Reading List

This reading list is just the beginning. It’s a few things I’ve put together, but you should be reading more. Education starts with a good book, and there are plenty out there. Take something from each. 


This list is just a start. Please research and add to this list. The photo to the right is the Business Innovation Factory’s Saul Kaplan’s reading list. See if you can make your pile even more extensive than his!

I Will Teach You to Be Rich: Ramit Sethi tells you what to do with your money. Too many people are not comfortable with finances. Things like college loans and credit card debt only compound this. Ramit teaches the best ways to pay off debt, start investing, and form good financial habits that will last a lifetime.

Three Feet From Gold: Sharon Lechter, Greg Reid, and Mark Victor Hanson tell the story of the Darby family, who sold everything to mine for gold, eventually giving up. The irony: they were three feet away from the motherload. This book shows the importance of determination in making you successful.

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Dale Carnegie wrote this book, which became the standard of how to influence people. Carnegie, a graduate of acting school, learned that people wanted to learn things like speaking, self-confidence, and success and he started to teach these things, before eventually writing this book on the topic.  You’ve met influencers–people to whom you gravitate and who can hold your attention, magically getting you to be on their side or even do what they’d like you to do as if it was your idea–this is the textbook to gaining those skills. They are critical both in business and life.

Think and Grow Rich: Napoleon Hill is credited with being the father of all success literature. This book is one of the best-selling books of all time, having sold more than 20M copies. The inspiration for this book was Hill’s interview with industrialist Andrew Carnegie, then one of the richest industrialists on the planet. Napoleon HIll felt that success was a formula, not an accident or personal achievement, and it could be replicated by studying and noting the successes of others.

Choose Yourself and The Power of No:  Author and entrepreneur James Altucher has lost $15M–twice. Then, he figured out how to avoid doing it again. Choose Yourselftells you ways to beat the current bad economy and rely on your own hard work and passions to make a living. The Power of No is more about the balance you need in life to be successful–say no to the bad things and the good will follow. “No” was co-authored with Claudia Azula-Altucher. If you like the content of these books, James tweets at @jaltucher and does a weekly AMA (ask me anything) on Twitter on Thursdays from 3:30-4:30PM.

The Great Work of Your Life–A Guide for the Journey of Your True Calling: Stephen Cope tells the stories of ten historical figures, showing how they lived out their truth, or “dharma” fully. He tells this in the context of religion and theology, but the lessons are about how each individual must live his or her own truth to achieve happiness.

The Icarus Deception: Author and marketing genius Seth Godin writes the story of Icarus is the story of the god who got a set of wax wings. He couldn’t fly too close to the sun, or they’d melt, and he couldn’t fly too close to the water, because you can’t fly when you’re drowning. Seth’s not really writing about wax wings. He’s writing about you. How do you navigate the field of work? How do you love what you do and make it happen? One beautiful thing about Seth Godin–he always answers his email. Tell him what you think of his work after you finish reading.

Get Off Your “But”: How to End Self-Sabbotage and Stand Up For Yourself Dr. Sean Stephenson should have died at birth. He did not. He survived countless medical odds, but lives a life of pain and physical challenge. His story is amazing–not only his survival, but the fact that his success-mindset made him push through and get his Ph.D in clinical psychology. He is an author, motivational speaker, and still his own therapy business. If ever I am tempted to throw in the towel or be negative, I pick up this book. Its “no excuse” policy takes no prisoners.

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It and Live Your Truth:  Kamal Ravikant should be writing about finance, entrepreneurship, starting and building companies, or a million things about business–he’s an entrepreneur. But he doesn’t–he writes about life. The reason–you can have a thousand successes in business, but if you don’t love yourself and do what you’re called to do, none of it will matter–it will fold like a deck of cards. Life can quickly get out of balance. The ability to control this, be positive, and find your motivation for success deep within your love of yourself and your own talents, makes all the difference in the world.

To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others: Dan Pink shows us that we are all salespeople. One out of nine people is a real salesperson, but the rest of us spend most of our day selling, convincing, and marketing ourselves and our ideas to others. This book shows you the importance of learning to put your best foot forward and convince others in any arena.

Lean In: Perhaps one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in the world, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg realized that she was one of the few women at the top. In board rooms, in executive offices, and other high-level positions, females suddenly drop off the radar. She sought to think about the reasons for this, and bring the conversation to the table. This book was the result. Her TEDx talk, Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders challenges us to think about the reasons this is true.

Crush It:  and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: Gary Vaynerchuk started his entrepreneurial career at age 12 dealing in baseball cards. He helped convert his father’s liquor store into a multi-million dollar business, creating his own viral YouTube show on wine.  He was a master of social media in the beginning, and he’ll show you how to think “innovation.” Start with Crush It, then move on to “the right hook.”

