For: Everyone getting into marketing (or anyone who hasn’t read Dan Kennedy yet. Seriously, get into his stuff)
      • Key Takeaway: Develop a clear marketing plan. Execute. 
  • Dan Kennedy – No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent: No Holds Barred, Take No Prisoners, Guide to Getting Really Rich
  • Dan Kennedy – No B.S. Wealth Attraction In The New Economy
  • Dan Kennedy – No B.S. Guide to Maximum Referrals and Customer Retention: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Plan to Securing New Customers and Maximum Profits
  • Dan Kennedy – No B.S. Trust Based Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Trust in an Understandibly Un-trusting World
  • Dan Kennedy – No B.S. Price Strategy: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoner Guide to Profits, Power, and Prosperity
  • Steve Miller – Uncopyable: How to Create an Unfair Advantage Over Your Competition
  • Krug Steve – Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

 

Best Advertising Books:

  • Perry Marshall – Ultimate Guide To Google Ads
      • This book is the granddaddy of Google Ads. A classic, a book that really kicked off knowledge of the industry and the platform. But first, a word of warning: Google Ads change constantly. Every month, every week, there is an update, a change, a modification to the algorithm, the platform layout, the tools, and what you can and cannot do. For this reason, a book feels almost like entering the stone age (it is a little bit ironic to have a book about a fast-paced internet company on paper), but nonetheless, I do highly recommend this book. This book was my introduction to Google Ads, and opened up my eyes to a world of possibility that I had no idea existed. On a personal note, there are 3 things I absolutely love about Google Ads: 1) you can show an ad to someone who just searched for it, 2) you can literally reach the entire world, 3) you have 100% control over your budget, and can start advertising at a penny a day (I did) – how happy would a billboard company or the yellow pages be if you asked them if you could start advertising for a penny? Yeah, exactly. 
      • Recommended For: anyone who doesn’t want to was money doing Google Ads wrong (and in my opinion, learning to advertise should be a basic life skill everyone should learn).
      • Key Takeaway: Use this book to learn the fundamentals, but understand a book on online advertising will always be out of date. 
  • Perry Marshall – Ultimate Guide To Facebook Ads
      • Another great beginner guide to advertising. Similar complaints to the above book on Google Ads: it’s dated before it’s even published. However, again with that said, there are concepts in this book that are timeless, and some fundamentals that everyone should learn. Specifically, the book gets into how to create great ads with copy that entices and photos/video that captivate. These concepts are timeless and will be applicable no matter the platform, and no matter the time, because fundamentally humans are attracted to good stories. 
      • Recommended For: Anyone who’s getting started with Facebook ads and wants to learn the solid fundamentals.
      • Key Takeaway: tell good stories in your ads. Don’t get lost in clickbait – makes your ads useful and relevant. 
  • Perry Marshall – Ultimate Guide To Local Business Marketing
  • David Ogilvy – Confessions Of An Advertising Man
  • David Ogilvy – On Advertising
    • David Ogilvy is one of the OG’s of the ad world. Originally a Scotsman, he made his mark on Madison Avenue in New York. He revolutionized the advertising space by making it more relevant, and more connected to consumers (this is speculation, but I believe Don Draper in Mad Men was written based on David Ogilvy). Mr. Ogilvy was responsible for successful ad campaigns for many big brands including Rolls Royce, Volkswagen to name a few. Much of his advertising methods are dated now, however, as always, many core concepts and fundamentals of human nature remain true. This is an excellent study to better understand where mainstream advertising came from, and how we got to where we are now. Also, he’s a bit of a badass, so definitely check him out. 
    • Recommended For: advertising history buffs
    • Key Takeaway: Focus on the benefits the user receives, rather than the features. 

 

Best Networking Books:

  • Dale Carnegie – How To Win Friends And Influence People
  • Stu Heinecke – How To Get A Meeting With Anyone
      • I’m just going to say it: I love this book. In a way it’s a sales book, but it’s so much more than that. Here’s why I love it: most “sales people”, are just that, they’re sales people. Stu Heinecke is not a salesman, but he’s excellent at selling. Why? Because first and foremost he’s a syndicated cartoonist for the Wall Street Journal. Which means that whenever he reaches out to new prospects, they don’t immediately put their guard up and saw “ew! Another sleazy salesman”, they think “oh my god! The cartoonist from the Wall Street Journal just reached out to me! And he sent me this funny cartoon!”. Suddenly it’s fun to be contacted by Stu, and it makes prospects feel all those warm fuzzies. Then, once a relationship has been established, Stu can sell them on getting his cartoons into their paper or magazine or book. See how this works? People get defensive around sales people because they know they’re being sold, but people love meeting celebrities (even if they’re minor celebrities – every bit counts). The point here is be more than just a salesperson, have genuine interests or hobbies, and have more to your personality that you can share. Now I get it, not everyone has the luxury of being a syndicated Wall Street Journal cartoonist (I sure ain’t), but so what, start your own thing and just get publishing. 
      • Recommended For: anyone whos had the door slammed in their face/
      • Key Takeaway: If you want to be good at sales, don’t be a salesperson first, be a relatable human being who has something valuable to offer. 
  • Harvey Mackay – Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty
      • I put this up there on my list of definite recommended readings. Harvey Mackay breaks down the concept of “digging your well before you’re thirsty” by laying out a plan to build your network before you need it. We’ve probably all been guilty at some point of being that “friend” who calls up a contact past the 11th hour, asking if they can help us out of a jam. If we’re lucky they still like us, but if this is someone we haven’t had contact with for maybe 7 years, and the last time we spoke was drinks in Uni, they’re probably not going to be thrilled to help you. The concept here is to build and nurture relationships early (while life is good), so that when life turns sour, you have allies at your side who can help you out (and remember this goes both ways, and you’re there to help them out too). The concept is simple, connect with people, remember minor details they mentioned, remember birthdays, be helpful, share connections when you can, help them on their journey however you can, and most importantly, show them you care. 
      • Recommended For: anyone who wants to build better and stronger relationships. 
      • Key Takeaway: Don’t neglect your friends, you’ll regret it when you need them most. 
  • Jack Schafer – The Like Switch
      • You know it’s going to be good when it’s written by an FBI agent. Jack Schafer pulls apart human psychology to understand how humans connect and why we like each other. More specifically (and more subtly), he points out “friend signals” and “foe signals” that we all subconsciously give out, yet most of us are completely oblivious to. For example, a raised eyebrow, a tilted head, a genuine smile, can go along way to leaving a positive impression on people. However, if you constantly walk around with a scowl on your face, have furrowed brows, and constantly look grumpy (ie: resting bitch face), then you’re likely leaving people with a poor impression of you – EVEN IF you were actually happy and in a good mood. And this is the key message – most of us are completely unaware of how we turn others off, and what matters is that we understand the subtle subconscious messages we are actually conveying to other people. 
      • Recommended For: anyone who can’t understand why people don’t like them very much. 
      • Key Takeaway: Your intentions don’t matter. What matters is the message you actually convey to people. 
  • Jeffrey Gitomer – The Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets for Networking Your Way to Rich Relationships

 

Best Negotiation Books:

  • Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference
      • Another FBI agent – how could we go wrong? This is another classic, and one of my mandatory recommended readings. In this book Chris Voss takes us through his journey as an FBI investigator who regularly got called in to negotiate on hostage situations. He teaches that instead of demonizing the perp on the other side, to humanize them, and empathise. Most people, at the end of the day just want someone to listen to them and care about them, and most people (especially those persuaded to terrorism) likely have never had anyone who actually cares about them. By showing humanity and empathy, you have a tool to disarm and neutralize them. This book is about getting inside the other person’s head, and understanding that the words they’re saying and what they’re asking for, aren’t actually what they want, but to have the insight to ready between the lines. 
      • Recommended for: Everyone. Mandatory reading. 
      • Key takeaway: In any negotiation, humanize and empathize with the other person’s point of you. It’s not “you against them”, but rather if you show that you’re trying to help them, they’ll be more willing to help you back. 
  • Robert Mnookin – Bargaining with the Devil
  • George J. Thompson – Verbal Judo
      • This was a fun book. Similar in concept to Never Split the Difference, but now from the point of view of a cop who patrols the streets – this is more everyday kinda stuff. The book lays out the strategies to connect with people and to disarm potentially volatile situations. Working from empathy and asking questions, trying to get inside their head and understand their true motives and what they’re trying to accomplish. By showing empathy you allow the other person to save face, and ultimately to back down from their position. 
      • Recommended for: cops, and anyone who deals with people (hey, that’s you!)
      • Key Takeaway: Show empathy and ask questions that show you care when dealing with tense situations. 
  • Joe Navarro – Dangerous Personalities
  • Les T. Giblin – How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing With People
  • Jim Camp – Start with No: The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know

 

Best Mindset Books:

