Several years ago, I read a book by James Altucher called Choose Yourself! This book was very impactful on me, and cause be to start a daily habit for years that improved how I think and perhaps led me to where I am with online courses today.
That habit was a short daily ritual of writing down 10 ideas per day. I have a Google Doc that I have been using since that time that I open up and write 10 ideas that come into my head. I find this helps spur action in me. Instead of these ideas just being in my head, I get them out on paper. Which lets new ideas take their place. And so I have hundreds or thousands of ideas written down at this point. It’s super interesting to go back and read what I was thinking a couple of years ago.
So today’s idea is “10 books that I read and loved”. I can’t call them the 10 best books, but I really think these books changed the way I think a little and so if you’re interested in these topics, it’s worth checking out.
That’s not a business book, per se. But I don’t mind saying that several years ago I had allowed my credit card balances to run up, and was never too concerned with it. But reading this book (and listening to his podcast) changed my mind on that. I became very concerned with the credit card debt, and worked hard to pay it all off. Today, I am debt free. This book will help you get out of debt if you have a problem with that. You still have to work very hard, but this is the plan to follow.
Do you think Phil Mickelson was just naturally born good at golf? That he came out of his mother’s womb and could swing a club? No. In this book, the author makes the assertion that anyone who becomes a master at anything (sports, music, anything that requires talent) is actually someone who just spent a lot of time practicing. Tiger Woods played more golf before he was 13 than most people do before they are 18. He had a 5 year head start practicing than all of his peers. And it’s not just playing rounds of golf that count, but deliberate boring repetitive practice. Hitting 100 balls out of the sand trap, and then 100 more out of the rough. Day after day after day.
This book tells the story of a person who loves to bake, and decides to sell cupcakes. They end up spending all day and all night baking, and then baking is not fun any more. They grow their business, and spend all of their time managing employees and no time baking. It’s a good story of how loving to do something doesn’t mean opening a business doing that. That’s the e-myth.
This book is a classic and really kicked off the “virtual assistant” craze into high-gear. While the 4-hour workweek really is a myth (there’s no such business that only takes 4 hours a week to run), the idea of outsourcing the low value tasks to concentrate on the high-value ones remains today.
The blue ocean strategy is what I follow when it comes to course creation. The red ocean is the one where the sharks are. For some reason, many people choose to go into the most competitive market spaces and try to compete with the big sharks, and come out the other side destroyed. I choose the blue ocean, which has a lot less competition. One of the best ways to be unique in this marketplace is to truly be unique. Be the only course on the topic anywhere online. A lot of people think that’s hard to do. It’s easier than competing with sharks.
This is the book that got me to create lists, like this. Life changing habit if you can stick to it.
I am not a fan of his politics, but he wrote a good book. Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert, and this book contains a lot of “aha!” moments for me. He talks about studying different fields besides business, such as psychology and human behavior. I spent years taking courses on all different topics (for my CourseMania blog), so I believe opening your mind to all these different teachers and not being hyper-focused on “making money” topics is great advice.
I just read this book last month, but it stuck with me. Mel makes a great point about how you need to do things that are important as soon as you think about them. 5-4-3-2-1 and go. You can’t say “I should email Richard Branson someday”. That will never get done. If the thought comes into your mind and you think it’s important, open the email program and write the email and click send. Do things like that immediately. There’s no perfect time, except right now.
A friend of mine turned me on to this book, and it really opened my mind to an agile way of working. You can only do 2 or 3 things at a time. There’s no point to having 7 or 10 items on your to do list. Cut things down to 2 or 3 and that is actually a more efficient way of working. It’s a good book and told in a good way.
This book opened my eyes to the various human traits that marketers rely on to drive action. If you can master influence, you can get people to act in the way you want them to. If you understand influence, you can recognize when others are trying to influence you. Groundbreaking research.
So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Like I said, not necessarily the top 10 books of all time (and I left off several fiction books that I love such as Snow Crash and Ender’s Game). But these books all opened my mind to things I hadn’t known before.
(This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.)