3 Books You Need to Read (Plus 1 Free Book)

Can you remember the last time you read a book that blew your mind?

I’m talking about a book that completely shifts your way of thinking.

I love that. Isn’t it incredible when one book can radically change your thoughts or beliefs?

That happened to me this year with a couple of books, and I wanted to share them with you (plus a free book you can grab below).

Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

AbundanceFirst, there was Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think (referral link; non-referral link here) by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. If you haven’t read this book, you need to drop everything and rush out and get it.

In Abundance, Diamandis (who founded the XPrize and Silicon Valley’s Singularity University) and Kotler document how progress in artificial intelligence, robotics, digital manufacturing, synthetic biology, and other exponentially growing technologies are enabling us to make much greater gains in quality of life today than we have ever before in human history.

Their basic premise is while headlines in mainstream media tend to dwell on the negative, in fact trend lines across multiple areas have moved towards much better quality of life for huge portions of the planet.

What’s incredible is that the book is actually a few years old – it was published in February 2012 – so it’s a bit out of date. And even though they were writing about amazing, exponential companies leveraging digital tools to grow quickly, two companies which were notably absent were Uber and AirBNB, both of which weren’t even on our radar screens in late 2011 or early 2012, even though they have become household names just a few years later.

For me, that demonstrates how truly powerful their original vision was.

You may be wondering how I think all of this will affect relationships in business, which is what I focus on.

I think exponential technologies will have a dramatic impact on the way we conduct business today, including the relationships we build, and how relationships are built in business.

Just about anyone can leverage exponential platforms including social media to build relationships at scale very quickly, just as I have the past few years. Before you know it, you can have a massive tribe of people who are interested in the work that you do.

That’s led to a dramatic democratization of media – you no longer ‘need permission’ from a large media platform to build a following and a business behind it.

By the way, the same coauthors of Abundance actually have a newer book called Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World which I’m midway through right now and I’m pretty certain it’s just as good as Abundance.

I am, at heart, a very optimistic and positive person and I resonated with Abundance’s very positive and inspirational message.

And I was not alone. My old boss, Bill Clinton, cited Abundance as one of the best books of the year (2012).

Elon Musk said, “Abundance is essential reading for anyone looking for a better tomorrow.”

Check it out: Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown

MultipliersIn Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter (referral link; non-referral link here), Wiseman explains why some leaders (which she calls “Diminishers”) drain capability and intelligence from their teams, while others (“Multipliers”) amplify it to produce better results.

If you lead a team or are an entrepreneur, then you should be concerned with how you can produce better results from your team. This book will show you how.

I think everyone has worked for a bad boss at some point in their career, and I’m certainly no exception.

This book breaks down what makes bad bosses so bad, and explains why bad management actually can be one of the costliest wastes of money and resources for any company.

Check it out: Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More by Perry Marshall

8020 salesThe idea behind 80/20 Sales and Marketing (referral link; non-referral here) is simple: you can save 80 percent of your time and money by zeroing in on the right 20 percent of your market.

Marshall shows how to laser focus the 80/20 Rule in outsourcing, hiring, publicity, controversy, market research, lead generation, and web traffic; online, offline and social media.

There was one specific anecdote or example in this book which really brought it home for me. Marshall talks about how if you go into any Starbucks, you’ll find they sell a $2 cup of coffee, a $4 latte, a $297 espresso machine and a $2,997 espresso machine, because 1 in 100 people will walk into that Starbucks and say to themselves, “what the hell, let’s just get the $3,000 espresso machine.”

That’s really changed my thinking in terms of my offerings, whether it’s for my new live events business I cofounded this year or for my own digital courses.

Check it out: 80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More by Perry Marshall

Book Launch blueprintFinally, my buddy Tim Grahl recently put out a brand new book called Book Launch Blueprint: The Step-by-Step Guide to a Bestselling Launch. He’s giving it away for free for a limited time.

Now, Tim has worked with some of my favorite business book authors, helping them to launch their books and put them on the bestseller lists.


