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It’s that time of year again.  Below you’ll find our list of favorite reads (and listens) of 2017. Some were published this year, some many moons ago. Some are business-focused, others flagrant fiction. So, without further achoo, here’s our list of Essential Reading (and Listening) for the Small Business Owner. Most of these are my rec’s, but Seth, David and Corey snuck in a few as well.

Must Read Books for Small Business Owners – 2017 Edition


Books Good for Your Business

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (Mark Manson) … Business. Life. Love. And all those gnarly in between bits. I actually drops a whopping $4 / month for the premium content on Mark’s blog as well.

The Lost Art of Closing (S. Anthony Iannarino) … Changed the way we think about taking clients from strangers to trusted partners. Breaks the sales process into a distinct chain of commitments. Required reading for B2B hustlers.

Be Obsessed or Be Average (Grant Cardone) … everyone’s favorite Scientologist. Kidding. Sort of. Seriously though, Grant’s narration in the Audible version is off the hook, guidance spot-on and energy off the charts. Shattering the hustle paradigm.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (Cal Newport) … this critical perspective on productivity separates shallow work from deep work (with its flow state) has transformed our busy work days into a lifestyle of massive impact.

Re-reading: The Obstacle is the Way (Ryan Holiday) – best crash course in Stoicism out there.

 

Books Good for Your Sanity

The Bobiverse Series (Dennis E. Taylor) … What happens when the brain of a dead, snarky software engineer is uploaded into a robot and becomes sentient and saves the universe? The Bobiverse is what happens.

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself (Michael A. Singer) … 2017 was an awe inspiring and fear inciting year for me. One of my clients, Chris Mahne, insisted I listen to this audio book. A bit woo woo, but the best translation of eastern philosophies into something digestible by former Western bible thumpers like me.
Norse Mythology (Neil Gaiman) … A master class in storytelling. On their own, the Norse myths are fantastical tales of Odin, Thor, Loki and a myriad of strange creatures. Retold by Neil Gaiman (the audio book is also narrated by him) the are elevated to a whole new level. My favorite story involves the human boy who challenges a giant to a footrace.

The Gone Away World (Nick Harkaway) … Nick made my list for two of his books last year, so I figured I should read his first novel. Holy. Effing. Shite. On its own, the story of two best friends plunged into a messy war is perfectly told. Then it gets weird – mystical, surrealistic, post apocalyptic, crazy.

Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior (Richard O’Connor) … a perfect companion to the untethered soul, this dense, compact self-help book will reveal why you keep f—ing up your life … on a scientific level. And bonus – it covers why the people you love piss you off so much.
My Struggle (Karl Ove Knausgaard) … This series has dominated Seth’s reading list for the bulk of 2017. Here’s his blurb about it: It is hard to imagine a series of books more rich in detail and unapologetic human-ness than this. In a refreshing turn in the digital age, the author offers no apologies or rationalizations for his own behavior, even/especially when he must paint himself as a villain. The result is a human life, with all the failures, mistakes, and occasional triumphs however small captured on the page. How does a book that spares no detail, even when the author is not doing anything more than cleaning a bathroom or cooking dinner, become something magical? I don’t know. Maybe ask Karl Ove. Props to the translator Don Bartlett for bringing this magic into the English Language with finesse.
 

Podcasts

Welcome to Night Vale … This podcast and its sibling members of the Night Vale Presents family are consistently weird, creepy, and entertaining. If you like dark humor, or you just want to hear Charlie Day’s version of Macbeth, you’ll find a lot to love.

Hello from the Magic Tavern … Seth turned me onto this whimsical podcast hosted by a smattering of improv comedy veterans from Chicago playing Arnie and overweight nerd, Chunt a shapeshifting talking badger, and Usidore a wizard with a really long name.
Small Biz Happy Hour … yeah, we are *that* narcissistic. That being said, it’s a good listen. Insightful, Delightful and Uncensored (we even had to add the E for Explicit to the podcast feed to stay out trouble with the media).
 

Finger Tappin’ Beats

NOTE: David represents the segment of our family that’s allergic to books apparently. Here’s his tuneful addition:?
If you work a sedentary gig and are a self-proclaimed “Jimmy Legger” like me, then you know all too well that you’ve gotta keep something moving. Usually, it’s my right foot, jumping up and down and tapping my heal against the floor like a never-ending drum solo. The beat moves through my leg, up my torso and inevitably into one of my hands to continue the rhythm and mix up the sound, usually tapping my desk or the plastic on my laptop.
“But David, why don’t you just try sitting still?”. “Oh, I guess I could give that a shot” – he said with heavy sarcasm. Fact is if you’re like me, sometimes the mannequin challenge is just not possible.
Luckily I’ve found myself a workaround wit music. If I’m gonna be working my fingers anyway (say, typing up this newsletter), I might as well focus my efforts. That leads us to my music choice of the…uh… year I guess. When I’ve got copy to write or anything that requires some form of thought, I prefer the Chill Step Playlist on Spotify. It’s a mix of light drum and bass mixed with the occasional soft vocals. If I’m looking to power through a more monotonous task, I’ll be cranking up the ALT Rock, ranging anywhere from Silversun Pickups to Queens Of The Stone Age.
Whatever gets you moving, just be sure you’re going the right way.
 

Blogs, Newsletters, Shorts

These are the only newsletters we subscribe to anymore:

  • Nerd Fitness – Steve Kamb’s gigantic guides on fitness are now legendary, and his geeky (yet stupidly thorough) style is always an enjoyable read.
  • James Clear – productivity on steroids. Advice dispensed in a digestible (yet meaty) format. His piece on Sisu is lifechanging.
  • Sumo – Noah Kagan (AppSumo, SumoMe) and his love of tacos is legendary. And the advice is damn good too. The Sumo-Sized guide on conversion optimization is one of the few blogs I actually printed – on real paper – this year. Check it.
  • The Strategic Review – Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly newsletter won’t touch recent events, but the lessons it draws from history, from WWII to Feudal Japan to the invention of currency, are surprisingly useful.

 

See 2016, 2015 and 2013 Versions of Small Business Owner Reading Lists

*** NOTE: Yes, we’ve got some juicy affiliate links buried on this post. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a check for $5.66 from Amazon again.***