The surefire way to increase your wealth.

I own a lot of books with the word ‘rich’ in the title. Among them you’ll find Think And Grow Rich, Rich Dad Poor DadThe Science of Getting Rich, The Richest Man In Town, and  Rich Like Them. In fact, I have bought so many books with the word ‘rich’ in the title that the Amazon recommendation engine now suggest books like The Adventures of Richie Rich, Rich Desserts, and The Many Impressions Of Rich Little.

The Real Lessons

I like these books because they are about success. They help you think and act in ways that help you accomplish great things. And those great things often attract money like magnets. Or magnates.

I consider the tips, tricks and examples in these books to be important reminders rather than great aha’s. Although there are certainly plenty of both in my library of riches.

The One Thing To Remember

But if you want to know the most important point of all about getting rich it is summarized in the following line:

‘It is the value you bring to a company, an organization, indeed the universe, that ultimately determines your level of wealth.’ -From The Richest Man In Town by W. Randall Jones

Key Takeaway

If you want to earn more money, add more value. If you want more social capital, add more value. If you want more political capital, add more value. Your success is directly related to your contribution. So if you want more, contribute more.

If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.   

A quick review of the 15 books I am reading right now.

I love to read. Reading is my primary source of education and inspiration. I read to accumulate knowledge and connect dots. As an entrepreneur I read to fill my knowledge gaps. And to discover how successful people became successful people.

I am always reading multiple books at one time. Well, not literally at one time. More in the way you watch multiple TV shows. Or listen to a several different radio stations. My reading is like written programming. But not like computer programming. Ok, now I am just confusing myself.

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It’s Gettin, It’s Gettin, It’s Gettin Kinda Hectic.

Lately I seem to have more books going at once than usual. So I gathered them all together in one place to count, compare and contemplate why I currently have so many books in progress.

I would have guessed that I had 6 different books started. So I was quite surprised to find my current mid-read book list totals 15 books! What follows is a summary of the books in my current active collection. And my review of the books so far.

The 14 Books I am Currently Reading and why.

 

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  1. Leondardo DaVinci by Walter Isaacson

DaVinci is one of the greatest thinkers and creative minds in the history of the world. I thought I might learn a thing or two from him.

Thoughts so far:  I am wowed by DaVinci’s curious mind, his notebooks and how painting was a relatively small part of his life and self perception. Also, he had a lot of trouble finishing his art. In fact he only finished a small number of paintings. I guess we all have our flaws. Thanks for the reminder Leonardo! 

 

Born to run

2. Born To Run  by Christopher McDougall

This book is about a barely known ancient community in the remote mountains of Mexico that is unnaturally good at long distance running. The author is trying to gain insights from exploring these people and others who are way into ultra distance running. I picked this up because it kept showing up on my radar as a book friends had read or a hot new book, or a book available at my library. So here we are.

Thoughts so far:  This is my leading physical book right now. It is entertaining, educational and super funny. I love how it dives into the evolution of ultra marathoning. The personalities profiled are fascinating. And the overview of the various high profile races make me feel like I have learned something new. Plus, the investigation into what our running shoes are really doing for us, or not, is eye-opening, and potentially paradigm shifting. I highly recommend. Even if you are more Michelob Ultra than Ultra Marathoner.

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3. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

This is the book that started a cultural phenomenon. After Lin-Manuel Miranda read this book he was inspired to create his famous broadway show about Hamilton. I wanted some of the same inspiration. So I picked up the audiobook at my local library.

Thoughts so far: Wow! What a life Hamilton lived! It started rough. And ended moronically.  #AaronBurr  But in the middle of his life he became one of the most influential men in history. Especially if you think The United States has been an influential institution. Which I do.

 

Destiny and Power

4. Destiny and Power by Jon Meacham

My wife gave me this book after President George Herbert Walker Readmylips Notgonnadoit Thousandpointsoflight Bush passed away. This biography of Bush Senior was even more interesting to me because I watched the funerals of George and Barbara Bush on TV. Jon Meacham spoke at both, and was fantastic. I wanted to hear more of the Bush story from his perspective.

Thoughts so far: This book is great. Bush was super interesting, and his story is told extremely well. Starting with the night he lost his re-election bid to Hilary Clinton’s husband. I look forward to more. But not yet. Wouldn’t be prudent.

George Lucas

5. George Lucas by Brian Jay Jones

Lucas knows a thing or two about making interesting ideas come to life. I wanted a glimpse at his process and his path.

