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7 Books That Will Transform Your Business (and Life)

Not Impossible Bill Baren

As a lifelong learner, it is a passion of mine to continually acquire new knowledge about marketing, sales, and mastering the inner game of building a business.

When you finally master the game of marketing, you attract new leads effortlessly.  When you master the game of enrollment conversations, you exponentially increase your income in your business. Finally, when you master your inner psychology, nothing stops you from achieving what you set out to accomplish.

I am continually reading and educating myself to improve upon my skills in these three areas because I see it as a lifelong journey to master these domains.

In the information age, there’s so much information out there that it’s challenging to narrow it down to the most relevant and supportive material for you while you move forward in your business. So I’d like to help you out by offering up some of my own personal favorites in my library.

Today, I’m sharing seven books that can transform your business (and life) by reading and applying their principles to your business.

I highly recommend you read all of these, but with a caveat: if all you do is spend your time acquiring knowledge by reading books, without spending time implementing what you learn, you will only end up turning your business into an expensive hobby. So be sure to take what you’ve learned and get into action! Remember, my motto is to always take imperfect action towards your goals and dreams.

I feel so strongly in the power of these books, I’m even offering you a chance to win every single one of them. Read all the way to the bottom of this article to find out how!

Get Clients Now! – CJ Hayden

Get-Clients-Now-3rd-Ed

This transformational book includes a 28-day marketing program with a specific step-by-step program to help you energize your efforts, take the guesswork out and get new clients fast. It’s a must-read for any professional, consultant, or small business owner, especially if you know you need to learn more about sales and marketing and aren’t sure where to begin. This book will get you where you need to go.

[Note: I’m hosting a webinar on this same topic that you can check out here: Consistently Attract All The Clients You Want In Your Local Area (And Have A Business Full Of Fun And Connection). ]

 

Book Yourself Solid – Michael Port

B Book Yourself Solid

This is a classic for the bootstrapped entrepreneur looking to fill their practice, It should be considered a staple in any small business leader’s library. It addresses one of the biggest challenges we face – generating a full calendar of work on a consistent basis – and provides smart but simple strategies to create relentless demand and endless leads, earning more referrals, and building profitable, long-lasting professional relationships.

 

Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty – by Patrick Lencioni

C Getting Naked

Now that I have your attention (great title, right?), let me tell you why this book is one of my favorites to share with clients. It will help you gain a your spot in the marketplace as a leader of your craft, and transform the way you provide your services. Written in the form of a parable, author Patrick Lencioni addresses the three fears that service providers have (Losing the Business, Being Embarrassed, and Feeling Inferior) that end up sabotaging their client relationships and costing them business. He will show you why being humble, transparent, and vulnerable with your clients sets you apart from your colleagues and allows you to build a tribe that loves you and what you do.

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)  – Seth Godin

D The dip

Seth Godin is one of the most brilliant marketing minds alive today. While I’d happily add any of his books to my shortlist, I chose this one because it so beautifully captures the process of learning to stick to your goals in your business while addressing a very unpleasant component I have found to be an inevitable part of success – “the dip.” I recommend it to my clients who find themselves struggling with temporary setbacks that can easily be overcome by persistence. It also provides excellent tools to help you recognize when to conserve your energy. Sometimes you need to stop struggling in a quagmire and simply step out. It’s important to know how to differentiate between temporary setbacks and energy pits. This book will show you how.

Surviving Your Serengeti: Seven Skills to Master Business and Life – Stefan Swanepoel

survivingyourserengeti-275x300

This is a short read, but it’s an effective one that will help you learn more about yourself – your strengths, your opportunities, and your hidden survival skills. This motivational business fable compares the life-and-death struggles of the animals that live in the Serengeti plains of East Africa with modern-day business and personal challenges of human beings. It matches your personal dominant instinctive skill with a corresponding Serengeti animal. Are you a steady, enduring wildebeest or a risk-taking mongoose? An efficient cheetah or a communicating elephant? This easily digestible book will help you find out, as well as show you how to leverage your personal, unique strengths to achieve your goals.

Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence – Gary Mack with David Casstevens

mind gym1

What better way to understand the how to master your inner game than a book about sports psychology? Don’t be fooled by its focus on sports – this book contains a wealth of knowledge on how some of the best and brightest in the world have mastered their inner psychology to achieve their dreams. These principles all translate to inner game psychology for the small business entrepreneur, helping you build “mental muscle” to work towards your business goals.