  • Mark Manson – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
      • A modern masterpiece. Mark Manson lays out a counterintuitive approach to stop giving so many fucks in life. And actually, contrary to the title, the book isn’t about not giving a f*uk, it’s actually about giving more f*cks – but – and this is the crucial distinction – it’s about giving more f*cks to the things you care about, and getting rid of all the stuff you don’t care about. In a way this book is about focus and mental minimalism. Mark stresses that in our busy lives we try to care too much about too many things – friends, family, jobs, events, email news letters, parties, gatherings, movies, books, social media, keeping up with the Joneses – we give too many f*cks, and in the process give no f*cks. Focus more attention and love on the few things that really do matter, and ignore the rest. 
      • Recommended For: everyone. Mandatory reading. 
      • Key Takeaway: Focus more on the things that actually matter to you, and drop all the rest. 
  • Napoleon Hill – Think & Grow Rich
      • This is one of those timeless classics. First written in the 1920’s this book was written before the great depression and has hung around for well over a century. Any book that has that kind of staying power, must have something to it (honestly, how many other things from the 1920’s do people today still get actively excited and rave about? Don’t know about you, but I think flappers are dead..). This book dives into our psychology and our beliefs. The core message is that we become what we think about. What we dream and visualize about and what we work towards, that is what we become. If we feel broke and unaccomplished, it’s because we’re not focused enough on becoming a success. This book lays out the framework of how to rewire your brain to be focused clearly on your goals, your vision, and to constantly be working towards them. This book will hit you like a punch in the gut, and motivate you into action. 
      • Recommended for: everyone. Mandatory reading.
      • Key takeaway: You become what you think about most. 
  • Napoleon Hill – The Law Of Success
  • Stephen Covey – 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People 
  • Stephen Covey – The 8th Habit
  • Michael Gerber – E-Myth
      • Most entrepreneurs are guilty of this, and it explains why most entrepreneurs fail miserable (not for lack of effort or trying). Most entrepreneurs started as employees and technical experts. Let’s say you bake cakes. If you work in a bakery, you get paid an hourly wage to show up and bake cakes. But let’s say you’re the best at baking cakes – you love cake making, your cakes are delicious and everyone comments about how much they love your cakes. So you ask your boss for a payrise, and they say “no”. So you say “screw this, I’m the best cake maker here, I’ll go start my own bakery!”. So you go start your own bakery, and what initially started as a wave of enthusiasm, and dissipated into a tidal wave of terror and stress. Suddenly you’re the one responsible for hiring employees, buying the supplies, paying vendors, keeping the lights on, paying the taxes and all the other things that go with running a business, and suddenly you feel trapped and paralyzed. You started a bakery because you love baking cakes, but you never actually get to bake cakes anymore. This is the problem Michael Gerber dissects, where he points out that most entrepreneurs are actually technical experts, but know nothing of running a business. To be a successful entrepreneur, you must change your mindset in terms of how you approach your business, or else you’ve simply just created your own self-imposed prison. 
      • Recommended For: Anyone who’s thinking of saying “screw this” to their current job and starting their own business. 
      • Key Takeaway: If you’re a technical expert, starting a business will likely be harder than you fantasize (but not impossible) – you must learn to think like a business owner if you want to succeed. 
  • Maxwell Maltz – Psycho-Cybernetics
      • A word of caution: this is a long book. There are gems of wisdom in here, but my biggest complaint is there’s also a lot of filler. I do highly recommend this book, but be aware of that going in. Now with that said, this book builds off the theme of “Think and Grow Rich” where the key to success is your mind, and the information you feed yourself. Understanding that your subconscious mind is extremely powerful, and it deserves our utmost respect. Most people disrespect their subconscious mind, by filling with all sorts of noise, bad ideas, ideology, and distraction. This book lays out the framework to build your mind like a muscle, and to use it as a source of hyper focus in achieving your dreams and your goals. A great example they give is that people who sat in a comfortable chair and visualized themselves playing golf, saw just as much improvement to their game as those who were actually out on the course. Using our minds and our imaginations, we can visualize ourselves accomplishing tasks, and in so doing, actually become quite proficient at doing them. 
      • Recommended for: anyone who wants to understand the inner workings of their minds better. 
      • Key takeaway: respect your mind. Feed it with good thoughts, good sleep, and good visualizations of the life you want to achieve. 
  • Ray Dalio – Principles
  • Jim Rohn – The Art Of Exceptional Living
      • I consider Jim Rohn one of the 3 classic sales and motivational speakers – Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar & Jim Rohn. In this audiobook, he goes through essential steps of living an exceptional life. For anyone who’s been reading my material for a while, it should be no surprise at this point that one of his main pillars for success is goal setting (shocking). The foundation for a good life begins with knowing what you want to achieve, and making it happen. But going deeper than that, he also talks about the importance of having a strong philosophy. “A philosophy?” You ask, “but I want to make money! Who needs a stinkin’ philosophy?!”. Great question. Here’s the thing, we all expect money to come to us as if it was just magically raining down on us, but that’s not how money works. Take a look at yourself and your life for a second (I know, it’s hard), and ask yourself – how does your view of the world impact how money comes to you? For example – are you negative? Do you see everything as a problem? Do you blame the government for your problems? Your society? Your family? Do you blame hard times, or a bad economy or that one time that someone screwed you over? If you have the philosophy of a victim, you will always be the victim. If you have the philosophy of a winner, of a stoic, of someone who battles it out, through good days and bad, and no matter what refuses to give up – then money comes to you. Most people try to “work so hard” to “earn a buck”, yet they fail to see that it’s their own mind and beliefs that are holding them back. 
      • Recommended For: everyone. This is a great starter book. 
      • Key Takeaway: the sooner you can drop your victim mentality, and assume a winning mentality, the sooner you will see success in life (oh, and setting goals is pretty good too).
  • Lanny Bassham – With Winning In Mind
  • David Schwartz – The Magic Of Thinking Big
  • Harvey Mackay – Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive: Out-sell, Out-manage, Out-motivate, and Out-negotiate Your Competition
  • Peter H. Diamandis & Steven Kotler – The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives
  • Peter H. Diamandis & Steven Kotler – Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think
  • Daniel Burrus – Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible
  • Harry Browne – How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World
  • Shad Helmstetter – What To Say When You Talk To Yourself
  • Randy Gage – Why You’re Dumb, Sick, and Broke
  • Randy Gage – Risky is the New Safe: The Rules Have Changed . . .
  • Leo Babauta – The Power Of Less
      • Ah this is music to my ears. I don’t know about you, but I feel the world today is noisy. So many things to do, so many distractions, this endless feeling of being caught in a hamster wheel or a rat race of life. Leo Babauta shares his wisdom that less is actually more. We’re always trying to do more, more, more, but actually accomplish less, less, less, and enjoy life even less, less, less. This book is all about clearing away the clutting, both physical and digital. Clean your house, clean your office, clean your desk. Move physical objects and distractions out of the way. If it doesn’t serve you, get rid of it. The same goes for your computer – got a messy desktop? Photos folder? Email inbox? Too many chrome tabs? Clean it up, get rid of them. Unsubscribe from email news letters, setup filters. Delete social media apps from your phone (I know, it’s hard!). Delete, delete, delete. The goal is to build your environment to have minimal distractions. No pings from your phone, no messages, no emails, no calls, no clutter. Just clarity. Similarly, with your goals. We all try to do everything – to start a new job, lose 40 kg, run a marathon, take up figure skating, go for the olympics, host the PTA meeting – we try to do everything, and in the process, accomplish nothing. This book is all about doing less, so you accomplish more, and enjoy the journey of life that much more. 
      • Recommended For: anyone who feels buried in noise and clutter. 
      • Key Takeaway: Yes, you can unsubscribe from all those emails you receive. You have my permission. 
  • Brian Tracy – Maximum Achievement
    • This book was recommended to me by a mentor of mine who considered it to be one of the greatest books he’d ever read, and believes it to be mandatory reading for every man in the modern world. And while I enjoyed it (it made this list for a reason after all), to me it wasn’t this “earth shattering” epiphany of a read. Now, I do appreciate that the order in which we read books impacts our view of them (some books are straight classics, but feel date when we read them, because so many people have since copied and regurgitated their ideas, that the original ideas feel old and dated when we read them. Fair, I get it. Where this book does well is laying out a framework for setting a vision and mission for your life, and setting goals to help you get there. This book is an all-around good read with a lot of important concepts. I feel my main criticism of the book is that it doesn’t have a lot of depth. I was hoping that some of the concepts would be explored deeper and explained better, but to me it felt it jumped around a lot. With all that said, I do have an open mind, and am looking forward to re-reading this book with fresh eyes. 
    • Recommended For: anyone who wants more instruction on goal setting and finding a mission.
    • Key Takeaway: To be successful in life you need a clearly defined mission, and goals to help you achieve it.

 

Best Time Management Books:

  • Tim Ferris – The 4-Hour Work Week
      • Tim Ferris, the modern day titan. This book was an eye-opening expose into the tools and the world that has opened up with the advent of the internet. I think most people are still grasping to wrap their heads around what a monumental shift, have the internet in our lives, and instantaneous access to anyone, anywhere in the world is having. While this book feels a little dated now (technology moves fast), it’s concepts are sound. For any startup entrepreneur, who wants to get better at time management, of batching tasks, and finding ways to outsource to virtual assistants, this book is for you. The beauty of working with a timezone like India, is you can set some tasks to be done when you’re finishing up your work day, and when you wake up in the morning, those tasks have magically been done. That is the future the internet has opened up. There is a whole new world of possibility out there. 
      • Recommended For: Everyone. I consider this mandatory reading. 
      • Key Takeaway: outsource everything you can, and batch whatever tasks you can’t. 
  • Perry Marshall – 80/20 Sales and Marketing
      • This was another one of those “eye-opening” books for me. The concept of 80/20 is pretty profound, and once you learn it, you’ll start to see it everywhere. In a nutshell, 80/20 dictates that 80% of your results, will come from 20% of your effort, that 80% of your income will come from 20% of your clients, that 80% of your email revenue, will come from 20% of your email list, and the flipside is also true, that 80% of your headaches, come from 20% of your clients. The implication here is you can make more money and waste less time, by focusing hardcore on what is working, and ditching anything that’s not. Fire your 20% worst clients, and focus your attention on your 20% best clients. I see this all the time, especially in advertising, 20% of the ads, will spend 80% of the budget, and drive 80% of the results. It’s eerie, but once you see it, you’ll see it everywhere. 
      • Recommended For: anyone who feels caught up trying to “do everything”
      • Key Takeaway: Fire your worst clients. Now. 
  • Brian Tracy – Goals
  • David Allen – Getting Things Done
  • Charles Van Doren & Mortimer J. Adler – How To Read A Book
  • Peter F. Drucker – The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done
  • Peter F. Drucker – Managing Oneself

