Here’s what I’ve been reading over the last few months. I’m pretty sure I’ve managed a book a week, but here’s the highlights:
(The links go to Amazon. Sometimes it’s the Kindle edition. If you’re not using a Kindle yet, you should be. Forget the nonsense about the pleasures of reading a book made from real paper, and liking the “feel” of them. The Kindle is light, compact, will hold your entire library, is a pleasure to read, has a battery life that defies logic, is environmentally friendly, allows new authors to get in front of new audiences, and helps to avoid situations like the one above.)
I read this for research on what may well be my next book (watch this space).
It’s short, which is good. Not because the book’s not good – it is quite good – but because the world needs more short books.
It’s valuable in part for the great collection of Hemingway quotes. Beckerman – a fine writer – has done prodigious research as well, so you get a fantastic primer into the life of Papa.
The advice is terrible, of course (kill animals, kill people, drink yourself silly) but that’s why it’s so fun. I couldn’t quite work out if he was glorifying or mocking Hemingway, but that’s my only niggle. Read it if you want to know more about one of the most interesting characters of the last century.
by Paul Carr
Full disclosure: Paul helped me get tickets to see Absinthe in Vegas. He also paid for my coffee in L.A, so this review is favorable. But it would be anyway. Here’s why:
Lifestyle Design is the new sobriquet for “living”. Minimalism is the new consumerism and in there’s a corner of the internet full to bursting with twenty-somethings living their wet dreams and sticking it to the man by going vegan and self-employed and, frankly, impoverished.
Paul Carr – following the success of his memoir on the tech start-up scene (and his catalogue of personal alcohol-fuelled fuck-ups), Bringing Nothing To The Party - got on with designing his own minimalist lifestyle.
The big difference in his case, is that he decided to live in luxury hotels, for cheaper than living in an over-priced rabbit-hutch in London.
This is the story of how that’s possible. It’s part reference guide to living very comfortably out of a carry-on, and part honest and uncharacteristically modest tale of how he got sober. I enjoyed it a lot. I’ll bet you will, too.
How I Sold One Million eBooks in Five Months
by John Locke
John Locke is a self-publishing sensation and astute self-promoter. In this short book he shares the marketing strategy he used to shift over a million copies of his various Kindle ebooks in a very short space of time.
Worth noting is that he did it on basically no budget, and that his books had been languishing at the bottom of the Kindle charts before he applied his strategy. He also shares his technique for writing a book that people like, which, without giving anything away, is: think of the readers first, then write the book for them.
He inspired me to self-publish my next book. Keep your eyes peeled. It’s coming soon. (There are so many arguments for and against. I guess I can’t make my own mind up until I’ve tried both, right?)
The Millionaire Messenger
by Brendon Burchard
Brendon is a goo-roo. This book will be useful for you if you want to see the exact process he applies for running his business. If you’re into internet marketing, this will not be new. But if you’re into internet marketing, you’re unlikely to be reading this information for the first time in a real book, eh?
That said, it’s not about internet marketing, it’s about making use of what you’re good at, and packaging it up into what is effectively an information marketing business.
The subtitle is “Make a Difference and Fortune Sharing Your Advice.” Brendon practices what he preaches. He’ll always be in business because no matter how many times the advice is repeated, people won’t apply it.
There’s a lesson in that.
The Millionaire Fastlane
by MJ DeMarco
Crappy title, crappy cover, brilliant book.
Yes, it’s a little wordy, and a little repetitive, but boy, the concepts are crystal clear and counter-intuitive. DeMarco’s book tells the difference between those who go through life on the sidewalk (the working poor), those who go through life in the slowlane (the middle class and wealthy) and those who go through life in the fastlane (the super-rich.)
He outlines the mindset and practices employed by those who have retired young, and who make their money work for them, rather than vice-versa.
I can’t do it justice myself, but if there’s one book you pick up from this whole list, I’d make it this one. Read it a few times and take notes.
In essence, it’s about making the shift from being a consumer to being a producer. He argues persuasively that working five days a week to get two days off is a bum deal, and he rips into books you might be inclined to compare it with from the outset – books like Rich Dad Poor Dad and the Four Hour Work Week.
(He makes the salient point that none of the financial gurus touting their philosophies have actually made money by applying the advice they sell, but rather by selling that advice.)
Also, he’ s got an amusing voice. This one is highly recommended.
Poke The Box
by Seth Godin
A lot has been written about this book already. Seth writes economically. He clearly spends a great deal of time on being concise, and it shows. The book is about an idea – the idea that we need to be “nudged away from conformity and toward ingenuity” and he doesn’t waste words.
I always think of Seth’s books rather like medicine: take as required. The Dip was my bathroom reading for a good month. Each paragraph stands on its own. The paragraphs put together become more powerful. Poke The Box is a call to action. He calls you to do something for the first time, to take initiative.
Do The Work
by Stephen Pressfield
Published by the Domino Project – like Poke The Box – Do The Work is a similar call to arms.
Stephen Pressfield writes poetry. This long-form blank-verse piece is about what you do once you’ve poked the box – how do you keep going through resistance?
If Poke The Box is about starting, then Do The Work is about finishing. Buy them together.
I’ll release the third in the trilogy soon. It will be called “Eat The Pie” and it will be about how to celebrate once you’ve started and finished.
by Tony Hsieh
The Zappos story. Amusing section on the similarities between running a business and gambling. I got this copy free when I was at the Zappos offices in Vegas last month. Interesting biography of a truly interesting business.
The 4-Hour Body
by Tim Ferriss
A monster reference manual that will teach you how to lose weight, gain weight, gain muscle, run faster, breathe deeper, swim quicker and have better sex. Well-balanced, controversial, amusing. There’s something for the geeks and something for the jocks. You won’t want to read it in one sitting, but you’ll be impressed by the depth of research that went into it. Would like to see a UK edition, if only for the food measures and diet-based stuff.
Book Yourself Solid – 2nd Edition
by Michael Port
The book that changed the course of my professional life has been updated, polished off and added to. The core concepts that have helped so many remain unchanged, but the specifics in the marketing strategy sections have been updated to be more relevant, particularly the web marketing section.
If you’re interested in learning more about the system, but you’re allergic to reading, check out the Book Yourself Solid School of Coach Training.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson
“… the new Apple PowerBook G4/1.0 GHz in an aluminium case with a PowerP.C. 7451 processor with an AltiVec Velocity Engine, 960 megs of R.A.M. and a sixty-gig hard drive. It had BlueTooth and built-in C.D. and D.V.D. burners. Best of all, it had the first forty-three-centimetre screen in the laptop world with N.V.I.D.I.A. graphics and a resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels, which shook the P.C. advocates and outranked everything else on the market.”
Other than that, quite good.
I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell
by Tucker Max
Tucker Max is a great writer and storyteller. This will appeal to any guy who hasn’t yet watered down his male aspirations. He tells his close-to-unbelievable stories about sexual conquests and Olympic drinking.
A provocative and enjoyable voice. All the guys want to be him. All the girls want to sleep with him. This guy describes girls who are “ugly and a bitch” as having “no human rights,” a description, which, if offends you, will have done exactly what he intended.
I stopped enjoying the book the minute he tells the story about how he identified a girl at her most vulnerable (upside down, legs spread apart) and tells how he “punched her right in the vagina”, before running off “laughing so hysterically I couldn’t breathe.”
Sleeping around, fighting, getting so drunk you can’t stand up: I approve of all of these.
Violent sexual assault? Go fuck yourself.
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