 

The Big Leap – Gay Hendricks

G The Big Leap

Ever feel like you come within arms reach of what you want and fall short? You may have an “upper limits” problem. This book provides the tools and framework to make the big leap towards your dreams, goals, and once and for all, create the results you want to achieve in your business life.

 

 

Now it’s your turn (and a chance to win all 7 books!):

What is your favorite book that has revolutionized your business, or an inner game book that has shifted your mindset? Let me know in the comments below. One lucky winner will be chosen at random and will get all 7 books listed above! Good luck!  UPDATE*** Congrats to Michelle Barr, our lucky winner! ***

Stop Offering Free Consultations

If you are offering free consultations (or discovery sessions or strategy sessions), and you’re not seeing 80% of your potential clients sign up with an enthusiastic YES, then I want to show you how to turn that around in this report. When you discover how to have conversations with potential clients so that they practically enroll themselves into working with you (if it’s a good match)  and they feel great about the enrollment process Then you’ll find it easy to attract as many clients as you want.. Free Download – 21 page report – YES: A Revolutionary Approach to Conversations That Sell And Transform

Let me help you make it happen.

Put your name and email below for a free report on the one skill that can double or even triple your income and learn:

  • How to enroll 8 out of 10 clients with your 1:1 consultations without selling your soul
  • The key to doubling your clients and your income in 30 days
  • Weekly business tips and resources you can only get on my email list

Comments

  1. The book Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon was pretty profound for me realizing that some of the greatest creators in the world don’t try to reinvent the wheel when writing or creating.

    • “Some of the greatest creators in the world don’t try to reinvent the wheel when writing or creating.” I love that Lisa, because it’s smart to do what already works, and you can improve upon it with your unique twist.

  2. I like to read “outside the box” and because I LOVE mysteries I was intrigued by “Mastermind. How to think like Sherlock Holmes” by Maria Konnikova. It looks at meditation, mindfulness and organization etc in the context of the mind and how we think. Another book is “Looptail. How one company changed the world by reinventing business” by Bruce Poon Tip. In it he talks about how he he grew his biz from nothing to a billion dollar one … in a different way. Read both of them and branch out!

  3. Breakthrough Entrepreneurship: The Proven Framework for Building Brilliant New Ventures by Jon Burgstone and Bill Murphy, Jr.

    Awesome book about starting a new company and the framework by which others have used to become successful. Quick, easy read and information packed. Loved hearing case studies about Zipcar and Parenting Magazine.

  4. Love the suggestions! All added to my Nook list! You are a Badass by Jen Sincero has transformed my thinking in business and life. Manifesting the good and what I want out of life has been driving me forward. Thank you for sharing this awesome list!

  5. Tammy Bell says:

    I have a 3,000+ book library Bill….choosing just one feels sacreligious to the others, but here you go!! For today, as books are mysterious gems that show up when you least expect and most need, “Unthink” by Erik Wahl gets my nod. Want the list of my Super Shelfers, let’s chat! Thanks for sharing yours. 🙂

    • Thanks Tammy for stepping out of your comfort zone and playing this game with me, and choosing one book of many gems in your library! I know many people in this community are going to benefit fro your share, including myself. 🙂

  6. One book that has revolutioned my business as well as changed my inner game is the success principles by Jack Canfield with Janet Switzer. I absolutely love this book because it touches all aspects of self development and proven steps to launch a business. I am wowed by how he managed to point out very little things that once done can cause a mental shift in one’s life and business. I immediately put one concept to work (keeping a victory log) soon as I finished reading the book and it improved my productivity by more than 70%.

  7. Dr Jack Holley says:

    Looks like I’ve got to add 4 books to my read list. Great suggestions, Bill!

    The book that had the greatest impact on me and my business is “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. Too often we get stuck focusing on policies and procedures, and business suffers or slows. Creating a compelling why – or better, tapping into a prospect’s why – allows us to develop a stronger, responsive clientele and prospect.

  8. Great list!. The favorite book on my list has been “the E-Myth” by Michael Gerber. Learning to build business systems that are scalable as you grow your business has been invaluable to me. Thanks for sharing your list!

    • That’s a great classic!

    • I started reading by 9. In my 20’s I had already exceeded 15,000 books. My personal collection is about 2000 with about 100 biz books.My favorite business book is the E-Myth. 15 years ago, it provided the basis to transform my businesses. Based on that inspiration, my clinic got its ISO making it the first such world class organization in Singapore and Asia. It helped me understand that to grow the business, I needed to think more like an entrepreneur rather then a technician. Fast forward twelve years later with two awards in Entrepeneurship, it still remains relevant.