Thoughts so far:  I am not totally sucked in yet. The force of this book is the weakest with me right now.

The Millionaire RE Investor

6. The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller, Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan

I own a rental home and would like to add more real estate investments to my portfolio. I study the real estate investment space a lot through books and podcasts. This book came up over and over as the go-to guide for real estate investors.

Thoughts so far:  This book is excellent. It is exactly what I was hoping it would be. It is inspirational. It is clearly a resource book, and not just an interesting read. If you are thinking about buying real estate as an investment you should read this book. Plus it has that yellow starburst on the cover. Which is the international symbol for ‘Buy Me!’

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7. The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T.J. Stiles

This is the biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt. I love reading about business people who totally dominated. And he totally dominated like few others in history have. Other than maybe Rockefeller, Carnegie and the Gangnam Style guy. I first picked this book up at the library when I lived in Atlanta. But because it is about 800 pages long I couldn’t finish it in one 3-week session. So I asked for it as a Christmas gift last year and started again from the beginning.

Thoughts so far:  Vanderbilt was a badass. His focus, vision and determination were like weapons. He was such an imposing force that everyone referred to him as the Commodore, despite the fact that he never served in the military or sang with Lionel Richie. However, he was not a model father or husband. Although I have been to his son’s shack outside Asheville, North Carolina. So I know he ends up spreading the wealth around. But that hasn’t come up yet. If you want to be inspired by a hard-driving, take-no-prisoners tycoon, this is the book for you.

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8. Soar!  by T.D. Jakes

My parents attend a major book publisher’s annual clearance event in Indianapolis every year. I am always a beneficiary of their annual treasure hunt. They find business books, biographies, sports stories and other titles they think I’d like. Then they surprise me with a delicious new pile every year. This book was in the pile this year. I took it with me on a recent trip to Seattle and read a good chunk of it on my return flight.

Thoughts so far:  Jakes is a good, motivating writer who plays the part of both inspiring  entrepreneur and uplifting pastor. The book is best for those who are looking for inspiration to spread their wings and launch their first business.  3 years into my entrepreneurial journey I found it entertaining and nice. But I didn’t need the heavy doses of encouragement.

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9. On Writing by Stephen King

I like to rummage through the book section of Goodwill Stores for hidden gems and good deals. This was both. King is one of the most prolific and broad-ranging writers in America. So I was curious to hear what he had to say about the art of writing itself.

Thoughts so far: I have found this book interesting, although I haven’t really gotten to his writing advice yet. He begins the book with a biographical sketch of his life, starting with his surprisingly challenging childhood. So the story is good so far. But I am still not to the part where he teaches me how to write Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (Shawshank Redemption), The Body (Stand By Me) or The Shining. But when he does, I expect this blog will get a lot awesomer.

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10. The Hustle Economy  by Jason Oberholtzer and Jessica Hagy

This is another book I received from my parents, courtesy of the annual publisher’s book sale. The book is a collection of 3 to 6 page essays from creative thinkers who have used their creativity to create their own streams of income. Some have started businesses. Some are freelancers. But they all have something to say about how they did it and what you can learn from their independent creative hustle.

Thoughts So Far. I read 80% of this book on my recent flight to Seattle. It was light enough reading that it made for a nice plane book that I could fly through. It is a good book to read in a day. The chapters are short. There are fun little illustrations, charts and diagrams that are insightful and entertaining. And I found little nuggets or quotes to take away with me. Plus I knew one of the writers, Drew Collins, from Columbus. So that was a fun discovery.

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11. Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

This is one of my favorite books of all time. Napoleon Hill had a conversation with Andrew Carnegie, who had more money than Davey Crocket and the whole cast of Dynasty combined. Carnegie told Hill that he should study successful people and find out what they had in common. So he did. Hill wrote one of the best selling books of all time as a result.

Thoughts So Far: I have read this book several times. It is a reference book. An inspirational book. A how-to success guide. I think everyone should own this and reread it once a year. Right now I am reading a page or two at night. I can’t say enough good things about this book. If you haven’t read it put it on your list now. And if your name is Rich, it will really help you think and grow.

 

The One Thing

12. The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

I love listening to The Bigger Pockets Podcast on real estate investing. At the end of the podcast they ask each guest to name their favorite real estate book and their favorite business book. I write all of the answers down. This book came up as a guest favorite over and over. So I ordered it.