Dan Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human.

Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick and Decisive.

Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit (referral link; non-referral here).

Not too bad, eh?

So check out the book. If you’re thinking about writing a book in 2016, there’s few people better able to teach you about how to launch a new book properly.

By the way, there’s no catch to downloading the book. No hidden shipping fees. No hard upsell. But: once or twice a year, Tim does teach an online course called Launch a Bestseller.

He’ll likely be launching that early in 2016, so you will probably hear about it when it opens.

Finally, what books did you read in 2015 that blew your mind? Let me know in the comments below.


  1. Already own the first one, and the last. Will check out the other two. Thanks.

  2. There’s a fantastic follow-up to “Abundance” by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler called “Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World”. It’s all all about exponential organizations, entrepreneurs, technologies, and opportunities. It’s a well-researched, compelling, and inspiring read that I highly recommend. Here’s a quick link: http://amzn.to/1OGyaPt

  3. Michelle Carstens says:

    Thank you for your list of books. The 3 books which really touched me are Brendon Burchards’s books : The Motivation Manifesto,The Millionaire Messenger and The Charge. Truly inspiring books, I highly recommend them, especially The Charge.

  4. Highly recommended (along lines of disruption theme):

    -Elon Musk (truth > fiction … so many awesome stories. If you’ve been close to the edge and felt bad about it, you’ll love this book)

    -Exponential Organizations (Salim Ismail, great complement to Abundance and Bold)

    -Disrupt You! (Jay Samit)

    -The Innovators Dilemma (oldie but a goodie)

    I have a ton of other recos that are a bit more general/less disruption focused:

    -Start with Why (Simon Sinek. I’m rereading it)

    -How to Win Friends & Influence People (use the lessons daily)

    -The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (must read. full stop)

    -Traction: A Startup Guide (very actionable -used it heavily to grow my previous startup)

    -Art of the Start 2.0 (had pleasure to be early reviewer and contributor)

    • Great recommendations! I did read Elon Musk this year and it was great, but didn’t make my top 3 for the year that I listed here. I also read most of Exponential Organizations and I saw Salim speak in April, but I need to finish the book. I’ve also read Carnegie and you’re the second person to recommend Traction to me today alone. : )

  5. The 1 book I read in 2015 which changed my thinking is The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida.

    It was recommended to me many months ago by a good friend, and I finally cracked it open this year – it was well worth the time invested to read (and re-read) it and certainly altered my thinking.

  6. Jeff Schwisow says:

    “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown – a great read on the power of vulnerability.
    “Amplifiers” by Matt Church – a well written book on the importance of motivational leadership, as amplifiers of those around us that choose to follow.

    • I’ve heard of Brene Brown of course but haven’t heard of Amplifiers. At first I thought it sounded like Multipliers but I just read the Amazon review and it doesn’t seem all that similar after all. I tend to discount the power of “inspiration” — I recognize it’s important to others but I personally don’t get much value in inspirational content/speakers etc. — so I could probably use a read to disabuse myself of my own tendency to discount it.

      • Jeff Schwisow says:

        Cool, John. Would love to hear your thoughts if you get a chance to read it – disabuse or just abuse. 😉
        Btw, just finished Tim Grahl’s book – really useful read, so thanks! Obviously need to push building my “fan” base up my priority list. If only there were someone out there that could help me do that…

  7. Kelvin Scoon says:

    My 3 books are.
    ABUNDANCE by Peter Diamiandis and Steven Kotler which I reread’

    BOLD also by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

    THE NEXT ECONOMIC DISASTER Why It’s Coming and How to Avoid It by Richard Vague

  8. Kahina Ferreira says:

    Great article by the way.
    I read: “Atmosphere ” by Peter Zumthor, it’s old but pretty contemporary. Young architects will love it; Still reading “the Architect says” by Laura Dushkes and “urban planning. This two changed my sensitivity towards lots of things.

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