38 Critical Books Every Blogger Needs to Read

38 Critical Books Every Blogger Needs to Read

Reader Comments (233)

  1. Fantastic reference here. I definitely appreciate Covey’s works and for some reason just haven’t gotten around to checking out Gladwell.

    The Tipping Point and Outliers are on my “to buy” list this week, thanks so much!

    • Thanks for this list; I need to take speedreading classes to get through them all!

      Last summer, a friend told me about Jack Canfield’s, “The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.” It is now my business bible since it covers a lot of ground in a very practical manner.

      I love this book due to the very actionable and clear steps of how to build a good foundation and how to progress to growing one’s business. Jack has a great writing style; it’s conversational; there are inspiring quotes and stories and this book always gets me to take action—no small feat!

      Each mini-chapter is so powerful that just executing that one step will transform your business and personal life by giant steps—I’m not kidding!

    • I want to second the endorsement for “The Success Principles.” I use this book in my Entrepreneurial Journalism class, as well as my career prep course and a course for first-year students at UMass Amherst. Almost to a student, kids tell me this book was exactly what they needed to get going. We also use it to launch discussions about the workplace, career advancement and life goals.

      I have never used a book that has had such an enthusiastic student response, and I come back to it often in managing my own work.

  2. Danny:

    Thanks for the list of books. I plan to do two things, before I read a book:

    1. See the collective reader review reaction to it over at Amazon.
    2. See if it is available at my local public library or through their inter-library loan program.

    I’m always happy to have good book recommendations.


    • @Randy, finding out if it is available at your local library or through their loan program is the best idea I’ve had in a long time; you get quality reading but save on the bucks. Then if you decide you really need to scrawl all over the margins et al, you could always buy it later.

      As for the Amazon reviews though, I’ve found they are sometimes misleading…maybe my taste in reading material is different from most, I don’t know.

      Thanks for these recommendations Danny. There are some power-packed stuff in there.

      • Yes, the Amazon reviews are all over the place but I like to check them out. Sometimes they are all jsut so negative that you don’t need to bother.

        Libraries – now that’s an idea I had forgotten about loooong ago.

  3. What a great resource for anyone wanting to improve their Blog and / or Business. Must have taken you ages to put this list together! Thanks Danny.

  4. 1,4,21,28. DONE!

    The book I would add: The elements of style. I know, I know – It’s the book on everyone’s list, right? But with a lot of reading comes a lot of writing, and I have found this book to be an absolute must for writing communication.

    So my question is: What book should I read next? Out of these, which one or two should I start reading now?

    • The Elements of Style should be on everyone’s list – you’re right on the money!

      I try to reread this gem every so often and just did another run through last month – I always pick up something new and valuable. I might even suggest The Chicago Manual of Style for good measure.

    • Breakthroughs happen for people through the people and resources they encounter – so this list my very well have some “critical” reading in it, for that person on the verge of breaking through.

      Ultimately, this list is what you think it is.

  5. Wow – great list. Thanks for sharing!

    I’d also second the recommendation for Elements of Style. Definitely a good read for anyone whose business is based in written communication (blogging, info site management, etc).

  6. A good list and I have many of these. I would add Unmarketing by Scott Stratten and Linchpin by Seth Godin, the first because of the marketing/customer service insight and the second because it spurred me on to get things done outside of the box.

  7. Awesome lists.

    Here are a few that I like:

    1. The Innovation of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo – Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success

    2. The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillibeau

    3. Focus by Leo Babauta

    This post, combined with the comments, will turn out to be an invaluable resource for good reading.


    • I too would add Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity – but will keep to that since I have a lot of reading to do in 2011 if am to make my way thru this resource list?! Thanks for narrowing down the lists out there?! I predict some more late nights reading now – am working on trying to add the Nook app maybe to my Droid phone- Happy Reading Ya’ll?!

  8. I’m thrilled to see #32! I’ve used it with junior high and high school students for years. Having a mutual paradigm for deciding what kind of thinking/discussion we need and when makes it clear when to say “not yet” and “okay, now”.

    I’d add The Talent Code by Dan Coyle. Totally changed how I look at practice and mistakes!

    Thanks for a great list!

  9. I would also inlcude:
    1) Linchpin by Seth Godin as mensioned by Kathy,
    2) From good to great by Jim Collins,
    3) Think and Grow Rich by Napolen Hill
    4) How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie

  10. I think the missing titles on this list are:

    Linchpin, Tribes and Purple Cow – both by Seth Godin – teaching you how to become remarkable and lead

    How to Get Everything You Can From Everything You’ve Got and The Sticking Point Solution by Jay Abraham – Great foundational business knowledge books that show entrepreneurs how to grow businesses

    And one of my personal favorites on selling is How to Become a Rainmaker by Jeffrey Fox

    All excellent reads that deliver actionable items to improve results.

  11. Firstly great list Danny!

    Secondly I’m sure there will be many people who will add lots of their own favourites to the list.
    I’d like to add three:

    1) Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. This is IMO a much better book than Outliers, because not only does it tell you what to do to achieve excellence in a chosen discipline, but you can also create a blueprint on how to do that using this book. Chapter 6 on how Ben Franklin taught himself to write is worth the admission price on its own for every content creator out there.

    2) The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Theoretically this is a book for fiction writers – but it’s a great book for anyone who struggles daily with their own internal forces of resistance. The book is cheap, readily available and easily read. Once you understand what resistance is, you’ll find within yourself the strength to kick its ass on a daily basis to work on your online business.

    3) The Writer’s Journey by Chris Vogler. This again is a ‘writing’ book. Only if you understand the Hero’s Journey thoroughly – and Vogler’s book is a great, easily read overview of it – you can apply it to make business plans, to create content, to understand the steps that students need to take if you are creating teaching programs, and more. Understand The Hero’s Journey and you’ll have a detailed understanding of human nature itself – and you can put that understanding to work in your business.

    Hope that helps!

  12. Interesting and diverse list.
    An author who may not be on your radar is Robert Fritz. His work is absolutely number one
    on my list.

    Originally a musician and composer, he is now one of the world’s leading
    management consultants because he showed people how to make their lives and organizations the
    subject matter of the creative process as it’s used in the arts.
    He came out with his bestseller “The Path of Least Resistance” in the mid 80’s.
    His updated work is now well represented in “The Path of Least Resistance for Managers”
    which deals with his work with organizations and has a preface written by
    Peter Senge.

    I especially love “Your Life As Art” for my work as the sole proprietor of my own business.
    And if you want to get a collection of articles that cover a broad spectrum of topics, take a peek
    at “Elements.” If you’re interested in actually creating things with the discipline that an accomplished
    filmmaker, musician, or artist uses, this is the real deal. No feel-good, pop psychology or metaphysics or “tapping into your creativity.” Just the real deal when it comes to professional creators.

    You can also sample his thinking by looking at “writings” and “radio shows” on his website

    Sorry for the long-winded rant. I guess you can tell I really like his books. 🙂

  13. Thanks for the list: reading more business books is on my list of resolutions for this year! And I’ve already got four down: #2, #26, #28 and #37. And I’m pretty sure I’ve got #18 lying about somewhere. Let me get to it soon.

  14. I really liked “Yes” which is somewhat of a follow-up of Influence by Cialdini. It lists 50 practical uses of the six principles of influence in the modern world and gives many examples backed by scientific research. It’s not as detailed as Influence and can be read in a few days very easily. Awesome book for the marketer looking to quickly add some extra power to his/her campaigns.