Thoughts So Far: As the title alludes to, this book is about focus. I love the message. It is a great reminder of the power of focusing on the most important thing in front of you. I look forward to reading more of this. But, you know, I have 14 other books vying for my attention.

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13. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

This is the first book in the Harry Potter series. I am reading it for the 4th time. I read it once on my own. Then read the next 2 books in the series of 7. But I decided that I didn’t have enough time to read all 7 of these children’s books, so I stopped. Then I had kids. I have read this book to my daughter, Ava, and my son Johann. Now I am reading it to my baby boy, Magnus, who turned 9 yesterday.

Thoughts so far:  This books is fun to read, and just as entertaining the fourth time around. It is really fun to read with kids, because each kid sees it with their own sense of wonder. Magnus is no different. It is such a good story and such a fun series that I may decide to take Magnus through all 7 books. We’ll see. We’re just a couple of Muggles after all.

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14. How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book is an all time classic. The title tells you everything you need to know. Friends and influence are important elements of success and happiness. This book takes a very positive approach to both. I have read this book twice on my own. Now I am reading it with my 12-year old son Johann.

Thoughts so far:  Everything in this book is gold. It is a reference book that we should all keep on hand and revisit often. I love reading this with Johann. Because he brings up examples of people who are good at the points made in the book.  There are constant aha’s on his face. And when we recap a chapter I know he has learned important principles of friendship and influence. I highly recommend reading this with kids. (Look at me trying to positively influence people!)

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15. Rich Dad. Poor Dad.

When I first heard about this book I thought is sounded like a cheesy, infomercially, get-rich-quick book. So I avoided it for a long time. But I kept hearing about it from people I respected. So eventually I picked it up from the library. And it changed my outlook on money forever.

This book compares and contrast how rich people and poor people view money differently. It provides an eye-opening look at assets and liabilities that everyone needs to know. I now own this book and have read it several times. I am currently reading this with my 13-year old daughter, Ava. Clearly I am trying to be more Rich Dad than Poor Dad.

Thoughts So Far:  Reading this with Ava makes me feel like a good parent. I feel like I am taking her through a college course in junior high. I can tell she is seeing the world differently now that she has almost finished reading this. This may be the most important book I have ever read to her. Sorry Goodnight Moon and Harold And The Purple Crayon.

Key Takeaway

There are more great books to read than you will ever have time to read in one lifetime. That’s why it’s fun to keep many books going at once. They satisfy your needs for learning and growing. They entertain you. The feed your curiosity. And they make you feel more learn-ed (say that with a Forrest Gump accent).

Plus, it is easier to tackle dense, long and challenging books when you give yourself a break by switching up to a light and easy read once in a while. #AtlasShrugged #WarAndPeace #TheBible  If you haven’t tried multiple books at once, give it a shot. It just might spice up your reading life, and show you just how much is out there to discover.

9 killer books that will motivate you to be an entrepreneur.

I always wanted to start my own business. It is a really easy thing to want.  It’s much harder to make it a reality. The single greatest challenge is getting yourself mentally prepared to make the leap from a comfortable salaried job to an only-eat-if-you-find-a-customer reality.  It’s a bit like getting yourself ready to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. It takes mental preparation. It requires you to amass enough confidence in your plan that you believe you can fling yourself out of the plane, and not splatter on the deck below.

How I did it.

To get myself mentally prepared to open my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, I put myself through a self-devised entrepreneurial boot camp. A critical part of my preparation was reading. This reading was really more like serious studying. The books I read provided the inspiration, tools and examples I needed to believe I could generate enough interest in my business to keep me and my family of five fed, clothed and sheltered long enough to fend off family services until my youngest child turned eighteen (and he was only five at the time).

It seems to be working.  I’m well into the second year of my entrepreneurial adventure and we continue to pick up momentum. We are all eating.  Everyone has clothes. We are paying two mortgages. I’m having fun. And I couldn’t be happier. I feel like I was well prepared for the challenge.

That’s why I’m sharing the books I read in hopes that they will provide you with the same entrepreneurial foundation, confidence and motivation to make your own leap.

The books I read, in order.

  1. Rich Dad. Poor Dad.  Robert Kiyosaki51pG7v9PJQL

I had known about this book for a long time. But I thought it seemed hokey. Like attending a get-rich-quick seminar. But finally I bought a used copy and devoured it. My preconceptions were wrong.

It was amazingly insightful. It helped me recongize the difference between assets and liabilities. It shined a spotlight on the perils of working for someone else. And the advantages of owning your own business.  It made me see my skills as an asset that could create a business asset that could translate to significant wealth.  It was a great motivating first read. I’m now reading it to my children as a bedtime story. Seriously.

