I love reading. When I was younger, I devoured fiction like finger lickin’ fried chicken. But during the first part of the decade, I read mostly non fiction. I was just starting my business and needed to learn new computer programs all the time, so I would just buy a manual and figure it out. I believe in traditional education, but I learn best by doing. I’m a self-proclaimed autodidact—at least when it comes to some of the technical stuff I do here at Motionbuzz. After I discovered the free video tutorials on YouTube, I stopped buying how-to manuals and began reading more books about the big picture (of business and life).
In no particular order:
- Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea – by
- Wed ReDesign 2.0: Workflow That Works – by
Kelly Goto and Emily Cotler
- The World Is Flat – by
Thomas L. Friedman
- The Creative Business Guide To Running a Graphic Design Business – by
Cameron S. Foote
- Broken Music – by
- Designing With Web Standards – by
- Getting Real – by
37signals (a free ebook)
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich – by
- Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing out of Sync? – by
- Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion –
Learn more about these books at our Amazon page or find them at your public library (one of my favorite places and free).
I love reading. When I was younger, I devoured fiction like finger lickin’ fried chicken. But during the first part of the decade, I read mostly non fiction. I was just starting my business and needed to learn new computer programs all the time, so I would just buy a manual and figure it out. I believe in traditional education, but I learn best by doing. I’m a self-proclaimed autodidact—at least when it comes to some of the technical stuff I do here at Motionbuzz.
After YouTube launched, I turned to free video tutorials whenever I needed to learn a new app or coding technique. I stopped buying how-to manuals and began reading more books about the big picture (of business and life).
Some of my favorite marketing books are by Seth Godin. Even as we head into a new decade, the techniques of permission marketing, Edgecraft and soft innovation are still extremely relevant and useful to any business. If you haven’t read his books, I highly recommend you drop everything and do so now.
And The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss is still an insightful read for folks who want to start an internet business. Building and marketing an ecommerce site has become easier and cheaper than ever before. If you’re toiling for The Man and dream about replacing your day job with an internet business, then FHWW is a great starting point. I had already incorporated many of Ferriss’s techniques into my life before I read his book, but his ideas about lifestyle design helped me quantify some of my goals. The biggest take away for me was to stop obsessing over every small detail and reduce the distractions in my work environment. I still work more than four hours per week and check my email way too much, but I continue to improve my time management skills.
In a similar vein, Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk is all about using personal branding, self promotion, free internet tools, and good old-fashioned hard work to make a living doing what you love. The book is short and offers plenty of tips. I heard Gary talk a few months ago at a conference, and he’s the real deal—very straightforward and living proof that the tips in his book work.
Broken Music by Sting inspired me more than any other book this decade. I love The Police and Sting’s solo work, so I knew I’d enjoy his memoir. I read it six years ago when my wife and I were expecting our first child, and I was tempted to trade my self-funded start-up for a secure 9-to-5 with benefits and a steady paycheck. Even though I had some initial success with Motionbuzz, self-employment still seemed too risky for a soon-to-be father. What would I do about health insurance? Would I turn into a workaholic just to pay the bills? Could I handle the stress? Then I read how Sting quit his secure teaching job and moved to London to pursue his music career. He had a wife and newborn son, but he took the risk and soon joined an unknown band called The Police. Their success didn’t happen overnight, yet he persisted. As we all know now, he made the right choice.
Sting has been my musical hero since high school (I play bass, sing, have blond hair and a ripped physique—well, I did in college, ha!). So I said to myself, “if Sting had the cojones to follow his heart, and it worked out for him, then so will I.” I still laugh at my conditional statement. He became one of the most popular and successful musicians of all time, and here I was just aiming to make a living and support my family. Nevertheless, his story offered the inspiration I needed to push through a challenging spot in my life. Thanks Sting.
Lastly, I follow a bunch of smart people’s Twitter and RSS feeds, and one of the most insightful belongs to Derek Sivers. He’s the founder of CD Baby, and his blog is always interesting and worth reading. If you’re still having trouble finding something cool to read, check out his book list. After reading Sivers’ notes, I recently checked out How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer from my local library. It’s a great book so far, and the take away is to listen to your gut feelings. Sure, it seems a bit Jedi-esque, but Lehrer backs it up with science.
I included a few other books in my list, but this post is already pretty long. So I’ll wrap it up with a question:
What are your favorite books from the past decade?
I look forward to your comments. Have a fun and safe New Year’s celebration. See you in the next decade!