    • Yes was a good one too. I found it to be mostly a summarized version of Influence, though – fast, practical tips with less explanation and understanding. Better to understand what’s going on and why than to just apply, yeah?

  15. Great list of books. My Kindle just had a few new books added to it.

    I personally like the book “How to Build a Referral Engine” by John Jantsch. I believe it is a must read for everyone trying to grow their business..

  16. Best business book I’ve ever read is “The Entrepreneurial Mindset” by McGrath and MacMillan. Little-known but awesome resource to get the juices flowing. 5-star rating on Amazon. Enjoy!


  17. No affiliate codes in the Amazon links? Seems like the perfect thing to do.

    Now I’m off to see if Copyblogger has any articles on affiliate link etiquette, because that’s something all my reading on blogging has kind of skimmed over. 🙂

    • You need to disclose, which is both good etiquette and required by law. 🙂

      I don’t see anything wrong with a blog using Amazon affiliate links, but that’s not our primary business model and not the best use of our time. 🙂

  18. Danny! Wow! Thanks so much for putting together this resource! Complete with explanations…

    I have just finished writing first ebook which I’m giving away for free as a subscription for reward at my blog so I’m a little bummed that there’s so much competition! :0)

    The book is about Reinventing Yourself…which is really what most bloggers and entrepreneurs are trying to do…so maybe it will make your list next year!

    For those who would like it while it’s free…. stop by the ParmFarm.com. :0) (shameless plug…)

    Counting on being a future best seller…


  19. Thanks for this wonderful list!

    I recommend Magician’s Way by William Whitecloud
    The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen
    and any of John Maxwell’s books on Leadership

  20. Great list, Danny! I am a huge Lencioni fan – great to see him make the list!

    I think I’d also recommend his latest book – Getting Naked – for your list, which focuses on his philosophy for building trust with clients. Great insights for bloggers on transparency and trust from a business owner perspective.

  21. Great list. I’ve read many of the titles on it (including Mindset which changed my life). Two others that have inspired me are “The Ten Faces of Innovation” by IDEO’s Tom Kelley and “The Art of Possibility” by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.

  22. Great list – thanks so much for putting this together. I’m surprised you have 2 Gladwell books and no Godin books – I would definitely drop “Outliers” and add any one of Seth’s books (possibly Linchpin) to this list.

  23. Without doubt the most influential books I’ve read over a long career have been.

    “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” – short, to the point, packed with wisdom you can get your brain around and totally eye opening..
    “Positioning” – a must read classic; it will change the way you you think
    Both books by Jack Trout and Al Ries. Get them used at Amazon (be sure to check the reviews) or at Abe Books.

    Now, I am not a blogger, but a marketing person and social scientist who deals with marketing driven by personality type, so these books will appeal more to those interested in persuasion and “how people decide.”

  24. Great list. I’ve definitely added some of them to my list. Two books I would suggest adding:

    Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – A must read for every entrepreneur on the mindset you need to have to become wealthy. The author interviewed the 500 most successful people of his day, and developed a philosophy on how to get rich based those interviews. Brilliant book.

    Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz – A book on self- image psychology. No matter what level you are at in your business, this is also a must read since our net worth is based on our self-worth.

    Keep up the great work!

  25. Great list, thanks.

    I would simply add (as an alternative to the course at #25) Basic Economics 4th Ed: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell. Interested folks can find Dr. Sowell’s other books on Amazon for a great discussion of economics issues.

  26. Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson belongs in your “Making the most of other people list.” It describes the benefits of a ROWE – Results Only Work Environment which increases productivity, employee satisfaction, and ultimately the bottom line. By freeing people from mandatory work schedules and unnecessary meetings, ROWE allows employees to focus on productivity and results rather than merely being present. I wouldn’t consider any other way to work!

  27. Thanks everybody for the recommendations – I’m so excited to jump onto Amazon and start placing orders! (I think I’m going to have to spend the next month doing nothing but reading!)

    @Pau Flanagan: There are three strategies you can pick for working through the list. (1) Start at the top and work your way down, (2) work through the sections in the order that they matter to you, or (3) read one book per section, and cycle back when you’re done. It depends – what’s most important to you?

    Good call about the Elements of Style, by the way!

    @Kathy Nichols: Thanks for the recommendations! I haven’t read either of them yet, but I’ve heard Seth talk about Linchpin, and it’s been on my list for a while now. 🙂

    @Ricardo Patrocinio: Good to Great is an excellent book – it should be required reading for anyone whose business is already up and running.

    @Paul Wolfe: These look great, I’m going to pick them up right away. I’m excited to read Colvin’s book, which I hadn’t heard of!

    @Sandy Norton: Good call, I’m a big fan of John’s work.

    @Cody Wheeler: Very good call – I really enjoyed “Yes!”, and there is lots of quickly implementable stuff in there for small businesses.

    @Unmana: Jump right into “First, Break All The Rules” – it’s eye-opening!

    @Bill Brunelle: I’d never heard of Robert Fritz – thanks for putting him on my radar! Which book do you recommend I start with?

    @Bill Gluth: Thanks for the recommendations!

    @Cheri Lynn Gregory: I hadn’t heard of the Talent Code – I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks!

    @jonathanwthomas: Mmm… good call. I haven’t read ReWork yet, but I’ve heard really good things about it (and I’m a 37 Signals fan). 🙂

    @The Real Human: Thanks – I’m getting more and more excited. So much to read!

    @Mike Shollenberger: It’s jumping to the top of my list!

    @Shane Arthur: Thanks for the recommendations!

    @Amy: Is the eBook out yet? Can I read it?

    @Tiffany Monhollon: I loved “Getting Naked” – I’ve since shared it with a bunch of people who consult for big firms, and they’ve loved it, too. 🙂 If you liked that, you might also like “The Trusted Advisor”.

    @Kat Gordon: Thanks! I hadn’t heard of either of those books, but I’m a huge IDEO fan, so I’ll add them to my list. 🙂

    @Anna: Thanks!

    • Danny,

      For Robert Fritz I would suggest you go to http://robertfritz.com/index.php?content=interviews and listen to
      the Blog Talk radio interview that is the first interview listed there.
      If you like that, then I would get “Your LIfe As Art” unless you specifically want something for
      restructuring an organization involving many people and/or departments. Then get “The Path of Least Resistance for Managers” which I just copy edited for him. Be sure to get the 2011 revised and updated edition.
      If you have any more questions, I’d be happy to talk to you about his work anytime.



    • @Danny it’s up now! free. go. read. parmfarm.com. (maybe I’ll make your next list – books that changed my life!) Let me know what you think!

      Amy Parmenter
      The ParmFarm.com

  28. I’m a little behind on this list. But I would add “Words that Work” by Dr. Frank Luntz. The subtitle is the most important takeaway: “It’s not what you say. It’s what people hear.”

    Thank you for sharing.

  29. How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer, has great insights on how the brain works and the role of emotions in decision making. One topic discussed is the problems that occur when too much information is given.

  30. One that was really beneficial to me was Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid. It’s primarily intended for f2f service practioners (therapists, coaches, trainers, etc.), but everything he talks about translates very easily to the online space.

  31. I also recommend “Escape from Corporate America” by Pamela Skillings. It basically a step by step plan on how to transition from your job to pursuing blogging full-time. Very useful for people who’d like to pursue blogging but not starve to death.

  32. Danny – Thanks man for such a great list! Especially Blue Ocean Strategy. It’s a great book and one I re-read often.

    Another one I want to add to the list is the new book by Josh Kaufman called “The Personal MBA – Mastering the Art Of Business”. It was just released about two weeks ago but it is useful, relevant, and a great resource.