 

Best Motivation/Discipline Books:

  • Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search For Meaning
      • Just, read this. It is a difficult, gut wrenching read, but in life we need to be men and face the difficult facts. The book was written by Viktor Frankl, a jew who survived the nazi concentration camps of WWII. He describes life in the camps, the horrendous living conditions, the constant fear of death, the lack of food, lack of medical supplies (he was a trained dentist, and performed dental operations with the questionable equipment he had available). But there was a sliver of hope. By being clear on his desire to one day escape the camps, and live as a free man, he was able to free his mind, and survive the endless brutal torture and starvation. Man’s Search For Meaning, is all about finding meaning in your life, because a man who is clear on his why, can survive almost any how. 
      • Recommended For: everyone. Mandatory reading (but be ready to stomach some pretty horrendous things)
      • Key Takeaway: nothing can stop a determined will.
  • James Clear – Atomic Habits
      • Another one of my mandatory reading books. This simple book by James Clear, lays out how anyone can develop (and maintain new habits in their life). The problem, James explains, is that most people get overly ambitious when setting new goals. They shoot for the moon because they might “land amongst the stars”. But this is a fallacy. James recommends to start slow and to start small. Do something so small that you couldn’t not do it. For example, we all say we’re too busy to exercise right? Well, do you have time to do one pushup? Seriously, right now do one pushup. Great, you just did an exercise. Are you ripped now? Obviously not, but the point is that doing one pushup per day is better than never doing any because you were “too busy”. And hey, while you’re down there doing one pushup, you just might get the energy to do another, and another, and what started as one pushup, is now 5, 10, or even 100. The point is to start small and to build the habit, rather than trying to take on the entire world all at once. 
      • Recommended for: Everyone. Mandatory reading.
      • Key Takeaway: most people fail at goals and habits because they try to do too much all at once. Focus on small bites, and incremental growth (compound growth in effect here!).
  • Steven Pressfield – Do The Work
  • Steven Pressfield – Turning Pro
  • Robert Greene – The 50th Law
      • This is a fun book, and one of my wildcards. I’d assume that most people who hear about this book, will think it’s pretty dumb (my sister and her husband both gave me weird looks when I told them I was reading it at a family Christmas party). Essentially, Robert Greene (a la 48 Laws Of Power, 33 Strategies For War, Art Of Seduction), teamed up with 50 Cent (I know, a match made in heaven). Now, I’d never had too much respect for Fitty, I mean he had a great hit with “In The Club”, but otherwise I found his music to be more about “hey look at me, I’m so amazing”, than having any real rap talent. However, this book, dives deep into his history, and explores how life was growing up. Beyond just about selling rocks on the street corner, this book gets into how when Fitty was about to sign his first deal, some guys ambushed him and shot him several times in the face (ouch). After hearing the news, the record company dropped him fearing his music would attract too much violence. Lost and confused, Fitty had to regroup, and replan. The setback was actually an opportunity in disguise, because it allowed him to reinvent himself, and come at the world stronger than before. This book dives deep into his street wisdom, and throws in some Machiavellian lore in there too. 
      • Recommended For: anyone willing to take a chance on a wildcard. This one won’t disappoint. 
      • Key Takeaway: Life will always throw setbacks at you, but take the Fitty approach: take a few bullets in the face, then come back more vengeful and destroy your enemies. 
  • Larry Winget – You’re Broke Because You Want To Be
      • I like Larry Winget. The problem with most “self-development” and “self-help” guru’s, is they have the personalities of soggy cardboard. As much as they might have great thoughts, and great ideas, they come across sometimes very fake, or 1-dimensional. It feels like they don’t live in the real world. That’s where Larry Winget is different. A salt of the earth boy from Oklahoma, Larry Winget is very relatable and personable. His insights are sharp, and his advice is sound, but most importantly, he makes you feel like you actually have a shot at success. The other thing I love about Larry is his no nonsense, no excuses, no BS and anti-political correctness approach to life. Success in life is about hard work, and you’re not going to get there if you sit around whining all day. Similarly, there’s a lot of bad advice out there, that doesn’t work, and causes more harm than good, yet is embraced because it fits within a “politically correct ideology”. This political correctness has people wasting their time and spinning their wheels because it “sounds good”. But Larry takes the sledge hammer to political correctness and says it like it is: success is your own damn fault. Not the governments, not societies, not your mom’s, but your own fault.  And the flip side of that (which everyone conveniently forgets), is that success is your own damn fault too, meaning everything good that you accomplish in life is because of the hard work you put it, and that you and you alone can reap the rewards of that hard work. 
      • Recommended For: anyone who struggles to get their finances under control
      • Key Takeaways: success and failure are your own damn fault, so stop blaming others. Also, if you’re in debt, stop spending more than you earn until you fix the situation. Learn to live humbly and frugally. 
  • Larry Winget – The Politically Incorrect Success System
  • Larry Winget – Grow A Pair
  • Larry Winget – Get Out Of Your Own Way
  • Larry Winget – Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life
  • Ryan Holiday – The Obstacle Is The Way
  • David Goggins – Can’t Hurt Me
  • Darren Hardy – The Compound Effect: Multiply Your Success One Simple Step at a Time
  • Steve Siebold – 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class
  • Jeff Olson – The Slight Edge
  • Robin Sharma – The 5am Club
  • Robin Sharma – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Spiritual Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny

 

Best Entrepreneurship Books:

  • Eric Ries – The Lean Startup
      • Simple yet profound. I can summarize this book as follows: when starting a new venture/project/experiment, do the MVP (minimum viable product) to test whether the market wants it or not. Too many startups and companies flop or go out of business, because they get really excited by an idea, they get investors to pour in money, they develop the final product, only to learn that nobody really wants it. 
      • Recommended For: Startups and CEOs
      • Key Takeaways: Before you ever invest real money, build an MVP to test whether anybody actually wants it or not. 
  • James Vitcore – Feck Perfuction
  • Geoffrey Moore – Crossing the Chasm
      • This was an eye-opening book and helped me better understand the product life cycle, and how to adapt to changing market demands. I believe this work was hugely influential on Simon Sinek and his discussions about “Starting With Why”. Geoffrey Moore essentially lays out why many startups and big companies fail: they struggle to cross the chasm between the early adopters and the early majority. In any space, people generally fall along a normal distribution, where at one extreme you have the inventors and the early adopters – these are the people who will jump on new technology simply because it’s new and feels exciting. These are your beta testers, who want to try the early version just to get to the front of the line. They’re the ones who write the early reviews and excitedly share and talk about your product. This segment of the population is very exciting for new companies, but has only one problem: they’re a tiny portion of the population. Early adopters help to get the ball rolling, but they won’t get you profits. The next phase is for companies to start selling to the early majority and the late majority. The reviews and recommendations from the early adopters are essential to get the early majority to buy in – however this is where most companies falter – and as Geoffrey Moore explains, most companies fail to realise that the marketing and features that connected with early adopters, are completely different from the marketing and features that the early and late majority need. Companies flop because they fail to see this distinction and adapt accordingly. 
      • Recommended For: Startups and CEO’s who plan to sell to the mass market.
      • Key Takeaways: appreciate that everyone is different, and how you sell your product to the early adopters is completely different from how you sell to the early majority. 
  • Pat Flynn – Will It Fly?: How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money
  • Pat Flynn – Superfans: The Easy Way to Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, And Build a Successful Business
  • Pat Flynn – Let Go
  • Jeff Walker – Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula to Sell Almost Anything Online, Build a Business You Love, and Live the Life of Your Dreams
  • Alinka Rutkowska – Write and Grow Rich: Secrets of Successful Authors and Publishers
  • Alan Weiss – Million Dollar Consulting Proposals: How to Write a Proposal That’s Accepted Every Time
  • Alan Weiss – Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional’s Guide to Growing a Practice
  • Alan Weiss – The Consulting Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Expand a Seven-Figure Consulting Practice
  • Alan Weiss – Getting Started in Consulting
  • Gary Keller – The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
  • James Altucher – Choose Yourself!
  • James Altucher – Reinvent Yourself
  • Ramit Sethi – Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business
  • William N. Thorndike – The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success
  • W. Chan Kim – Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant
  • Brian Tracy – Turbo Strategy
  • Josh Kaufman – The Personal MBA 

 

Best Books On Creativity:

  • Julia Cameron – The Artist’s Way
      • This is one of those reference books that you should always keep handy and refer back to regularly. This book is good both for people who feel lost or unsure of themselves, and for people who have clarity, but have just lost the spark. The Artist’s Way is a method for allowing your inner artist to come and express itself. As a writer, one of the toughest things is to sit there staring at a blank page. That blank page of death. The silence is violent. The Artist’s Way provides a framework, for getting unstuck and getting those creative juices flowing. One of the key recommendations was to start a practice of morning pages. Every morning you put aside time (20-30 min), and give yourself 3-5 blank pieces of paper. Your just is just to write, and not stop writing. It doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t have to be any good. If you literally don’t know what to write then just write “I don’t know what to write” over and over and over again. But eventually, if you stick with it, the words will start to unstuck themselves, ideas will start coming to you, and your subconscious mind will finally have a vehicle to start expressing itself. There are profound thoughts and ideas within all of us, however we constantly bury it in s*it, and never give it the air to breathe. This is your opportunity to open up. 
      • Recommended For: anyone who feels stuck in their lives and lacking a clear direction.
      • Key Takeaways: when you feel lost (or even when you have clarity), having a ritual like writing down your stream of consciousness thoughts every morning, can help you unravel and untangle the mess. 
  • Austin Kleon – Steal Like An Artist
      • A cheeky little book. This is one of those fun books I like to just have handy to leaf through. As Picaso said “Good artists copy, Great artists steal”. One of the things that stops most amateur artists, is the fear that either something has been done before, or somehow you’re accidentally copying someone else’s work and you’re not actually original. People worry too much. Great art is a process of building off of those who came before you, it’s never been about inventing something completely new. (Side note: it’s impossible to ever invent something that is “completely new”, everything is in some way built off the work of those who came before us. Everything.). Steal Like An Artist gives us the liberty to free our mind and our ideas, and to just go for it. Always give credit where credit is due, but never be afraid to use the work of others and add your own spin to it. Plagiarism is when you copy and add nothing. Art is when you copy and add your unique angle. 
      • Recommended For: aspiring artists, and anyone who feels “stuck”
      • Key Takeaway: Study the works of others for inspiration, then add your angle to evolve the art to the next level.
  • Austin Kleon – Show Your Work
  • Steven Pressfield – Nobody Wants To Read Your S*it
  • Michael Michalko – Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques
  • Michael Michalko – Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work
  • Edward De Bono – Lateral Thinking: A Textbook of Creativity
  • Edward De Bono – Six Thinking Hats

