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If I could choose one of my major character flaws, it would be that I read too many books. Not that reading is a bad thing…but I tend to gather dozens of self-help books on my nightstand and my bookshelf. When I am in a funk or am solving a problem, I am much more likely to go and read a nebulous self-help book looking for a “cure” rather than just dealing with my crap. Not only that, but I have the added fun foible of foisting all of books off on my wife, insisting that she read them, and double-insisting that she listens to my crack-brained ideas that I’m now sure will fix all of our problems.
The main reason for this is probably that, when it comes down to it, very few self-help books stimulate more than very temporary change and almost none of them will change your life/business/relationship/etc. for the better.
The books on this list, however, are not like those books. These books make the very short list of volumes that I return to again and again, have read several times, and have had a MASSIVELY positive effect on my life and my business’ bottom line. Without further ado here are the books that I would highly recommend to every eBay seller, Amazon FBA dabbler, or any connoisseur of home-based business:
THE MILLIONAIRE FASTLANE
“This is the book I wish I had when I was twenty—and it doesn’t include a “free training” that funnels into $10,000 seminar.”
― M.J. DeMarco, The Millionaire Fastlane
This book was a massive breath of fresh air. It is a financial book that does not tell you that you’ll get rich by skipping your morning latte and investing that $3 in mutual funds. Rather, it is a massive kick in the shorts to get out there, create massive value, and reap massive rewards in return. DeMarco is a highly entertaining and honest writer. Whenever I feel defeated and think I should probably just get a job (or my mom tells me that I should) this is one of the books I come back to.
Some of my favorite quotes:
- “Instead of digging for gold, sell shovels. Instead of taking a class, offer a class. Instead of borrowing money, lend it. Instead of taking a job, hire for jobs. Instead of taking a mortgage, hold a mortgage. Break free from consumption, switch sides, and reorient to the world as producer.”
- “I awoke to the epiphany that I was the driver of my life and my problems were the consequences of my choices.”
- “What if I told you ‘insane’ was working fifty hours a week in some office for fifty years at the end of which they tell you to piss off; ending up in some retirement village hoping to die before suffering the indignity of trying to make it to the toilet on time?”
“You are no longer asking, “How can I make my business bigger?” You are asking, “How can I make my business healthier?”
― Mike Michalowicz
Profit First is the book in this list that has added the most to my business’ profitability. Before reading this book, I was focused on building sales, hiring help, and moving as much product as possible. The high sales numbers made me ignore the fact that my business was, in fact, a “cash-eating monster.” I never had the capital to cover expenses or big purchases even though there was a large cash flow. If you’ve ever read The Richest Man in Babylon, this book has a similar “pay yourself first” mentality but applied in a very real way to running a small business. You really only have to read the first half of this book (maybe 30 mins worth) to get a brutal awakening and start transforming your business so get to it!
Some of my favorite quotes:
- ”The system for profitability we have been using since the beginning of time is totally stupid.”
- “Putting your nose to the grindstone is a really easy way to cover up an unhealthy business. We think that if we can just work harder, longer, better—if we can just hold out—something good will happen one day.”
THE 4 HOUR WORKWEEK
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.”
― Tim Ferriss
Including The 4-Hour Workweek on any business/self-help list feels kind of like cheating. Of course it has to be here, you’ve probably already read it, and my recommendation is nothing new. However, I feel that this book has been valuable to me in a different way than it is to most people. A large portion of the book (too large in my opinion) is filled with the nitty gritty of creating a hands off business. The information is fine, but it does not age well and I can find most of that info in a blog post. The real value of the book is that it started an internal dialogue about how I was using my time and made me think critically about how things could be better in my life and business. So if you’re an eBay seller, pick up a copy (or two…I have two…), absorb the motivating bits, radically alter your life with what you’ve learned, and dispose of the rest.
Some of my favorite quotes:
- “People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”
- “For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.”
Hopefully these books put you into butt-kicking mode as fast as they do for me. Knowledge is good but knowledge in action is what gets results so get reading and then get out and get doing. Happy selling!