  33. Fabulous list thanks. Among my memorable favorites:

    The Circle Way, by Baldwin & Linnea, about collaborative leadership
    Let My People Go Surfing, by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia Inc.
    A Simpler Way, by Wheatley & Kellner-Rogers, Berkana Institute

  34. Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing by George Cloutier is a good read. It’s a swift kick in the pants about why people don’t succeed in business.

    NO B.S. Entrepreneur’s Guide to Wealth Attraction by Dan Kennedy is also another good read. Both books aren’t going to drop an apple of enlightenment on your head – you might even get mad before you become positively engaged with these books but they are pretty good.

  35. @Carl Natale: Thanks!

    @Bernice Mirrilees: Great recommendation, thanks! I love the idea of a ROWE!

    @Rich Bohn: Thanks for the recommendation – finding a good intro text on economics is a huge challenge. I’m looking forward to reading it!

    @Ian Brown: Psycho-Cybernetics sounds really cool – I’m looking forward to picking it up!

    @Jay Rosenberg: Persuasion is at the heart of blogging, so these are both key reads!

    @Sarah Peck: Yeah, I might be a little biased towards Gladwell… I’m a huge fan. 🙂

    @Tanya: Great recommendations. Which of Maxwell’s books would you start someone off with?

    @Mike Lieberman: Thanks, I haven’t heard of it. Looking forward to leafing through! 🙂

    @John: I’ve heard of it, but haven’t reads it yet. I’m looking forward to reading it! (I love stuff like that!)

    @James Chartrand: Yeah, I agree about “Yes” – given the choice, I like knowing the science. But if someone’s looking for things they can quickly implement and apply, “Yes” can be a good start.

    @Sonia Simone: Good call – I like Port’s work. 🙂

    @Shane: I know, I pre-ordered it!

    @Alex: Cool, I didn’t know about that one. I’m adding it to my list! (and upgrading my expected time of nothing-but-reading to two months)

    @Cindy Heath: Thanks! Which of these should I start with?

  36. Engaged Leadership by Clint Swindoll is excellent easy to read story about hewn different types of leadership work or don’t work. In love with your list. More books to download! Thanks

  37. I’d add “How to get rich” by Felix Dennis, the founder of Maxim magazine. Intriguing personality and great war stories. Advice on seizing opportunities and tradeoffs for entrepreneurs of different age groups.

    From Gladwell’s “Blink”, there’s the useful chapter on Paul Van Riper’s big victory, where he gives anecdotes on the “less is more” concept, from military decision making to presenting shoppers (and I guess readers?) with streamlined options.

    For Danny’s Economics primer, perhaps “New Ideas from Dead Economists” or “The Undercover Economist”? Both highly readable. The former more on history of economic thought. The latter includes accessible chapters on revealed preferences and auctioning.

  38. WOW,
    what a list.
    I’m heading back to the reading table, so much more to cover now.
    Thanks Danny for this great resource, it’s definitely something to be referenced every now and then.

  39. @Bill Brunelle: Thanks, Bill – I’ll start with the Blog Talk radio interview, and then get “Your Life Is Art”. 🙂

    @Fred Reillier: Got it. Thanks!

    @Dutchys Fitness: Good call on Gary’s book!

    @scott smith: I like the blend of old and new, with ProBlogger and Wealth of Nations!

    @Susan Goulding: I haven’t heard of Swindoll’s work – I’m excited to pick it up!

    @KT Khoo: Thanks for the recommendations, especially the economics titles – it’s hard to find good intro primers for those!

  40. Danny – This is an impressive, well curated list of books. What a small labor of love to share with us. Thank you!

    I’ve had the good fortune in my career to develop content for C-Suite executive conferences and online forums which included many opportunities to meet and/or collaborate with many of the world’s top business authors and thought leaders whose books you’ve noted in your list. I would like to toss out a few other recommendations of authors who I have personally heard speak and can guarantee their books are on the shelves of hundreds of Fortune 1000 executives.

    – Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi; the ultimate executive networker reveals how to build a lifelong community of colleagues, contacts, friends and mentors (Note: this book was written before Facebook was a household name and Twitter wasn’t even invented yet)
    – Innovation at the Speed of Laughter: 8 Secrets to World Class Idea Generation by John Sweeney; as a speaker, author and corporate trainer, Sweeney is a trusted consultant to some of the most innovative companies in the world (e.g. Google, Starbucks, Target). He’s the owner of the Brave New Workshop, the nation’s oldest satirical comedy theatre and school for improvisation. I’ve seen Sweeney bring some of the most hard-pressed C-Suite execs on stage for a quick improv exercise and as a result, brought out the creative (right brain) sides of their personalities rarely on display for their peers or staff.
    – Know-How: The 8 Skills That Separate People Who Perform from Those Who Don’t; for those who are unfamiliar with Ram Charan, all I can say is run – don’t walk – to the library or to Amazon and snag this and any of his best-selling books. You will not be disappointed. Charan is acclaimed in the business world for the value he provides in consulting/counseling with C-Suite execs to help them solve their most pressing problems without high-falutin’ theories that have people scratching their heads. The application of his ideas is the reason why his teaching is valued by CEOs at companies like GE, DuPont, Verizon, P&G and many more. Need I say more?

    As a self-proclaimed leadership and biz mgmt book junkie, I hope these three suggestions for your reading list are welcome additions.


  41. Thanks Danny for the inspiration!
    I have never thought of my Blog as a business at all. Usually I think of it as a little support tool to get ideas across and get links back to my URL.
    I do like the idea though and have read a few of the books you mentioned in your article. Will take a look at some of the others.
    Thanks for sharing!

  42. Great list. I’ll add these to my every-growing Amazon cart. I would add All Marketers are Liars under the marketing section. It’s got some very useful information and insight on remaining authentic and telling a great story. Important points for a blogger.

  43. I will Teach you to be rich is an awesome book. The techniques and the book are easy to understand and realistic. Some other books on managing your money sound great on paper but are not practical to say the least

  44. Thank you for creating this great list – I’m always looking for new books. I would add the following books to the list:

    1. Trust Agents, Brogan and Smith
    2. Inbound Marketing, Halligan and Shah

    Thanks again for sharing.

  45. Wow, this is quite the list. I’m definitely going to go through and read as many as I can. Perhaps my 2011 new years resolution should be to read one of these books a week. By 2012 I will be ready to take over the world!

    I’ve been meaning to read Outliers forever now, so I think it’s where I’ll start.

  46. Excellent list that you’ve put together for us.

    I find that I’ve read a good majority of the books that you’ve listed, as well as having a few on the bookshelf waiting to be read. I’m always looking for recommendations on other books to read so thank you for this list.

    Here are a few books that are at the top of my list that you didn’t mention:

    1. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

    This book would be a must read if I were to make my own list. Basically, Michael Gerber talks about the importance of planning and having “systems” in your business. Pro’s don’t wing it.

    He conveys the message through a story about a struggling pie shop owner who gets help from an outside business coach. The business owner quickly learns that she has been “winging it” with her business by trying to do everything herself.

    The coach shows her the value of installing systems in her business to avoid burnout and to catapolt her business to success. Even if a story about a pie shop doesn’t spark interest, this is a serious business book that any entreprenuer will value highly.

    2. Killing Sacred Cows by Garrett Gunderson

    This one needs to be added to the financial section, plain and simple.

    Just like the title says, Garret takes the “sacred cows” (deeply rooted beliefs) about finance and crushes them. He points out things like how financial institutions want us believe that in order to have high returns, you must open yourself up to high risk.