 

Best Books On Mastery:

  • Cal Newport – Deep Work
      • This is one of those books I can already hear most people groaning about just hearing the title. Stop your whining, this book could be the difference between massive success and massive nothingness in your life. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we live in a busy digital world. Buzzing phones, messages, emails, FaceTime, messenger, tweets, it’s endless. Each ping is a little hit of dopamine that makes us feel happy and excited in the moment, but ultimately leads us feeling empty and hollow. I’m not a luddite, I love technology and all the amazing things it’s done for us. However, I believe in responsible use of technology. But before I go any further, I don’t want to sound like a lecturing parent on the importance of “responsible use of technology”. Yishh. I hate how that sounds. But I’ll put it this way, so the choice is yours: as you laying dying on your deathbed, will you be happy that you responded quickly to every single tweet and message on your phone, or perhaps, will you wish you actually accomplished something meaningful with your life? I’m guessing it’s the latter. Now here’s the fun news: if you actually want to accomplishing something meaningful in your life, you need to put in the work. You need to put in the deep work. Those hours and hours of focus on one, singular, project. Maybe you can multitask, I sure can’t, and to be honest, I doubt you can either. Most people are full of s*it when they claim to be able to multitask. No, the answer is to put aside all the distractions, pick one project, and just go at it. 
      • Recommended For: everyone. Mandatory reading. 
      • Key Takeaway: If you want to get anything meaningful accomplished in your life, you must learn to put aside distractions and to focus. 
  • Cal Newport – Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
  • Cal Newport – So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
  • Robert Pirsig – Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • Eugen Herrigel – Zen In The Art Of Archery
      • This book is a quick read, but it’s one of those zen books that has some deep and profound meanings. The book chronicles the author’s journey of study underneath a zen master learning archery. The author asked his teacher to learn zen, and to his confusion, his teacher started teaching him archery. “What does this have to do with zen?” he asked his teacher confusedly, to which his teacher replied “stop asking questions, just shoot”. In his journey, the author learned a deeper and more profound understanding of what zen means. Most people try to learn zen from a technical point of view, by reading books and learning theory, however zen is an active practice, where one must put himself into the fray. A zen archer, must have no concern about whether the arrow hits the mark or not, because as soon as he cares, he is bound to miss the mark. 
      • Recommended For: anyone who wants more focus in their lives.
      • Key Takeaway: If you focus on the arrow, you’ll miss the mark. 
  • George Leonard – Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment

 

Best Philosophy Books:

  • Will Durant – The Story of Philosophy
  • Plato – The Republic
  • Plato – Symposium
  • Marcus Aurelius – Meditations
  • Ayn Rand – The Fountainhead
  • Epictetus – The Art Of Living

 

Best Leadership Books:

  • Simon Sinek – Start With Why
      • For 99% of people this will be old news, but for that 1% of people out there who haven’t seen it yet, watch this TED Talk. It is the essence of his book “Start With Why”, getting to the core of why some people and some companies seem to be able to achieve monumental feats of strength, while others just seem to flounder and not accomplish very much. It all starts with “why”, as in, why do you get up in the morning? Why do you do what you? Why do you go to work every day? Most people focus on the “what” they do, as in I work in IT, I’m a doctor, I do marketing, I’m an engineer – those are all titles and explain what the person does, but does nothing to explain why they do it. Saying you became a doctor to save malnourished kids in africa, because your family grew up in africa and knows first hand that devastation, is much more powerful than just saying “I’m a doctor”. As we said earlier on Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning, a man who has a why can survive almost any how. Similarly, this culture works for big companies as well. Simon breaks down the story of Apple, and the reason why people buy their products is not because they make “great computer products”, but rather because they believe in “being different”, and their belief is what allows their audience to resonate strongly with them on an emotional level. And remember this lesson about sales: people buy from emotion, and then backwards rationalize it later with logic.
      • Recommended For: anyone who needs to uncover their “why” in life
      • Key Takeaways: When you know “why” you do what you do, it’s a lot easier to bear the blood, sweat and tears and the grueling hours. In fact, pain almost becomes fun, a test of your ability. 
  • Jim Collins – Good To Great
      • Good to Great has become a classic in all business circles. This is a study how average, everyday companies have been able to transform themselves into great companies. Many big brand names that we know today, started with pretty average and humble beginnings. Jim Collins goes through how leadership, the “hedgehog effect”, building the right culture, and developing an exponentially growing flywheel will make your good company, and unstoppable great company. 
      • Recommended For: all startups and CEO’s
      • Key Takeaways: Great companies weren’t born great, they became great with a clear set of action steps, that any business can replicate. 
  • Patrick Lencioni – Death By Meetings
  • Patrick Lencioni – The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable
  • Patrick Lencioni – Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding the Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty
  • Patrick Lencioni – The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable
  • John C Maxwell – Developing the Leader Within You 2.0
  • Jeffrey Gitomer – The Little Book Of Leadership
  • Jeffrey Gitomer – The Little Teal Book Of Trust
  • Sun Tzu – The Art Of War
    • Another one of those quick reads. The Art Of War is barely 100 pages long, yet is packed with timeless wisdom. This tome is nearly 2500 years old, yet has survived through the ages. A timeless classic that is valuable to this day. I love books that are principle based. Meaning the principles from one time or era, can be extracted in a new era with a new set of circumstances, yet with some adaptations can be used and reused. For example, in one passage Sun Tzu talks about the importance of knowing the territory before going into battle. Now for the time, Sun Tzu would most likely have been referring to the physical territory – is it hilly, marshy, grassy etc. However we can take this principle and apply it today, for example, if you’re going for a job interview – do you know the territory? Do you know how the company is doing? Who the CEO is? What they value? What has gone well for them this past year? What has been a disaster? In essence – do you understand the territory that you’re entering here to wage war on? The war is metaphorical, but the principles apply. 
    • Recommended For: aspiring military strategists
    • Key Takeaways: The wise warrior avoids the battle

 

Best Biography Books:

  • Phil Knight – Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
  • Richard Branson – Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons in Life
    • This guy is a character. I love biographies because they show you deep inside someone’s life, and who they actually are, and more importantly how they became that way. We tend to think that great people are just somehow these superhumans and that we could never live up to the kinds of things they accomplish, but a book like Screw It, Let’s Do It, shows the real side of the man behind the scenes. The thing about Richard Branson is he’s the kind of guy that just decides to do things (as the name so prominently suggests). Often time these schemes backfire, but more often than not, they succeed and become wildly successful due to their outlandishness. The problem with working a corporate job, or for the government, or any job really, is that you’re accountable to other people. You need to explain yourself all the time, of why you want to do something “provide a proposal” or “give us a business” case are phrases you’ll hear often. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about evidence and taking a scientific approach to things, but sometimes I know (and this is something I feel down in my gut, it’s not a rational, logical thought), that you have to just do something. Action is better than inaction. That the time and energy it takes to explain why you want to do something, not only kills the initial enthusiasm, but also delays the project beyond any reasonable measure. Sometimes to capture a moment or an opportunity you have to just do it, and this is where Richard Branson’s energy shines. As the enigmatic CEO, he makes those tough decisions to just do it, and see what happens. I’m not sure about you, but it looks to me like it’s worked out pretty well for him. 
    • Recommended For: anyone who feels stuck, or frustrated by endless bureaucracy in their job.
    • Key Takeaways: screw it, let’s do it. 