Steal Like an Artist:  Austin Kleon states that there are “things worth stealing” and “things not worth stealing,” reminding us there is nothing new under the sun. This is an easy to read book that will get you to start your projects and move in the right direction.

Do the Work: The difference between good and great is that great people do the work. Life is “resistance” according to author Steven Pressfield. It is our job to recognize and resist the resistance and get the job done. Only then are we amazing.

The Alchemist: Pablo Coelho wrote this allegory about a boy searching for the pyramids. It’s a fable on the surface, but really it’s about the meaning of life. If this book doesn’t change your life, none will.

The 4 Hour Workweek: Tim Ferriss works more than four hours, so don’t get too excited, but the takeaways from this book are 1. You can work more efficiently so you can live the lifestyle you want and 2. There’s always something you can do to manage your time more effectively so you can do the good stuff.

The Lean Startup: Eric Ries has written the go-to book on starting a company. “Lean” is efficient. If you’re thinking of bringing your idea to life, you must read this book.

Influence: Science and Practice: Have you ever wondered how some people get people to do what they want? Why do certain people have influence and you don’t? Robert Cialdini’s book answers that question and helps you realize where you might be able to dig into and use influence to help you reach your goals.


Everyone has something to say these days. When you have something great to say, you write a manifesto. Here are a couple I’ve enjoyed:

The LIfe and Times of a Remarkable Misfit:  If you’ve had me in class, you’ve read this already. You loved the message and the remarkable art of AJ Leon.

UnCollege Manifesto: Dale Stephens’ manifesto tells why society thinks you should go to college, and why self-directed learning might be for you. Read it, and consider his points. Do you agree? Why or why not? This movement’s controversial, but it’s growing.

The Extraordinary Achiever’s Manifesto: A Guide to Abandoning the Pursuit of Mediocrity Srini Rao tells us “Nobody starts out with the idea of being average…it’s just where they end up.” That’s often true. This manifesto seeks to inspire, guide, and coax you out of the middle-of-the-road mindset, and tell you to “stop apologizing for your crazy ideas.”

Killing Sacred Cows–Defeating the 10 Most Subtle and Destructive Lies about Money and Prosperity: Garrett Gunderson dispels myths that keep people from economic prosperity. Some of these myths are multigenerational and even sayings and proverbs–things like “money is the root of all evil,” and “it takes money to make money. This is a great book for looking into changing some of the assumptions we make about money in order to achieve prosperity.

Blogs, Webpages, and Publications: 

Entrepreneur: This has all things entrepreneurial, from what you should wear to an interview to top young entrepreneurs.

Forbes: Forbes magazine and website are top of the list for business reading.

Techcrunch: If you’re a tech person, potential tech entrepreneur, or want to see what’s up and coming or arrived in technology, this is your site.

Angellist: Angellist is where the top investors meet the top entrepreneurs. Here, you’ll see who’s who in investing and what their investments are. You’ll also see up and coming companies, as they build their profiles and seek to get funded.

The Small Business Administration Teen Business Link: The motto–“Start it. Build it. Grow it.” The SBA supports small businesses throughout the United States. Small biz is not so small…it is the economic driver of the nation. This is aimed at you. Learn about startups, financing, successes, and business planning.

Under 30 CEO: Ever wonder how to start a business as a student or how to target customers of various ages? This blog has a wealth of information about business in general, but it’s specifically written by an under 30 for under 30’s. The UnCollege movement is growing. Stating that college is overpriced and the return on investment low, UnCollege encourages learning from the School of Life, through online courses, internships, networking, and just rolling up your sleeves and getting it done.

Gap Year: The Gap Year was conceptualized by UnCollege movement founder Dale Stephens. It encourages you to take a year off and do something. It is not a “sitting on the couch” blog–whether you are pursuing interests, backpacking around the world, or volunteering, the Gap Year is an active learning experience.

The Altucher Confidential: James Altucher writes a lot–this is his blog. In it, you can find tips to business, life, and balance. James’ “Daily Practice” is all about maintaining health, well-being, and balance so you can be successful. James never takes himself seriously, and often bleeds on the page. He does, however, take what he does deadly seriously. He does a great deal of advising and mentoring, helping new and emerging entrepreneurs avoid some of his own mistakes and follow their passions.

In Pursuit of Everything: AJ Leon walked away from a successful career in finance four days before his wedding.  He and his wife, Melissa, are now traveling the entire globe. In the process, they’re building things, forging connections, and changing the world, while somehow managing to eat amazing food. They can make something out of nothing. (In this post he tells you to stop reading and start doing. He could be right!)

Seth Godin’s Blog: This blog discusses a lot of things–marketing, education, and life. The beauty of these posts are they are very concise. You can read them quickly and get on with your day, but you will have learned something insightful every time. Seth Godin is a powerhouse in the field of marketing, a successful author, and an entrepreneur extraordinaire.

Note: This list is a work in progress, originally from It will be updated. Check back. 

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