    Yet these same financial institutions are bringing high returns with very low risk. In fact, most great businesses have high returns with very little risk involved. When Copyblogger launches a program, do you think that a failure of that program could shut down the entire business?

    This book is filled with many unconventional views on finance, is fun to read. And even if you don’t accept all the views, it will absolutely get the gears turning.

    3. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

    This book was mentioned once by another commenter, but I’m surprised it wasn’t more popular.

    As the other commenter said, this book is really geared towards writers with “writers block.” Steven does an excellent job though of taking other businesses and applying examples to each of them.

    The War of Art is one of those books that you’ll pick up from time to time to give yourself that kick in the assets you’ve been needing. This book is about the inner war we face every day in our business (our art) with doing “busy work” instead of the things that matter most.

    As an artist – which as entreprenuers we all are – you face an inner battle every day to actually do work that matters. Steven talks about how it’s easy to do things like check your email, check on your website stats, make changes to your site design, take extra time off, etc… All because we’re self employed.

    It’s easy to do things that don’t matter right? Even though we may be busy, we’re being unproductive. We have to fight the urge to do “busy work” and become a pro. A professional content marketer puts content out there on a regular basis. An artist paints… A writer writes… A singer sings.

    Everything else is just small details that can be worked on when the inportant stuff is done. Look at how Leo built Zen Habits. He’s a pro. If you want to be a pro, get this book and read it. Then read it again!!!

    • Emyth Revisited is my companion book for building my consulting business. I will look into your other two suggestions.

      Yes, I think people will learn from Leo. I have already joined his A-List Blogging.

      I appreciate your way of commenting – you are teaching people.

      Thank you.

    • Bookmarked, posted on delicious and glad I found this one a few days back. I appreciate how you broke these up into categories. Very helpful Danny!

      @Dan Phipps and @Jef Menguin – E-Myth is on my list too. Just wish this was available on the Kindle for Mac 🙂

  47. Another book I would add to this incredible list is The Dip, by Seth Godin.

    My bet is that if you are reading this blog post, you’ve read Seth.

    If not, this is a fast and fun read about when to stick it out (in business, sports, etc.) and when to cut your losses and move on to the next big thing.

  48. Thanks for the great list; I’ve read less than 1/2 of these so have my work cut out for me! Two helpful books that I’ve recently re-read that aren’t on your list are “The 4-Hour Workweek” (Ferriss) and “The E Myth Revisited” (Gerber).

  49. @Meredyth Jensen: I knew about (but haven’t read yet) Never Eat Alone and Know-How, but I hadn’t heard about John Sweeney’s book – it sounds fascinating, and I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the recommendation!

    @Kenny Silva: Thanks – I’m a big fan of Seth’s work. 🙂

    @MarVeena: I’m glad you like the idea. Let me know which ones you like!

    @Peter Weis: I agree – I love Ramit’s work, and I think it’s a lot better than most of the other personal finance books out there (I think in a lot of them, the finance works out, but the behavioral economics don’t!).

    @Rebecca: Tell me about it! There have been so many good suggestions, I think I’m going to be reading non-stop through the Firepole Marketing launch!

    @Dan Phipps: Thank you for the recommendations, and for the detailed descriptions – I’m looking forward to going through these books!

    @Brendan Shneider: Good calll on Chris Brogan’s book. I hadn’t heard of Halligan and Shah, but I’ll look into them. 🙂

    @Jeff Carey: I agree 100% – actually, the Dip is my favorite book of Seth’s (I find it doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it should).

    @Karen: Good call – I’m actually working through Tim’s new book right now, and loving it!

    @Justin Douglas: Yeah, except that these aren’t affiliate links. 🙂

  50. Great list. I nominatenn Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone.” He makes the best case I’ve read for the value of relationships, and stresses how helping others (witrhout keeping score) is key to long- term relationships thst build business. Online networking paired with real human relationshop building is a winning combination.

  51. Fantastic list! I’m relieved to see I’m reading all the right stuff – and spotted a few more gems to pick up as well 🙂

    I’d like to add these to the list:

    Good to Great by Jim Collins – Teaches you how to go beyond being just a good company and how to transform it into something that people just can’t resist. A company I worked for at one time had us all listen to the audio book version of this – but unfortunately they didn’t follow it at all. They say that this book is the prequel to Built to Last (which is on your list there).

    The Success Principles by Jack Canfield – This book is by the co-author of the Chicken Soup series and is one of my all-time favorites. It’s just so full of absolute lightbulb moments that you’ll find it hard to put down. If you liked “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, consider the Success Principles a serious upgrade to that book.

    The Power of Focus – Also by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen – I call this my Productivity Bible. I like hardcore, practical results and exercises. Not fluffy theory or what ‘might work”. If you ever have trouble staying productive or just getting started with your blog — read this, it will completely change the way you work.

    Secrets of the Millionaire Mind – T. Harv Eker. One of my best friends bought me this book as a birthday gift and I have read and re-read it several times since then. If you’ve ever wondered how some people “have all the luck” and reach success beyond just wanting it, This book will easily tear down every obstacle you’ve mentally set up between your wanting success and getting it. Including yourself standing in your own way 🙂

    One book I *don’t* recommend, and I have never understood why it’s on any top list is “Who Moved My Cheese”. I realize it’s a book about managing change but getting through the story itself is such a long, drawn-out and incredibly boring tale that I’d rather have a toothache than read it.

  52. @Sherice Jacob: Yup, good call about Good to Great. It isn’t exactly a prequel; Built To Last is about building great companies (from the start), whereas Good to Great is about taking good companies (that are already up and running) and making them great. I think more bloggers are in the start-up phase, so I put Built To Last on the list, but I agree that Good To Great is also an excellent book.

  53. Another point made in Outliers is not that it is simply “hard work”, but that there were special circumstances or backgrounds that added a bit of luck and advantage to the mix. Those unique circumstances coupled with hard work and determination are a big part of the formula.

    That being said, here’s another vote for Seth Godin.

  54. Overall this is a fantastic list, and I’m feeling pretty puffed up that I’ve actually checked a few of these off my list!

    On the marketing and management side of things, I highly recommend any and all of Seth Godin’s books. His style is so readable and offered up in easily digested chunks, but he presents some very profound concepts.

  55. Great post and an awesome list! I’ve read some of these and will certainly be checking back with this list. I would also recommend “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz. This is probably the most influential book I have read recently and would certainly add it to the list. Thanks for sharing!

  56. It shows that you put a lot of work into creating this list, Danny. Gradually, I’ll start reading these books and a special thank you to the other shares that trickled down into the comments.

  57. Oh my gosh, my reading list just tripled in size! Thank you for this awesome list. I just finished StrengthFinder 2.0 and I agree that it’s a great tool and we can all grow by spending some time with it. I also liked Good to Great. Not sure if that one was mentioned in the follow up responses, but there are some great nuggets in that book! Thanks again for such a deep list. I’ll share this with others!

  58. Danny, excellent compilation – Thanks for sharing! These books are critical for anyone in business/management as well…Any suggestions on key books related to fostering innovation?

  59. From this list, I can understand that being a professional blogger is a passionate activity, but requires a great deal of knowledge…. Thank you for the list !

    I barely read “The Blue Ocean”, Great book to recommand… Thanks again!

