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The Best Business Books to Grow Your Business

Must Read Books For Any Business Owner

Ready to get inspired? Informed? Educated? No investment in yourself has a better ROI than a good book. Over the years, we’ve reviewed dozens of how-to’s, biographies, and other books that can show you how to be a better entrepreneur. As they say, “success leaves clues.” Below, check out some of our favorite business books ever, and hear our full reviews on The $100 MBA Show!

Note: This page contains affiliate links (but we’d recommend these books either way).

Anything You Want
Derek Sivers

This book is a pretty short one. Just a hundred pages and you can read it in one sitting. It may be short but we’ve read a lot of books and this one ranks high on the list. Derek’s life story is so inspiring and his writing style won our hearts. If you want to know why we think this is a must read, simply click that play button!


Anyone Can Do It
Sahar Hashemi

This is our first Must Reads episode, where I discuss a book I highly recommend and explain why you should read it ASAP. I also discuss why the book influenced me as an entrepreneur and what were the major insights I found when reading it.


The War of Art
Steven Pressfield

In this Must Read episode we talk about why you MUST read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I share how it has impacted me and what are some of the biggest take-aways from the book. Press play and enjoy!


The Purple Cow
Seth Godin

In this Must Read episode I talk about why you MUST read Purple Cow by Seth Godin. Seth Godin is one of my absolute favorite authors. I share how this book has impacted me and what some of the biggest take-aways from the book are. Press play and enjoy!


Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Robert T. Kiyosaki

In this Must Read episode you will learn why you should read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and how it influenced me as an entrepreneur. This book is the best financial education I received, thanks Uncle Ash for gifting it to me 10 years ago!


Book Yourself Solid
Michael Port

In this Must Read episode you will learn why you should read Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port and how it influenced me as an entrepreneur. This book made a huge impact in the business book world and it really impacted our own business. Press play to hear why!


Now Discover Your Strengths
Marcus Buckingham

In this Must Read episode you will learn why you should read Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and how it influenced me as an entrepreneur. This book made a huge impact on my mindset and knowing what to focus on as an entrepreneur. We also have a super special giveaway in this episode so stay tuned til the end to find out about this exciting opportunity! Press play to hear all about it!


48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene
Robert Greene

Today is a Must Read episode where I discuss a book that has greatly influenced me as an entrepreneur and that I recommend that every entrepreneur reads. Today’s book is The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. This book is not a how to, but rather a book that will help you be aware of the affect power can have on others as well as some of the power tactics others make use of. Go ahead, press play and jump right in!


Seth Godin

Today’s episode is a MUST READ episode. Today’s must read book is Seth Godin’s Tribes. Seth Godin talks about the importance of building a community around your business and your role as their leader. We all want to be a part of a community, it’s in our nature. So how do you use this in your business to better your offer and better your service to your audience? Find out why Tribes affected our business and impacted us as business builders. Go ahead, press play and enjoy!


How To Win Friends and Influence People
Dale Carnegie

Today’s special 100th episode is a MUST READ episode. Today’s must read book is Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People. Nicole, our Producer joins Omar to talk about why this book is one of the best business books of all time. Find out why this book is so powerful and has influenced us as entrepreneurs. We’re also giving away that $100 Amazon Gift Card we’ve been talking about, so go ahead, press play and enjoy!


Reality Check
Guy Kawasaki

Here is yet another $100 MBA Show Must Reads episode! Today we review the book Reality Check by entrepreneur, evangelist, venture capitalist, and guru, Guy Kawasaki. This book is considered as one of the best resource materials out there in terms of guiding people in managing great organizations. Let us all benefit from Guy’s legendary wisdom today by pressing play!


I Will Teach You To Be Rich
Ramit Sethi

It’s time to feature another runaway bestselling book that’s worth your time! Today we discuss Ramit Sethi’s highly acclaimed book I Will Teach You To Be Rich. For years this popular bestseller has helped people from all over the world manage their money and guide them to the path towards financial freedom. Tune in to today’s $100 MBA Show so you can find out how this book can make an impact in your life!


Everything I Know
Paul Jarvis

It’s another Must Read episode here at The $100 MBA Show! Today we feature a brilliant book by Paul Jarvis, a web designer, author, entrepreneur and awesome friend. Paul’s book, Everything I Know, is packed with powerful insights that will help you transform your ideas. We will delve deeper into this book in today’s episode and let you know why you should read “Everything I Know,” so dig in now by pressing play!


The Thank You Economy
Gary Vaynerchuk

On today’s Must Read episode we share why you should take a look at Gary Vaynerchuk’s best selling book The Thank You Economy. If you want to be more than just a business and be a brand that actually cares about its customers and audience members, then this is a must read book. Find out how it shifted Omar’s mind-set as an entrepreneur and how it can do the same for you. Let’s do this!


Think and Grow Rich
Napoleon Hill

We start this week off by featuring a much loved classic business book- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Find out from today’s episode how this book influenced thousands of entrepreneurs and how you can apply its powerful insights to your personal and business growth. Let’s get down to business!


Good to Great
Jim Collins

In today’s Must Read episode we discuss why you really should read Good to Great by Jim Collins. This book has become a modern classic in business management theory for good reason. Find what makes it so good and how it can really influence you as a business builder. It sure had an impact on Omar and today, he shares how. Press play and learn more.


Jeff Sutherland

In today’s Must Read episode, we feature Scrum by Jeff Sutherland. Learn why the Scrum technique has been adopted by many large tech companies and how it can help you run projects with a group of people. It also offers insights on how to be more productive. Click play and you’re on your way.


The 4-Hour Work Week
Tim Ferriss

Today’s the day for a brand new MUST READ episode and we’re going to feature an amazing and fun to read book by Tim Ferriss: The 4-Hour Work Week. The title itself is very interesting and many have found this book very influential. Entrepreneurs and even 9-5 workers can definitely take something out from this book and I’m going to share with you why. Click to play!


First, Break All the Rules
Marcus Buckingham

How do the world’s greatest managers nail it at being incredible at what they do? Do you wonder why their employees seem happy and satisfied working for them? How can you achieve this? This must read episode can help you answer these questions intensively. Learn why you must read this book here on The $100 MBA Show!


The Power of Habit
Charles Duhigg

As an entrepreneur, you’re going to have to manage yourself, your time, and your habits. The better your habits are on a daily basis, the more you will see better results not just in your business, but in your life, too. That’s why we highly recommend you read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Know what you can expect from reading this must read book today! Let’s get it started!


The 5 Levels of Leadership
John C. Maxwell

In this Must Read Episode, we’ll be talking about a book written by a powerful public speaker, John C. Maxwell – The 5 Levels of Leadership. John C. Maxwell is the authority when it comes to leadership. We’ll talk about the different levels of leadership, how you can move up in the ranks and how to transition from one level to another. Let’s get started!


Dave Ramsey

Here on The $100 MBA Show, we showcase a book that we feel you MUST read especially if you are an entrepreneur. Today, we’re featuring Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey and you’re right! The book title is a combination of the words entrepreneur and leadership because being a leader in the business world is a completely different journey. So let’s find out how we can be a great leader as an entrepreneur, click play!


Greg McKeown

Are you the kind of person who thinks you can do it all but you find that you are stretched too thin and you’re way too stressed out? Are you “majoring in minor activities”? Enter the way of the Essentialist. Essentialism by Greg McKeown is high on our MUST read list. This book gave us one of the most powerful mindset shifts that immediately impacted our life and business. Let’s get into it!


The Sales Acceleration Formula
Mark Roberge

We highly recommend you to read this book because it has affected our business in a positive way. The author, founder of HubSpot, shared how they got started and how they were able to grow from a small team of 3 through his Sales Acceleration Formula. Listen to this episode to learn more!


The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries
Jack Trout

We’re sharing with you why you must read this book in this episode. Learn how marketing is just as important as is building your business. There are timeless insights, principles and takeaways that we have taken out of this book and applied straight to our business. Let’s get into it!


Delivering Happiness
Tony Hsieh

There’s a pretty good chance that you’ve heard about Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, probably the most popular online shoe store on the net. He is also known for the way he runs his business. And in today’s episode, we’re going to share with you why you must read his book, Delivering Happiness, which explains how he created this company culture that aims to improve the lives of its employees. What are you waiting for? Hit the play button!


Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Rework is a book that has been recommended to us by many entrepreneurs but I’ve just got around to read it for the first time recently. It is definitely a must read because it’s very honest, has no fluff and it makes you rethink the process of your business. We can’t wait to share this with you so let’s get started! Play the episode now!


The Ultimate Sales Machine
Chet Holmes

The only thing about this book I’m not a fan of, is the title: The Ultimate Sales Machine. That’s because this book is not just about making more sales, it covers a lot more than just sales. It is a national best seller and it’s a great all-around business book. This book provides practical and really good examples that can help you improve as an entrepreneur plus exercises on how you can really implement them in your business. If you wanna learn more about this book, hit that play button now!


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen Covey

We can’t think of a book that’s more well known in the business section. This book has sold over 15 million copies and it’s been translated in over 38 different languages. The audio version alone has sold over 1.5 million copies. So obviously and to be quite honest, it’s one of those books that everybody agrees that you should read. But why I recommend you must read this book is beyond those reasons. You have to listen to this episode to truly know why it’s a must read. Let’s click play!


The Six Thinking Hats
Edward De Bono

The Six Thinking Hats by Edward De Bono is an international best seller. It’s one of those classic books that you just need to read. It’s not strictly a business book but it will definitely help you become a better entrepreneur and help you make better decisions as a manager. Let us share with you the techniques that are taught in this book how we also used the techniques in our business. Press play!


Notes From a Friend
Anthony Robbins

Tony Robbins has a lot of best selling books. But the book that we are going to feature today is actually quite small compared to his other books. He is known and admired for his very large books but let us tell you why you also must read this little book. It may be little but what’s inside is a short summation of the things that Tony teaches very well that’s much bigger than we think. We can’t wait to share this with you so click play!


Brand Against The Machine
John Michael Morgan

This book is simply the best branding book I have read. I highly recommend this because it’s simple. It breaks down what is branding and why it’s so important. Too many books out there are over-complicated and a lot of us get branding and marketing confused. But I’m going to clarify all that in this episode. Click the play button so I can share with you why it’s a must read!


The Obstacle Is The Way
Ryan Holiday

We face challenges every single day. How do we tackle these obstacles head on and come out as a better person and entrepreneur? Not to worry because today, we’re going to share with you a book we’ve recently read- The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday. This book is not only very well-written, it will also show us how we can turn our own adversities into advantages. This book doesn’t fluff around so if you wanna hear about why you must read it, hit play!