 

Best Historical Figures Books:

  • Robert Greene – 48 Laws Of Power
      • The reason I love this book has less to do with methods of obtaining “power”, and more to do with Robert Greene’s writing style. Growing up, I hated history class. It was so boring – all it was was a constant repetition of memorizing names and dates. There was no life to it. Robert Greene brings history to life in a way I never thought possible. He revisits major historical figures – Napoleon, Queen Elizabeth I, John D. Rockefeller, Louis XIV, and breathes new life into them. He brings their characters to life, their strengths, their weaknesses, their oddities, their foibles, and most importantly, their struggles. We tend to look at historical figures as if they were just born from the womb exceptional, and that everything always went swimmingly for them. However, Robert Greene dissects the challenges, the rivals, the roadblocks and the obstacles they had to overcome to achieve greatness. Suddenly these historical figures are humanized in a way that makes them relatable, in a way that we can care about them. The lessons around power are important and timeless, understanding how humans have a perverse ability to lie, cheat and backstab each other. This book is the antidote, of being able to spot trickery a mile a way, so you can prepare and defend yourself. 
      • Recommended For: Everyone. Mandatory reading. 
      • Key Takeaways: History is sprinkled with timeless lessons we can reap the rewards of today. 
  • Robert Greene – 33 Strategies Of War
  • Niccolo Machiavelli – The Prince
  • Philip Magnus – Kitchener: Portrait Of An Imperialist
  • Steven Pressfield – The Virtues Of War: A Novel Of Alexander The Great
  • Steven Pressfield – A Man At Arms
  • Will Durant – The Lessons of History
  • Alfred Lansing – Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
  • James Gleick – Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
  • Harold Bloom – Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds

 

Best Masculinity Books:

  • David Deida – Dear Lover
      • What I love about David Deida is his unequalled ability to objectively look at masculine and feminine polarity, and to examine from both sides of the lens. In his book The Way Of The Superior Man, it was very much masculine focused, in terms of how the boy can grow up to be the man. In Dear Lover, he takes a different approach, and is more about examining the feminine. But more than that, it opens the doorway for men to actually understand “what women want”. David Deida lays out through a series of letters he writes to a fictional lover, all the ways that he understands her needs and desires. He understands her need for certainty, for clarity, for decisiveness, and he understands he need to flow, to change with the seasons, to be spontaneous, and to be emotional. 
      • Recommended For: any man who wants to better understand women.
      • Key Takeaways: If you want to get with women, you first need to understand women and what they want. 
  • Karen Brody – Open Her
      • Open Her by Karen Brody is one of my secret gems. It’s one of those books that practically no one has heard of, yet to me, it was one of the most profound books I’ve ever read on the subject of understanding women. Written by a female psychologist, Karen Brody documents her own personal journey with men. She chronicles and details all of the significant men that she’s been with in her life, and how they’ve influenced her, and spoken to her as a woman. She characterizes each man by his traits, and shows the light and the dark side of each. These include: The Artist, The Poet, The Director, The Warrior, The Sage, The Dark Knight. Each of these personalities speak to women in different ways, but all of them have the power to speak right to her femininity. No one character trait is better than another, however for a man to be truly attractive to a woman, he needs to exhibit multiple of these male archetypes. In bringing out his masculinity, she can relax into her femininity. What makes this book unique, is how Karen Brody documents her personal journey. She takes us thought every significant lover she’s ever had, and how that man touched her. Each man was unique, and was able to speak to her in different ways. As men, we often feel lost and confused, not really clear on what it is that women are looking for. Afterall, women seem so mysterious, and they’re constantly changing their minds and opinions, and their emotions seem all over the place. After reading this book, you will develop a much greater understanding of women, and honestly, much more empathy for what they have to go through in their lives. As men we tend to put women on a pedestal and thing how amazing everything must be in their lives, but when we pull back the curtain, we tend to find a shivering, scared little girl back there, who just wants someone to hold her and tell her everything is going to be alright. 
      • Recommended For: Every man who wants to understand women. This is mandatory reading. 
      • Key Takeaways: If you want women to be attracted to you, you need to inhabit a recognizable male archetype. 
  • Robert Bly – Iron John
      • In Iron John, Roby Bly takes a different approach to talking about men, and understand what it means to be initiated into manhood. Robert Bly takes a look back to the past, uncovering an ancient folk tale, the story of Iron John. As we go through the folk tale, Robert Bly adds his commentary on what the tale means, and how it applies to modern men. In this way we get a reflection back on the past, while also looking forward. The story of Iron John, is about a boy learning to move through the world. He learns about the power of independence, and breaking away from his parents, of forging his own path, and of ultimately taking responsibility for his own life. Men, Robert Bly argues, who do not forge their own path, are not infact men, but little boys. And this becomes painfully apparent when boys try to date women and are horrifically rejected. The harsh truth is women want to date men, they’re not interested in dating little boys. And until you have the courage to take the key from under your mother’s pillow, you’ll forever remain a boy, and forever remain in arrested development. Your future is in your hands, but you must have the audacity to grab it. This book has become a classic in mens circles, as it highlights the importance of rituals and initiations. Our modern society has near completely lost touch with the practice of male initiation into manhood, we’ve lost the clear defining moment when boys become men. Without this moment of male initiation, young boys end up feeling lost and aimless, essentially developing Peter Pan syndrome, of never wanting to grow up. Growing up is a painful process, and one that everyone given the chance would avoid, however Robert Bly would argue, and I would agree, that in the long term, it’s actually more painful to not grow up. When women dump you, when the boss doesn’t promote you, when your kids don’t respect you – those are painful experiences that traumatize most men. Boys in our society live in this fairytale where they believe they can get by without ever accepting true responsibility for their lives, but in the end, this only leads to more pain and heartache, as the people around you don’t respect you. And in the end, is there anything more valuable than being respected by those you love most dearly? You can’t buy respect. Respect is earned through blood, sweat and tears – never forget that. 
      • Recommended For: Any boy who doesn’t understand why women don’t want to date him and why the boss doesn’t respect him. 
      • Key Takeaway: Respect is earned through blood sweat and tears. 
  • Jordan B. Peterson – 12 Rules For Life
  • Niceguy – Land Of The Losers
      • Another wildcard on the list. The author has chosen to remain anonymous here (what a shame) due to the sensitive and personal nature of the work. In my personal opinion I wish he’d have the balls to use his real name, to show he truly stood behind his work – but nonetheless the content here is gold. A word of warning: this book does come across as entitled and whining sometimes, and while I agree with many points the anonymous author makes, I still can’t help but feel he’d do better with less whining, and more action, but here we go. This is the story of Niceguy, who chronicles for us his turbulent and traumatic experience growing up and dating American women. His first point, is that he’s a great catch – he’s well educated from a top tier university, from a good family, physically fit, he’s nice and he respects women – so why do women run screaming from him? By contrast, he has a cousin, who has tattoos and a prison record, he has no education, no job, no career prospects, yet women are all over him. Niceguy has an awakening realisation (that we all must go through), that what we’ve been told by society and our moms just isn’t true – women are physically attracted to well educated, nice men, with career prospects, they’re attracted to the physically fit, muscular a**hole. Women are attracted to what they’re attracted to, and no amount of societal programming can change that (at least in the long term). Which means Niceguy has this gut wrenching realization that everything he’s bee told about “being a man” has been a lie, and it’s only resulted in him being used by women (sound familiar?). Women use him to get their taxes done (he’s a smart guy remember?), women use him for lifts around town (He’s financially well off and has a car remember?), and women use him as a shoulder to cry on (he’s a nice guy who respects women remember?). But that’s the point – women use him, but they have no interest in being with him or sleeping with him. They’re not physically attracted to him, they just want to use him for his resources. Women are great at being seductresses, and nice guys like who have little experience with women are easy prey, because they so desperately just want some of that feminne attention. 
      • Recommended For: Any boy who wants to understand why women treat him like trash. 
      • Key Takeaway: If you want to date attractive women, grow a pair and move out of the collapsing western world. 
  • Stefan Aarino – Hard Times Create Strong Men
      • A word of warning: this is a long book, and I nearly didn’t even bother reading it as the opening chapters talk a lot about how “Trump is going to save us”. Love trump or hate him, my belief is that politics has nothing to do with being a man, and if you believe the Orange Man is going to save masculinity, I hate to say it but you’ll be unfortunately disappointed. Now, once we got past the few chapters about Trump, things start to pick up here. This is a book that is all about hard work. Again, I don’t necessarily agree with the author on all points – he talks a lot about “doing the work society expects us to do” as if society owns our balls. I disagree with you here Stefan, yes I believe in hard work, but I believe in hard work that I own 100% and I do because it makes me happy. Society can go f*ck itself (side note – in order for me to be long term successful, society must value the work I do in a free market – so we do rely on each other – but I do the work first and foremost for myself). So where I agree with Stefan is the importance of hard work, dedication and focus. It takes many hours, and years of dedication before you master your life’s work, and Stefan argues that modern men (read: boys), tend to jump around too much, they don’t commit. They get ideas, they get excited, they start things and never finish things. Boys today are too afraid to dive in feet first and get messy. Stefan also argues (and rightly so), that through the last 70 years or so, our western society has lived through a time of unprecedented prosperity, and in that prosperity, or “goog times”, that we have become soft. I could’t agree more. When times are good, we forget about the dangers, we forget about our enemies, we forget about how hard life good be – we get entitled and we take the good life for granted. We’re now going through a time in our society, where everybody’s tiniest whim and desire has become the focal point of discussion. If you ever look at the news now, it’s never talking about any serious existential issues that help to enrich or enhance our lives, rather there’s a constant stream around the importance of trans rights, of BLM activism, and making sure that nobody is “offended”. We’ve become a society that believes in padding, and keeping the gutter rails up, so nobody ever has a bad day (ironically though, it means that everyone always has a bad day, but that’s a rant for another day). Stefan argues that we’ve lost touch with the true essence of what it means to be a man and to do the hard work. And while we can’t necessarily save society from its own collapse, we can save ourselves. Find your calling, put in the hours, do the work, become a success for yourself. Hard times create strong men. 
      • Recommended For: every man. Required reading. 
      • Key Takeaway: Stop whining, do the work. 
  • Caleb Jones – The Unchained Man
      • One of my biggest mentors of the past 5 years. I’m putting this as required reading for every man. This book is over 400 pages of pure gold. Caleb outlines the process that any man can use to find maximum freedom in their life. Some of the core tenets here are to: a) earn at least $75k/yr USD, b) earn location independent income, c) be self-employed and your own boss, d) never promise monogamy to a woman, e) never be legally bound to a woman (marriage). In addition, Caleb argues that every man needs to have a clearly defined mission and purpose to his life – and these need to excite him into action every day. It is too easy in modern society, with instant access to UberEats, Netflix, video games, porn and any distraction that you want – it is too easy to live a limp life of perpetual distraction. Having a mission that excites you, is a prerequisite to eliminate all of that other junk from your life. When you have something bigger than your self that you’re excited to achieve, it allows you to climb above the pile of horse s*it and get the work done you need to get done. Society will constantly call you to do all sorts of jobs you don’t want to do – get a safe job at a big corporate, marry a safe woman, buy a house, have kids, buy a boat – and all of these things ultimately erode your freedom. The Unchained Man is all about maximizing freedom in your life, which comes down to maximizing the income you can make (while working the fewest hours), and having the fewest societal chains weighing you down. This book will by eye-opening to any guy who’s just starting his journey. A painful read at times (reality hurts), but essential reading that I believe every man needs. This is one of those books that I keep handy that every year or two I pop open to refresh myself. Even when we are actively on our path, we sometimes forget some essentials, and a book like this is the much needed kick in the a** we all need. Finances, women, mission, freedom – this book has what you need. 
      • Recommended For: Every man. Required reading. 
      • Key Takeaway: define your mission, define your purpose, do the work, f*ck society. 
  • Robert Glover – No More Mr. Nice Guy
      • So much yes for this book. This is one of those books that I’d wish I’d ready earlier in life, it’s that important. So many men in society today (me definitely included), have been raise to be nice little boys that are agreeable and easy to get along with. But unfortunately, reality bites. As much as we were told that being good little boys would make us wanted and accepted by society, they failed to mention that society, women and our bosses, would use that “niceness” to walk all over us, to take advantage of us, and to use us. Eventually (or rather, hopefully), every boy wakes up to the delusion that he’s been sold a lie, and he manages to grow a pair and stand up for himself. Unfortunately, it’s often too late at this point for him to change in any meaningful way. But there is always hope he can wake up. Robert Glover lays out a plan for setting healthy boundaries, learning to say “no”, when society, your mom, your wife or your boss try to push you around and get you to do things you don’t really want to do. “No” is one of the most powerful words in the english language, learn to use it and love it. 
      • Recommended For: every man who’s tired of being disrespected by women and society.
      • Key Takeaway: This book isn’t about being an a**hole, it’s about learning to set healthy boundaries to learning to say “no”. 
  • Zan Perrion – The Alabaster Girl
      • Time to switch things up a bit. Up until this point, most books I’ve recommended have been very masculine energy oriented, with a lot of focus on “get the work done, focus, drive, mission, clarity, purpose, work hard, play hard, work, work, work, do. The. work.” – and that is all great, but sometimes we need to see the other side of the coin as well. In The Alabaster Girl, Zan Perrion who’s a craftsman with words, takes us on a journey of what it means to love a woman. And more than that, what it means to actually see and appreciate women. As men we’re great at getting caught up in our heads and our thoughts, completely oblivious to the woman in front of us. We try to be men, we try to problem solve, we try to fix things, and often this just makes things worse. The problem, is that we don’t truly understand women, and we don’t understand what women want. From the outside, women appear to be these complicated creatures, with odd moods, swinging emotions and generally erratic and hard to understand. In truth, once you learn to actually understand how women are, how they think and how they behave, suddenly all of their “irrational” bevaiour, starts to seem pretty rational, and almost predictable and logical. Women aren’t irrational, they just think differently from men. Through beautiful prose, Zan takes us through a journey, a series of love letters that he’s written to the Alabaster Girl, and in his journey which takes him around the world, Zan uncovers what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman. He show’s us women’s secretmost desires, thoughts and feelings, and what it is they truly want in a man. This book takes a different approach than the typical “self-help” book which can be painfully logical, and pain human beings (esp women) as they robotic automotons, the just kinda do something because they author says so. No, Zan not only speaks from the heart, but he speaks from years of experience of being around women, of loving women and of being loved by women. This book is for any man who not only wants to better understand women, but prefers an approach from a more feminine point of view. 
      • Recommended For: any man who’s felt confused by women. 
      • Key Takeaway: women want a man who can see who they truly are, not the facade they put out to the world. 
  • Jack Donovan – The Way Of Men
  • Alan Roger Currie – Mode One
      • This is a quick and fun read. It’s a short book you can burn through in a weekend, but the message is straightforward: women are attracted to ballsy men. Mode One teaches men to say what’s on their mind. Exactly what’s on their mind. Society teaches men to soften their words, to be delicate, to not say things that might offend other people. Alan Roger Currie doesn’t advocate intentionally offending people, but he argues that Mode One is the way for men to express themselves directly, and unapologetically to women. This book is about being brash, and to the point, if you want to hook up with a woman, tell her that you want to hook up. If you awkwardly try to beat around the bush, she’ll sense your nervousness and your apprehension. Women are immediately turned off by uncertainty. Deep down, at a primal level, she wants a man who is courageous enough to state his intentions directly, without having to hide be niceties and assumptions. The man who has the guts to put his balls on the line, will be the one who wins. Mode One will open your eyes to the reality that you can actually say what you want, and that contrary to what you think, instead of turning people off, it will actually turn people (women) on. 
      • Recommended For: every guy who feels shy and awkward expressing himself
      • Key Takeaway: Say exactly whats on your mind. And say it proudly. 
  • Mike Cernovich – Danger & Play
      • This book falls under the same vein as Stefan Aarino’s – Hard Times Create Strong Men, and Jack Donovan’s – The Way Of Men – this book is all about having the balls to do the hard work and to say “f*ck you” to a society that tries to hold you back. In a world where being a man is increasingly demonized, Mike Cernovich paints a picture of how to come out stronger on the other side. Written as a series of essays that origianlyl started as a blog, Mike provides a framework for boys to grow up to become men. He cautions men to be aware of the intense hate and bigotry faced by men today – that white men have essentially become the social punching bag, everyone wants to have a go knocking him down. Mike teaches men to be aware of this, and to be ready to defend themselves against the danger (hence Danger & Play), but more importantly to dedicate themselves to their higher purpose in life. Not necessarily in a religious sense, but to find their task, their project, their calling – and to focus on making their own lives better, rather than falling victim to the whims of society. It is so easy for society to blow us around like leaves in the wind, but Mike advocates for setting strong foundations but getting your financial life in order, your career in order, your mission in order and your woman life in order – once you’ve got the pieces together, you’ve essentially created a bulwark for yourself against the storm. Welcome to Danger & Play.
      • Recommended For: Any man who want’s to understand how dangerous societies views can be on his health and happiness and freedom in life. 
      • Key Takeaway: Be a man, own your s*it, take the Gorilla mindset. 
  • Bruce Bryans – Find Your Path
  • Daniel Bergner – What Do Women Want?
      • This book offers a scientific answer to that age-old question that all men find themselves scratching their heads and asking at some point in their life: “what the hell do women actually want?”. There are many gems in this book, but the one that stood out the most to me was a study they did on speed dating. In traditional speed dating, the women stay in place, and the men rotate around the room. The woman owns the territory (the table), and the man is trying to plead his case to enter her territory (why he thinks he’s so amazing). Essentially, the man has to invest to start the conversation, and the woman just has to sit there. After each round, the participants rank how attracted they were to the other, and how likely they’d be to schedule a date after. Not surprisingly, most men said that most of the women they met they’d want to meet again for a proper date, while most women were very selective and only chose 1 or 2 men they’d actually want to meet again. Now, the standard assumption is that women are choosey, and men will sleep with anyone. But is it true? Then they did a study where the roles were reversed, the men stayed in place, and now it was the women who were rotating, and had to invest in starting the conversation. Surprisingly, women now rated men more more highly in terms of wanting to meet up again, and they listed nearly as many men they wanted to connect with, as the men did selecting women. Suddenly the women are more “choosey” disappeared – what happened? In this new reality, women were suddenly forced to invest more in the interaction. They were the ones who had to enter the mans space, they were the ones who had to start the conversation. Men held court, while the women tried to impress them. The difference was investment. One women were forced to invest more in the relationship, they were more eager to keep the relationship going. It’s a basic fact of human psychology – people don’t like to lose what they’ve already invested time and energy into. The implication here for men and dating – is that if you’re the one whos always chasing, if you’re the one who’s always investing in her, buying her nice clothes and nice meals – then she isn’t as invested in the relationship. It would be more catastrophic to you than it would be for her if the relationship ended, and as soon as she senses that, she’ll start using it to her advantage. She show you how much she doesn’t need you, and easily she could go get another man and as you whimper and fall apart, and beg her not to leave, she knows that shes got your balls in her purse, right where she wants them. 
      • Recommended For: any man who wants to better understand women. 
      • Key Takeaway: the reason women don’t respect you is because they didn’t need to invest in the relationship. 
  • Mark Manson – Models
    • This is another one of those brilliant books that I believe more men need to read. Most people know Mark Manson for his blockbuster hit of “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck”, but few people know that before that he was actually deeply entrenched in the PUA scene. But after years of attempted indoctrination, he realised that PUA was full of s*it, and the industry was generally rotten to the core, taking advantage of men who felt lost and confused. This is the anti-pua pua book. It teaches men how they can attract women, but at the same time it is a violent attack on the whole PUA, or pickup artist scene. Mark Manson breaks down the “models” for how a man should live to be attractive to women, and at it’s core foundation is a belief in being honest. When men are honest, to themselves and to the people around them, they are suddenly free to actually be themselves. Many men hide behind masks and false bravado, in an attempt to seem better than they really are. They buy fancy things they can’t afford, they pretend to fly private jets that they definitely don’t, they put on this big show, all in an attempt to impress women. Women see right through this false facade. One thing men need to love and appreciate better about women is their intense powers of observation and being able to tell whether a man is full of shit or not. Women can sense it, women can smell bulls*it a mile away. She can tell, just by looking at your face, whether you believe what you’re saying or not. And if she smells a fake, she’s out of there. This book is all about bringing out your most authentic self. Of being true to who you are and what you want in life, and being forthright with you intentions. Be honest, be bold, and go for what you actually want in life. 
    • Recommended For: every man, mandatory reading. 
    • Key Takeaway: Be honest and authentic with women, if you lie, she will find out and it will only come around to bite you in the ass. 