  60. Your list is outstanding, at the very least the descriptions you have provided. It’s almost shameful to admit I have only read about 6 books on your list. Yet, I consider myself well versed in the advertising and marketing area. I believe I could offer a list of at minimum ten books that I consider a must read without duplicating any on your list. I do thank you for point me to this long list of your favorite. One book that you may have missed is the Al Ries and Jack Trout classic. “22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” I have tested the theories of this book out on many occassion, and it proved true 95%, of the time. Please check it out I am sure it will be on your list next year. A sincere thank you for providing the list. I now have 32+/- books on my MUST read list.

  61. @Janet Kyle Altmsn: Thanks for the recommendation – I’ve been hearing a lot of really great things about Ferrazzi’s work – I’m going to have to pick it up!

    @Hillary Rubin: Thanks!

    @jay: You’re right – the point in Outliers is more subtle than it is sometimes represented to be; it’s not about genetics or hard work alone, but rather about the confluence of all of these things together, and how they feed each other.

    @designexpertise: Good point – fundamentals are the key. 🙂

    @France Geek: I’ve never heard of that one. What is it about?

    @Joe Wilner: I’ve never heard of that one either, but it sounds great – adding it to my list!

    @Natan, @Ollin Morales: Thanks, I appreciate the encouragement. 🙂

    @Katrina Starkweather: Thanks for the encouragement, and for the recommendation. Good to Great would be an excellent addition!

    @John Howlett: Thank you for the encouragement, and actually I’m embarassed to say that I haven’t read that one (though I’ve heard a lot about it). It’s definitely going on my “must read” list!

  62. One more to add to your great list: Start with Why by Simon Sinek. I’m reading it for the 5th time.

    He teaches the mechanics of how great leaders operate by inspiration rather than by manipulation. He demonstrates how getting your message in the right order allows people to make better, faster decisions about you.

  63. Freakanomics on your list was recommended to me by friend writing her thesis revisions for her economics Phd so took her more seriously than some & Blink on the comments I agree despite picking it up at airport in Euro travels (didn’t hold it against it for that?!)

  64. Hi,

    I love this list! And I’m startled to see I have heard of almost every single title and read over 80%. Guess I’ve been educating myself a lot more than I realized over the past couple of years.

    I want to add a big star to SWITCH as I think the Heath brothers have done an amazing job of articulating some really important work and ideas. I find myself at work (education, non-profit…so we’re always trying to get change going!) thinking about whether I’m dealing with elephants, riders or pathways, lol!

    Also, I agree with those who want to add Linchpin and War of Art. Both are outstanding and very helpful to the small enterprise trying to overcome inertia and resistance, especially if you are in the early stages and are still generating momentum in the first place.

    I would like to add one I haven’t seen here…”Birthing the Elephant: The Woman’s Go-For-It! Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business” by Karen Arbarbanel and Bruce Freeman. It actually is perfectly fine for all genders. The big plus of it is an analysis of the emotional and thinking states of people as they go through the phases of start-up and the implications for business decisions and strategy.

  65. You have started an interesting thread of conversation here among book lovers.

    My addition to the excellent list here (including suggestions by other readers):

    50 Success Classics (and the entire series by Tim Butler-Bowdon). He not only provides crisp summaries of the eclectic list of books he has selected spanning many decades, he establishes the context of the time when the book was published, why it became popular and so on.

    A few years ago I shared a list of books that made an impact on me with short notes on them and many liked it. For those interested it is at http://itftd.blogspot.com/2007/07/i-tftd-23-book-list.html

  66. Hi Danny!

    This is a great list to start the ball rolling! So far, I’ve read Thomas Friedman’s “The World Is Flat” and that leaves me with just 37 more to read from your list.

    Thanks for the very useful reference. Currently, I’m reading Malcolm Gladwell’s “What The Dog Saw,” a very informative and interesting compilation of his postings in the New York Post. There are lessons or two that I am getting from it!

  67. Going through the list it occurred to me that you have created a reading list worth a graduate degree!!!
    Amazing work! And no question – as I was going along I’ve marked 5 books as first to read.
    Thank you 🙂

  68. I’d add “On Writing” by Stephen King and “Confessions of an Ad Man” by David Ogilvy (quite a few tips on copywriting in there).

    I’m currently reading “The Tipping Point” – I simply love it!

    Thanks for the list!

    • The biography of Ogilvy (The King of Madison Avenue by Kenneth Roman) is a nice complement to Confessions. It fills in a few blind spots where DO was just a bit full of himself. 🙂

  69. Fantastic list – I love it that i have some of the books, but had not heard of over half of the books, which makes this a great find.

    I would add slide:ology by Nancy Duarte to the list. Learning how to communicate effectively and not be boring. She has a new one, Resonate, on the art of telling a compelling story.

    Seeing the Goal on the list was especially exciting. I first read it in 1990 and it literally changed how I saw all business from that time forward.

    Thank you.

  70. Nice list. The best business book I’ve seen in a long time is Resonate, by Nancy Duarte. Even for people who don’t give live presentations, this book is is an masterpiece on telling compelling stories, which is something every business owner, blogger or not, would benefit from.

  71. @Jack Price: Good call – I absolutely loved Sinek’s TED video, but I hadn’t realized he had a book out!

    @Fred Leo: It’s on my shelf, too. 🙂

    @BP: “Weird Ideas That Work” by Bob Sutton is a good place to start. Some others that are on my desk right now (but I haven’t read yet) are “Visual Meetings” by David Sibbet, “The Innovator’s Toolkit” by David Silverstein, Philip Samuel, and Neil DeCarlo, and “Game Storming”, by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo. Are there any titles that you would recommend for that?

    @sharoninavolvo: Thanks for the recommendation!

    @Mary Jane: Thanks! By the way, amazing website!

    @Marisa: Thanks, that sounds like a cool book. I’m looking forward to reading it!

    @Elmar Sandyck: I loved What the Dog Saw! (I’m a huge fan of Gladwell’s) 🙂

    @Constantin Gabor: I haven’t read Confessions of an Ad Man (yet), but if you liked King’s “On Writing”, you might also like “Sometimes the Magic Works” by Terry Brooks.

    @Abhinav Kaiser: Good call, I liked that one too!

    @Jeff Menguin: Thanks!

    @Ken Jansen: Should I start with slide:ology or Resonate?

    • The Amazon review suggest that Sinek’s book doesn’t expand all that much on the TED talk, so maybe you’re ok. 🙂 Though I do intend to pick it up nonetheless.

  72. I would start with slide:ology. I have not finished Resonate yet, but it seem equally as good. Type is small, I must be getting older, hah.

    Thanks again.

  73. Thanks for your list of books – I’ll be on Amazon today! I found the below books to be useful – even though some are “old school” –

    Simplicity: The New Competitive Advantage in a World of More, Better, Faster
    Bill Jensen
    Perseus Books- Cambridge, Massachusetts 2000
    After reading this book, clearly “clarity” becomes the top priority when one hopes to advance an agenda

    The Republic of Tea: How An Idea Becomes a Business—Letters to a Young Zentrepreneur
    Mel Ziegler, Bill Roenzweig, and Patricia Ziegler
    Currency/Doubleday- New York, New York 1992
    A diary of a successful start up by way of letters from a business mentor to his junior partner. The lessons are zen-ish but memorable.

    The Great Game of Business
    Jack Stack with Bo Burlingham
    Currency/Doubleday- New York, New York 1992
    A very enlightening explanation of how one business turned from the brink of failure into a roaring success through the use of open book management

    The Art of Profitability
    Adrian Slywotzky
    Warner Business Books- New York, New York 2002
    An extraordinary look at a multitude of possibilities for you to increase the profits for your business

  74. I’ve read about 1/3rd of those and I’d agree with most of what you say.

    I recently wrote a list of what I think are the 20 greatest self development books ever written. At #1 I had Mans Search For meaning, which probably doesn’t quite gel with what you have here. But at #2 I have the awesome ‘You’re Brain At Work” by David Rock.