Guerrilla Marketing Excellence
Jay Conrad Levinson

This book changes the way you think about marketing. It not only gives you specific insights about how to market your business on a budget, it also emphasizes why marketing is so important and how to keep it at the top of the line. We’re going to give you some great takeaways that we got from this book so you can use it to improve your business. Let’s click play!


Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant
Robert Kiyosaki

This is Robert Kiyosaki’s second book which in many ways, was more enjoyable than the first book, Rich Dad Poor Dad. It’s more practical, more tactical and it gets into the nitty gritty of financial education. CASHFLOW Quadrant was written for those who are ready to move beyond employment and finally have financial freedom. Find out why this is must read right now! Hit play!


The Dip
Seth Godin

The Dip by Seth Godin goes into a topic that a lot of people don’t want to talk about in business. Some may even refuse to agree or believe. It’s about knowing when to quit or when to hang on and keep persevering. We know everyone can relate to this but this topic is somehow ignored. This book talks about a lot of tough things we go through but more importantly about when to pivot. Learn why I considered this the first must read of 2016! Click play now!


How to Get a Grip
Matthew Kimberley

How to get a grip is a book written by Matthew Kimberley. It’s classified as a self-help book but it’s a whole lot more than that. It is so worth the read that we recommend every entrepreneur on Earth must read this book. If you want your business to be in great shape then you have to make sure that your life is doing great, too! A better you is a better business. Learn why it’s a must read in this episode! Hit play!


This Book Will Teach You How to Write Better
Neville Medhora

Before you start saying “I’m not a writer! I can’t relate to this book.” Remember that as an entrepreneur, you are a writer. Every day, you write for your emails, sales copies, script for your speeches, podcasts and videos and much more. Understand that this book is not about being a bestselling author, it’s simply about communicating effectively through writing. And this book will give you a formula on how to write better in just a hundred pages. We’re so excited to share this book with you so if you are ready, listen up!


Growth Hacker Marketing
Ryan Holiday

We’re featuring a second Ryan Holiday book as a Must Read. This book is so well-written and well-researched that after reading, you’re a better person for it. You can’t say that often about a lot of books! Get ready to change your mindset when it comes to marketing. We’ll also share why Ryan wrote this book and a bit of his back story. Don’t delay anymore, press play right now!


The Boron Letters
Gary Halbert

The Boron Letters is a book written while the author was in prison. Yes, during Gary Halbert’s prison time, he wrote letters to his son which is where this book is based from. For those who don’t know who Gary is, he’s was of the most successful copywriters of all time. His sales copy made millions of dollars. So if you want to know what this book is really all about, what makes it so compelling, what makes it a must read, simple- just hit the play button now!


Profit Hacking
Steven Daar

In today’s MUST READ episode, we review Profit Hacking by Steven Darr. It’s an easy and concise read in only 97 pages, but it’s a real mind-opener. The book shows us exactly what we should focus on in order to increase our profits. Best of all, the ideas and strategies are more simple than you think. Now, press play and let’s get down to business!


The Automatic Customer
John Warrillow

This book will surely give you a different perspective when it comes to membership business models with recurring charges. It highlights the huge benefits of having a business with this fee structure and shows you how you can apply this business model regardless of what kind of business you currently have. You might think that there’s no way your business is ever going to be offering membership and recurring fees. Well, this book has the answers for you so let’s get started!


Nir Eyal

Want to design products that keep customers coming back for more? That’s the topic of this week’s must-read book for the budding entrepreneur. Hooked by Nir Eyal teaches you how to create products that don’t just solve problems—they form habits. By focusing on your customers’ specific motivations and triggers, you can create something they’ll use automatically, without even thinking about it. It’s the kind of thinking that makes products like Google and Facebook so ubiquitous. And it’s the kind of thinking that turns a sale into a relationship. Hit play to listen right now!


Money. Master The Game
Tony Robbins

This week’s must-read for the entrepreneur is Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins. Robbins is a giant in the motivational speaking and self-help industries and this is his first book in over 2 decades. In it, he teaches readers how to make their fortune by being smart investors instead of simple consumers. Omar runs through Robbins’ 7 steps to financial independence and highlights the takeaways from this (very long) book. Click play to hear the legendary entrepreneur’s strategies!


How I Lost 170 Million Dollars: My Time as #30 at Facebook
Noah Kagan

How I Lost $170 Million: My Time as #30 on Facebook by Noah Kagan. Kagan is a friend of the $100MBA, and has even been a guest teacher on this podcast. Besides being an early (if ultimately fired) part of Facebook, he’s also founded several successful online businesses. His book is an open, honest account of his doomed journey through the halls of Facebook, what he learned there, and how failure makes us stronger than ever. Click play, and be inspired.


Crush It
Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is a big deal in the world of online marketing. An early YouTube pioneer, he was one of the first to realize that the internet had levelled the playing field for entrepreneurs competing against big companies. His first book, Crush It, is this week’s must-read. Vaynerchuk’s lessons on virtual branding, social media, and the new rules of transparency are essential for any serious entrepreneur. Click play to hear all about it!


The Brain Audit
Sean D’Souza

Customer psychology isn’t always easy to understand. Fortunately, this week’s must-read book helps! Sean D’Souza is the founder of His book- The Brain Audit, is a comprehensive and understandable tour of basic consumer psych. By knowing a few psychological principles, you can appeal to the mind of your customers, leading to greater sales and retention rates- no ink blots required. Click play!


Elon Musk
Ashlee Vance

It’s Monday, and we’ve got yet another exciting must-read book pick for the entrepreneur! This week, we take a look at Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. This insightful portrait of the controversial, huge-thinking mogul is especially intimate. That’s because Vance’s persistence (kind of like Musk’s) was unfailing- enough so that he eventually gained serious access to the man himself. It’s a great book about a fascinating person, so listen in and find out what you can learn from the man who’s (possibly) building the future!


Beyond Trying
Mike Vardy

Today’s episode is another super-informative, wildly helpful must-read book for the entrepreneur! Mike Vardy is a best-selling author, fellow podcaster, and founder of Productivityist. His short e-book Beyond Trying is a bite-sized master-class in productivity. With an individualized approach to finding the time you need, this book can really help you get things done! Click play to hear all about it.


Zero to One
Peter Thiel

Get ready: today’s must-read is one of the single best books ever written about business! Peter Thiel is one of the founding members of the “PayPal Mafia,” the legendary group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs whose influence is still being felt. His book Zero to One completely upends the accepted wisdom about business, and engrosses the reader with profound- but digestible- entrepreneurial wisdom. Click play, and hear Omar’s breakdown!


Ego is The Enemy
Ryan Holiday

Is your ego getting in the way of your success? Probably! Even if you’re not overtly egotistical, remember that all of us have to overcome ourselves. That’s the topic of today’s incredible must-read for the entrepreneur, Ego is the Enemy. The author, Ryan Holiday, is one of our personal favorites. Expectations for this book were high…and exceeded when we read it! Click play!


Web Marketing That Works
Adam Franklin & Toby Jenkins

With so many different ways to market your product online, actually creating a consistent marketing strategy can be tough. That’s where this week’s must-read book comes in! Web Marketing That Works by Adam Franklin and Toby Jenkins doesn’t just show you how to use different marketing platforms. It shows you how to combine everything from social media to webinars into one cohesive plan of attack. With practical advice, this book lets you skip the learning curve. Click play!


The E-Myth Revisited
Michael Gerber

Why do small businesses fail? Today’s must-read book for the entrepreneur answers that question. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber deconstructs the old entrepreneurial formulas and replaces them with a new outlook on small business growth. It lays out the life cycle of a successful small business and helps the reader put their goals and expectations into context. Gerber defines the universal personnel roles that every business needs filled, and offers tips on management and motivation. All in all it’s a vital perspective. Click play to hear all about it!


Deep Work
Cal Newport

What does work mean to you? On today’s episode, we review another must-read book for the entrepreneur, Deep Work by Cal Newport. Newport’s philosophy really struck a chord with us, challenging us to rethink the value of our work. What may seem like productivity may really be keeping you away from work that fills your business (and life) with meaning and purpose. Best of all, meaningful or “deep” work is in high demand! Find out what this concept can do for you- click play!


Start Small, Stay Small
Rob Walling

Today’s must-read for the entrepreneur is as short as it is sweet! Rob Walling is one of the foremost experts in micropreneurship, and his book Start Small, Stay Small is a testament to the power of little things. By focusing on marketing hard to a relatively tiny audience, you can be an effective- and profitable- niche problem-solver. The advice is great, and the example of a hard-hitting short book is even better! Click play to hear more!


Shoe Dog
Phil Knight

It’s Monday, and we’ve got a top-shelf must-read for all the budding entrepreneurs out there. Shoe Dog is the autobiography of Phil Knight, founder of Nike. Today, Nike is arguably the most successful sporting goods producer worldwide- but it didn’t get there without a lot of struggle, perseverance, and a little controversy. Knight tells the tale in an incredibly engaging way, making this one of our all-time favorite books on business. You’re gonna love it, too. Click play!


Manage Your Day-to-Day
Jocelyn K. Glei

We should be smart about how we schedule our week and our month. But how smart are we when it comes to scheduling our day? This week’s must-read offers a whole new perspective on time management and getting the most out of your day. Manage Your Day-To-Day by Jocelyn K. Glei isn’t a book of hacks or tricks. It’s a primer on how to see your daily schedule in a way that’s not only efficient, but encourages creativity. Click play and hear our review!


Robert Cialdini

It’s finally here: the long-awaited follow up to one of the most influential books on business! Robert Cialdini’s Influence made a splash when it was published in the 80’s. Now, Pre-Suasion delves even further into the psychology of persuasion. Using research-based techniques, you can bring customers, colleagues, and everyone else around to your way of seeing things in an honest, ethical way. Hear all about it: click play!


Total Recall
Arnold Schwarzenegger

It’s Monday, and time for another great must-read book recommendation! This week’s author is one of the biggest names in sports, movies and politics– a true Renaissance entrepreneur whose dreams are the only things bigger than his pecs. Arnold Schwarzenegger came from nothing, sought a goal, and did everything necessary to achieve the impossible. He’s had some controversies (and the book has its shortcomings), but there’s no better lesson in how to cultivate confidence, dream big, and dedicate yourself to the work that makes anything possible. Click play to hear our review of Total Recall!


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Mark Manson

Looking for a brutally honest approach to life and business? Have we got the book for you! This week’s must-read for the entrepreneur is Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and the title tells you exactly what makes this book great. Direct and practical, Manson hammers home the notion of prioritizing your values and devoting your energy to what matters most. As for the rest…eff it! The language is foul, but the message is valuable. Click play!