2. Call Me Ted. Ted Turner 518OfUMIYEL

I bought this as an audio book for $1. Ted Turner is ballsy, brash and innovative.  This book gave me a vision of how someone else had built their personal brand, recognized opportunities, taken progressively larger and larger chances, got creative with financing, changed the world and made a billion dollars along the way. It showed me that action is the simple differentiator between doers and dreamers. He also talks candidly about his shortcomings and failures in a way that make you feel like you don’t have to be perfect to be highly successful. Which is good, because I don’t want to give up my own personal shortcomings I’ve fought so hard to keep.

3. The Alchemist  Paulo Coelho41f1zMJb9WL

I read an article about Pharrell Williams a couple of years ago in Fast Company where he said this book was like his Bible. I bought it, used. I was really wowed by it. This book helped me think about my personal legend, and made me start paying attention to all the signs the universe was sending me, encouraging me to follow my own path. This was timely because the universe started putting up neon signs all over the place. Like Reno. I am sure there are signs the universe is giving you right now that you don’t recognize. This book will help.

4. Think and Grow Rich. Napoleon Hill

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Many of the books I’ve read reference this book and its power. So I picked it up and loved it. At the encouragement of Andrew Carnegie, Hill studies rich people and finds their commonalities. He then serves up his learnings to the reader in an easily digestible way.

This is a great book for the start of your journey.  Everyone should read it.  It is really about the power of positive thinking. It’s about having a clear vision of your goals. The book encourages you to think about the finishline from the start.  I revisit this book often.

5. The Little Red Book of Selling  Jeffrey Gitomer91-1qV3oRfL

I picked this great little hardcover book up for $1 at a library book sale.  It is packed with great little bites of advice, info and techniques on selling.  If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to be able to sell.  Having lots of knowledge in sales makes you feel like your parachute is going to open when you jump.

The two key take aways from this book were, 1. People hate to be sold. But they love to buy. 2. Don’t sell to people. Build relationships.  These were great insights because they play to my natural tendencies. I prefer to make friends and talk to them about what I am doing. Then, if they come to the conclusion that what I’m doing could be helpful for them we both win.

6. The Little Black Book of Connections  Jeffrey Gitomer41nTexTO9fL

I checked this audio book out at the library.  It is a great companion piece to the Little Red Book of Selling. It teaches lessons about the importance of your personal network.  But the most important new lesson I got out of this book was, ‘It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you.‘  It shares great insights and advice around this particular statement that have helped me gain traction. The book helps you think about growing a network that develops inbound introductions and requests. Being sought after makes the entrepreneurial experience much easier.

7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Stephen R Covey51S1IFlzLcL

I bought this book on Amazon. Full price. Everyone should read this book. It offers great advice on how to become a better, more effective human. I loved the way it highlighted the things that successful people do regularly, and how to continuously improve yourself to become more effective. One of my favorite lessons is about The Win-Win. Highly effective people seek outcomes that benefit everyone. That has become core to my operating style.

8. The Science of Getting Rich. Wallace Wattles51Zy-xiGuUL

This was a happy little accident. This short, pamphlet-like book came up as a ‘You may also like…’ when I was ordering another book. I am really glad I read it.  I had previously read Wattles, The Science of Being Great, and thought it was surprisingly great. TSOGR shared a lot of similar thoughts as Think and Grow Rich, although it was a quicker and easier read. It taught me that earning money is a really important desire that turns the wheels of the economy. 

9. The E-Myth  Michael Gerber51MPu8oSjcL

This book helped me synthesize all of my thoughts and put them into an actionable plan.  The E-myth is the Entrepreneurial Myth.  It focuses on why most small businesses fail, and what to do to prevent that. It helps you think about systems and processes and structure and scalability. It encourages you to think about your business like a franchise model that could be repeated, even if you don’t ever plan to franchise. This was great advice for me.  It made me feel like my parachute was packed with checks and balances to ensure it will perform correctly when I need it to.

Conclusion

If you want to get yourself in the right mindset to start your own business, buy a business or start a side hustle, read these books yourself.  At a minimum you will end up smarter with new ideas. Perhaps you will finally act on that business you’ve been dreaming about, build an empire, make a billion dollars and change the world.  If that happens, write your own book. I’d love to read it.

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If you have books that helped you get mentally prepared to start your own business please share in the comments section.