      • Another vote for The E-Myth Revisited. Been in business for over 25 years. Have read literally thousands of books on running a business. Nobody else has come even close to Gerber’s classic. No contest.

  9. Dianne McCleery says:

    The Big Leap has made a HUGE impact on my life. But since that is already on the list, I’ll say The Slight Edge, because it helps keep me focused on the day to day.

  10. So many great books out there now!! One that I keep listening to over and over, to retrain my brain and overcome resistance is “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. Amazing book.

    • That’s an excellent one that almost made my own personal short list- thanks for sharing that with the community!

    • I recommend The War of Art all the time! Just yesterday evening, in fact. I think the last essay is the best, and I always make people read that first – it’s a clarion call to get out there and do your work in the world!

  11. Love this list as well as others’ contipributions, and can’t wait to read the ones I’ve missed! My favorite is Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles. 64 straightforward and inspiring techniques for getting where you want to be professionally and personally. It’s made a huge impact on my life and I give it as a gift to all of my new clients.

  12. I have a few that were instrumental for me. It’s mot what you sell, it’s what you stand for: Why Every Extraordinary Business is Driven by Purpose by Roy M Spence Jr.; Built to Serve by Dan J Sanders; The Spirit of Leadership by Dr Myles Munroe; and Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller. For me, becoming masterful at marketing is really about me serving well.

  13. About seven years ago the book that rocked my inner world was A New Earth by Eckert Tolle. It catapulted me into a new way of framing and embracing my spiritual purpose. It inspired me to create a workbook which helped me give worshops and inspiring talks. Now that workbook is a book set to launch in early 2015.

    • That is a great one for mastering your inner game. Eckhart is a true master. And you truly are a master of implementation! Your story is a great example of doing the work to get new information, then immediately implementing as you’re learning!

  14. Bryan Jordan says:

    I love the book Creating Money. It is a great go to book that reminds me to keep my energy high, and to consistently be proactive, rather than reactive. Secrets of the Millionare mind also had a big affect on my thought process towards business, and money.

  15. There are so many having been an English major!! But “No Longer Human” (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/194746.No_Longer_Human), The Way of the Peaceful Warrior (www.amazon.com/Peaceful-Warrior-Changes-Lives-Anniversary/dp/B0042EVW5M/), and The Developing Mind (www.amazon.com/Developing-Mind-Second-Relationships-Interact/dp/146250390X/) are definitely right up there!

  16. The Secret Code of Success by Noah St. John (http://www.wordstoprofit.com/successcodebook.html) and The Healing Code by Dr. Alexander Loyd with Dr. Ben Johnson (http://thehealingcodeinfo.com) both address the “inner game” of success, without which nothing else seems to work. At least for me, it wasn’t until I dealt with some of the “head trash” or “heart issues” that my business took off.

  17. It was David R Hawkins “Power vs Force” that really helped launch me onto my path.

  18. The Emyth Revisited by Michael Gerber is my favorite book followed by Think and Grow Rich and the Prosperous Coach!

  19. There have been so many amazing books for me
    Turning pro
    The artists way
    Steve other what is your what
    But my long standing favorite may surmise you
    The little prince….I read it as a child, I still read it and it is one of my best gifts
    So many I spring stories and reminders one to trust your knowing and know you can do a thing you put your heart to
    If someone told you at 4 to never draw again because your nia do starter that swallowed and elephant looks like a hat and you are a terrible artist don’t believe it. If you can see it go for it no Meyer what

    • All great books, and excellent not only for artist, but for all business owners. Creating business is a craft, and all these books are excellent for practices and mastering your mindset as you hone your craft as an artist and business owner.

  20. As I started my first business in the 90’s, I was so fortunate to find The Great Game of Business (by Jack Stack with Bo Burlingham)! It changed the enterprise framing from my business to our team’s business, from jobs to ownership, from products/services to customers as partners, from work to fun. Still applying it. Timeless stuff.

    • Tom, thanks for sharing this book. I read it years ago and then went to a 3 day workshop with Jack Stack so I could help companies implement ‘Open Book Management’. Great to hear that you are still applying the principles.

  21. Thank you for this list, Bill. I love finding great books and adding them to my iPad mini library, especially to read while I am traveling. Many great books come to mind for me. One of my earliest influences was Jack Canfield’s Success Principles. Sally Hogshead’s Fascinate has helped me in my personal branding over the past two years. Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art had an impact on me when I was struggling to take my local business to an online global business. Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in the World has been a great resource for mindset.