Angela Duckworth

Welcome to another Monday, and another fantastic must-read book for the entrepreneur! This week’s review is of Grit by Angela Duckworth. A lot of buzz has surrounded the release of this one, and for good reason. It’s an eye-opening look at the value of consistency and perseverance, but it’s no simple motivational speech. It explores the importance of grit relative to factors like talent and resources– factors that Duckworth sees as overrated! Learn how keeping your eye on the prize can negate any disadvantage. Click play!


The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Ben Horowitz

Like our other Must-Reads, Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for anyone who wants to understand what it takes to succeed in business. It’s so good, reading it once wasn’t enough!

Take responsibility. Take charge. Focus on results, not shortcuts. Your darkest moments will be your greatest victories, if you have the right attitude. Check out our podcast, read the book, and see how Horowitz’s approach can work for you. Click Play!


Steve Jobs
Walter Isaacson

What to say about Steve Jobs? He’s the first person that comes to mind when you think of the word “entrepreneur.” He changed the world we all live in, by virtue of his commitment to a business vision. Much has been written about, by, and for him. What can you, as an entrepreneur, learn from the legend? Now, we have the ultimate guide to his life and career: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, the most complete, relevant biography for any entrepreneur who wants to take lessons from the life of the iconoclast.


Born Standing Up
Steve Martin

Steve Martin might not be the first person you think of for business advice, but his biography is a master course in business perseverance. From his hard-earned advice on staying lean, to his invaluable lessons on the value of effort over inborn talent, Martin’s Born Standing Up is a treasure trove of wisdom for anyone trying to make it against all odds. As entrepreneurs, we’re on stage in front of an audience, too. Tune and learn how to “perform” successfully, no matter what industry you’re taking on. Click Play!


Perennial Seller
Ryan Holiday

Perennial Seller is about producing work that lasts, and creates profit for years. Holiday destroys myths about sudden inspiration and inborn creativity, and instead explains the patient process of executing and refining your way to long-term success. He also explains how to market your product for the long haul, rather than the quick buck. We had high expectations for this book, and they were exceeded. Hear how Perennial Seller can recalibrate your goals for the big picture. Click Play!


I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons
Kevin Heart

What can you learn from someone who made millions out of nothing? No capital, no connections, and no fantastic product idea? That’s the story of popular comedian Kevin Hart. Hart’s personal philosophies on work ethic, failure, and adaptation are proof that success doesn’t come from outside funding or the “perfect” product idea, but from a willingness to execute with what you have. His revelations about personal transparency and the marketability of honesty are fantastic examples of the core business principles we can all apply. Click Play!


Born to Run
Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen knows music, but he also knows business. From his extremely modest upbringing to the top of the charts, the legendary rocker is a model of financial discipline, business sense, and plain old savvy. While other artists were blowing money on the finer (and more dangerous) things in life, Springsteen kept his business “why” in mind: to never return to the poverty of his youth. Success leaves a trail of breadcrumbs for other entrepreneurs to follow. Born to Run is another phenomenal example of entrepreneurial achievement from the pop culture world. Find out what you can learn from a poor Jersey kid who made it all the way to the top. Click Play!


How to Stop Worrying & Start Living
Dale Carnegie

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie is a treasure trove of life and business wisdom, centered around the need to chill out, let go, and take care of what you can control. From organization to problem-solving to well-being, Carnegie breaks complex ideas into actionable strategies. He stresses the illusion of control, the power of altruism, and the importance of sleep. The book is written for a flowing, approachable read — so you can easily begin applying its lessons.


The 1-Page Marketing Plan
Allan Dib

Despite the title, Allan Dib’s The 1-Page Marketing Plan is an entire book, and it’s made our list of entrepreneurial Must Reads for very good reasons. This book offers a strategic, intentional, universal marketing plan that any entrepreneur can apply, no matter the type of business. The plan is sound, straightforward, and effective. Best of all, it’s laid out in easily digestible chunks: 9 total steps divided into 3 phases.


Exactly What To Say
Phil M Jones

Exactly What to Say by Phil M Jones is exactly what the title promises: a collection of phrases that will help you make sales. These key phrases encompass sales strategies that work for every kind of business and product. It’s a short, easy read that you’ll refer to again and again when crafting your personal sales strategy. Learn how to introduce your product and explain its value effectively. Arm yourself with the exact words you need to gain confidence in the sales arena. Click Play!


SEO 2018 (No-BS) Strategy
Casey Henry

SEO 2018 (No Bullsh*t) Strategy by Casey Leigh Henry is exactly what the title promises: a no-nonsense, brass-tacks guide to getting SEO right this year. SEO is always changing. From the early days of effective keyword-stuffing to Google’s Hummingbird and RankBrain updates, yesterday’s SEO strategies will not work today. It’s more important than ever to find out what works now — without wasting time. For the best ROI of your time, this should be the next book on your list. Click Play! For  list. Click Play!


Damn Good Advice
George Lois

Damn Good Advice (for people with talent) is a treasure trove of insights, witty observations, and hard-earned truths from George Lois, legendary ad-man and creator of Big Idea Advertising. As the title suggests, Lois’ advice is, shall we say, blunt. Some of it is even controversial. Heck, we outright disagree with a few of his points. But the net value of reading this book is undeniable. It’s an easy, short, digestible read with a humorously combative tone that keeps the pages turning.


The Everything Store
Brad Stone

The Everything Store by Brad Stone tells that tale of Amazon. It’s less a book about money, and more about drive, will, and unstoppable commitment. This is a long read, but worth every second — including the time you spend re-reading sections just to process the incredible insights. It’s chock full of “Holy sh*t” moments, pieces of wisdom that completely challenge your view of business and commerce. This book is a mind-shifter, from cover to cover.


Unlimited Power
Anthony Robbins

Tony Robbins is one of the original “self-help gurus.” While that kind of title might be scoffed at by some, the substance of his work is real and valuable. His 1986 book Unlimited Power isn’t some meaningless collection of affirmations — it’s a practical, smart guide to maximizing your potential. It’s one of Robbins’ all-time best-sellers, and for good reason. Many (including our host, Omar) have been profoundly influenced as business people by this book. Omar himself has read and re-read it multiple times, synthesizing the lessons within.


How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big
Scott Adams

Scott Adams is a cartoonist, but anyone who’s read his classic comic strip Dilbert knows he’s an expert in business and corporate culture. A sarcastic, controversial expert, but an expert nonetheless. After repeated recommendations, we finally got around to reading Adams’ 2013 best-seller, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. This book is unconventional, brimming with Adams’ frank, take-it-or-leave-it approach to understanding success. Love it or hate it, this book has as many valuable insights as hard opinions.


The Miracle Morning
Hal Elrod

In this book, Elrod espouses a philosophy of never settling, and avoiding the “rearview mirror syndrome” that fools people into thinking that the past defines the future. By committing to a morning routine that maximizes health, productivity, and creativity, you can empower yourself to live the life you want, not the life you have. Tune in, and hear exactly how to make your mornings count. The potential rewards are well worth ditching the snooze button once and for all. Click Play!


Getting Things Done
David Allen

David Allen’s Getting Things Done is a best-seller, and for good reason. It offers a fantastic system for getting the most out of every minute, making your day more productive — and less stressful. Take control of your inbox. Put an end to procrastination and last-minute stressing. With a consistent, systematized approach, you can earn more of the most valuable currency: time itself. Click Play!


A Life in Parts
Bryan Cranston

As he put it in his incredible memoir, A Life in Parts, Cranston chose to pursue something he enjoyed, however difficult it might be. Cranston’s story is the ultimate entrepreneur’s journey. Choosing to hone a craft, pay your dues, and take risks that most avoid is exactly what independent business people do. The resolve, patience, and bootstrapping attitude it takes to become not just famous, but trusted and respected, is something all of us need for our own independent careers.


The Black Swan
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, is all about thinking deeper than ever before. And by peering into the true nature of things, you can see what other entrepreneurs might miss. The subtitle of the book says it all: The Impact of the HIghly Improbable. Taleb came out of the Great Recession without a scratch, specifically because he anticipated something unlikely. The limits of our experience, he argues, put limits on our thinking.


Thinking, Fast and Slow
Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman is a psychologist who’s studied the science of human decision-making for decades. His book Thinking, Fast and Slow is a practical investigation of the brain’s thought process, specifically how it arrives at decisions like making a purchase. Today, we discuss how you can put this knowledge to work for your business. By understanding the buyer’s mind, you can become a better seller. You can give yourself an edge that no amount of marketing or advertising can produce.


Crushing It
Gary Vaynerchuk

Crush It was an instant classic, and an inspiration to countless independent business people. We love this book for several reasons, but mostly because it challenged our viewpoints. Crushing It forced us to reconsider our approach, and ultimately have a little more respect for the power of the medium. Crushing It is the ultimate guide to personal branding, from a highly successful consultant, speaker, and thought leader. Hear what you can learn — Click Play!


Andre Agassi

Open isn’t about business per se, but it is about finding what it takes to overcome your own shortcomings, discover your motivation, and allow your daily life to be driven by deep-seated purpose. This book is about how mentality can overcome anything, from childhood trauma to destructive perfectionism to an opponent with a mean forehand. The book is about defining winning for yourself — something every entrepreneur needs to do in order to be truly successful.


Steal Like an Artist
Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist, debunks the myth of originality and explains how all great creations are the products of the creator’s influences, not divine inspiration from within. We’re talking about using inspiration from others to build something of your own, something rooted in greatness but unique nonetheless. From fine art to clothing designs to great blogs, we’re all just taking the baton, not making the baton from scratch!


Tribe of Mentors
Tim Ferriss

Tribe of Mentors is a fantastic collection of condensed wisdom from experts in various industries. Easy to read, digestible, and immediately applicable, these golden nuggets of business truth will serve you well. One of the most daring and occasionally controversial business “gurus” of our time, Ferriss always swings for the fences. As a writer and blogger, he’s inspired millions to get to the next level, even by unconventional means. The original life hacker, Ferriss’ influence can’t be denied. Now, he offers a long, but very readable tome on what it takes to move up in life and business.


It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy at Work
Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work is a radical treatise on the dangers — and utter uselessness — of running yourself and your team ragged. Their company, Basecamp, prides itself on a healthy approach to the work/life balance. We found Fied and Hansson’s thoughts to be challenging, but we can’t deny their results. Basecamp is a phenomenal success, one that the cofounders claim was built without goal-obsessed, productivity-driven, hair-tearing work.


Atomic Habits
James Clear

Atomic Habits is a valuable primer on forming the right habits, and ditching the bad ones. One habit at a time, you can improve your results in business and life. By losing unproductive habits and establishing productive ones, you make the little differences that add up to big success. This is, hands down, the best of the “habits” books out there, based on years of research and careful study. It’s full of useful, valuable advice. And for all its detailed wisdom, it’s a relatively easy read.


