Updated: August 22, 2014
There is a wealth of knowledge out there. The difficulty lies in finding what’s relevant to you.
What I want to do here is help you out in that process to some degree. This is my personal reading list. It includes books I’ve read, the book I’m reading, and books that I will read.
In this list, there will be many books that aren’t only relevant to me. Over time, it will also be updated continuously because there will never come a point where there is nothing else to learn.
Some of these books are quite amazing too. A few I’ve even read countless times, and the incredible thing is that I learn something new every time.
Books That I’ve Read
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – Dealing with people is one of the most crucial skills in life. This book is one of the best guidelines on developing that skill. I definitely needed it.
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu – Nothing needs to be said about this. If you haven’t read this, rectify that with all due haste. Go to a library, borrow it from a friend, whatever you need to do, but get it.
- The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi – This is one of those books that I read all the time. It’s very conceptual with a focus on mastery.
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell – I read this book in less than a day. It’s very well-written, and there are some great lessons to be learned from it That’s true even if I don’t agree with some elements of the argument.
- Meaningful Marketing by Doug Hall – This is a reference guide on marketing principles and techniques. Meaningful marketing is another way of saying marketing for smart people or marketing that people actually respect. A contrast is also made against principles and techniques that the author labels as mindless marketing.
- Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin - This is another book that focuses on the factors of success like Outliers. If I had to choose between them, I would definitely choose this one.
- The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss – This has great lessons on time management and entrepreneurship. Also he recommends some quite interesting books.
- Training the Samurai Mind (translated) by Thomas Cleary – This is a collection of various writings by notable historical figures with a focus on philosophy and religion. It was incredible.
- Drill to Win by Andre Galvao – This is one of the best reference guide for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Drills. The only flaw it has is that there is no video component. It’s an issue because some of the movements can;t be properly translated through pictures alone.
- Code of the Samurai (translated) by Thomas Cleary – It’s been a long time since I’ve read this, but the focus is on how you conduct yourself to be worthy of respect.
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – If you haven’t read this, stop whatever you’re doing, and rectify that. Think and Grow Rich really can’t be recommended enough. The concepts highlighted in the book are as true today as they were decades and centuries ago.
- The Unexpected Champion by Dan Faggella - If you don’t have a lot of time and you want a practical guide for achieving success in training, this is the book for you.
- The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz – I read this before Think and Grow Rich, but it’s written afterward. Both books highlight similar principles, but the presentation is different.
- The Fighter’s Mind by Sam Sheridan – A series of interviews and observations on the mindset that fighters develop in order to achieve high levels of success.
- The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – A classic. Even if the days of kings have come and gone for the most part, there are still some practical lessons here.
- Discourses on Livy by Niccolo Machiavelli – This is the lesser known book by Machiavelli that focuses on the benefits of the republican form of government. You really have to read both to get a full sense of the philosophy.
- The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin – Josh uses his own life story to highlight lessons about the learning process. He gets a bit too dramatic with language here and there, but it’s a book filled with great insights.
- The Theory That Would Not Die by Sharon Bertsch Mcgrayne – I don’t recommend this book. It has a series of interesting history lessons, but overall it’s just not well organized.
- The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris – A very interesting biographical book about Teddy Roosevelt’s life before he became President.
- Einstein by Walter Issacson – A biographical book that covers almost the entire span of Einstein’s life and accomplishments.
- Rebounders by Rick Newman – This is another book focused on the factors that go into success. It uses real life examples to illustrate on how resilience and persistence make a significant difference.
- Slow Down, Sell Faster by Kevin Davis – The focus is on a simple idea. It’s that a customer’s buying process is far more important than any selling process. The focus should also always be on filling a need, and this book gives ALOT of practical advice for doing that.
- Blink by Malcolm Gladwell – This is another well-written book by Gladwell. The focus is on how the unconscious mind influences decisions.
- Masters of Command by Barry Strauss – This is a study of the history and leadership of three great generals. They have names you’ve probably heard before: Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar.
- As We Speak by Peter Meyers and Shann Nix - The book goes over several different aspects of communication and clearly outlines methods for improving the process. It’s also well-written and quite interesting.
- Mastery by George Leonard – The book focuses on the concepts of mastery, but you already knew that. It was the title, wasn’t it? Anyway, he breaks up the principle into core components then uses a mixture of personal experience, research, and philosophy to emphasize his points.