 

Best Physical Fitness Books:

  • Arnold Schwarzenneger – The New Encyclopedia Of Modern BodyBuilding
    1. Recommended For: every man who wants to put on some muscle. 
    2. Key Takeaway: Arnold is a god when it comes to physical fitness. If you want to get big, you gotta put in the work. 
  • Ray Kurzweil – Transcend

 

Best Money Books:

  • George S. Clason – The Richest Man in Babylon
      • This is a short book, a quick read. It’s one of those stories told as a fable, and documents the journey of the “richest man in babylon”. He takes us through all of the key principles he’s used to save money over time. Of all the lessons, I believe the most powerful are to a) save 10% of everything you earn, b) use compound interest to grow your wealth over a lifetime. 
      • Recommended For: anyone who wants to better understand simple finances and actually saving money
      • Key Takeaway: save 10% of everything you earn. 
  • Robert Kiyosaki – Rich Dad Poor Dad
      • I don’t agree with everything Robert Kiyosaki says, in fact he has a whole book on how MLM network marketing will be the future of business, and to be honest that book kinda made me puke. However, Rich Dad Poor Dad is a pretty epic read that I’d recommend to any guy trying to better understand finance. Robert Kiyosaki takes us through the journey of his life and shows us how he had “2 dads”, his poor dad, who is his biological father, and his rich dad, who was his mentor through life to developing great wealth. His poor dad followed the standard logic of society – get educated, get more educated, get a stable well paying job, and then coast for the rest of your life. Not surprisingly, his poor dad never made much money and was intensely vulnerable to any changes in the job market (if he got fired, he was screwed). By contrast, his rich dad, believed more in investments and in ownership. If you buy a house, and that house appreciates in value, you’ve suddenly made a whole bunch of money, without having to do “any work”. This is the approach of the rich dad, to focus on leverage skills, to earn money while you sleep, instead of breaking your back everyday to earn a paycheck that could easily be taken away from you. 
      • Recommended For: any guy who wants to better understand finances, and how to exit the rat race and get your money working for you. 
      • Key Takeaway: Invest. It’s open ended what you invest in, but invest in something that you own and that appreciates in value over time. 
  • Robert Kiyosaki – Rich Dad’s Prophecy

 

Best Books On Storytelling:

  • Michael Hauge & Christopher Vogler – The Hero’s 2 Journeys
      • It’s not often you read a book written by professional screenwriters, but in this book Michael Hauge and Chrisopher Vogler take us through The Hero’s 2 Journeys. As men, we are on a journey through life, and it can be helpful to have a framework to understand what that even means. We’ve all watched movies and seen “the hero’s journey” (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Super Mario come to mind), but what does that journey actually mean? In this book, they break down the journey into two distinct parts, that are essential for any movie character to go through (and the implication is also important for us mere mortal men). The first journey is the physical journey. This is Luke Skywalker leaving his home planet after his parents are killed, of travelling with Obi Wan, of going to meet Yoda, of flying on the Millenium Falcon, of learning the force, slaying Darth Vader, and eventually saving the princess (who happens to be his sister, but let’s ignore that more minute). Those are the physical steps he goes through, the physical journey that we see him going on. Beneath that however, is the more subtle journey, which isn’t immediately visible to the eye, which is the spiritual, or philosophical journey. When we first meet Luke, he’s a boy at heart, he likes playing with toys and gadgets and droids, he doesn’t have much ambition or plans to go very far in life, as he get’s introduced to the force, and now sees the power for good and evil, and while he consciously chooses good, he’s also sometimes swayed towards evil, as his journey progresses, he must mature, he must take on more responsibility, he must care for others, in essence, he must start to embody those characteristics of being a man, and finally by the end of the movie, we have a wise, mature, strong fighter, who fights for the good, and banishes evil. If there character only went on the physical journey, there would be no growth. If at the end of the movie Luke still had the mentality and ambition of a child, we the audience would feel cheated in someway thinking “wow we spent all this time, and went through all of those battles and fights and heartbreak – and he hasn’t even grown up yet!”. We’d been insulted and think it was a dumb movie. For a true journey to occur, the hero must embark on both legs of the journey, the physical and the spiritual. Now this applies to men in their real lives. A perfect example is men who hit the gym hard. There are many guys who feel insecure with their masculinity, so they start working out hard at the gym. They lift heavy weights to cover up their insecurities. Now there’s nothing wrong with lifting weights (in fact, I recommend it), but these men have only gone on a physical journey, and they’ve missed the spiritual journey – they’re still just as insecure as they were before they started working out. They are still just as fearful of women and fearful of rejection, they just have bigger muscles now. For a man to truly become a man, he must embark on both journeys, to reall to do the work. And this book lays out the framework for completing both journeys, and coming out stronger on the other side. 
      • Recommended For: any man who wants to understand the arc of the hero
      • Key Takeaway: The complete transformation of a man requires both the physical and spiritual journey to occur. 
  • Chip Heath & Dan Heath – Made To Stick
      • Why do so many of us suck at story telling? This book by brothers Chip & Dan Heath breaks it down into real simple terms: we make things too complicated. The book opens with an example comparing an urban legend to the year end report of a typical corporation. After running through the examples the authors then say “okay, now which one can you actually remember now?” – without question the answer is the urban legend. Why? Because the urban legend hooks onto many ideas that are already familiar to us – they fire down strongly built neural pathways that have an emotional impact. Most of us can picture what it looks like and feels like to travel for business, to go to a new bar alone, to talk to a pretty woman, and can imagine the fear and terror of waking up without our kidneys – all those thoughts “hook” onto our already preconceived ideas and past experiences, they images become vivid in our minds because we can picture them so well. Compare this in contrast to the dry, year end review for shareholders, filled with unnecessary jargon, complicated words, and self-puffery. Our eyes glaze over reading it, we’re bored, we’re not engaged, there is zero emotional connection. So it’s no surprise at the end of it that we remember nothing. As the authors say, it didn’t “stick”. So how do you write a story (or a blog, or an ad, or a message to a girl) that sticks? You need to learn to use common language, that is understood, that is visual and has emotional connections. The more vivid you can make it, the more easier you can make it to imagine what the person is talking about, the more they’re able to build an emotional connection and to actually feel it. This is the key to truly great storytelling – to use the words that actively capture the minds and imaginations of the people who are hearing it. 
      • Recommended For: anyone who wants to better understand marketing and storytelling
      • Key Takeaway: tell simple stories that are easy to understand by “hooking” onto already understood concepts.
  • Benjamin Percy – Thrill Me
  • Stephen King – On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft (A Memoir of the Craft)

 

Best Math / Statistics Books:

  • Morton D. Davis – Game Theory

 

Best Novels / Literature: 

  • Richard Yates – Revolutionary Road
      • This book is one of my guilty pleasures. It was recommended to me by a roommate I live with several years ago. She said it had changed her life so I decided to give it a go. Actually, in fairness we watched the movie first with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, but later I read the book and fell in love with it to. I recommend this book because sometimes we get too lost in the “self-help” and “personal development” space, that sometimes we forget to read real novels with real characters and real emotion. This is the heartbreaking story of a young couple who met after WWII. They were filled with youthful ambition to go travel the world, to live as artists in europe and to enjoy that bohemian, simple life. But one thing led to another and life got in the way. Babies, jobs, expensive house, nice cars – all the trappings of a good life. Suddenly the years go by, the kids start growing up and they start looking at their life and asking whether they’re truly happy or not. They realise they’re miserable and decide this is the time now to make the change – they’re going to quit their jobs and move over to europe to fulfil their dream of living the artist lifestyle. Needless to say, everything falls apart. For me, the core lesson here is: if there’s something you want to do in your life, do it now (or as soon as humanely possible). And if you’re single now, then I need to scream this in your face: go build the life you want NOW. As soon as you have a wife, kids, a mortgage, cars and “stuff”, your life becomes unmovable and unchangeable. Suddenly you have too much “life infrastructure” and it becomes rigid, and damn near impossible to change. So I beg you, if you’re single, ask yourself if you’re truly happy right now, and if you’re not, figure out what you’d need to do to make it happen, then put a plan in place and execute. If you’re not happy, don’t expect that you’ll magically be happy later by buying a house, or god forbid kid. Kids are great, but save them for after you have your life together. Make a plan, execute. We only have one life, don’t waste it. 
      • Recommended For: any man who want’s to see what happens when he doesn’t take ownership of his life. 
      • Key Takeaway: if you put off your dreams to tomorrow, tomorrow will never come. 
  • Leonard Cohen – Beautiful Losers
  • Hermann Hesse – Demian
    • I remember sitting at an outdoor Paris cafe when I finished reading this book. I even remember how I awkwardly ordered a glass of water and the parisian water corrected me. Apparently I’d asked for a “mug of water” rather than a “glass of water”. Hermann Hesse should definitely be recommended reading for all men who are trying to grow up and better understand life. In this book Demian, we explore how the main character, who is shy, quiet and awkward, comes into contact with Demian, the new kid in school who seems bold, audacious and ballsy. Together the break some rules and start getting into trouble. The main character, Emil, is trying to do right in the world, but keeps getting pulled into a world of darkness. Through trials and tribulations, Emil starts to grow up, to become a man and to take ownership of his life. As the author says in the opening quote “I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was this so very difficult? This is the story of youthful rebellion, of growing up, and claiming independence as a man.   
    • Recommended For: any guy who want’s to see how Germans look at growing up
    • Key Takeaway: you gotta break some rules, if you want to grow up in life. 