The Effective Executive
Peter Druker

Peter Drucker basically invented business management, and is seen as one of the founders of corporate culture. The Effective Executive teaches you the most important concepts in hiring, delegating, and generally managing. It explores how poor leaders waste time, and great leaders leverage it for maximum effect. The book’s subtitle says it all: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done. Learn how to be the best leader you can be, in small business or big. Click Play!


Bad Blood
John Carreyrou

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou is many things: an engrossing page-turner, an exemplary piece of investigative journalism, and a huge, devastating lesson in how not to launch a product. It’s the true story of Theranos, a startup with a one-time valuation of 9 billion-with-a-”b” dollars that ultimately crashed, burned, and left all involved reeling (and some facing prison time).


To Sell Is Human
Daniel Pink

To Sell Is Human rejects the stigma of salesmanship as scammy or used-car-dealer-y, instead explaining the inherent dignity and necessity of the art. It’s not just customers you sell to — it’s your network, your team, even your family and friends. If you can’t sell your vision, you simply can’t do business. Learn how necessary selling is, even if you don’t have a sales team. Click Play!


Disney U
Doug Lipp

Doug Lipp’s Disney U is a book that details the strategy behind the theme park’s success. Importantly, it’s not just about procedures. It’s about mindset. Learn how company culture and values form the bedrock of any business’ success. See the inner workings of Disney employee training, and get a textbook example of how the team’s happiness is the best predictor of its productivity. Apply the Disney U strategy to your company, and see how much more fruitful your employees can be. Click Play!


Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business
Gino Wickman

Traction: How to Get a Grip on Your Business is far more than its title lets on. It’s not just advice. It’s not just inspiration. It’s an instruction manual with detailed, specific steps any entrepreneur can take to get their business moving. Whether you’re a solopreneur or helming a large team, this incredibly practical book can teach you how to structure your business and its processes for maximum effect. Even better, Wickman teaches a values-centered approach to business, one that ties your core beliefs and mission to your success.


Choose Yourself
James Altucher

James Altucher hosted one of our favorite podcasts, and his book Choose Yourself has made a dramatic impact on the lives of readers. After some very fervent recommendations, we gave this book a shot — and it did not disappoint. Today, we discuss the big-picture outlook and day-to-day habits that foster independence, success, and self-reliance in a broken economy. Shaking free of poor influences and unshackling yourself from the external opinions that hold you back is the only way to find your path forward. This book is a good place to start. Click Play!


Lead with a Story
Paul Smith

Entrepreneur and author Paul Smith’s Lead With a Story explains exactly how to bring storytelling into your business leadership. By harnessing the power of narrative, you can motivate your team, inspire your audience, and make your message hit home. By putting their role in a greater narrative context, your employees and customers become characters in a story that matters far more than a simple exchange of money for products. See how this book can help you master the art of messaging via story. Click Play!


Cut Costs Not Corners
Colin Barrow

Colin Barrow is a prolific author, and Cut Costs Not Corners is one of his most popular works. It explains how to make every penny do the utmost for your business. Statistically, businesses don’t usually fail because the idea is bad or the revenue is too low. Excessive cost kills, more often than anything else. Barrow understands better than anyone how controlling costs doesn’t have to come at an even higher cost: the quality of your product and happiness of your team. Click Play!


Dare to Lead
Brené Brown

In it, Brown explains how to find your own innate ability to take charge and lead, however hidden it might be under layers of insecurity. The emotions — including the fear — inside you can be used to inspire your team in ways you might not realize. As Brown argues, your vulnerabilities are actually some of your greatest leadership assets, if you know how to use them.


Napoleon Hill’s Golden Rules
Napoleon Hill

Golden Rules is a collection of tips, tricks, and what we now might call “hacks” for reaching your goals. Based on tried-and-true principles of habit formation, Hill discusses personal growth and achievement from a timeless perspective that’s just as relevant now as it was generations ago. Talent, Hill argues, is not the key ingredient. By harnessing the power of mindset, you can affect outcomes in the real world. Learn with us, from one of the legends of self-empowerment. Click Play!


The Laws of Human Nature
Robert Greene

Greene explains the often-overlooked aspects of human nature that drive our decision-making. By tuning in to these inborn tendencies and understanding how they work, we can turn our natural impulses to our advantage — or at the very least, we can neutralize the impulses that hold us back. See how a basic grasp of human nature can empower you as a business person. It’s deep stuff, but it makes a practical difference. Click Play!


Epic Content Marketing
Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi’s Epic Content Marketing is one of the best all-around primers on the topic available. It explains exactly how to market online, from SEO to social media and beyond. This book details how — and why — content marketing works. Learn how a relatively small monetary investment into great content builds a relationship with your audience, and how to parlay that relationship into sales.


Measure What Matters
John Doerr

Doerr is a milestone master, helping organizations like Google and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation measure their progress with laser precision. Of course, his lessons are just as applicable to small businesses. In this book, Doerr explains how to focus on the most impactful growth objectives and metrics. With a humorous, irreverent style, he makes the importance of deep analytics clear. He also makes the numbers game less opaque, less intimidating, and more practical.


Reinvent Yourself
John Doerr

Today, we review this fresh, original take on what it takes to find your best self. With lessons from every avenue of success and failure, from Popes to rappers, Altucher shows us how to ride the ups and downs to your truest incarnation. It’s personal, applicable, and insightful. Learn how to escape stagnation, and meet your next self. Click Play!


Daniel Pink

From business to psychology and beyond, Pink explores how to apply the data on timing to whatever you want to achieve. From the time of day you attempt a task, to the time of year you launch a new endeavor, to the period in your life you make a change, the timing matters. When shows you how to harness the data — and your own natural rhythms — to maximize your timing. See what a difference it can make: Click Play!


The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization
Peter Drucker

We’ll explain each of these vital questions, the answers to which will show you the best way to grow, improve, and move your business forward. It’s super practical, brass-tacks advice that’s as true in the 21st century as it was in the 20th. Tune in as we interpret the five questions in a modern business context. Learn how to take real stock of what your business has, and what it needs. Click Play!


Extreme Ownership
Jocko Willink

Willink’s latest book, Extreme Ownership, is all about building a high-performance team by taking ownership of everything that happens. That level of personal responsibility might seem intense, but the extremely high stakes of the SEAL life taught Willink that it’s the most effective approach. Apply a little bit of military mindset to your business, and make yourself a better entrepreneur. From truly trusting your team to having the guts to abort a failing mission, you can take your ownership to the extreme. Click Play!


Digital Minimalism
Cal Newport

This Must-Read will show you how to clean house, and bring calm, focus, and productivity back into your day. Cal Newport is the authority on focus, having led the crusade against distraction since his seminal Deep Work. Now, he’s taking another swing at the distraction demon with Digital Minimalism. Learn how to compartmentalize, reduce, and be free of the online tchotchke that’s slowing you down. Click Play!


Lincoln on Leadership
Donald T. Phillips

In Lincoln On Leadership, author Donald T. Phillips takes us through Lincoln’s decision-making process as he sought to reunite a country. Lincoln didn’t just have to beat the Confederate army; he had to sell his viewpoint, and get his own side of the war to execute his vision without resorting to coercion. Lincoln managed and balanced conflicting viewpoints and personalities, with no guaranteed outcome. Click Play!


Product-Led Growth
Wes Bush

As captivating as a good novel, this absolute must for SaaS business owners shows how putting the product first can make marketing a breeze. Full of examples and clear instructions, the book explains how to get the product into your audience’s hands as quickly as possible — making the product itself its own advertisement. Learn why some “freemium” models fail, while others work like a charm. Before you start your next campaign, listen to this episode. You may need far less marketing than you think. Click Play!


Jobs to Be Done
Anthony W. Ulwick

If it sounds outside the box, it is. The approach is all laid out in a deeply detailed, paradigm-shifting book called Jobs to Be Done by Anthony W. Ulwick. It’s based on decades of research — and despite how academic it is, this book has serious practical implications.This Must-Read book offers an alternative (or supplement to) the “pain points” approach of solving customer problems.


Explosive Growth
Cliff Lerner

This is the best kind of business book: an entertaining personal narrative with practical applications. It’s the story of an entrepreneur who didn’t stumble into success, but turned things around when things looked their worst. In this case, Growth doesn’t just refer to the shrewd strategies Lerner used to acquire more and more customers. It refers to taking your lumps, learning from your failures, and improving as a business person. That’s a lesson we could all use. Click Play!


The Go-Giver
Bob Burg

The Go-Giver. It’s a book that’s simple, highly readable, digestible, and fun. But the lessons it imparts are as profound as they are practical. Burg is a respected speaker, writer, and friend of the $100 MBA Show. The Go-Giver, in our humble opinion, should be on every entrepreneur’s shelf. It’s an easy read that packs an incredibly powerful punch, exploring 5 “laws” of business through fun, engaging narratives.


Shape Up
Ryan Singer

Shape Up by Ryan Singer is the true story of how the wildly successful Basecamp blazed their own trail, with creative approaches to business management that no one else dared to try. Basecamp’s management model is unique and idiosyncratic, and it might not work for everyone — but it’s sure worth learning about. If you’re building a business — especially one with a digital product — the lessons outlined in Shape Up are incredibly valuable.


Extreme Revenue Growth Up
Victor Cheng

Victor Cheng’s Extreme Revenue Growth is less of a book and more of a manual. It’s also on the short list of the absolute best books we’ve come across, ever. Cheng breaks down the overall structural strategies that big businesses use to keep revenue trending upwards. You can use these strategies too, no matter where you are in your business.


Trillion Dollar Coach
Eric Schmidt

In Trillion Dollar Coach, Campbell’s coach-ees unpack what made his coaching so effective — and how you can get the best from your own team. Trillion Dollar Coach is packed with lessons that apply to any industry, as it sharply defines the responsibilities and priorities of a truly impactful “coach.” Learn how to communicate, motivate, and get the best out of your team from possibly the greatest coach of all time. Hear what makes this book so truly important. Click Play!


Discipline Equals Freedom
Jocko Willink

That’s a core belief of former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, and the central message of his latest book, Discipline Equals Freedom. Willink has experienced the toughest kind of discipline, but it didn’t just help him succeed in the military. It showed him how to enjoy his life more. For entrepreneurs, this lesson is invaluable. The same discipline necessary to be productive and move your business forward also protects your social and family life. Discipline isn’t about punishment. It’s an investment — and the returns are incredible.


12 Rules for Life
Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson is a controversial figure, ever since he left academia and touched many a nerve with his hugely successful self-help career. His landmark book, 12 Rules for Life, lays out a philosophy guided by deceptively simple advice — like standing up straight — rooted deeply in his interpretation of history, philosophy, and religion.