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason – This was one of the best books I’ve ever read on managing money. The ideas and concepts are presented and reinforced in a clear and enjoyable way.
- Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson – There are dull points in this book, but the actual parable is quite interesting, and the lesson you can draw from it is great.
- The Art of Strategy by Avinash Dixit and Barry Nalebuff – I was disappointed by this book. I feel that it failed to deliver on the promise of being a guide to strategy in business and life. Instead, it’s a book about the mathematics of game theory and public policy.
- Mastery by Robert Greene – This book is simply amazing. He mixes concrete examples and theories to really drive home the concepts and ideas. It’s easy to see how it can all be applied.
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek - I saw Simon’s TED talk, and it inspired me to pick up this book. I’m glad that I did because it really makes you think about what people respond to.
- Thick Face, Black Heart by Chin-Ning Chu – This was an extremely interesting book. It challenged conventional concepts about achieving success and gave me a different perspective on things.
- Mindset by Carol Dweck – It begins with the idea that there are two primary mindsets and they affect how people respond to events. Then she gives many different examples of those mindsets are applied, and what you can do to change your own mindset.
- On Writing by Steven King - I really enjoyed this book. There were great lessons to be learned from his life story as well as his technical insights on writing.
- The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene - I’ve read this book a few times now, and the historical lessons are really invaluable.
- The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity by Catherine Ponder - This was a decent successor to Think and Grow Rich. Many of the same concepts are emphasized from a different perspective.
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk – I’ve listened to this book, so it was hard to appreciate without actually seeing the words in front of me. Going to have to get it in book form later.
- A Way with Words: Writing Rhetoric and the Art of Persuasion by Michael D. C. Drout - I was only able to find this in audio form, but it is excellent. The terminology and application is analyzed, and I enjoyed it.
- Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership by Howard Gardner - This is a scholar’s work so it is a little dry. Other than that, several of the individuals he profiled were completely unknown to me, so that was a new source of lessons.
- How to Write Short by Roy Peter Clark – This book about doing more with less. In short, it makes you think about methods of removing the bloat from communication until only the point is crystal clear.
- Zen Jiu Jitsu: The 30 Day Program by Oliver Staark – I leery of any one who would write under an alias on a non-fiction work, but I would like to see more conceptual books on Jiu-jitsu, and this one was overall decent.
- Daily Rituals by Mason Currey – Many stories are told about artists throughout the years, but the focus is not on their work; it is on the rituals they performed consistently that contributed to their work. It is fascinating.
- 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene – The format is the same as his other books, but focus is on strategy, and there are many lessons that can be gleaned from history.
- The Lean Startup by Eric Reis – Focuses on how entrepreneurship can build successful businesses with limited resources. When it comes to Jiu-jitsu, the lessons can be applied to gym creation, since the cost and risk in such endeavors can be high.
- No Excuses by Brian Tracy – Core and comprehensive lessons on applying self discipline to many situations and how such a focus will change the outcomes achieved.
- The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge – This book introduced me to the concept of neural plasticity, which is the idea that your brain has the ability to physically change itself in response to stimulus. It reinforced the idea that nothing is static.
- The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike Michalowicz – The focus is on the start up phase of building a business, and I found the material worth reviewing.
- The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz – The focus is on specialization in order to rapidly grow an existing business, and there were many good ideas in the book.
- Profit First by Mike Michalowicz – When I listened to this book, since I did audio, I notice a clear correlation between the central premise and the Richest Man in Babylon. It takes the concept of paying yourself first and applies to business and goes quite deep into the financials.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – It took me a long time to find my way to this book, but I am glad that I did. I really enjoyed the lesson.
- Mastering Jujitsu by Renzo Gracie and John Danaher – Fundamentally, I have altered my philosophy on training to a degree as a result of this book. It’s not the easiest read, but the overall concepts were strong.
- Coaching for Performance by John Whitmore – Focuses on the practice of coaching in many different spheres of life, and I will be studying it for some time.
Books That I Will Read
- Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
- Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson
- Success Principles by Jack Canfield
- Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
- Strategy by Liddell Hart
- Expert Performance in Sports by Anders Ericsson
- Motivation and Personality by Abraham Maslow
- Extraordinary Minds by Howard Gardner