Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Elon Musk share more than billionaire status. All three highly successful businesspeople are famous for how much they read. I’ve read a few books in my day as well, and while I have not yet reached billionaire status, when I do make it I’ll have these books to thank for a big part of my inspiration, knowledge, and success in how I approach money and business. None of these books are brand new, but they all earned a prominent spot on my bookshelf.
The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
The first book on your summer reading list is the updated version of David Bach’s classic, The Automatic Millionaire. The book explains some very important personal finance concepts that every American adult should understand. While they should teach this stuff in high school, they don’t. We have to learn it on our own. Thankfully this book is a light and fun read that takes you through important finance concepts like The Latte Factor and automated investments.
Personally, this book has a special spot in my heart. It was the last book I read before I started my own personal finance blog back in October 2008, the first step in a long chain of events that led to me quitting my job for full-time self-employment in April 2016. I also had the opportunity to see David speak at last year’s FinCon event. It was inspiring to see him live and in person!
Before you pay the government, before you pay taxes, before you pay your bills, before you pay anyone, the first person that gets paid is you.
– David Bach
The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
If you’ve never read The 4 Hour Workweek, you missed a book that became an icon for millions looking to build an online business and the accompanying lifestyle. This book helps readers through the process of developing a “muse” product. The idea is to put in hard work up front creating a product that can sell itself, full itself, and service itself. Through strategic outsourcing, you can build a business that takes about four hours per week to run.
I never got a muse product off the ground – though I have a prototype hanging on my wall, which is pretty cool. Nonetheless, lessons on outsourcing to online workers overseas did help me along in my business. I’ve worked with freelancers and agencies in India, Phillipenes, Ukraine, England, and the United States to help me with my business. Right now I’m working with people in Arizona, Kentucky, and India for various projects in my own businesses.
“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.”
? Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek
The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau
I admit I didn’t buy a copy of The Art of Non-Conformity when I saw Chris Guillebeau in Denver at the Art of Non-Conformity Unconventional book tour. I already had a copy, read it cover to cover, and read Chris’s blog every time a new post arrived. I’ve since met Chris several times. I’ve read more of his books. I attended his World Domination Summit conference in Portland. If you can’t tell, I’m a fan.
This book was so transformative for me that I’ve lent it out to multiple friends. It explains opportunities to build your own business and lifestyle independent of the lifestyle society built for you. From this book, I learned I don’t have to live in a way that others expect. If the lessons sink in with you as much as they did for me, you’ll be on a new path toward an entrepreneur lifestyle.
“Unreasonable,” “unrealistic,” and “impractical” are all words used to marginalize a person or idea that fails to conform with conventionally expected standards.”
? Chris Guillebeau, The Art of Non-Conformity
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I have only ever read one book more than once, and I’ve read it about three and a half times (I lost a copy on a plane once). That book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This is a fiction book, the only fiction book on this list. It follows the story of a boy learning important lessons on life and discovering what it means to follow his dreams. If you have big dreams but keep getting stuck moving forward, give this book a read.
The Alchemist recently turned 25 years old and remains a regular on bestseller lists. The book was first written in Portuguese in 1998 by Coelho, a Brazillian author. As of 2016, it had been translated into 80 languages, won 115 international prizes and awards, and has sold over 150 million copies. And for good reason.
“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
? Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
The Art of Work by Jeff Goins
Sometimes big life changes happen concurrently with a certain book. I was mid-way through reading The Art of Work when I gave my notice and quit my job. It was the book I was reading at the time when I went over the tipping point and made a concrete step to full-time, online self-employment. It has been amazing, and I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for this book for being with me at the time I took the plunge.
Jeff Goins is an amazing writer and took his own journey of following his dreams of writing for a living. The book is very relatable and, for many would-be entrepreneurs, tells some familiar truths that are important to see written on the page in front of you. It may be just what you need to take the next step in building your business.
“as we step into our life’s work, we discover that we have been preparing for this our whole lives, even though in that very moment we feel insufficient.”
? Jeff Goins, The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do