  22. Get everything done and still have time to play by Mark Forster because it is not all about work and money, you need the balance. It is not good working so hard you fall ill. though the one that has influenced me most and my business is loving what is by Byron Katie because hit help me understand the dynamics that were going on in the organisation and the what others were saying was about them, not me and it meant I had to take a good look at myself too and realise I would never fit there.

  23. Although I’ve been cutting down on my book collection over the past few years, keeping only the gems that I refer to over and over, or that I repeatedly recommend to others, I see that I now need to add a few (Thanks!). Several of my go-to authors have already been mentioned, including Canfield and Tolle, but, if I could only pick one, it would I would have to be the one that started at ‘the core’ and helped me address my lack of self confidence. Maximum Confidence by Jack Canfield is still one I listen to on occasion after all these years. Enjoy in joy…

  24. “The Monk who sold his Ferrari.” by Robin Sharma. Great title, short book, parable style, that puts your life and the reason for being here into a very clear perspective. GO back to the basics and appreciate, give back and then move forward. Having said that I would love more time in my day to read ALl these books!!

  25. Sorry Bill a typo in my web address http://www.carolinesilk.com for the comment above!!

  26. There are a few that continue to resonate long afters have faded away. Wink by Roger Hamilton – a tiny parable that you need to read at least 10 to 15 times that transformed my understanding of money and wealth n a way that noone else has and informs me every step of the way. And the great classic, 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey because its advice can be used every single day to make me into a better person.

  27. My favorite is One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard. It was one of the best books in how to have effective conversations while meeting the needs of others.

  28. OK, hands down, the book of the year is THE MOTIVATION MANIFESTO, 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power, by no other than the distinguished BRENDON BURCHARD!!!! Brendon’s book feels beautiful in the hands, pages open up like a bible, and the words flow as though they are from The Source of all creation. Chapter by chapter, my soul is opening like a lotus….from the muddy waters of my limited beliefs to a possible reality of enlightened perception. Brendon so eloquently states in chapter 2 that “our grand battles in life are between our desire for freedom and the fearful impulses that destroy desire. ” In this book, this work of art, Burchard takes us on a journey from fearful impulse to our highest desires then to manifesting our amazing fantastic futures. Each day I sip my favorite tea with full awareness, as I sit to read another declaration to claiming ( or reclaiming) my personal power….nothing is getting my attention more these days than this amazing work of love that Brendon Burchard has so generously gifted us. My recommendation is to go now and order The Motivation Manifesto and be prepared to go deeply inward as the road to your most creative, unique, and authentic creation!

  29. “Cash in a Flash”. A beginner entrepreneurial book that runs practical “how to” on the left side and a non-fictional storyline of how a group of women implemented the lesson on the right side

  30. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho had a great transformative effect on my life and business.

  31. Half Time by Bob Buford

  32. Attracting Perfect Customers: The Power of Strategic Synchronicity – Stacey Hall and Jan S. Stringer
    This book turns the typical selling process on it’s head. Instead of asking where can I find my customers we start asking how can my customers find me? It’s the difference between trying to locate a boat on a stormy ocean with a flashlight or turning on our lighthouse beam to attract our perfect customers.

  33. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Covey

  34. Good to Great by James C. Collins

  35. Hi Bill
    I too have a big library the first book I ever read which helped clean me up was Silver Boxes by Florence Littauer. The one I read every spring is the Mormon Way of doing business. The principles and integrity that was profiled by some of the biggest hitters in the USA inspire me on how I was to live and how I want yi be seen.

  36. The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles
    And in general, I’ve been enjoying many of the works by New Thought authors

  37. How about: Money and spirit by Frederick Brown? It explains the spirituality of making and managing money. Imagine a balanced cheque book as a reflection of spiritual balance? A great reminder that everything is spiritual.

    And: I Am the Word by Paul Selig. A channelled book that shows us our inherent power and potential.

  38. What a great thread! So many books to check out…the one I go back to is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. The wisdom in this classic book has helped me in my business and everything else too, especially parenting my teenagers.

  39. This is great. Thanks, Bill. There are so many great books – here are 2 that rocked my entrepreneurial boat. A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink (anything by Daniel Pink) and Overcoming Under-earning by Barbara Stanny (this is a must read for women biz owners) And, of course, as one other commenter said – The E-Myth Revisited is fabulous.

    • Thank you, Janet! I just bought Barbara’s book. What a great resource. This is a major thing I have worked through in my own life and now work through with my clients. I look forward to reading it.

      • Michelle: Please share you thoughts once you’ve read Stanny’s book. Such an important topic for all of us, but especially women. Glad you are focusing on helping all of us Overcome that limited thinking about our value in the world.