Built To Last
Jim Collins

This genre-defining tome was a deep, extended study of 18 companies (think Sony, Amex, etc.) that absolutely murdered it in their industries. It identified common threads, characteristics that any company of any size can leverage to limitless success. Years of research preceded — and followed — this landmark look at what makes companies endure.


What You Do Is Who You Are
Ben Horowitz

What is company culture, why does it matter, and how can you build it? The answers to that and more come from one of Omar’s favorite business books ever: What You Do Is Who You Are by Ben Horowitz. Horowitz is a venture capital legend whose wisdom and experience is grounded in a street-level, practical approach. But for all the actionable nuts and bolts, this book puts it all in a big huge-picture context.


Never Split the Difference
Chris Voss

In business, this principle works for everything from your marketing copy to your sales pitches to your negotiations with potential partners. According to Voss — a former hostage negotiator — logical arguments are vastly over-valued. This flies in the face of a lot of business advice, and of common sense. But sometimes, it’s the uncommon advice that really works.


Talking to Strangers
Malcolm Gladwell

Talking to Strangers, tackles another big, broad topic: human interaction. How we relate to people we don’t know has a massive impact, especially for entrepreneurs. The way you handle new people has implications for everything in business, from customer service to networking to partnerships. The skill of getting to know someone can change everything — but it’s a skill you have to develop.


Barking Up The Wrong Tree
Eric Barker

In this highly original, inventive look at the usual advice about success, Barker takes aim at the most well-established assumptions. Commonly held beliefs about everything from education to confidence to productivity are all shaken down in a ruthless pursuit of truth — however uncomfortable it might be. This subversion of all the classic assumptions isn’t just thought-provoking. It’s downright fun. Take a look at what you believe, and see what a little critical thinking can do to give you a better sense of how to achieve success. Click Play!


The Five Minute Journal
Alex Iconn

We couldn’t resist. After using The Five Minute Journal by Alex Iconn for a while, we just had to recommend it — even if it’s not a “book” per se. It’s an app, or a hardcover analog journal if you prefer, that helps you get focused, grow, and enjoy life a little more. Given the size of the investment (we actually do it in less than 5 minutes each day), it’s definitely worth your time to use this book.


Who Moved My Cheese?
Dr. Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese? is all about getting out of your head and into the game, whatever your ambitions. A parable for the self-starter, this book doesn’t take long to read, but it stays with you for…well, forever. Its timeless takeaways will get you unstuck from the paralysis of fear and hesitation, the biggest obstacle to entrepreneurial freedom.


The 1% Solution for Work and Life
Tom Connellan

This Must-Read for entrepreneurs is all about making real change, one little bit at a time. Whether you’re not progressing enough, quickly enough, or at all, it’s time to take action. Because average will only get you so far. According to Tom Connellan’s The 1% Solution for Work and Life, there’s a more realistic, attainable approach.


Walt Disney
Neal Gabler

Neal Gabler’s Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination is the most detailed, exhaustively researched portrait of Mickey’s creator ever written. It takes a deep dive into the personality that saw things as they were, but imagined what could be — and had the creativity to make it happen. The biography also explores the hard part about being naturally innovative: being different, being misunderstood, and struggling to make sense to the people around you. “Who is Walt Disney?” is a question that has as many answers as people who knew him – and they’re not all positive.


The Road Less Stupid
Keith Cunningham

Keith Cunningham’s The Road Less Stupid isn’t blunt for blunt’s sake. It strives to be practical, immediately applicable, and just as useful as possible. Cunningham explores a truth that science and business is just starting to understand: that our decisions are not logical. We are not logical. Even when we think we’re being logical, it may just be our emotions deviously posing as logic to fool your frontal lobe.


Stillness Is The Key
Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday’s Stillness Is The Key is required reading for anyone looking to be their best in business and life. No, it’s not a meditation instruction manual. It’s a guide to addressing the overwhelm and anxiety common to running a business, and finding the calm you need to make the right calls. This book is profound, but accessible, wide-ranging but practically applicable.


Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

This book will help you understand how to make remote work work. More importantly, it explains why; whatever happens with COVID-19, many businesses will have the option of not going back to normal…and that can be a really, really good thing. Learn why remote work isn’t just necessary in a crisis, but preferable all the time. See what pitfalls are common, and how to address them. Start planning your company’s transition to a fully (or partially) remote team long-term. Click Play!


The Ride of a Lifetime
Robert Allen Iger

What can you learn from the big companies? Can any of the philosophies behind mega-companies like Disney help your small business? In running a global behemoth, Iger accomplished a few incredible things, not the least of which was keeping a business of that size grounded in a commitment to customer experience and service.


Never Lose A Customer Again
Joey Coleman

Joey Coleman’s Never Lose A Customer Again has been on our “to read” list for a while. And frankly, good ol’ Omar wishes he got to this one sooner. It’s full of massive insights, and one of the best books we’ve read all year. Regardless of your industry, product, or the size of your company, the basic principles of customer retention don’t change. Coleman lays them out masterfully, with actionable advice backed up by data, examples, and experience.


You’re Gonna Die
Neville Medhora

Let’s talk about death — but in a good way! This is a very different “Must Read.” Neville Medhora’s You’re Gonna Die isn’t exactly about business. Or it’s not only about business. It’s about life, how it ends, and how we all need to make every second of it count. Especially entrepreneurs. Subtitled “A framework for happiness,” this book is pound-for-pound one of the most impactful we’ve ever featured. In fact, it doesn’t even weigh a pound (or it wouldn’t if you printed it out).


How We Decide
Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer’s How We Decide challenges the myth of rational, logical, even self-serving decision-making. Instead, it delves into the emotional reasons we do what we do. Understanding the emotional basis of our choices doesn’t mean we’re powerless to act rationally. In fact, by embracing it, we become better decision makers — and better business people.


Creativity, Inc.
Ed Catmull

Creativity, Inc., from the co-founder of Pixar, is packed with incredibly valuable lessons for any business leader (or anyone who wants to be one). We’ll discuss Ed Catmull’s take on team-building, cultivating creativity, creating a company culture, and leadership. The author’s take on these things will surprise you — and inspire you. Hear what it took to build one of the greatest story-telling businesses in history. Learn how you can apply the same principles to your story.


Before the Exit
Dan Andrews

Before the Exit poses a few questions you should ask before cashing out. And if you’re not considering selling — read this anyway! The thought experiments this book contains can help you stick with your business when times are tough.


Million Dollar Coach
Taki Moore

Taki Moore is the coach’s coach — the guy whose success and experience in this rapidly growing field is second to none. If coaching continues to explode as predicted, it won’t surprise Taki. Million Dollar Coach is Taki Moore’s handbook for building a 7-figure business by helping others reach their goals. It’s an audacious title, but a realistic approach — one he’s tested in the field.


Matthew McConaughey

Greenlights is the memoir of an actor. But it’s also the memoir of an accomplished business person, marketer, and independent creator. When Omar bought this book to read for fun, he had no idea it would be so valuable as a business resource. Take some time to study one actor’s success story, and realize that some qualities apply to every business. Take in the best insights from McConaughey’s experience, and apply them to yours. Click Play!


The Decision
Kevin Hart

The Decision isn’t just worth reading — it’s worth keeping around to give yourself a regular boost in motivation! It’s not only a narrative. It’s a resource for regular mindset rehabilitation. Tune in, and hear the key takeaways that make this audiobook so valuable. From someone so funny, this book is a serious tool for cultivating resilience and gratitude. Click Play!


The Common Path to Uncommon Success
John Lee Dumas

Dumas is the legend behind Entrepreneurs on Fire and Podcaster’s Paradise. His new book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success, is a straight-up treasure trove. We read a lot of books around here, but this one has as much to offer aspiring entrepreneurs as anything we’ve featured.


The 100-Page Book
Mike Capuzzi

The 100-Page Book: The Business Owner’s Guide to Self-Publishing a Short Customer Attraction Book. That’s right — just 100 pages, laser focused on simply establishing your credibility, not making the Times bestseller list. This book made us wonder why we haven’t written a whole book ourselves. Tune in, and you might just ask yourself the same thing. Click Play!


Blue Ocean Strategy
W. Chan Kim and Renée A. Mauborgne

Blue Ocean Strategy is a deep dive into a whole new marketing philosophy that will completely change the way you look at business. This fascinating book by W. Chan Kim and Renee A. Mauborgne upended our entrepreneurial mindset. With examples from various businesses (and our own), we’ll unpack this drastically different way of looking at competition. Stop trying to beat others at their game, and discover yours. Click Play!


Profit First
Mike Michalowicz

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz makes a compelling case for a totally new outlook on profit. And after reading it, we can’t see profit the same way ever again.Tune in and hear why the typical way of understanding profit is limiting, even detrimental to the growth of your business. Learn what common modes of thinking are holding you back. Open your mind to a unique perspective — it just might alter the way you do business.


Simple Numbers
Greg Crabtree

Simple Numbers is exactly what the title implies: a no-nonsense, straightforward guide to dealing with your business finances. It’s one of the most valuable books we’ve ever reviewed, especially for people who just don’t enjoy the math of entrepreneurship. Learn how to deal with the numbers comfortably and confidently, focus on what really matters, and grow your business in the most stable way possible.


How to Live
Derek Sivers

This book takes a walk through some of the most fundamental wisdom — much of which you’ve heard before — and challenges it. In the end, it all comes together in a way that’s so surprising, it might actually affect how you live your life. The author himself claims it’s his best work so far, and we have to say “Hell yeah it is.” Find out why: Click Play!


Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson

Written with a stripped-down style designed to appeal to non-readers, this book teaches that in business, adaptability is just as important as drive. From crime to the arts, TV production to corporate investment, no single product or industry was “the one” that kept 50’s business growing. Get a lesson in business flexibility. Click Play!


The Biggest Bluff
Maria Konnikova

Is poker the best analogy for entrepreneurship? The Biggest Bluff makes a very strong case for “yes.” This fascinating memoir about a total novice’s quest to get really good at something is stuffed with insights that any business owner can learn from. By going from amateur to champion, Maria Konnikova demonstrated that in poker and business, it’s not all about the hand you’re dealt.


Great by Choice
Jim Collins

Every business owner has to deal with forces beyond their control. But handling what you can control is usually enough to guarantee that you can navigate whatever happens. That’s the basic premise of Great by Choice, Jim Collins’ study of businesses that thrive in unpredictable, even hostile conditions. Researched like a thorough work of academia, but written like an accessible guide for real-world entrepreneurs, Great by Choice makes one thing clear: you can succeed, come what may.