    I must have read over 250 books on coaching and self development and I must confess to being a tad cynical, but that book just blew me away.

    I’d also add ‘How To Be Rich and Happy’ by John Strelecky and some guy called Brownson.

  75. I’m taking Julien Smith’s book a week challenge for 2011. So consider this a timely read as I find some good recommendations to add to my weekly reading list 🙂

  76. How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie — Should be required reading for all.
    Linchpin, Seth Godin
    Rework, Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
    The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, Carmine Gallo

  77. This is the largest “must-read” list I’ve ever seen anywhere online-or-offline 🙂 I’ve already read some of them, and being also a manufacturing engineer myself, couldn’t see the point in some.

    i.e.: “GOAL” Has absolutely nothing to do with blogging, it’s a down-to-earth manufacturing and inventory management book explaining the theories of the author. It’s something like The Toyota Way in a sense. Everything to do with billion-dollar series production plants and nothing-to-do with blogging.

    Reading it will surely not hurt, but I see it as a waste of time for a writer.

    And as another example, although Gladwell being one of my favorite authors, Outliers is not quite a book about blogging, writing, business, money or what so ever. It’s basically a book about Outliers 🙂 the superstars, the phenomens like B. Gates and Hockey stars. Surely not a must read book at all for a blogger!

    I understand that critism is a big no-no in the world of how to make money from your blog blogs, but I humbly suggest that this list looks suspiciously like a list of ‘Some interesting books that bloggers possibly haven’t read yet and maybe I can earn some money as an Amazon affiliate’ ?

    Apologies if that was harsh but my expectations are always very high with the content published in copyblogger.com

    • There are no affiliate links in this post, otherwise we would have told you.

      Most creative thinking comes from seeing associations from seemingly unrelated sources. So I disagree with your comments about relevance as well.

      Other than that, feel free to criticize us any time. At least you’re polite about it, and that’s all anyone can ask. 😉

      • Brian, seriously what would be the reason NOT to use affiliate links? It would seem a win/win to me. I only have issues when people use them to recommend products or services they would never use themselves or have no knowledge of.

        • There’s no one who works for this company who doesn’t have a more profitable way to spend time than generating Amazon affiliate links. 🙂

          By that I don’t say there’s a thing in the world wrong with them. Just not our business model — that time and energy can be put to better use for us.

        • Hmm, just a second after I hit ‘Post Comment’ that funny idea came to my mind : Could it be that the links don’t have any affliation, hit bullseye there. But the funny numbers in the URL (http://www.amazon.com/Monk-Riddle-Creating-Making-Living/dp/1578516447/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1294819789&sr=8-1) made me think so. But I guess that’s a totally normal URL for an Amazon link.

          Maybe I’m oever-cynic because I’m over-exposed to sites that’s trying to make money from all kinds of affiliations.

          Anyway, thanks for the quick reactions.

          P.S.: Me no Troll

          • Hi Cagdas,

            Those are just references in the link for Amazon’s use — THEY might be tracking/recording what you’re buying and reading, but Copyblogger isn’t 🙂

  78. I got a lot out of Strategy of the Dolphin by Dudley Lynch
    Agree that Win Friends and Influence People by Carnegie would be a must read too.

  79. @ Cagdas, the way I understood the premise of the discussion was that it was about business, the business of blogging, which is a lot more that just writing something online. The business part is all the other stuff. Finding topics that can generate readers and revenue, how to make friends and not alienate folks. How to NOT be the pie maker in emyth, or the blogger who can’t recognize a bottleneck and the implications those have etc.

    If you are a troll, then ignore I said anything, because I don’t want to feed you. 🙂

    This is a great list.
    My two cents.


      • I agree that business and writing are not the same things. I also find e-myth and the baker example extremely useful for anyone who’s trying to build a ‘business’. And don’t get me wrong, I think that those books (Outliers, Goal) are also fantastic.

        However, what I’m trying to point out is that; although some of the books may be referenced as ‘Critical’ (as the post name suggests) for a blog/writing business, a book like “GOAL” that’s on supply-chain management, or Outliers that explains the luck factor alongside with hardworking as a success recipe, is far from being a key book.

        I give examples from those books again because, I’ve only read like 5 of the books on the list (Tipping Point, Outliers, Art of the Start, GTD, Blue Ocean Strategy) and 2 out of 5 (that makes 40%) can at most be ‘nice to read’ for a blogger or even for a small biz. owner. That makes me think that, there are 38 critical books on the list, which may suggest that 15 of them are also likely to be in the ‘nice to read’ (%40) category.

        Come on people, this is a list of great books but not quite like a list of critical books for blogging-business.

        Anyway, this comment wants to go on like this and it’s better to end it now. As final words, I liked the post, the story and i think that this post could be more helpful with less books in the list.

        Thanks for the conversation 🙂

  80. Super useful list, thanks. Not sure if it was mentioned above, but I read “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz, at a crucial time in my life. And it helped me to create a successful business. Great book and motivating.

  81. Aloha.. I enjoyed this extensive formulated and well laid out post. I have to say if anyone was thinking of getting into business this may be a good place to start, by getting educated and learning the simple methods to get the mind in gear and the tools set-up for the project. I believe most just jump in with no plan in thought of how things will run in business or a job but just hoping it will work. But if you want a longevity business or a great career then it will have to be a plan and a well thought goal. I enjoyed this post and glad I came by. thanks for sharing ! Lani 🙂

  82. Thank you very much for the reference. I will find time to read some of this books. I have some questions in mind that needs an answer. I hope one of this books can help me find it.

  83. This is a great list, I featured tips from a number of these books on my business book related site recently.
    This list also gave me some new fuel. Six Thinking Hats keeps popping up in front of me lately, I’m going to break down and read it.

  84. Hi Danny,

    Thank you for this list. It looks great! I’m just worried that I can’t finish all 38 soon enough!

    I want to recommend Hug Your Customers by Jack Mitchell. It is my absolute favorite to learn and teach true customer service and how to be a “good” company. I would recommend it to anyone.

    Thanks again,


  85. Ridiculous. It was 125 tips for building your brand last week and now 38 critical books to read.

    What’s next? “1,001 Things You Absolutely Must Do — Every Day Before 6 a.m.!”

    Prescribing 125 tips and 38 books is too many to be practical.

  86. Great list…it is always great to see what other people are reading. This will really expands my reading list.

    Here is a quick list of some classics that everyone may or may not know and are always on my list to re-read.

    Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
    Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
    The Idea Virus by Seth Godin
    No B.S. Direct Marketing by Dan Kennedy (He has an entire series of No B.S. books that are chock full)
    Purple Cow by Seth Godin
    Linchpin by Seth Godin
    Tribes by Seth Godin
    Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk

    Can you tell I am a fan of Seth Godin. 🙂

    Anyway that is my list of additional books. Looking forward to reading the books on your list.


  87. This is a great resource you’ve put together here!

    I would also throw my hat into the Jack Canfield/Napoleon Hill/Covey recommedation ring. All of them are really good books.

    I also remember that the blue ocean strategy book was the book that partially inspired Nintendo to move into a new direction and create and DS and Wii, so that book must have something genuis inside of it.

  88. @Amy: Okay, I’ve downloaded it. I’m looking forward to reading it!

    @Eddie Kremanis: Thanks!

