Being a curious cat is both a blessing and a curse.
A blessing because I am always seeking to learn. If I am listening to a podcast or reading an article and the guest or the host suggests a book or a resource – and I am interested – I divert my attention and go and investigate all there is to know about that thing, brand or personality. I have found some of my greatest mentors this way and 98% of the time – I am inspired. A curse because being an investigator can take me off topic and sway me from what I may have been focusing on and then the visionary and innovator in me adds a few too many things to my “to-do” list.
With that said – I have learned so much over the past few years and I am grateful for those that have figured their stuff out and are now sharing it with all of us.
We all know that gathering information is both easier than ever before but it’s also overwhelming and daunting all at the same time. The choices are bountiful and what it really comes down to is…time. So, I am doing the heavy lifting for you and reviewing my 10 books that have all given me the nuggets and knowledge that I need in order to be a better student, mentor, guide and expert.
Let’s dive in!
(each title has a clickable link so you can go and discover more about the book)
Get Scrappy – Nick Westergarrd
I read this book prior to the pandemic. Little did I know that on March 13, when our state was put on lockdown, did this notion of “Getting Scrappy” would play such a big role in my own pivot as an independent business advisor.
I have spent my life being scrappy and figuring shit out and this book validated that I am not alone and that being scrappy is a GREAT THING
Being a behind the scenes (and behind the camera) kind of gal, I have been utilizing the internet, social media and content marketing for my clients for years. There are no better tools out there for building a brand then the world wide web. Nick Westergarrd validates this by sharing how platforms from the Internet to social media to content marketing, have reset the playing field for businesses, both large and small.
With that said, this digital media marketing train is moving at record speed. Just in the last month or so, Instagram rolled out both “Reels” and “Guides”. I was just getting used to creating stories and now I have to go and learn this crap? I was just invited to “Clubhouse” and I am currently using Telegram to communicate with my team, some of which are in Pakistan, Bangladesh, England and the Philippines. And it’s free to communicate this way.
There is so much to do and with tighter budgets, entrepreneurs wearing way more hats than normal, trying to keep up with an ever changing array of platforms, Nick Westergaard outlines how business of any size can make sense of this train that is moving at a thousand miles per hour.
Most of what Nick writes about are tips and practices I have been using for years as I mentor and guide my 1:1 clients on their journey to building, scaling and growing their personal brands. Why I love to recommend this book is because it validates what I teach. And giving another perspective, told by a different narrator, simply helps my desire for all my clients and all of you to create the plan and the systems to get to you where you want to go. You can read more about my approach in a recent blog post, S.O.A.P (here), an acronym for how I get myself and clients from point A to point B.
Grab this book and while you are at it, download it via the Libby app and listen to it while you read along!
Rework – Jason Fried
Jason Fried debunks the need for those daunting and boring business plans, investors or all the bells and whistles that, we as entrepreneurs, think we need.
Just last night I was working with a client and she was stressing over how the identity we are crafting for her today and why it might not be relevant 2 years from now I dialed her back and told her to focus on the next 30 days. It’s really important to cast that long term vision, but you also have to stay in the present. My advice to her was to simply START!!! Everything else will follow.
We need to think less and create more and this is the perfect book for any and all entrepreneurs. Although I love every book on this page, both ReWork and Get Scrappy are my top 2!
As a visionary and a creative, I do struggle sometimes with finishing projects that I start. I have so many ideas in my tiny little brain that I get distracted and that derails me.
But, once I started setting goals, long term, yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly I started getting the results and outcomes I had been looking for. And when I started teaching this as the foundation for my program and made it Stage 1 of my 5 Stage Framework – I started seeing the results in others and not only did it validate my own success but it proved that it can work for anyone, in any field.
He says that quitting on our goals (aka quitting ourselves) is about perfectionism.
“We’re our own worst critics, and if it looks like we’re not going to do something right, we prefer not to do it at all. That’s why we’re most likely to quit on day two, “the day after perfect”—when our results almost always underperform our aspirations.”
So true, right? That’s why I detest New Year’s Resolutions – they don’t work!!
Buy this book, like now! But better yet, listen to it as well. His self deprecating tone and humor was for me, the best part of this literary dialogue. So much so that I have re-downloaded it and listened to it a few times. You might see me on my early morning walks, “laughing out loud”. And if you do, know that it’s Jon who is making me laugh!
Jab Jab Hook – Gary Vaynercheck
I found Gary V a few years back and became obsessed. So obsessed that I DM’d him (over and over again) on Instagram because he talked alot about how he loved my demographic and that we were the best, untapped resource. TRUTH! That’s why I do what I do – because I feel the same exact way!
Although so much has changed in the past 3 years since he wrote this book, especially as it relates to social media and digital marketing, what still rings true is that in order to crush it and stand out, you need solid strategies that are highlighted by your hook
When it comes to crafting your narrative and telling your story, it has to be done in such a way that YOU stands out. Regardless of what industry you are in – they are all saturated and impacted. If you do not have a compelling story with an identifiable, unique narrative – then you will never land the punch that you are hoping for.
I cover this and dig deep in this area in stage 3 of my 5 Stage Framework. The “Design It” phase is, hands down, my favorite phase and it’s where you get to see the true uniqueness in who you are and why what you have to share and say is valuable.
Just last week, I was working with a client and we were uncovering her pillars and as I showed her how they could all be intersected (the connecting the dots exercise), when she finally got it – her head exploded. That’s my goal!
So, find your hook and craft your unique story! I promise you – you will be rewarded in more ways than you can ever imagine.
Free to Focus – Michael Hyatt
Michael Hyatt has mastered creating a digital platform by teaching what he knows. I have read several of his books, but this one really helped me with my productivity.
