#5: The Pumpkin Plan, Mike Michalowicz
I used this book as an initial guide when I started Ice Nine Online. The idea here is that you approach your business like a farmer would approach growing prize-winning pumpkins. Michalowicz outlines an actionable step-by-step “growing” process, including steps like “as they grow, routinely remove all of the diseased or damaged pumpkins” and “when they grow larger, identify the stronger, faster-growing pumpkins and repeat until you have one pumpkin on each vine.” It all sounds a little goofy until you match each step to functions within your own business, execute, and then you realize that each step actually provides an essential function to grow the business.
#4: All Marketers
Are Liars Tell Stories, Seth Godin
This is one of the most interesting marketing books I’ve read. Why do we believe that wine tastes better in a $20 glass than a $1 glass? Godin makes a strong case for tailoring your product or service to people’s pre-conceived notions and provides case studies to explain how and why tailoring your messaging to people’s established “worldviews” pays off. Godin also goes into a deep dive into marketing fraud, inauthenticity, and trust and why being truthful and honest in your marketing pays off big time – a lesson that unfortunately many marketers (especially in the digital space) do not grasp.
#3: The Lean Startup, Eric Ries
Eric Ries is part of the Silicon Valley technorati, and as such his writing definitely has that Silicon Valley “making $10 million is no big deal” kind of vibe. Once you look past that though, you realize that he’s put together a very strong blueprint for launching a business and testing its viability. My biggest takeaway was the idea to keep overhead extremely low, especially when you’re first testing the market with a minimum-viable-product (MVP). It seems like common sense, but Ries provides the tactics to put the idea to practice.
#2 Forbes Greatest Business Stories of All Time, Daniel Gross
This was a really fun book to read. It provides highly detailed looks at the lives and origin stories of some of the most famous businesspeople of all time. The interesting part of this book is that Gross spends a good amount of time discussing the childhood and upbringing of business titans. It gives you a feel on how their upbringing drove them towards success in business. This is also a great book to pick up for 15 minutes when you’re on the train – you can knock out each story as a bite-size piece.
#1 The 4 Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss
This is the book that inspired me to start Ice Nine Online. Tim Ferris has a way of writing that makes you feel like what he’s talking about isn’t just conceptual – it’s something that you can actually put into practice. The high-level idea in this book is that you can actually quit the “rat race,” start a business, and live life on your own terms. Ferris provides highly-actionable tactics like how to properly outsource, along with recommendations for tools to make it happen. If you feel like you’re caught in a rut and are looking to make more time to do the things that you actually want to do, 4HWW is a must-read. For me, this book was an absolute life changer.
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