    @Christy Brennand: Several others have recommended it as well – I’m looking forward to reading it. 🙂

    @Ruth: Thanks! Which are you going to start with?

    @RG: Thanks for the recommendation, and for the book list – there are some great titles on there, and I’m excited to learn about the rest.

    @Chase L: Thanks for the detailed recommendations. I haven’t heard of any of these – it’s like stumbling onto a treasure! 🙂

    @Tim Brownson: Thanks for the recommendations, and I’m definitely going to check out your book!

    @Ricardo Bueno: Glad to help! 😀

    @dotCOMreport: You’re welcome!

    @Paul: Great recommendations!

    @Ken Jansen: I haven’t heard of Strategy of the Dolphin – I’ll check it out. 🙂

    @Cagdas: Fair point – the books aren’t all relevant if you consider only the writing aspect of blogging, but I see running a blog as running a business. Within that context, a few “how-to” books are useful to get started, but beyond that point you really need more “what-to” than “how-to”, and even “what to think about” – which is why some of these books are on the list. I’ve also found that most of the things that proved to be the most useful to me were the things that were the least immediately applicable (a good example being the identification of bottlenecks in processes, which I think applies as much to an individual as it does to a factory). Fair?

    @SenseiMattKlein: Thanks for the recommendation – I’m going to pick it up.

    @Lani Kee: Thank you for the encouragement!

    @Nathan Woodbury: What kind of questions? Shoot me an email if you want to chat. 🙂 (contact info on FirepoleMarketing.com)

    @Mike: I agree – what a great process!

    @Karl Krantz: That’s a great place to start – it’s a great book! You can start with the Wikipedia article for a preview if you want, though. 🙂

    @Danny Zadoff: Thanks for the recommendation, I’m going to pick it up!

    @Kevin Kane: I’m thinking that most people will start with one…

    @Mark: Yeah, I’m detecting a pattern here… Godin, Godin, Godin… but I agree, his stuff is great. I particularly liked the IdeaVirus book, which doesn’t get a lot of attention, I find.

    @Rupy: I didn’t know that this was the origin of the DS and the Wii, but it makes total sense. Thanks for sharing!

  89. If I only have enough cash to get 2 books, which 2 would you recommend to start with? Absolutely great post. Thank you.

  90. Great list! I’ve read many of those, and others are on my ‘to read’ list.

    Since you appear to be a Goldratt fan like me, I would also recommend Great Boss Dead Boss by Ray Immelman. It’s another novel style story where Ray cracks the code for the holy grail of company culture – employee motivation.

    I understand he used the Thinking Process to discover the 23 attributes of a strong tribe that he explains in the book. It’s a good one.


  91. @Rex Williams: I hadn’t heard of that one, I’m excited to pick it up! (I love Goldratt’s style – they’re so much fun to read!)

    @Sean Goldfaden: Thanks!

  92. 38 books! Wow, that’s a lot to read. Well, if you really want to learn something then you need to read, read, and read. So thanks for recommending them. I used to only find ebooks on blogging not realizing they could be in hard copies too. Perhaps the best thing for me to do is bookmark this post so I can refer to it again.

  93. Awesome post, really helpful and I will be sure to buy a couple of these books. 38 is a lot of books to get through, maybe I will only go through a few but I am sure I can learn a lot!


  94. I don’t typically post to blogs but I just had to today:

    I em enjoying the book: Get Clients Now!: A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants, and Coaches by C.J. Hayden.

    I don’t have a marketing background at all and this book says it plain and simple.

  95. I’ve always wondered that where do you get all these creative ideas to share with your blog readers. Being innovative on some occasions would be great, but remaining forever is even greater.

    Sincerely believe that you have been spending a lot time researching on all these topics. right?

    All the best!

  96. Or, you could read just one book:

    “Kicking Life’s Ass!”

    If you’re not kicking life’s ass – none of that other stuff matters.

    Now, if you can give me these 38 books in an easy to swallow price – say $49. I might go for it. Otherwise, I’m not going to spend the $380 they’ll likely cost in ebook format.

  97. Under marketing I have noticed several people have recommended Seth Godin books and I would agree by recommending “All marketers are Lairs” (which was reissued as” All Marketers Tell Stories”). I also would recommend “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” by David Meerman. Your list is great and I am going to add several to my reading list for 2011.

  98. Great, list, I have been searching for a new book to get from Audible for my commute and it looks like a bunch of these are available in audio form.

  99. @Tim Griffin: Thanks!

    @Dan: Just start with one, that’s the most important thing. 🙂

    @Mike: I haven’t heard of that one, but I’ll check it out. As for the price… we aren’t selling them, just recommending them. 😉

    @Nisha: Absolutely – the more you read, and the more food for thought you’ve got, the more creative ideas are going to start spilling out. 😀

    @Sabra: I’ve read that one – it’s a great kick in the butt for service professionals. Good call!

    @J. Clifford Winkler: Thanks for the recommendations!

  100. Some have wondered where to get some of these books thru Inter-Library loan…check out:


    You enter the book you want to get. The site knows where you are by ZipCode. And it presents you with a list of the closest libraries that have this book.

  101. “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day” by Michael Gelb.

    I like many of the books mentioned. I think this one is a winner. Thanks for the recommendation on “Elements of Style.” Forgot about it.

  102. Fantastic list – I’m definitely going to work my way down that list. I actually bought Tipping Point a few weeks back and it has been sitting on my desk. Thanks for the reminder!


  103. This list is a terrific idea. The first steps to wisdom and success in business is through reading. Before I came across your list, I was assembling my own. Now I think we have here a graduate-level reading list that can only help all of us achieve success. Kudos.

    To add a few of my own:

    How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling by Frank Bettger
    A great how to for any sales pro

    No Bull Selling how to Hank Trisler
    A funny book that drives home relevant points

    Your Personality Tree by Florence Littauer
    Probably one of the best psychology books I’ve ever read recognizing and dealing with co-workers and significant others. Why people act the way they do

    How To Have Confidence and Power in Dealing With People
    A practical guide to developing people skills

  104. Wow, this’ll be tough…I need to start with the Getting Things Done, for sure! Thanks for the list.

    I would heartily recommend Do Hard Things, by Alex and Brett Harris. It’s a religious book that doesn’t have much to do with business, but it’s simply amazing inspirationally (just look at the title). For motivation and perseverance, this is the book to get.

  105. @KiriL: Thanks, it looks like it will be a good read! 🙂

    Okay, ladies and gentlemen, drumroll please…

    The winner of the free subscription to Firepole Marketing is Dutchy’s Fitness – thanks for the recommendation of Good to Great and Crush It!

