The Reading List

I like reading.

One of the questions that my friends ask me the most often is “What should I be reading?”

First, a note:

I like reading, but I love taking action on what I read, so for every book I read, I highlight important passages, I flag important pages, I take notes, and I try to pull one concrete next action out of the book (even if that next action is ‘This book was dreck β€” let’s donate it to Goodwill’).

Reading should be, imo, part of a virtuous cycle:

Identify Obstacle β†’ Read β†’ Identify Next Action β†’ Implement β†’ Overcome Obstacle β†’ Identify New Obstacle β†’ Read…

If you like reading, here are a few book recommendations.

But! Make sure you’re spending equal time on implementation as you are on reading and study.

1,000 great ideas don’t pay the bills if they’re sitting on the shelf, carefully polished.

I’m getting better at defaulting to implementation/execution, asking myself ‘What’s stopping me from implementing the most simple version of THING today?’ and then implementing it.

Read β†’ Implement β†’ Observe β†’ Read β†’ Implement β†’ Observe…

Here are some book recommendations for you, dear friend. I’ve started off with a few fiction books that I adore and then move into non-fiction that I highly recommend.

I’ve limited this list to 7 books because, well, I don’t think there is a benefit for you if I say ‘yo, check it out, here are 50 books.’

Decision. Paralysis.

Reading recommendations below.

But first!

Hit reply to this email and tell me your 2 or 3 (or more, if you have ’em) top recommendations for me to read in 2017.

Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson

One of my favorite fiction books. Time called it one of the 100 best English-language novels. It’s a bizarre, wonderful cyberpunk romp. Five stars. I frequntly promote the opening chapter as one of the best opening chapters in cyberpunk or science-fiction.

Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon

A pyschadelic detective noir romp through late-60s L.A. One part Big Lebowski. One part Pynchon. One part drug-addled private detective.

This is the easiest Pynchon book I’ve ever read. I had trouble getting into Pynchon (I am on Year 12 of my first read through of Gravity’s Rainbow) but this was a very accessible and enjoyable read.

This is one where I might recommend the audiobook over the print copy. Ron McLarty does a solid job narrating the novel.

(In 2016 I listened to it on audiobook 4 times and read the book 2 times. I’ve listened to it once so far in 2017. It’s really good).

The City & The City by China MiΓ©ville

A psychic, sordid, stunning murder mystery. I started reading this book in the evening and put it down early (late?) in the morning the next day.

It’s a very good, very enjoyable book. I have never read anything like it.

The Brain Audit by Sean D’Souza

The Brain Audit teaches you why customers buy (and why they don’t) and what you can do about that.

The first time I read The Brain Audit was right after I moved back to Eugene in 2014 and was on a late-spring walk.

I was reading the book as I walked to a nearby park and kept diving deeper and deeper into the book. Turning pages, learning about why customers buy and why they don’t, I walked β€” face first β€” into a parked car.

There was even a face print smudged into the dust on the back window of the car.

I kept reading. I did, however, sit down for a few minutes.

The Brain Audit is one of those books that has done more to change my business, life, and approach to marketing than most anything else out there.

The book is worth the paperback price of $39.95 β€” but the kindle version at $8.99 is a very affordable option.

Value Based Fees by Alan Weiss

Value Based Fees costs $55.32 on Amazon (as of today) and has made me over $100,000 in additional revenue, revenue that I would have left on the table had I not read Value Based Fees.

That’s a decent return on investment.

In Value Based Fees, Alan Weiss shows how that the perceived value of the project (to the client) is the basis of the fee β€” and that they must make sure the client perceives their advice as contributing to the client’s long-term gains.

Solid read. One of the most impactful / influential books I have read in my consulting career.

The One Thing by Gary Keller

This is one of the most impactful books I’ve read in the last year. In short, it is about the importance of focus.

I read The One Thing at the start of 2017 at the recommendation of my friend Eric Davis (no relation) and β€” this sounds like I’m overstating it, but I mean it honestly β€” the book dramatically changed my life.

Like cleaning off your glasses and going ‘Oh! I can see!’ reading The One Thing gave me clarity about life/business in a way I didn’t even know was possible.

How To Get Rich by Felix Dennis

Felix Dennis writes a very open and honest book about entrepeneurship and the lessons he’s learned building a publishing empire, founding Maxim, and becoming one of the richest people in the UK.

It’s a great book because Felix writes to demystify the money-getting process. It’s an entertaining, practical read about the process of getting rich. And the process of, well, life. Felix writes about his crack cocaine addiction and admits to spending over $100,000,000 on drugs and women.

(This is in the running for my ‘most gifted’ book, FYI).

Felix does tell you how to get rich and warns you that it won’t make you any happier or more content, but it will give you more choices. That’s about it.

That what I’ve got for you β€” now it’s your turn, hit reply and let me know 2-3 books you recommend I read this year. πŸ™‚