I read and consume a lot of books; I’ve done so over the years. I read books for fun, books for business, motivational books, science books, history books… let’s just say I read often, even listening to books in the car instead of listening to the radio.

When people put together lists like this one, you’ll often get anywhere from 10 to 100 books. Frankly, when I started out with this one I was heading near the 20 book level and thought that was overkill. Just a couple of years ago on a different blog I wrote a post on 10 Influential Books In My History.

Over the years I’ve written book reviews on 26 books; 32 if I count each individual book of the Harry Potter series. This time around, I’m going to recommend 5 books that I’ve never talked about before; if you’re interested in seeing some of the individual books I’ve written about previously You can check out this link or this one. By the way, at this time I don’t have affiliate links to any of these books but if I change that at some point I’ll modify this sentence to indicate it:

1. Get Clients Now by C.J. Hayden

This is one of the first books on marketing that I read when I decided to go into business for myself and it’s been very helpful over the years. The major selling point of this book is the actual program that you put together for yourself via the worksheets in the book.

It helps you plan, categorize importance of, then follow through on all of the projects you have in mind for your business for a 28 day period, though you could decide to do it in smaller chunks if you wished. It even gives you weekends off to relax and do whatever you want to do, without having to think about what you’re going to do on the following Monday because you’ve already written out your goals ahead of time. You also grade yourself throughout the day on what you’ve done and how you feel, which helps to hold you accountable.

You begin by using her worksheet to write out all the things you’d like to accomplish. Then you move items to the main worksheet, which first allows you to denote how you feel when you wake up on a 10-point scale. Then you list three or four items that are long term goals that you want to work on. Then you list a bunch of items of things you want to do every single day, or every week.

It can work wonders in helping you stay the course for business purposes, but you can use it for other things as well. I recreated the worksheet as an Excel program so I could either print out a new sheet every month or just copy it into a new page in Excel and change the date. Very helpful indeed.

2. Pimpology by Pimpin’ Ken

This is something different, yet quite illuminating. He’s a real life pimp, big time if you’ve never known pimps could be big time (y’all have heard of Ice-T, right?). He’s been named Mack of the Year several times (these are national awards for pimps, where they vote on their own and have a yearly ball celebrating different categories of pimps), has been in music videos, hung with some of the top rap and R&B musicians in America, and was even on stage at the BET Awards along with one rapper, helping him accept an award. He’s been in Milwaukee, New York City, and Atlanta, among other places. His father, known as Johnny Slick, was also a pimp, and many of his friends come from a line of pimps also. Talk about lineage!

It’s always been accepted that street knowledge translates well into a business model. Though he says some graphic things in the book, every “law” basically starts out with a story, and when he gets to the eventual point it’s almost exactly like what you’d see in any other business motivation book; that’s where this book is in the bookstore.

For instance, his take on pimps (person in charge) and hoes (prostitutes or, in this case, the worker) makes sense when he extrapolates it. If you’re a pimp, all the money and accolades are coming your way. If you’re a ho, you’re doing all this work for someone else’s benefit, and they throw you a bone, so to speak, to keep you coming back for more. In the long run you’re lining someone else’s pockets more than your own.

It’s a different take on business yet it jibes well with other books I’ve read on the subject. There’s a lot of bad language in it, but what would you expect from someone with his background?

3. Before You Quit Your Job by Robert Kiyosaki

Kiyosaki is best known for his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, but I consider this one much more important. It might not be not as captivating at the original, probably because this time he’s not telling stories as much as detailing the thought process people should be ready for before deciding to start working for themselves. Still, I wish I’d been able to read it before I went out on my own.

There’s a lot of truth in this book, and he covers the reality people should explore before thinking about self employment (what they’re going to lose), what to think about if you’re hoping to become rich, and what people should do before they actually decide to leave their jobs and become independent. I’m going to share those 10 tips here:

* Check your attitude
* Get as much experience as possible on five levels of the B-a Triangle (explained in the book)
* Always remember that Sales = Income
* Be optimistic as well as brutally honest with yourself
* How are you at spending money?
* Start a business to practice on
* Be willing to ask for help
* Find a mentor
* Join an entrepreneur’s network
* Be faithful to the process

4. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D

To some people this might feel like the “dryest” book to read of all the books I’m going to talk about. In reality, it’s probably one of the most important books to read because it’s not speculation about what makes rich people. Instead, it’s well researched and gives some insight as to the types of people who become millionaires, and many of these people aren’t what you’d expect.

For instance, many of the millionaires he interviewed live in small houses in non-assuming neighborhoods. They drive small, non-distinct cars; some drive minivans. They don’t wear fancy clothes, they don’t eat out much, and they don’t travel all the time. Some of them don’t even make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year; they’ve just decided they wanted to learn how to save money, or make money work for them, with dreams of early retirement or living well at any point they decide to retire.

On the second front were some of the types of people who are millionaires that one wouldn’t expect, and I mean multi-millionaires. By profession, auctioneers came out at the top of the list of folks who were likely to be millionaires; I didn’t see that one coming. They were followed by plumbers, electricians, and many other small business owners. Many of them have accumulated more wealth, and are wealthier by far, than physicians who earn $500,000 a year; that was phenomenal to learn. One person in the book actually was able to make it to being a millionaire making $35,000 a year by skimping, saving, and investing well.

The two overriding factors, which I believe is inspiration for all of us, is that these folks don’t live like how we’d expect millionaires to live, so they could be our neighbors without our knowing it, and that all it takes is some perseverance, dedication to a budget, the willingness not to be extravagant and, gasp, being real. How’s that for motivation?

5. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

There are a lot of creative people in the world. The overwhelming majority of them don’t actually create anything new though; what they do is improve on something that already exists. That’s the premise of this book, one that’s just under 50 pages long yet became a New York Times bestseller.

It’s an important book because it teaches all of us that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel; all we have to do is make it stronger, make it prettier, make it last longer, etc. The reason we have Google is because search engines like Alta Vista and Yahoo showed them the way to get started, and all they had to do was improve on the product.

Even though it’s a short book, it had 10 chapters, each a pretty good lesson for all of us who want to be creators of some type, or hope to find the next big thing. They are:

* Steal like an artist
* Don’t wait until you know who you are to start making things
* Write the book you want to read
* Use your hands
* Side projects are important
* Do good work and put it where people can see it
* Geography is no longer our master
* Be nice
* Be boring
* Creativity is subtraction

Those aren’t bad are they? For context, trust me, read the book! 😉

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