How to Win at the Sport of Business
Mark Cuban

Packed with actionable, down-to-Earth advice, this book leaves no doubt as to how Cuban rose from modest means to serious wealth: through sheer hustle, and never letting go of a small business owner’s mindset. Even as a multi-billionaire, Cuban plays exactly the same game we all play — just at a bigger scale. The book’s lessons apply just as well to a Mom & Pop store or software startup as they would to a global conglomerate.


Demand-Side Sales 101
Bob Moesta

It’s a total reversal of the typical sales model, which has you blasting features and benefits in the customer’s direction. Instead, Demand-Side urges you to figure out where in the journey the customer is, so you can bring them closer. By understanding what happens before people make a decision to buy, you can get them there. Take the anxiety and discomfort out of sales. Packed with real-world examples, this book offers a completely new roadmap to sales success. Hear our thoughts and takeaways — Click Play!


The Ultimate Jim Rohn Library
Jim Rohn

The Ultimate Jim Rohn Library is a collection of lectures and lessons from the one and only — you guessed it — Jim Rohn. The O.G. of self-help and personal development, Rohn taught and inspired countless individuals to be their best selves. The Library is truly the ‘best of’ one of the best of entrepreneurs. Rohn’s straightforward advice rings as true as ever, as you’re guided through insights on business, life, and everything in between.


Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Richard Carlson

In this Must-Read book review, we unpack the philosophy that made this best-seller such an important part of millions of people’s outlooks. By zooming out and putting your stressors in perspective, you can take a much healthier, and even more productive, approach to life and entrepreneurship.


The Richest Man in Babylon
George S. Clason

The Richest Man in Babylon, a tale set thousands of years ago with made-up characters sharing lessons about life, business, and wealth. This powerful book offers 7 principles, or “cures” to poverty, that are just as valid in the real world as they are in the fictionalized Babylon of the story. Discover what these 7 principles are, and why this book’s insights will always be relevant — as long as human nature remains human nature. This timeless tale can actually make you a better entrepreneur!


Your Next Five Moves
Patrick Bet-David

Patrick Bet-David’s Your Next Five Moves is an eye-opening business strategy book that takes a unique approach to the entrepreneur’s journey — and definitely belongs on your Must-Read list. This book distills David’s hard-earned wisdom into a set of 5 “moves” that every business person has to master in order to reach the next plateau. Today, we explain what those moves are, why they’re so crucial, and share the best takeaways from this incredible book. Click Play!


Will Smith and Mark Manson

Will is the powerful autobiography Will Smith co-authored with Mark Manson (the guy behind The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck). And we couldn’t be happier we decided to stick with that decision. This book is penetrating, insightful, and valuable — recent drama aside.


Free Time
Jenny Blake

Free Time by Jenny Blake takes a different approach to entrepreneurship. Rather than trying to win the game of Who Can Make the Most Money, Blake decided to prioritize the creation of time for herself. And she couldn’t be happier with the results. Hear how Blake created the kind of business that rewards her with the ultimate prize of entrepreneurship: freedom. By carefully creating a team and systems that make her presence less necessary, she won the only game that matters. Click Play!


Tribe of Mentors
Tim Ferris

This book is big, dense…and worth every second. Tribe is composed of 100 interviews with various experts, based on conversations from The Tim Ferriss Show podcast. By asking the same set of 11 questions to each interviewee, Ferriss condensed their unique insights and experiences into an easy-reading, inspiring resource for anyone looking to change their life.


The Minimalist Entrepreneur
Sahil Lavingia

The Minimalist Entrepreneur is a roadmap for creating low-stress, low-investment businesses that put your profitability (and your sanity) first. The author, Sahil Lavingia, was employee #2 at Pinterest, and is the founder of Gumroad, which helps people start businesses with almost nothing. Learn how to start a business without going into debt. Start a business that works for you, rather than indenturing you to it.


Zero to Sold
Arvid Kahl

If you’re building your own business, read this book. In 2016, Arvid Kahl founded FeedbackPanda, a SaaS product for teachers. In 2019, he sold it. Using FeedbackPanda as a model, Zero to Sold outlines exactly how to create a SaaS business, grow it quickly, and cash out. If that sounds ruthlessly practical and to the point, that’s because it is.


Price for Growth
Jeff Robinson

Most small business advice encourages higher prices for higher profits. But the somewhat controversial Price for Growth goes against that grain, suggesting entrepreneurs should play a longer game — even at the expense of profit. Jeff Robinson’s book flies further under the radar than it should. This isn’t abstract stuff; this book’s argument is so well-conceived that it led to a significant decision re: pricing in our own software company.


The Coaching Habit
Michael Stanier

The Coaching Habit by Michael Stanier is two things at once: a primer on a coaching-based leadership philosophy, and a practical guide to make it happen. The book revolves around 7 essential questions a great leader-coach should ask, and how the answers inform the path to your team’s greatness.


Thinking, Fast and Slow
Daniel Kahneman

This book by economist, psychologist, and nobel laureate Kahneman unpacks the mechanics of decision-making — and how to better optimize it. But it’s entirely practical, and applicable to the way you make day-to-day calls in your company. Thinking breaks down complex concepts into understandable guidance, based on the two major kinds of decisions we make.


Sell It Like a Mango
Donald Kelly

Sell It Like a Mango is a practical, easy read that’ll reframe your thinking about selling. Based on the author’s long experience in sales (starting with his childhood among Jamaican fruit vendors), this book looks at selling in a different, more practical, more human way. In other words, it explains how sales is something we can all do naturally. In fact, most of us already do, whether we realize it or not.


Greg McKeown

Greg McKeown first changed our approach to business with his truly essential Essentialism, which advocates for a strict focus on what matters most. Now, Effortless adds a new dynamic: embracing the ease that characterizes our best efforts. Of course, it means reframing your mindset. If you believe that “hard work” is always the way forward, it might take some mental pivoting to understand that incredible results often come from low levels of effort — at least as people typically understand effort.


Mastering The Rockefeller Habits
Verne Harnish

Verne Harnish’s Mastering The Rockefeller Habits is a primer on some of the best practices any business can use to strategically pursue growth. Did we agree with everything in it? Definitely not. But the good parts are so good, it’s worth it. Exposing yourself to views that challenge your own is a must — either to strengthen your own convictions, or debunk them! Either way, you come out a better informed entrepreneur. Hear what this book has to offer. Click Play!


$100M Dollar Offers
Alex Hormozi

Sometimes, the key is to simply not be afraid of thinking big. With $100M Offers, Alex Hormozi shares his unique strategies for maximizing revenue by making sales offers that make so much sense, it’s almost impossible to say “no.” With this book, Hormozi widens the realm of possibility. Even if your goal isn’t to make hundreds of millions of dollars, you can still apply some of his lessons. Hormozi is a large presence, both literally (he’s into bodybuilding) and figuratively on social media. But big ideas can work for small business. Click Play!


How the Mighty Fall
Jim Collins

Jim Collins’ How the Mighty Fall is a fascinating look at the demise of huge, multi-billion dollar enterprises — but its lessons are just as applicable to small businesses. Learn what caused some of the most successful companies in history to crash and burn. Hear the telltale signs of trouble on the horizon, and position your business for longevity, not just growth. Click Play!


On Writing
Stephen King

On Writing, where the mega-best-selling author shares a powerful secret: anyone can write, if you just put in the effort. Of course, a little strategy helps too. In this episode, we share the entrepreneur’s take on King’s book, and share the takeaways that business people can use to enhance their communication, from marketing copy to partnership proposals.


Exactly How to Sell
Phil M. Jones

Following up on his excellent Exactly What to Say, Jones’ Exactly How to Sell expands on and provides context for the first book. From prospecting to closing, this book delivers on its promise of telling you “exactly” how to approach sales, based on proven strategies. We’ll share our favorite takeaways, and how the advice in this book applies to pretty much every business.


On Writing Well
William Zinsser

William Zinsser’s On Writing Well is different from our other recent Must-Read (Stephen King’s On Writing). It’s strictly about non-fiction! The strategies in this book are perfect for your blog, email campaigns, and everything else you’ll write in order to move your business forward. More importantly, it teaches you how to get in the headspace of a good writer. Writing well isn’t just a process — it’s a skill. Like any other skill, you get better with consistent habits that build your prowess over time. This book can show you exactly how.


Monsters and How to Tame Them
Kevin Hart

Maybe you call them “demons,” or just plain old insecurities. Whatever the name, they’re the things that make us make poor decisions out of fear, doubt, or simple habit. In Monsters and How to Tame Them, Hart puts a name to common reasons we fail ourselves (e.g., the Approval Monster, Comparison Monster, etc.), and shares how he managed to put those little suckers in their place. Don’t let the monsters take the wheel! Click Play!


Expert Secrets
Russell Brunson

In this book, Brunson teaches you how to position yourself as an expert in your field and build a strong following. It’s a comprehensive guide to creating a “tribe,” and turning expertise into revenue. The rest of it was still worth reading! Brunson’s hard-won expertise as an authority-builder and knowledge-monetizer is unquestionable. And while Omar has a different (but equally hard-won) philosophy around generating sales, it’s more a matter of preference than “right” or “wrong.”


Four Thousand Weeks
Oliver Burkeman

How much time do you really have? It’s easy to say “life is short.” But if you really look closely at the numbers, it’s shorter than you might realize. And all the “productivity” in the world can’t change that. That’s the premise of the Must-Read book for entrepreneurs: Four Thousand Weeks. Get a fresh, more brave perspective on constructing your own life and work. Hear the top takeaways from this eye-opener, and how it might apply to your entrepreneurial journey. Click Play!


Undisputed Truth
Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson started with nothing, but invested in his abilities, trusted the right coaches, and took a few strategic risks. And it paid off huge! However, his downfall came when he lost humility, and — worse — stopped evolving. This is exactly how business works! Fortunately, Tyson ultimately bounced back through patience, work, and a willingness to start learning again. If Tyson can go from poverty to success, fail, and still find a way back, then your business plans aren’t so far-fetched.


The Cold Email Manifesto
Alex Berman & Robert Indries

If you’re like most people, you probably assume that cold emailing is a bad marketing strategy. It’s too direct, too forward, too scammy, too annoying. Right? But what if you’re wrong? What if cold emailing can actually do the trick? That’s the premise of The Cold Email Manifesto by Alex Berman and Robert Indries.


About Omar Entrepreneurship Marketing Uncategorized

Quit Like an Entrepreneur

You’ve dreamed of this moment. You’ve done the planning, you’ve run your own business on a part-time basis, and you’re convinced it has legs. The concept is proven, the numbers are there. You can go full time. You can go all in. You can make your living on your own, without the 9-to-5 job you’ve been relying on until now.

It’s time to quit.

