Shut Your Face, They’re Reading What?

Hi  again and thanks for staying connected to eBrand Me. I’ve been working on a few projects and haven’t posted much since earlier this year. But this, was just too good not to share. Too good, I tell you.

A few weeks ago, I came to the realization that I should be spending more time reading in an effort to expedite the process of getting my “canards” in a row. An online search led me to a chest overflowing with treasures published by a website titled “Most Recommended Books.” It featured favorited reads by some of the most successful people alive today. After nearly suffering a neck sprain from the (mental) whiplash which ensued, and wiping the drool forming at the corner of my mouth… I hurriedly logged into Evernote to save my favorites. But then, I remembered that sharing is caring so I’ll post a few from the likes of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Jeff Bezos, Tim Ferriss, and “de leest” goes on. Hope you find something of interest.

Elon Musk

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.

Lying by Sam Harris

In Lying, best-selling author and neuroscientist Sam Harris argues that we can radically simplify our lives and improve society by merely telling the truth in situations where others often lie. He focuses on “white” lies—those lies we tell for the purpose of sparing people discomfort—for these are the lies that most often tempt us. And they tend to be the only lies that good people tell while imagining that they are being good in the process.

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Smith’s world was very different to ours, of course, before the Industrial Revolution changed everything. At yet, by showing how the freedom and security to work, trade, save and invest promotes our prosperity, without the need for a directing authority, The Wealth Of Nations still leaves us with a powerful set of solutions to the worst economic problems that the world can throw at us. The free economy is an adaptable and flexible system, which can withstand the shock of the new, and cope with whatever the future brings.

Peter Thiel

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.

The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg

In The Sovereign Individual, Davidson and Rees-Mogg explore the greatest economic and political transition in centuries—the shift from an industrial to an information-based society. This transition, which they have termed “the fourth stage of human society,” will liberate individuals as never before, irrevocably altering the power of government. This outstanding book will replace false hopes and fictions with new understanding and clarified values.

7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy by Hamilton Helmer

Drawing on his decades of experience as a business strategy advisor, active equity investor and Stanford University teacher, Hamilton Helmer develops from first principles a practical theory of Strategy rooted in the notion of Power, those conditions which create the potential for persistent differential returns. Using rich real-world examples, Helmer rigorously characterizes exactly what your business must achieve to create Power. And create Power it must, for without it your business is at risk. He explains why invention always comes first and then develops the Power Progression to enable you to target when your Power must be established: in the origination, take-off or stability phases of your business. Every business faces a do-or-die strategy moment: a crux directional choice made amidst swirling uncertainty. To get this right you need at your fingertips a real-time strategy compass to discern your true north.

Bill Gates

Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street by John Brooks

What do the $350 million Ford Motor Company disaster known as the Edsel, the fast and incredible rise of Xerox, and the unbelievable scandals at General Electric and Texas Gulf Sulphur have in common? Each is an example of how an iconic company was defined by a particular moment of fame or notoriety; these notable and fascinating accounts are as relevant today to understanding the intricacies of corporate life as they were when the events happened.

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

In Principles, Dalio shares what he’s learned over the course of his remarkable career. He argues that life, management, economics, and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines. The book’s hundreds of practical lessons, which are built around his cornerstones of “radical truth” and “radical transparency,” include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges, and build strong teams.

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don’t know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the “impossible.”

The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking by Eli Broad

Eli Broad’s embrace of “unreasonable thinking” has helped him build two Fortune 500 companies, amass personal billions, and use his wealth to create a new approach to philanthropy. He has helped to fund scientific research institutes, K-12 education reform, and some of the world’s greatest contemporary art museums. By contrast, “reasonable” people come up with all the reasons something new and different can’t be done, because, after all, no one else has done it that way.

The Man Who Fed the World by Leon Hesser

Norman Borlaug was the only person during the twentieth century who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for work in agriculture and food. There is no Nobel Food Prize, so the Nobel Committee chose Dr. Borlaug as the 1970 recipient of the Peace Prize based on his dramatic scientific breakthroughs and wheat production technology that relieved hunger in much of the world. During the previous decade, many people on the planet Earth, most notably in China and the Asian Subcontinent, were facing starvation, even famine. Borlaug’s revolutionary achievements relieved widespread human suffering and brought peace.