    (If anyone else is interested in the program, you can try the first two weeks for free at http://www.FirepoleMarketing.com)

    As a quick wrap-up, here are all of the (104!) books that were recommended by Copyblogger readers!: (I see a second reading list in the works…) 😉

    22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, by Jack Trout and Al Ries
    4-Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss
    50 Success Classics, by Tim Butler-Bowdon
    7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey
    A Simpler Way, by Wheatley and Kellner-Rogers
    All Marketers Are Liars, by Seth Godin
    Art of Non-Conformity, by Chris Guillibeau
    Art of Possibility, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
    Art of Profitability, by Adrian Slywotzky
    Art of War, by Sun Tsu
    Basic Economics 4th Edition, by Thomas Sowell
    Birthing the Elephant, by Karen Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman
    Book Yourself Solid, by Michael Port
    Chicago Manual of Style
    Circle Way, by Baldwin and Linnea
    Confessions of an Ad Man, by David Ogilvy
    Crush It, by Gary Vaynerchuck
    Diamond Cutter, by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally
    Do Hard Things, by Alex and Brett Harris
    Elements of Style, by Strunk and White
    E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber
    Engaged Leadership, by Clint Swindoll
    Entrepreneurial Mindset, by McGrath and McMillan
    Escape from Corporate America, by Pamela Skillings
    Fish, by Stephen Lundin
    Focus, by Leo Babauta
    Get Clients Now, by C.J. Hayden
    Getting Naked, by Patrick Lencioni
    Good to Great, by Jim Collins
    Great Boss DeadBoss, by Ray Immelman
    Great Game of Business, by Jack Stack and Bo Burlingham
    How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling, by Frank Bettger
    How To Be Rich and Happy, by John Strelecky and Tim Brownson
    How to Become a Rainmaker, by Jeffrey Fox
    How To Build a Referral Engine, by John Jantsch
    How to Get Everything You Can from Everything You’ve Got, by Jay Abraham
    How to Get Rich, by Felix Dennis
    How To Have Confidence and Power in Dealing With People, by Leslie Giblin
    How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, by Michael Gelb
    How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
    How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer
    Hug Your Customers, by Jack Mitchell
    Inbound Marketing, by Halligan and Shah
    Innovation at the Speed of Laughter, by John Sweeney
    Innovation of Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo
    Killing Sacred Cows, by Garrett Gunderson
    Know Where To Go, by Amy Parmenter (ParmFarm.com)
    Know-How, by Ram Charan
    Leadership, by John Maxwell (he’s written a few books on the subject)
    Let My People Go Surfing, by Yvon Choinard
    Linchpin, by Seth Godin
    Love is the Killer App, by Tim Sanders
    Magic of Thinking Big, by David Schwartz
    Magician’s Way, by William Whitecloud
    Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl
    Medici Effect, by Frans Johannson
    Monk Who Sold His Ferarri, by Robin Sharma
    Mousedriver Chronicles, by John Lusk and Kyle Harrison
    Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi
    New Ideas from Dead Economists, by Todd Bucholtz
    New Rules of Marketing and PR, by David Meerman
    No B.S. Direct Marketing by Dan Kennedy (and his whole No B.S. series)
    No Bull Selling How To, by Hank Trisler
    On Writing, by Stephen King
    Permission Marketing, by Seth Godin
    Personal MBA, by Josh Kaufman
    Positioning, by Jack Trout and Al Ries
    Power of Focus, by Jack Canfield
    Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo
    Problogger, by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett
    Psycho Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz
    Purple Cow, by Seth Godin
    Republic of Tea, by Ziegler, Roenzweig and Ziegler
    Resonate, by Nancy Duarte
    ReWork, by Jason Fried
    Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki
    Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, by T. Harv Eker
    Simplicity, by Bill Jensen
    slide:ology, by Nancy Duarte
    Start With Why, by Simon Sinek
    Strategy of the Dolphin, by Dudley Lynch
    Success Principles, by Jack Canfield
    Talent Code, by Dan Coyle
    Talent is Overrated, by Geoff Colvin
    Ten Faces of Innovation, by Tom Kelley
    The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino
    The Sticking Point Solution, by Jay Abraham
    Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
    Tribes, by Seth Godin
    Trust Agents, by Brogan and Smith
    Undercover Economist, by Tim Harford
    Unleashing the IdeaVirus, by Seth Godin
    UnMarketing, by Scott Stratten
    War of Art, by Steven Pressfield+A8
    Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith
    What the Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell
    Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson
    Why Work Sucks and How To Fix It, by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson
    Words That Work, by Frank Luntz
    Writer’s Journey, by Chris Vogler
    Yes!, by Robert Cialdini
    Your Brain At Work, by David Rock
    Your Life As Art, by Robert Fritz
    Your Personality Tree, by Florence Littauer

    Thanks everyone for the great recommendations!

    • How about books on innovation? One of my favorites: “New Ideas about New Ideas” by Shira P. White. Although it was published in 2002, still very relevant. And, I hear there’s a sequel in the works.

  106. Great resources, although I’ve only gone through a couple of these up until now.
    Checking out more of these is on the to do list…


  107. I’m actually quite surprised to not see “On Writing Well” on here. There are TONS of bloggers who need to brush up on their writing skills! 😉 Great list, though!!

  108. What… no Psychology of Color? Oh well I’ll just have to use common sense.

    Anyway I want to thank Danny and everyone who contributed to his list. This is my first comment here and I hopefully will be coming back for more. I find these suggestions quite interesting too bad days only have 24hrs but I’ll figure something out.

    Have a great weekend Danny and thanks again for sharing this! 😉

  109. Not one Seth Godin?

    Linchpin, Meatball Sundae, Purple Cow, Idea Virus, Tribes and The Dip should all be required reading.
    Rework by the Signals.
    New Pioneers.
    +1 Blue Ocean.
    Wikinomics. MacroWikinomics.
    Here Comes Everybody.
    Vaynerchuk’s Crush It.
    Funky Business.
    The Mesh,.
    What Would Google Do.
    Getting Real by 37S.
    Save The Pixel.
    Convert by Ben Hunt.
    Mavericks at Work.
    4 Hour Work Week.

    These are blogging specific but all go to running a successful business, which presumably you want your blogging to be.

    • I was just thinking about Funky Business the other day. That’s a great book, I get the feeling it wasn’t that widely read.

      Agreed about Godin, Reword.

      Also 4 Hour Work Week, which I resisted for a long time but which has a lot of strong insights. (Along with a good dose of colorful “Only for Tim Ferrissisms”).

    • Seth Godin – I totally agree! I’m working my way through the reissue of “all Marketers are Lairs” (retitled “All Marketers Tell Stories”) and I’m looking forward to “Lynchpins.”

      And setting aside that his ideas are genius, his writing style is so natural and easy, it just cascades off the page and communicates some much personality. A very magnetic personality at that.

  110. Excellent list Danny – I would suggest one or two time-tested tomes on copywriting would be an appropriate addition to the marketing section. For example, Scientific Advertising and Tested Advertising Methods provide a solid copywriting foundation – everywhere you see the word “ad” you think “blog post” [with credit to Jon Morrow’s guestblogging.com]

  111. This is great insight….. and a lot of work so I need to get busy.
    I have a new blog dedicated to helping church audio/visual volunteers
    at soundmansbible.com
    I will apply this info to the site.

  112. The best entrepreneurship book I’ve read is “The Millionaire Fastlane”

    Despite the hokey title, the advice is unbelievably valuable.

  113. thanks for the tips – I read the Strengths Finder book years ago and never thought about it again until recently. It makes so much sense when I see my strengths why I’m enjoying my business so much now (I’m a success coach), rather than when I was an employee!

  114. Dude, tihs book list is blast-off goodness!
    Gladwell, Pavlina, Kawasaki, Osterwalder, and so many more… woo!

    I’ll have to check out the one’s I’ve missed! Thanks for this!

    Oh, and I agree with the others Chris Guillebeau’s AONC is awesome 😀

  115. Great post Danny!

    I would have included Rework by the guys at 37Signals.

    And Zen to Done (a simplified GTD approach) by the infamous Leo Babauta

  116. Hey Danny,

    What an insane post and another huge and great list on the comments thread as well.

    I highly doubt I’ll be able to read all these books even on one year (I have a life after all lol) but it surely is a great way to start adding to my to-read-book queue so I appreciate your compilation and everyone else’s suggestions.

    Take care man and thanks again!

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