Leaving your day job is no small thing. It’s one of the most important transitions of your entire life, right up there with puberty and giving up jean shorts. The exit has to be well thought-out and well executed. Your exit strategy has to take some of the pressure off, and set you up to succeed.

Crucially, your departure has to be communicated in a way that leaves bridges unburnt.

I know the feeling. I was a successful, comfortable department head and teacher at a university when I decided to break out into independent business. It was anything but easy to quit, but quitting with an intentional mindset made all the difference.

When you’re finally ready to pull the plug on your 9-to-5, make sure you do the following:


I didn’t quit my job until a year after I decided to.

That’s right, a full calendar year. Part of that was due to the special requirements of a teaching position, which require very advance notice of a resignation. But long before I was contractually required to announce my departure, I was making moves. I was plotting and planning, putting the pieces in place so that I could move seamlessly into my new life.

You really can’t plan your departure soon enough. The more planning you do, the better it will go — even if new factors arise that change some of the details or push the date back. Get every duck you can in a row, now. The fewer gaps you leave, the easier it will be.

Above all, get your revenue projections in order. You might not be able to predict exactly how much money will come in once you’re full-time, but you know how much is already coming in from the current part-time version of your business. Based on that, determine if your business can really replace your income. If it can’t, stay put.

Adjust Your Expenses

Way before you head for the exit, start living lean. Do whatever you have to do to get your personal expenses within the boundaries of your projected revenue.

Start by making a complete budget. Write down every single expense you have, down to the penny, on a spreadsheet. Then, start cutting. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, a penny ruthlessly sliced from your cable bill and sushi budget is a penny added to your overall profit.

Don’t be afraid to go big. Despite all the bootstrapping lectures from personal finance bloggers, giving up your morning coffee won’t be enough to balance your books. Move to a smaller home, or one in a less expensive area. Cut the major expenses, and let the size of your sacrifice reflect your commitment to your independence.

When I left my job, I made two huge cuts: I sold my car, and relocated to a city with solid public transportation. With no car payment or insurance to worry about, and a stripped-down lifestyle that included very little by way of new clothes and dinners out, I was well in the black every month.


Preparing to be an entrepreneur means getting your time management game on point. The worst thing you can do is wake up on your first day post-conventional-job and not know what you’re supposed to do, or when. A consistent, planned schedule will keep you in a productive mindset when there’s no longer a clock to punch.

Take the time to sit down and work out what schedule will work best for you. Build your ideal schedule around the personal things that matter most, including time for working out, relaxing, socializing, and (don’t forget this one) sleeping enough. Now that you have the freedom to dictate your own schedule, do it with intent.

Not having a schedule — or not sticking to it — will eventually derail you. Do not let the freedom of entrepreneurship be your downfall. Decide when your working hours are, and during those hours, work without distraction of any kind.

Break the News

Let me be clear: there is no advantage to pissing off your employer on the way out. Your last act as a conventional employee should be to exit gracefully, and leave as a respected, valued person who’d be welcomed back in a heartbeat.

Obviously, that means taking some responsibility for easing your employer’s transition. Give as much advance notice as you can — nothing less than 2 or 3 months —- and offer to train your replacement.

Don’t sneak out the back door. Request a face-to-face meeting and break the news in person. It might be awkward. It might even be extremely unpleasant. But if you can’t navigate awkward, unpleasant interpersonal business matters, you’re not cut out for running your own company. Best to get your practice in now.

Explain that you want a challenge, that you have a passion to see how far you can go on your own. Express genuine gratitude for whatever you got from the job, even if it was just a means to keep a roof over your head. Be as impressive in your exit interview as you were in your hiring interview.

Be nice, even if your boss was a jerk and you can’t wait to get the hell out of there.

Most importantly, take the opportunity to get some feedback. Ask your employer what they think your strengths and weaknesses are. Encourage them to be honest and open, and get a valuable picture of yourself from someone else’s perspective. Take that information seriously, and use it to make yourself a better entrepreneur.

As you come to the end of your time, don’t coast. Finish strong, and do the kind of great work that will make you missed. Leave knowing you did a great job right up to the last minute, and let that momentum carry over into your new work.

When I quit my job, it was not an easy conversation to have. It was hard to put a positive spin on what is, professionally speaking, a non-mutual breakup. That’s why I did the only thing any of us can do when we’re announcing a major change: I reached for honesty. I simply told the truth as someone who was undeniably called to something new, and couldn’t possibly be fulfilled if I stayed in one place, unable to grow or change.

Each of us has the right to make the most of ourselves, even by taking a huge risk. Any decent employer can respect that, and won’t hold it against you. If your employer can’t see it that way…you know where the door is.

Entrepreneurship Marketing Uncategorized

How To Explain What You Do (For Entrepreneurs)

What do you do?

It’s a question you’ll hear all the time, whether it’s at social gatherings or professional occasions. It can be the ubiquitous, standard get-to-know-you question, or it can be the start of an important conversation about business.

Whether the person asking really wants to know, or is just being polite, we all need to have an answer ready. However, too few of us put the necessary time and effort into crafting an answer that makes an impact.

For entrepreneurs, the answer matters more — way more than it does for the conventionally employed. Being able to explain your “job,” your background, and your motivations is a huge part of your personal branding. Whether you’re interviewing a potential business collaborator, or just making nice with your significant others’ relatives, your answer needs to resonate.

Being able to explain what you do will show the world that you’re competent, confident, and dedicated to a mission that makes sense. It’ll separate you from those who are just playing entrepreneur, and demonstrate the legitimacy of the path you’ve chosen.

In fact, having a good answer might be just as important to you — and your understanding of your own goals — as it is to others.

Stories Are the Answer

The key to explaining what you do comes down to being a good storyteller. People understand — and are interested in — narratives, not isolated information.

If you master a few basic stories about your entrepreneurial journey, you can not only avoid the awkwardness of explaining your career; you can fascinate people. You can impress. Knowing, practicing, and delivering a few good stories can simultaneously fill people in, and make them want to learn more.

This can give you serious advantages, socially and professionally. The doors you can open with a good story are endless.

So before your next conference, interview, or cocktail party, master the stories that — in just a few short minutes — will introduce yourself and your business in a way the listener won’t forget.

Story #1: The Story of Your Product

As an entrepreneur, you sell something: a physical product, a service, software, whatever it is. It may be easy to explain and understand, like “I sell horse grooming kits.” In that case, you may be tempted to get specific about the product. It may be a little tougher, like “I help people learn how to develop effective chatbots,” in which case you might want to be more vague.

Both options are bad. Whatever you sell, you need to ditch the context-free information, and tell the story.

For example, our product is The $100 MBA. To simply say I sell an online business training course is all well and good, but it’s neither memorable in a social situation nor impressive in a professional one. Instead, I tell the story of how I went to Wharton business school — and dropped out.

Realizing that business school doesn’t offer a great ROI for would-be entrepreneurs was a pivotal moment in the story of our business. Yes, offering an alternative to blowing thousands on an overpriced degree is what I do, but walking out of Wharton is what I did to get where I am. And it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than describing our course format.

It takes less than 30 seconds. I went to a school, decided I could do better on my own, and walked away to build something for everyone who has a similar impulse. I don’t go into any further detail unless I’m asked (which I often am). But the story itself is short, sweet, and leaves people curious.

Story #2: Why You Became an Entrepreneur

Another advantage we entrepreneurs have in the “What do you do?” conversation is that entrepreneurship is inherently interesting. That’s because danger is interesting. Risk is interesting. A perfectly capable person choosing to leave the safety and stability of a regular job is just plain interesting.

It’s also fascinating because it’s rare. In a given room (outside of an entrepreneurial conference), you won’t find many independent business people. So when someone asks what you do, your answer will pique curiosity. When someone’s answer is “I’m a banker,” or “I’m a teacher,” or I’m an accountant,” the conversation usually ends there.

Take the opportunity to explain — briefly — why you chose to color outside the lines. Present yourself as someone who isn’t reckless, but isn’t afraid of risk. Emphasize your love of a challenge, but explain why you take risks that are manageable and sensible. And explain what inspired you to take the leap iin the first place.

In my case, it had a lot to do with a book. In the early days of the Internet, I wondered about the potential to make money independently. I experimented with selling items on eBay, and with other small projects that produced a small profit. Then I read Anyone Can Do It: Building Coffee Republic From Our Kitchen Table.

The book convinced me that I wasn’t crazy, that leaving my comfortable, secure teaching career wasn’t an act of recklessness, but a calculated risk. By explaining how I came to believe that entrepreneurship was a plausible, realistic option, I lend credibility to everything else I say.

Story #3: Your Biggest Screwup

Believe it or not, this comes up often. Whether it’s a follow-up question in a longer conversation, or an opening question from a fellow professional, interested people want to see your weak points. They want to know how and when you’ve failed — and you should be willing to tell them.

Telling the story of your greatest failure makes it clear that you’re not just some self-promoting narcissist. It demonstrates that you’re not naive or inexperienced, that you understand risks sometimes result in failure, and that you’re capable of moving forward after a stumble.

Think of a time you fell flat on your face in business (if you’ve spent any time at all in business, this has happened). Admit your errors candidly, and show how the lesson made you a better business person. The tale of your screwup can be more impressive than any success, because it shows your adaptability, your agility, and your resilience when things go badly.

And yes, I have a story about that, too.

Our beloved podcast, The $100 MBA Show, was not our first podcast. My business (and life) partner Nicole and I got in the podcast game with a little-known show that…let’s just say, was not great. It failed, miserably, because we weren’t playing to our strengths. Once I worked up the courage to admit that I was a way better teacher than interviewer, we were able to start over with a new format.

The rest, as they say, is history.

It’s been said that all a person is is a collection of stories. Tell yours, truthfully, and see what kind of mileage you can get. Write them down, and rehearse them. Get so comfortable with your stories that when you hear the question “What do you do?” it’ll be more than a polite inquiry. It’ll be the start of a meaningful conversation.

Entrepreneurship Marketing Uncategorized

How to Boost Sales With a Pre-Launch Page

Your big launch is on the horizon. You’re ready to market the living heck out of your product with all the smart content-based strategies you’ve learned about, just as soon as it’s ready. You’re excited. You’re pumped. You’re primed for the moment when your course, or software, or book, or whatever it is finally comes out.

Problem is, you’re the only one.

Add this to your list of rules for entrepreneurship: you (and your team) should never be the only ones excited for your next product launch. There should already be an audience of potential customers chomping at the bit along with you. Well, well in advance of your launch, you have to put in the groundwork.

Enter the pre-launch page.

A pre-launch page is a deceptively simple, unexpectedly powerful thing that can make the difference between a huge launch and a total flop. It creates demand before the product exists, which is the best time to create demand. It also helps you launch the right product, one in which your audience already feels invested.