Being first and foremost a caretaker (3 man-children and an 88 year old mother who I am the sole caretaker for), I don’t always get done in a day what I set out to do. The distractions from the dings and pings, coupled with the mundane requests and questions from everyone around me – can take me off topic in an instant.
While my intentions are spot on, I was oftentimes left unfulfilled during the day because I could not complete a task. My biggest takeaway from this book and Michael Hyatt in general is that batching or time blocking is the key to getting stuff done. After listening to several of his podcasts and reading his books, I realized that an hour or two of “deep dives” can create the momentum for more productive work and play!
His motto, “Productivity is about getting the right things done” is so true. Find your desire zones and work on that stuff first. If you can farm out what you don’t like to do (for me – it’s the back end of my digital platforms) and focus on what you do like to do. And generally – that is the stuff that can scale and grow your business.
This is another book that I highly recommend you listen and read along. It was as if he was sitting right beside me and the value I learned in his 3-step system for achieving more while doing less was golden.
Atomic Habits – James Clear
On a road trip 2 years ago to visit friends on their winery in the Santa Ynez Valley, I was able to listen to this entire book, from start to finish, on that round trip excursion.
Breaking or creating habits are hard. But when you put the systems in place and practice those systems day in and day out – the stuff you want to change becomes as easy as brushing your teeth and washing your face. You do those tasks without thinking and creating a system that works for you is no different.
And, we all know I am a systems gal! Without the systems in place – nothing gets done. And I never really realized how much a systems girl I was until I wrote my first e-book this past year; “Dorm Food Sucks and My Kids Are Starving”. I wrote this for my kids who were whining and in outline and writing it – I realized that the reason why I get things done in my home and in my business is because I have a plan for all of it. What day I create the meal plan, what day I shop, what day I prep, etc. It’s really not that hard when you know where you are going and what needs to get done. In my 5 Stage Framework, I stress how important it is to build the foundation first. Then you can go ahead and build the structure. But you can’t build the structure until you have a good, solid base to begin with.
This book will give you the tools and strategies to create new habits so you can transform and achieve in all areas of your life.
The One Thing – Gary Keller + Jay Papasan
The One Thing, is like a combination of Finish and Free to Focus. It’s about dialing in on one thing at a time and completing one task at a time. Efficiency + Productivity.
By focusing on one thing at a time, you eliminate the distractions and put less on your plate. This is not always an easy task for me, but I am really trying to use the cumulative effect that I created in my 5 Stage Framework and that which I teach my 1:1 clients, on myself. And, I have to say – it’s working.
As I dial in on transforming my 1:1 program to digital products, it’s super important that I tackle one thing at a time. Not always easy for me, but after a bunch of trial and error, I have found a system that works for me. I teach this system and my goal is that some or all of it inspires others to adopt this for themselves.
Before reading this book, I struggled with trying to craft the big “kahuna” as I like to call it and when I dialed it back and realized that I could offer parts of the whole (program) in smaller bites and chunks – that is when the momentum and the big picture came into full view.
What’s your ONE thing? I want to know!!
Building A Story Brand – Donald Miller
I am all about the story. If there is one stage of my program that lights my butt on fire – it is the stage that talks all about how you tell your story. And I don’t mean where you went to school and how many siblings you have. The layers and pillars that make you, YOU!
This book really helped me understand the flow and importance of how to outline and craft the homepage of one’s website. After simplifying what he was saying, not only was I able to write that story, but it was a great way to help my clients see what needed to be done in the simplest way.
The seven key story points that he outlines throughout the book is so simplified that if you follow them, your audience or customer will understand the benefits of using your products, services or expertise. In simplifying your brand message, in this easy way, it allows you to tell your customer exactly what you do, why you do it and how they can buy from you. Because of him and this book and his podcast, I have become a better storyteller.
To Sell is Human – Daniel Pink
We are all salespeople. Do you find yourself negotiating, non stop with your children? Like on a daily basis. You are selling them to take out the garbage, or eat their greens or even go on an errand with you. Whether you are persuading your kid to do what they are supposed to do or negotiating with the avocado lady at your local farmers markets or convincing your partner that there is no shot in hell you are going to do the dirty deed tonight – we are all masters at selling.
Daniel Pink gives you a new perspective on the art and science of selling. As someone who has had this entrepreneurial spirit since the age of 7 – I totally appreciated this book. It’s been awhile since I read it and I think it’s time to dust it off the shelves and do a re-read!!
The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
This is simply a must read for any entrepreneur or creative out there. As creatives and visionaries, much of the time we spend creating is a lonely place and because of that, our internal thoughts can derail our outcomes.
Steven Pressfield helps us identify those battles and shows us how we can overcome the obstacles from within. He holds the mirror up so you can see yourself and be yourself. Regardless of what field you are in, this book helped me understand my potential and that we are all worthy of great things.
Essentialism – Greg McKeown
If I could count how many times I have heard from clients, friends and associates, “I am so busy”, “I am fragmented and all over the place”, “I can’t get anything done” – I could write a thousand page novel!
You all know that I am a systems gal and this book is a systematic discipline so all of us can discern what is essential and what is not. This is the less is more philosophy and helps us reclaim our ability to be selective and reclaim control over our choices. It’s kind of a new way of doing everything!
Well…there you have it! I know that this was maybe a bit more info than you ever really wanted – but I am passionate about knowledge. Information is power and if you can find a few little nuggets in each of these books – that is always the goal.
If you have read any of these books, I would love your little takeaways and if you have read something that is not on this list – please share. I am always up for learning something new.
If this inspired you, you’re welcome to join the Think Tank here. We talk about stuff like this and so much more. It would be great to have you