Broken Genius: The Rise and Fall of William Shockley, Creator of the Electronic Age by Joel Shurkin

This is the first biography of William Shockley, founding father of Silicon Valley – one of the most significant and reviled scientists of the 20th century. Drawing upon unique access to the private Shockley archives, veteran technology historian and journalist Joel Shurkin gives an unflinching account of how such promise ended in such ignominy.

Warren Buffett

Bull!: A History of the Boom and Bust, 1982-2004 by Maggie Mahar

In 1982, the Dow hovered below 1000. Then, the market rose and rapidly gained speed until it peaked above 11,000. Noted journalist and financial reporter Maggie Mahar has written the first book on the remarkable bull market that began in 1982 and ended just in the early 2000s. For almost two decades, a colorful cast of characters such as Abby Joseph Cohen, Mary Meeker, Henry Blodget, and Alan Greenspan came to dominate the market news.

This inside look at that 17-year cycle of growth, built upon interviews and unparalleled access to the most important analysts, market observers, and fund managers who eagerly tell the tales of excesses, presents the period with a historical perspective and explains what really happened and why.

The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor by Howard Marks

Marks expounds on such concepts as “second-level thinking,” the price/value relationship, patient opportunism, and defensive investing. Frankly and honestly assessing his own decisions–and occasional missteps–he provides valuable lessons for critical thinking, risk assessment, and investment strategy. Encouraging investors to be “contrarian,” Marks wisely judges market cycles and achieves returns through aggressive yet measured action. Which element is the most essential? Successful investing requires thoughtful attention to many separate aspects, and each of Marks’s subjects proves to be the most important thing.

Investing Between the Lines: How to Make Smarter Decisions By Decoding CEO Communications by L.J. Rittenhouse

Investing Between the Lines introduces a revolutionary method for evaluating the financial integrity of a company. You don’t need special access to “insider” information or a degree in accounting to figure it out. In fact, the secret is right in front of you—in black and white—in the words of every shareholder letter, annual report, and corporate correspondence you receive.

Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules: Words of Wisdom from the Partnership Letters of the World’s Greatest Investor by Jeremy Miller

Compiled for the first time and with Buffett’s permission, the letters spotlight his contrarian diversification strategy, his almost religious celebration of compounding interest, his preference for conservative rather than conventional decision making, and his goal and tactics for bettering market results by at least 10% annually. Demonstrating Buffett’s intellectual rigor, they provide a framework to the craft of investing that had not existed before Buffett built upon the quantitative contributions made.

Common Sense on Mutual Funds by John Bogle

Written in a straightforward and accessible style, this reliable resource examines the fundamentals of mutual fund investing in today’s turbulent market environment and offers timeless advice in building an investment portfolio. Along the way, Bogle shows you how simplicity and common sense invariably trump costly complexity, and how a low cost, broadly diversified portfolio is virtually assured of outperforming the vast majority of Wall Street professionals over the long-term.

Charlie Munger

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns by John C. Bogle

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing is the classic guide to getting smart about the market. Legendary mutual fund  pioneer John C. Bogle reveals his key to getting more out of investing: low-cost index funds. Bogle describes the simplest and most effective investment strategy for building wealth over the long term: buy and hold, at very low cost, a mutual fund that tracks a broad stock market Index such as the S&P 500.

The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History by Gregory Zuckerman

In 2006, hedge fund manager John Paulson realized something few others suspected–that the housing market and the value of subprime mortgages were grossly inflated and headed for a major fall.  Paulson’s background was in mergers and acquisitions, however, and he knew little about real estate or how to wager against housing.  He had spent a career as an also-ran on Wall Street. But Paulson was convinced this was his chance to make his mark. He just wasn’t sure how to do it.  Colleagues at investment banks scoffed at him and investors dismissed him.  Even pros skeptical about housing shied away from the complicated derivative investments that Paulson was just learning about.  But Paulson and a handful of renegade investors such as Jeffrey Greene and Michael Burry began to bet heavily against risky mortgages and precarious financial companies.

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher & William Ury

Since its original publication nearly thirty years ago, Getting to Yes has helped millions of people learn a better way to negotiate. One of the primary business texts of the modern era, it is based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, a group that deals with all levels of negotiation and conflict resolution.

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor by David Landes

Why do some nations achieve economic success while others remain mired in poverty? The answer, as Landes definitively illustrates, is a complex interplay of cultural mores and historical circumstance.

