choosing the right weapon to go into battle

Life is war…

I’m speaking metaphorically naturally, but it is true that we must fight for what we want in life.

The woman of our dreams, the job we seek, the credentials we desire, success, money, fame…none of these just fall out of the sky. We must fight for them.

The other day I came across this post by Jeffrey Gitomer, the preeminent sales guy, entitled “A Dozen Books to Own and Read – at Least Once.”

After reading his list I was inspired to come up with my own dozen.

I have talked about some of my favorite novels and self-help books on here from time to time, but I thought it worth writing a new list that I would say are “must-reads” for anyone going into battle in business in the 21st century.

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People
  2. The 4 Hour Work Week
  3. The Magic of Thinking Big
  4. Lessons of History
  5. Animal Farm
  6. Atlas Shrugged
  7. Living an Inspired Life
  8. He Who Thinks He Can
  9. Prophecy
  10. Conversations with Millionaires
  11. Scientific Advertising
  12. The Compound Effect

Many of the books on the list fall into the self-development category because we can all use a good kick in the pants every now and then, but let me explain why I choose each book on this list.

For anyone looking for simple, applicable concepts that can be implemented almost immediately (that work just as well at the office and at home) you can’t go wrong with How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s a great place to start.

The 4 Hour Work Week is a new addition to my best books’ list. To me, it’s a critical book for anyone working in today’s environment. Whether we want to accept it or not, the rules of business have changed and this book will help you get the most out of those changes.

David Schwartz’s classic, The Magic of Thinking Big, is all about the importance of going for it. It’s hard to walk away from this book and not feel inspired to go out and chase your dreams.

Lessons of History is what I consider the best history book ever written. It’s short and so well thought out. I have never read three-page chapters so filled with knowledge. And the best thing about it is it links everything together. This book is one of the three books that actually laid the foundation for my financial seminar though I didn’t realize it at the time.

It’s an absolute mystery to me why no history teacher ever introduced this to me.

Animal Farm is one of the two novels to make the cut. It was the first book I ever read that I thought got it right. Its premise is simple, clever and helps explain a lot about the world. It’s one of those books that you won’t be able to put it down after the second chapter.

Atlas Shrugged is, in my humble opinion, the finest novel ever written (and Ayn Rand’s masterpiece) but it also one of the longest. This is a book for the serious student, and an absolutely incredible read. 10/10.

Living an Inspired Life was written by my mentor, Jim Rohn, and the man who got me started on this journey of self-improvement. It’s a great read and a book you’ll want to come back to time and time again. A timeless classic.

And speaking of classics, no success library would be complete without He Who Thinks He Can by Orison Swett Marden. Written way back in 1908 you’ll no doubt find some parts slightly funny, but it’s amazing to see just how little we have changed, in spite of the fact that our society as a whole has undergone such incredible change over the past 100 years. It will also give you great respect for great minds of the past.

While Robert Kiyosaki is known best for Rich Dad, Poor Dad (another great book for many people looking to get started) but I went with Prophecy for this list. Kiyosaki met with a lot of backlash for this book and reading it today I have no doubt many people would say he was way off with his predictions. But from what I have studied, I can say it’s still early days and much of what he talks about could yet come to pass. Considering the economic situation we find ourselves in today, I feel this is a book not to be missed.

Conversations with Millionaires is a great little book that is just that. Interviews done with nine incredible individuals put together in one book. Very easy read and many powerful ideas to be had from this little gem.

When one wants to study marketing one book that is mentioned time and time again is Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins. It, along with a few others, is the book that many marketers consider the holy grail (much like Think and Grow Rich is the book most people attribute to their success to). Though it may be a book on advertising, it has incredible insight into the human mind and how it ticks.

I started the list with a simple, yet powerful book. So I felt it only fitting to end it with one as well.  The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy is nothing earth-shattering, but actually just a single idea. However, applied properly and continually will lead to incredible results no matter if you are a marketer, an athlete, a CEO, a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer or an entrepreneur.

What books didn’t make the cut this time?

  • Think and Grow Rich — simply because it’s not the easiest book to read and the ideas contained within it will take more thought than the books above.
  • Awaken the Giant Within — most people will be too intimidated to start this incredible book.
  • The Success Principles — ditto.
  • iSucceed — didn’t want to toot my own horn.

So there you have it. Some great books that are worth their weight in gold…if applied.

Remember, it’s not good enough just to get the books. Or even read them.

It’s the application of the ideas contained within them that will change your life, and maybe even the world.

Get reading.

Adrian Shepherd

ps. I wholeheartedly agree with Gitomer that there are some essential non-book materials that should be on everyone’s list. In no particular order, here are  just a  few to look into: The Art of Exceptional Living, (CDs) by Jim Rohn, The Black Swan of Cairo by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Zig Ziglar’s How to Stay Motivated (CDs), Brendon Burchard’s Expert Academy (if you can get your hands on it), and Piranha Marketing by Joe Polish (CDs).

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