 

Best Psychology Books:

  • Robert Cialdini – Influence
  • Malcolm Gladwell – The Tipping Point
  • Malcolm Gladwell – Outliers
      • In this seminal work, Malcom Gladwell outlines what it takes to be an outlier. Outliers are those statistical anomalies that seem to defy all logic and understanding. Why are some people so great and successful in life, while others just can’t seem to get it together? What is is that truly separates the great from the average? Is it good luck? Talent? Looks? Brains? Ability? Genetics? Good parents? Good neighbourhoods. Malcolm Gladwell goes through and smashes most of these thoughts and beliefs, leaving us with a new view of the world. Now, a personal note, some of the stuff in this book I love, other stuff left me scratching my head a little bit. For example, in one study, they found that pro-level hockey players, were unusually likely to be born in January. Is this because January babies are better at hockey? No, it’s because when kids are being filtered for their hockey talents, the kid who was born in January, as an 11 month growth advantage on the kid who was born in December. When you’re 8 years old, that 11 months represents a large fraction of your entire life. Now this is a cool study, but it doesn’t really help the average person who’s trying to get better in their lives. Even if hockey was your chosen path, you can’t do much about it if you weren’t born in January. However with that said, understanding why some people are statistical anomalies, and how they became that way, gives fascinating insight into the human condition. There isn’t much in this book you can directly apply to your life, but there is much that is interesting and illuminating. 
      • Recommended for: people who love math and statistics.
      • Key Takeawa: if you want to be good at hockey, be born in January.
  • Malcolm Gladwell – David & Goliath
  • Malcolm Gladwell – Blink
    • This is the book the revolutionized how we think about thinking. Why are some people great decision makers, who can make decisions in the blink of an eye, yet others struggle to form a thought? Why do some people have strong gut instincts while others don’t? How do our brains really work? And most importantly, why is it that some of our best decisions (read: controversial) the ones that are most difficult to explain to others? If you’ve ever had a time when you needed to break free or go do your own thing, and friends and family ask you about what you’re up to and why, you’re probably pretty familiar with feeling like you don’t know how to explain yourself, that the words just suddenly don’t seem to come to you. Malcolm Gladwell dives into understanding how we think, so we can have a better understanding of who we are, and how we behave. 
    • REcommended For: anyone who feels frustrated sometimes with their brains
    • Key Takeaway: Pay attention to how you think, and how you actually make decisions. 

 

Best Wildcard Books / Honourable Mentions

  • Robert Young Pelton – The Adventurist
      • This was one of those random books that I bought at a used bookstore. In fact, I think it was from value village from the bargain book bin. For somereason it caught my eye. I’d never heard of it before or knew anything about the author, but it cost about a dollar, so I figured I’d take a chance (definitely a wildcard). This is the story of the author, Robert Young Pelton and how his life went from growing up in rural Manitoba, Canada, to travelling to some of the strangest and most remote parts of the world. As a job he worked in film production, which helped him to finance his career of travel – but deep down he was a traveller at heart. He starts by telling us the story of what it was like growing up in rural manitoba – life was hard: winter was cold and long, the teachers at school were mean, they’d had to go on extended trips out into nature, freezing cold, starving, they had to fight for survival. He argues that this hard upbringing, helped to establish the kids with confidence and with character – if they can endure that, then they can endure anything. Robert than took his abilities to withstand an pain and any harsh condition, and married that with his love of travel. He went to all the places were weren’t supposed to go: The congo, afghanistan, myanmar, and anywhere else we’ve all heard “you can’t go there, it’s dangerous”. Robert wanted to explore them all. And while he had many close calls along the way, ultimately his love of travel and adventure, led him to becoming the respected man, father and husband that he is. Robert’s story illustrates why it’s easier to live a hard life. So many men today feel complacent in their lives, having been told that living an easy life is the way to go – video games, netflix, endless entertainment, this is all we neeed? But what do we sacrifice when we abandon challenge? We lose our manhood. We loose our ability to overcome challenge, and we lose the respect of our wives and our kids. 
      • Recommended For: every man who wants to break out of his shell and go live. 
      • Key Takeaway: Life is an adventure – dive in. But don’t be alarmed when life thrashes you around, that’s just part of the fun. 
  • Erica Jong – Any Woman’s Blues
      • This is definitely one of those “wildcards”. I threw it in to offer some alternative perspective here. As men, sometimes we get siloed into specific and linear ways of thinking. We read the works of other men and build that paradigm of how men see the world. But I recommend sometimes (or frequently) taking a step back and seeing the world through the eyes of a woman. If you’ve never read a romance novel written by a woman, do it, and do it now. It will open your eyes up to a whole new way of looking at the world. Women are built differently than men, that is just a biological fact. On top of that women, have been trained to suppress their true emotions, so we often see her “perfected public image” when she’s out in public. She lives her life the way society tells her to live. However, if we dig a little under the surface, we tend to find that she isn’t that sweet, innocent girl afterall, but rather has a whole new level of depth and desire, that we as men can even begin to comprehend. This is why I alway recommended reading works written by women. Answers pop up in the most unexpected places. As a quick side tangent, I was reading a book written by Margaret Attwood, a very outspoken feminist, yet even in her book, she paints the picture of disdain for weak men, and an intense passion for decisive and strong-willed men. Beneath the facade of feminism, most women, are still deeply attracted to men who have their shit together. Never forget that. Now, back to Any Woman’s Blues – this book follows the intense love affair of Leila and Dart. Dart, the proverbial troubled badboy, keeps Leila enraptured, despite the fact she knows deep down she’s being taken advantage of. But she can’t help it, his total independence and lack of regard for her, drives her mad with passion, and she can’t get enough of him. She recounts tales of previous lovers, men with established jobs and careers, who just didn’t “do it for her”. These men failed to turn her on, because they were boring, and weren’t self-actualized. To pull a quote from the book “I often wonder why nice men don’t take more time and trouble over the kamasutra and various other texts of love secrets.Are they oblivious of the rare rewards of fucking a woman well? It’s the gigolos and grifters who chiefly practice the art of love. What fools the nie men are not to learn from them!”. See my point? This book makes several references to how nice men “make Leila sick” and how woman want a real man that takes charge. Are you getting the hints yet? See it’s all well and good for a man to tell you that women want you to take charge, but it’s another thing all together when you read a book written by a woman specifically for women – remember, this is pure women’s fantasies. Have you ever wanted to tap into what women are thinking? The answers are right here, all you have to do is open the book. 
      • Recommended For: any man who wants to better understand women.
      • Key Takeaway: Stop being a “nice guy”. Women don’t respect nice guys. 
  • Lenny Bruce – How To Talk Dirty And Influence People
  • Aaron Clarey – Enjoy The Decline
  • Mike Cernovich – Gorilla Mindset
      • A book all about mindsets and practice advice to make it happen. This isn’t just an audiobook of theory, but of real application you can brint to your life. The Gorilla Mindset is all about health, fitness, independance, masculinitiy, deciiveness, wealth, finances and building a life and a career you can be proud of. Mike Cernovich brings that “Gorilla Mindset” to the table by helping every man see the warrior, the gorilla inside of them. Society has trained men to be weak and docile, and Mike stands up against that to say “hey look at all this power you have inside yourself – embrace it!”. The road of the warrior is long and painful, but having these mindsets and advice will keep your fire burning strong. This isn’t the kind of book you can just read and think “oh, that was nice”, no this is the kind of a book that you need to apply. Filled with practical wisdom and the steps to do it Gorilla Mindset is the tool for you to unlock your true potential.
      • Recommended For: any man who wants to grow a pair.
      • Key Takeaway: Life will always push you around unless you decide to grow a pair and take control of your life. 
  • Scott Beebe – Let Your Business Burn: Stop Putting Out Fires, Discover Purpose, And Build A Business That Matters
  • Ogi Ogas – A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the Internet Tells Us About Sexual Relationships
  • Bruce Bryans – What Women Want When They Test Men
  • Patrick Lencioni – The Motive: Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities
  • Hermann Hesse – Siddhartha
  • Esther Perel – Mating In Captivity
    • Have you seen this TED talk yet? No? Then watch it now. Esther Perel get’s my vote for Badass Woman Of The Year. Seriously, in an area where most people are too afraid to talk about sex, relationships, why we connect and why we breakup (or more specifically why we cheat), Esther Perel comes out guns blazing. The highlight of Mating in Captivity is showing the argument that humans aren’t really meant to be monogamous for long periods of time (and the evidence of break ups and failed marriages supports this). Esther argues that we’ve all fallen in love with this very fake, and very Hollywood view of the world, the “happily ever after” where the couple drive off into the sunset and everything is perfect. But reality couldn’t be further from the truth. While we as humans do indeed enjoy pair-bonding, we have a lot of trouble staying faithful, and not fucking other humans, at least in the long term. In the short term, most couples are able to make a happy and harmonious relationship work, but that honeymoon phase typically lasts about 3-5 years, before s*it starts to hit the fan. This is the time, when we start to see our partners true colours, and all of their little habits and behaviours start to drive us mad. Esther argues that the societally accepted “one man and one woman, forever and ever” relationship model is fundamentally broken, and that we’re all trying to make something work, that just doesn’t work. Esther argues for more openness and transparency in our relationships, and not to “cheat” per se, but to open up lines of communication and dialogue, so that we’re able to express when we’re not happy. I would take this a step further and argue that no man should ever get into a serious and legally binding relationship with a woman that he can’t easily walk away from. I love women, but if a woman is giving me a hard time, I reserve the full right to step away from that relationship at any time I want, and not have to fear the government putting me in jail or taking half my stuff. No thank you. 
    • Recommended For: every man who wants to understand why monogamy doesn’t work. 
    • Key Takeaway: Monogamy doesn’t work. 

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