Even though I love what I’m doing, I always look forward to the summer. It gives me the chance to take a little bit of time off and recharge the batteries.
That doesn’t mean that I’m still not working on bettering myself both as a person and entrepreneur. Whether it’s a day trip to the beach or a cross-country flight to speak at a conference, I always have a book in my hand that can help me achieve those goals.
No matter where you venture off to this summer, here are twelve amazingly powerful books that I am a fan of. Not only are they well-written and enjoyable, they’ll also help you become more successful.
Even if you read this book when it first released in 2004, take the advice of of syndicated columnist Jim Pawlak and reread it if “you’ve lost your focus.” Written by renowned business speaker and best-selling author Brian Tracy, Focal Point. The book asks and answer questions like, "How can I get control of my time and my life?"; "How can I achieve maximum career success and still balance my personal life?"; and "How can I accelerate the achievement of all my goals?"
Tracy provides the information on how to answer those questions and shares techniques that can assist you in organizing your day so that you can be productive.
2. Crush it!: Why NOW Is The Time to Cash In On Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk
Not everyone is a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk’s “tell it like it is” style, but I’m personally a fans of charisma, passion, and story - he is an online marketing pioneer who launched Wine Library TV and took the family wine store business from $3 million to $60 million. With Crush It!, Vaynerchuk shares his three rules of success both professionally and personally; love your family, work hard, and live your passion, and you can use these suggestions to inspire and motivate yourself.
Once you find your spark, Gary offers his advice on selecting the best platform to promote you, your business, and your passion.
3. The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life by Jessa Crispin
Released in February 2016, The Creative Tarot isn’t just for the novice tarot user, despite its title. It’s actually an accessible guidebook for any creative individual, such as artists and writers, looking for fresh insights and inspiration. Crispin provides a thoughtful history of the tarot deck and then examines how the cards actually reflect the lives and struggles of creative individuals.
Ultimately, Crispin makes the case that we can use tarot cards to peel away our “protective layers” in order to gain a better self-understanding.
4. Crazy Is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags by Linda Rottenberg
As co-founder of Endeavor, an organization that supports entrepreneurs, Linda Rottenberg is no stranger to "crazy." Instead of being complacent or getting offended whenever you’re called crazy for chasing your dream, take it as a compliment. With years of experience, research, and inspirational stories Rottenberg sheds some light on the subject of doing what we have to in order to have your dream, and describes how we can overcome our hesitation and build our own own successful ecosystems.
5. Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson
Although this was published in 1998, Who Moved My Cheese? is an absolute must read if you’ve never gotten around to - or if you need a little motivational boost.
Laid out as a business fable, the book follows two mice, "Sniff" and "Scurry," and two people, "Hem" and "Haw,” as they search for cheese in a maze. By the end, Johnson uses this allegory to explain that change happens, we must anticipate and monitor change, adapt quickly, change, make the best of the change, and be ready for more changes.
From the far periphery of my mind, I remembered hearing about this book. Some oldies really are goodies.
6. Life is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfilment by Peter Buffett
The son of Warren Buffett explains that the only valuable inheritance he received is the philosophy that we each need to make our own paths. Buffett chronicles his own journey in becoming an Emmy-Award winning songwriter thanks to the work ethic, values, and commitment that passed down to him.
Bill Gates said that Buffett’s four core values he “absorbed” growing up - trusting the world is a fundamentally a good place, having tolerance for others perspectives, passion for education, and having something to look forward to everyday - resonated with him.
7. SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt
The follow-up to the amazing Freakonomics may not have been as groundbreaking as the first book, but it’s still an excellent summer reading option that forces you to think about the so-called truths that we often take for granted. For example, the book explores why we often prefer complex solutions for scenarios like global warming when there are plenty of more affordable options that are easier to implement.
8. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hseih
If you’re like me, you can’t help but be inspired and amazed at how Zappos runs its business. The company definitely sets the bar high for every other business owner. Thankfully, Zappos’ visionary CEO discusses how his entrepreneurial spirit grew and how Zappos created a culture of happiness.
9. The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies, The Gene describes how scientists have come to realize the importance that genes play in everything from human development, behavior, and physiology. Ultimately, by exploring this history, Mukherjee asks, What becomes of being human when we learn to “read” and “write” our own genetic information? The possibilities could be endless.
10. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson
"Oh, screw it, let's do it." When you have that kind of philosophy, how can you not be inspired? In this autobiography, one of the most influential entrepreneurs ever shares his tricks and tips of what made him so successful. It’s an easy and enjoyable read, which makes it the perfect companion from your summertime adventures.
11. Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives by Dan Millman
If you want to get more in touch with your spiritual self in order to live a more meaningful life, then this book is a great place. Author Dan Millman retells the story of being a junior at the University of California, and training to become a world-champion gymnast, when he got introduced to the work of Socrates. By combing these words of wisdom with his workout regiment, Millman discovered what it took to become a true champion.
There is a movie out by the same title, which isn't quite a good as the book, but the film industry did a pretty good job with this adaptation.
12. Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do by Chris GuillebeauThis is the latest book from Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup and The Happiness of Pursuit. With Born for This, Guillebeau provides advice and case studies on finding out what you’re really good at so that you make a living doing what you really enjoy. It’s both practical and inspirational.