52 Incredible Books: a recommended reading list
I love to read. I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. And I constantly recommend great books to my clients.
A few years ago, I created a reading list for my Coaching Apprentices. It’s a list of 104 of my favorite books on Coaching Mastery, Personal Mastery, Enrollment Mastery, Money Mastery, Mindset Mastery, Relationship Mastery, and Spiritual Mastery.
But it felt like time to share an updated reading list based on my current interests.
So, here are 52 great reads organized by category on Exponential Success, Scaling a Business, Longevity, Creativity and more…
I’m a business owner, I lead a team, I’m raising two boys and I do my best to be a great husband, so I only have time for books that make a difference. These are the very best books I’ve read in each category. I’ve read at least double this number, so you don’t have to! You can be sure that each one is fantastic and will be worth your time.
- The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks is one of the best books on transformation I’ve ever read. The concepts of Zone of Genius and the Upper Limit Problem are game-changers.
- Authentic Success by Robert Holden Ph.D. is a beautiful book on the important distinction between success and happiness. Hint: don’t chase the former at the cost of the latter!
- The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz The answer is in the subtitle — manage your energy, not your time.
- A Beautiful Constraint: How To Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages, and Why It’s Everyone’s Business by Adam Morgan is a fantastic counterintuitive principle on the power of limitation.
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport is a great reminder that finding what you love is often a result of working hard, rather than a requirement before you begin.
- The Three Laws of Performance by Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan is a business book on a subject close to my heart – the power of generative language.
- The Last Word on Power by Tracy Goss is a leadership book based on the power of generative language.
- Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics by Jackie Huba is an excellent book on Client Astonishment. I love to learn from masters outside my field.
- Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne teaches you to stop trying to outperform or outcompete everyone else in your field – create a new category where the competition is irrelevant.
- Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty by Patrick Lencioni is one of my favorite ever books on Client Creation.
- Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin teaches that remarkable means “extraordinary” and it also means “worth talking about” – do both!
- The Click Moment by Frans Johansson teaches that luck really can be created – this is one of my very favorite books on how to live a Created Life.
- The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson. Breakthroughs can be created – at the intersection of ideas or in groups of high performers from very different fields. This was one of my inspirations for creating 4PC.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey started me on a path of personal growth back in 1997.
- Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy. If willpower doesn’t work, what does? Here’s a clue: first you create your environment and then your environment creates you.
- Slipstream Time Hacking: How to Cheat Time, Live More, And Enhance Happiness by Benjamin P. Hardy. I loved the first section on a Created Life — it completely messed with my thinking which, for me, is always a sign of a great book!
- Multipliers: How The Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman. Surround yourself with people better than you — then help them get even better.
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. The distinction of less but better continues to transform my life.
- The 80/20 Manager: The Secret To Working Less and Achieving More by Richard Koch. If less is more — here’s how to identify what to actually focus on.
- When by Daniel Pink is an awesome read on the power of when to do things vs why or how to do them.
Scaling a Business
- Anything You Want by Derek Sivers is an excellent book full of stories and insights on entrepreneurship and doing things your own unique, idiosyncratic way!
- Oversubscribed: How to Get People Lining Up to Do Business with You by Daniel Priestley. Daniel has authored four awesome books on different aspects of building a business. I also highly recommend Entrepreneur Revolution (on how to succeed as an entrepreneur), Key Person of Influence (on how to be a thought leader in your field) and 24 Assets (on how to scale your business).
- Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman — the distinction of Visionary vs Integrator was a complete game-changer in my business.
- Scaling Up by Verne Harnish is an excellent book on everything you need to know on scaling up.
- The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney is about how to focus on four key factors to avoid being overcome by the tornado of activities that your business can become if you’re not careful. Does this sound familiar?!
- Built for Growth by Chris Kuenne and John Danner. Discover if you are a Driver, an Explorer, a Crusader, or a Captain. And learn how to run your business once you know your type. I loved this book and sent it to all my clients.
- Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead of Big by Bo Burlingham Who cares about scaling?! This is a book about companies that provide exceptional quality, engage exceptional employees and offer exceptional customer service. Which is why they have customers who rave about them!
- The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner. I love to learn from people who have been there before me. This is a book about the communities where people regularly live to – or beyond – the age of 100 years.
- How Not to Die by Michael Greger. Learn the top 15 causes of death — and how to avoid them!
- Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well-Being by Andrew Weil, M.D. What if aging wasn’t reversible but you could prevent illnesses and increase your well-being into your later years?
- Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr. In the first half of your life, you are devoted to establishing yourself, having a career, finding friends and a partner, crafting your identity. The second half of life – if you let it – can be about risk, trust, surrender, and soul…
- Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon is a book about how to find your own, unique style and how not to let criticism or praise drive you off track.
- Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon. Hate the idea of self-promotion? Then read this now!
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport How to do the deep work that makes an exponential difference.
You had me at Hello!
You don’t have to read a 300-page book to have a life-changing insight. I look for a single insight or distinction. When I have that, I’m complete. I close the book.
These are books where the title alone gave me a distinction that made a huge impact on me…
- The Answer to How Is Yes by Peter Block (Or as I put it: “Help your clients find a mission so powerful that nothing will stop them.”)
- Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz (Or as Steve Chandler says: “Yes lives in the land of no!”)
- Stop Setting Goals by Bobb Biehl (In a world where everyone raves about the importance of goals, it’s refreshing to hear a new take.)
- Becoming a Category of One by Joe Calloway (Or as Hugh MacLeod says, “Don’t be the best in the world at what you do, be the only one in the world who does what you do.”)
- I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years by Ilchi Lee (The only book on this list I haven’t read at all. I simply love the use of such powerful generative language in the title.)
Other interesting books
- The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier is a fantastic book on how to bring coaching into the corporate world.
- Mastermind Dinners by Jayson Gaignard is a fantastic idea on how to create community.
- Meetings Suck by Cameron Herold is an easy read with practical ideas for leading better meetings.
- The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (I also loved Switch and Made To Stick by the brothers Heath.)
- Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen by Steve Sims is a great book on how to do the ‘impossible’.
- The Brain Audit: Why Customers Buy (and Why They Don’t) by Sean D’Souza is a great book on understanding how your customers and clients think.
- The Shibumi Strategy by Matthew E. May. Shibumi is a Japanese word which means a moment of absolute clarity. This is a great leadership fable on applying principles of Zen to your work and your life.
- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss is an excellent book on negotiation in every part of your life or business.
- The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander is a book on transformation that transforms you as you apply it.
- The Enneagram Made Easy: Discover the 9 Types of People by Elizabeth Wagele. If you’re a fan of the Enneagram, this is a fantastic book to have on your shelf.
- The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. How you handle the expectations you have of yourself and the expectations you meet for others has a huge impact on your life. I really loved this book and have all my clients take this assessment.
- Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention by John Ruhlin is an awesome way to create Client Astonishment.
- No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert A. Glover changed my life. It was painful to read. Being a ‘nice guy’ is definitely the dark side of building a service-based business.
I love sharing resources and books that I love. Please note that the links in this article are my affiliate links. If you prefer not to use my affiliate links you can search for any of these titles directly where ever you purchase your books.