        ~ Janet

        • Janet, I will. It’s a great topic for discussion. I love the work you are doing in the world. Having hand analysis applied to my life and work has changed both in profound ways. I look forward to getting to know you better. Michelle

  40. Wow – what a list – yours and others. I read prolifically yet many of these are new to me – treasures to discover.

    I think for ongoing impact on every area of life I’d say ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle.

    I keep coming back to the simple principle of relaxing into my breath, letting myself live fully into this moment. When I am earthed and at peace with myself, and let go of my resistance to what is right now – then I open the door for new things to come towards me with ease and grace. I love the simplicity and elegance of living this way – maximum results with minimum effort when I let my Soul do the guiding. Works for everything in life – including Business.

  41. Lizzie MacGregor, Coach, Social Ecologist and Registered Nurse, Australia says:

    So many great books! One of my favourites that has taught me soooo much is “Brands Don’t Grow on Trees” by Ilse Strauss.

  42. Right now, I am absolutely loving The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield. It is so inspiring and really helps to bust through some mental blocks to allowing creativity to flow! I absolutely LOVE reading inspirational, self empowerment, and entrepreneurial books in trying to quench my thirst for living a fulfilled life and building my business. Thank you so much for all your great advice.. Much gratitude to you!

  43. Hi Bill,
    There were two books for me: The Emyth Revisited and Rich Dad Poor Dad Cashflow Quadrant. They led to a host of others including a three mentioned in your list. Getting Things Done is next on my list.

  44. The Art of Non-Conformity and The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau are like The E-Myth Revisited and The War of Art rolled up together. I love that he gives permission to think and ACT outside of the box, and invites you to follow your own road, not do what everyone else is doing.

  45. Pam Bennett says:

    Three Feet from Gold- so many inspirational stories of people in business from all walks of life. Great ideas to implement and keep one moving forward.

  46. Great list – thank you! Loved reading all the other suggestions too.

    One of my favorites is The Alchemist. So inspiring to start and continue the journey to finding your purpose in life.

  47. Hi Bill,
    The books that make my list are:

    Selling the invisible by Harry Beckwith
    and
    Man’s search for meaning by Victor Frenkl ( This is not a business book but a book that truly can transform someones life.)

    Thank you for your contribution.

    Best,
    Eran

  48. Creating on Purpose: The Spiritual Technology of Manifesting Through the Chakras By Anodea Judith and Lyon Goodman.

  49. The E-Myth Revisited. I think every person in business should read it. It reconfirmed for me that I am on the right path by creating systems that are efficient and effective.

    This book helped me find my zone of genius

  50. I love The Big Leap. One of my favorite 2014 books: The One Thing, by Gary Keller. Great reminder that the more we focus on our one thing, the better results we receive. Loving the suggestions shared here!

  51. The Seven Day Weekend by Ricarfo Semler totally changed my view on organizational development and management.

  52. WoW – What a great way to chose additions to my management library!
    Loking back I can see the mistakes and wrong choises that I have made: now I want to help others avoid those like mine. Age has some advantages!

  53. Charmaine Langley says:

    I have many books that have had impacts on my life at one time or another – just when I’ve needed them. A really simple one that everyone could benefit from is “Eat that frog” by Brian Tracy. Really simple, easy strategies to stop the procrastination, get the tough tasks done and have time for the things that matter in our lives. Though the ideas may not be unique and we intuitively know we need to knuckle down and get cracking, it is, nevertheless, a great reminder for us, especially the ABCDE method that really works!

  54. It’s an “oldy” but I like The Soul of Money- loved the way it challenged my to rethink my relationship w. Money. I also like “Start with Why” as someone else mentioned.
    I want the books!
    I want the books!
    I’ve been in business for myself for 14 years, have managed to do really well in a highly competitive market (San Francisco) but now my vision is to double my income and then double it again by going on line.
    Help me get there!!

  55. I Love the original THINK AND GROW RICH, and Psychocybernetics. Excited by the recommendations!

  56. Hi Bill The Magician’s Way by William Whitecloud is the book that has profoundly changed my life the most. Both in business and personal. The follow up book The Ladt Shaman also had a profound impact. I’ve also trained with Willam.

  57. So many great books recommended here! Some of my favorites are: The Big Leap, The Slight Edge, anything by Stephen Covey, Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, The Mystic path to Cosmic Power, and more. Get Clients Now was one of the first books I read when starting my business. Great list Bill!

  58. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson and the Power of Now by Eckhard Tolley. Completely different books and approaches, but two of my favorites!

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