Jeff Bezos

Data-Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know by Mark Jeffery

In the new era of tight marketing budgets, no organization can continue to spend on marketing without knowing what’s working and what’s wasted. Data-driven marketing improves efficiency and effectiveness of marketing expenditures across the spectrum of marketing activities from branding and awareness, trail and loyalty, to new product launch and Internet marketing. Based on new research from the Kellogg School of Management, this book is a clear and convincing guide to using a more rigorous, data-driven strategic approach to deliver significant performance gains from your marketing.

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, Rework is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs they hate, victims of “downsizing,” and artists who don’t want to starve anymore will all find valuable guidance in these pages.

Tim Ferriss

Biography of the Dollar: How the Mighty Buck Conquered the World and Why It’s Under Siege by Craig Karmin

For decades the dollar has been the undisputed champ. It’s not only the currency of America but much of the world as well, the fuel of global prosperity. As the superengine of the world’s only superpower, it’s accepted everywhere. When an Asian company trades with South America, those transactions are done in dollars, the currency of international business.

But for how much longer? Economists fear America is digging a hole with an economy based on massive borrowing and huge deficits that cloud the dollar’s future. Will the buck be eclipsed by the euro or even China’s renminbi? Should Americans worry when the value of the mighty U.S. dollar sinks to par with the Canadian “loonie”?

The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read: The Proven Way to Beat the “Pros” and Take Control of Your Financial Future by Daniel Solin

Daniel Solin cuts through the financial hype to show you exactly how to invest-with an easy-to-follow four-step plan that lets you create and monitor your investment portfolio in ninety minutes or less…and put your investment earnings in the top 5 percent of all professionally managed money.

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger

We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding–“tribes.” This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.

Decades before the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin lamented that English settlers were constantly fleeing over to the Indians-but Indians almost never did the same. Tribal society has been exerting an almost gravitational pull on Westerners for hundreds of years, and the reason lies deep in our evolutionary past as a communal species. The most recent example of that attraction is combat veterans who come home to find themselves missing the incredibly intimate bonds of platoon life. The loss of closeness that comes at the end of deployment may explain the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by military veterans today.

Derek Sivers

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

Gerber walks you through the steps in the life of a business—from entrepreneurial infancy through adolescent growing pains to the mature entrepreneurial perspective: the guiding light of all businesses that succeed—and shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether or not it is a franchise. Most importantly, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business.

Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger by Peter Bevelin

We can’t eliminate mistakes, but we can prevent those that can really hurt us. Using exemplars of clear thinking and attained wisdom, Bevelin focuses on how our thoughts are influenced, why we make misjudgments and tools to improve our thinking. Bevelin tackles such eternal questions as: Why do we behave like we do? What do we want out of life? What interferes with our goals? Read and study this wonderful multidisciplinary exploration of wisdom. It may change the way you think and act in business and in life.

Tobi Lütke

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

Dr. Robert B. Cialdini—the seminal expert in the field of influence and persuasion—explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these principles ethically in business and everyday situations.

You’ll learn the six universal principles of influence and how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and, just as importantly, how to defend yourself against dishonest influence attempts.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. In this new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Adam Robinson

How to Decide: Simple Tools for Making Better Choices by Annie Duke

What do you do when you’re faced with a big decision? If you’re like most people, you probably make a pro and con list, spend a lot of time obsessing about decisions that didn’t work out, get caught in analysis paralysis, endlessly seek other people’s opinions to find just that little bit of extra information that might make you sure, and finally go with your gut.

What if there was a better way to make quality decisions so you can think clearly, feel more confident, second-guess yourself less, and ultimately be more decisive and be more productive?

Jack Kornfield

The Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of the Soul by Michael Meade

The Water of Life addresses the roots of conflict, the recurring hunger for war and the issues of reducing the warrior. Throughout the text The Water of Life functions as the core symbol for both personal and cultural renewal, and redemption in the spiritual wasteland. Using ideas gleaned from many years working with youth and communities at-risk Meade s writing rings with the echoes of truth and sings with an incantational voice that takes you right to the edge of elemental knowledge.


If you enjoyed this post, feel free to also read “5 Recommended Books for the Small Business Owner or Solopreneur.” You can also contact me for a complimentary consult.

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