Here’s how it’s done.

When to Make Your Pre-Launch Page


There is no such thing as…let’s call it “pre-marketing”…too soon. I’ve seen successful products launch with a full 18 months of pre-marketing behind them. If a year and a half of marketing a product that doesn’t even exist yet sounds like a lot to you, adjust your perception.

Every week your pre-launch page is live is another week to do what matters most: gather opt-ins.

Now, 18 months may not always be feasible. But I’d recommend never pre-marketing for less than 2 or 3 months before your launch. It’s a long, slow build to a big conclusion, like a Michael Mann movie or a Queen song.

The investment of time pays off, in two ways:

  1. Conversions. Your pre-launch page has one function: to gather email addresses. The longer it’s up, the more addresses you get. The more addresses you get, the more sales-qualified leads you can generate. The more leads, the more sales.  
  2. It helps you refine the product. You’re not just gathering leads, you’re fishing for feedback. The longer you have to hear and implement suggestions from your audience, the more tailor-made — and exciting — your product will be.

What You’re Shooting For

Genuine interest, emphasis on “genuine.”

What qualifies interest as “genuine?” At minimum, the pre-launch page visitor should be interested enough to opt in with an email address. If people aren’t taking this one, tiny-but-crucial step of actively choosing to come on board, the page isn’t doing its job.

Ideally, though, the visitor is interested enough to opt in, read your follow-up emails, take further action, and even help you design the product.

So how do you create that level of genuine interest? The answer is simple, clean, efficient page design. A visitor to your pre-launch page should know exactly what your product can do for them within a few seconds. It should require almost nothing from the visitor to get the gist — no scrolling around, no clicking, no in-depth reading.

The page should say one thing, quickly: what problem your product solves.

Write that on a Post-it and stick it to your monitor. Spray paint it on the wall behind your desk. Say it out loud before you touch the keyboard to work on this pre-launch page. The page should identify a problem (or “pain point,” for you marketers out there), and promise to solve it. No more, no less.

What to Include

Your pre-launch page has to hit hard and fast, getting your message to the visitor before they have time to click away. To that end, you have options regarding what content to include:

  • A short video: make a 2-3 minute video about your product, and place it dead center on the page, with nothing else but your company name/logo and your opt-in. No need for elaborate directorial style; you can shoot it on your phone’s camera or do a simple screencast with Quicktime, Camtasia, or Screenflow. Efficiency, not artistry, is the name of the game. 
  • Text + images. Again, the simpler, the better. With or without a video, include text and pics that are to the point. No dense paragraphs, no elaborate sentences. Just state in as few words as possible what problem your product solves. Consult a marketing copywriter if you need to, on sites like UpWork or ProBlogger.

Remember, this is (pre) marketing, not sales. Save the details for later. Like any good appetizer, your pre-launch page should leave the visitor excited to see what’s next.

Above all, you need that opt-in field with a CTA (Call to Action). Whether it’s included on the page itself or functions as a pop-up, you need to make it very, very easy to submit an email address.

Your video, text, and images should steer the visitor towards the opt-in with a clear direction — “Sign up to get an update on our release date,” “sign up for our waiting list,” etc. You may even incentivize the opt-in with a discount or bonus offer.

What Tools to Use

When it comes to software for building your pre-launch page, you have to make a choice. You can spend more money, or you can spend more time. Pre-fab launch page tools can cost a pretty penny, but the convenience and effectiveness may well be worth it.

Particularly impressive (and pricey) is Product Hunt’s Ship tool. For packages ranging from $60 to $200 per month, you not only get the easiest page-builder, you also get exposure to Product Hunt’s wide audience of tech-savvy and passionate consumers. For the ease and visibility, the price tag can be more than fair.

For the DIY type, the options are endless. Leadpages, Clickfunnels, HubSpot, and many more can give you the basic functionality you need, while leaving it up to you to design and build the page. You’ll also, of course, have to chase down your own audience through content marketing strategy.

For our time and money, we find that WPEngine works best for us, with appropriate plugins. That said, everyone’s needs are different. Whatever you choose, just get the page up and running, bells and whistles be damned. What matters most is that the page is live and functioning, as soon as possible.

What to Do Next

Once your page is up and the email addresses start rolling in, it’s time to employ the Internet’s single most effective marketing strategy: email marketing. Start the conversation, offering valuable content that keeps the reader engaged and your emails out of the spam folder.

To really get the most out of your pre-launch opt-ins, don’t just talk; listen. Use emails to ask recipients what they want to see in your product, what functionality matters most to them, and how you can improve. Invite a select few to be beta users, and let them take your product for a spin. Then use their feedback to perfect your product by launch time.

Once your pre-launch audience is engaged, the sense of investment and shared participation in the launch will do more to sell your product than any number of ads. Because they were with you from before the beginning, your audience will see a purchase as a foregone conclusion.


MBA1124 My Personal Website Results

Considering building a personal website to boost your brand?

In addition to business and product-specific sites, sites devoted to your personal outlook and character can have a powerful marketing impact. They can help consolidate and leverage your most important asset — the audience you build — across multiple business ventures.

We decided to find out for ourselves what it takes to build an effective personal website. We launched to promote your favorite podcast host’s public speaking services and highlight his other business accomplishments.

Today, we take a look at we learned from this project.

Mostly, we learned a lot about the importance of deadlines, and how to build your website in the smartest, most efficient way — even if it means making some tough choices in the name of getting the job done. To get the most out of a personal website, you’ve got to learn an age-old business lesson: that “done” is better than “perfect.”

We discuss how to design, plan, and launch your personal website with a focus on what matters most to your business.  Before you get started on your website, give this episode a listen. Click Play!


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Entrepreneurship Marketing Uncategorized

Make It Appen: Your Guide to Creating and Selling a Mobile Application

Many, many people have a great idea for a mobile application. Very, very few of them will actually do anything with it.

Only a handful will actually create their apps. Even fewer will bring the app to market and establish a sustainable business. It’s not because their app ideas are bad. It’s not because app development is some impenetrable thing only “tech people” understand. It’s not because the competition is unbeatable.

It’s because they lack an action plan.

If you have a genuinely useful, valuable app idea, you can build it. And you can sell it. You don’t need to be a professional software developer yourself. You don’t need massive financial backing.

You just need to know how apps are developed in the real world, and what the steps are.

The Creation Phase

Step 1: Identify the Problem

Every app (every product on Earth, really) needs to do one thing: it has to solve a problem. It’s not enough to simply say “I think it would be cool if there was an app that…” Why would it be cool? How would it make someone’s life easier, or better?

The very first step in app development has to be establishing what your app can do that no other app is currently doing. This where market research comes in. Whatever topic or industry your app will address, find the other apps in the same space. Whether it’s fitness, business, hobbies, etc., your first move should be to see what else is out there.

Head to the App Store (for iOS) and/or the Play Store (for Android), and search the key terms relevant to your app. Read the reviews for the most popular apps in your space, paying special attention to what those apps are missing.

Focus on 3-star reviews. 4 and 5-star reviews come from people whose problems are entirely solved. 1 and 2-star reviews tend to be emotionally driven, without much constructive information. But 3-star reviews will tell you exactly what you need to know — ie, what your app could do differently, and better, than existing apps.

Step 2: iOS or Android?

You don’t want to over-complicate things, wasting time and money trying to simultaneously develop Apple and Android versions of your app. Pick one, and stick with it. Once your app gains momentum and a critical mass of users, you can then create a version of it for the other platform.

Which you choose will depend on several variables, but one school of thought holds that you should always design for iOS first. The reason? Given the expense of Apple products, iOS users are generally more affluent, and therefore more likely to take a chance on new apps. The more budget-conscious Android users may balk at spending money on something that isn’t already well-established.

Step 3: Get Your MVP On

Once you’ve figured out what problem you can solve, it’s time to design your solution. You might be tempted to create the most incredible, awesome, comprehensive app ever in the whole history of software, but do not.

Instead, you have to build the Minimum Viable Product: something that does just enough to solve the problem. No more, no less.

No bells. No whistles. The first version of your app needs to be the most bare-bones, stripped-down iteration, because it’s not the final version — it’s proof of concept. Yes, one day you’ll make something bigger, better, more complex. But the MVP approach is essential for three reasons:

  1. The MVP allows you to test the premise of your app, and only the premise. You don’t want other variables tainting the results. The question you’re asking is: do people want an app that does [insert your app’s basic function]?
  2. The MVP costs you less money to create. You want to run a lean start-up, with as little financial risk as possible until you get your company off the ground. 
  3. The MVP costs the customer less money to purchase. You want this thing in as many hands as possible. Most apps people are either free, or cost only a few dollars. Anything over 4 or 5 bucks is prohibitive.

Step 3: Find Your Team

Making your app a reality comes down to two main tasks: design and coding. With each, you have to decide whether to handle it yourself, or find professionals to handle it for you. Which you choose will depend on your own budget and skill set:

Option 1: DIY

Even if you don’t have a professional background in tech, you can learn to design and code an app yourself, as long as it’s a very simple MVP.

Naturally, this way is much, much cheaper. There are resources that can give you the training you may lack. In particular, I highly recommend Udemy’s Complete iOS App Development Course.

Option 2: Outsource

DIY is cheaper, but as they say, you get what you pay for.

To get the most out of your MVP, consider shelling out for a professional or two — and ideally, it’s two. While there are “full stack” developers out there who can design and code, they’re generally much stronger in one area than the other.

The best move is to find one design specialist, and pay them to create the best, most effective design for your app. Then, turn the designer’s work over to a coding specialist, who can make the design a reality.

Your solution, a designer’s vision, and a coder’s execution combined will create the best version of your app.

There’s no shortage of job boards and professional sites like LinkedIn to find the help you need. I recommend UpWork, where you can see extensive reviews and ratings for each candidate. Be sure also to interview potential hires. Above all, make sure your hires are good communicators, who can understand exactly what you’re asking for and produce it on the first try.

Step 4: Get the UI/UX Right

Whether you hire a designer, or design the app yourself, you’ve got to make sure it’s intuitive, easy to use, and enjoyable.

Nothing discourages use of an app like a complicated user interface. Even if your app’s functionality is incredible, an annoying user experience will sink it. Remember that with mobile apps in particular, you’re working with very limited screen space. That means less is definitely more when it comes to the design.

Once you have a clean, simple, well-designed MVP, it’s time to bring it to market.

The Marketing Phase

You’ve got your MVP. Now, it’s time to get it out there and get it downloaded by as many people as possible. If the creation phase turns an idea into a product, the marketing phase turns a product into a business.

Of course, you can’t just put your app on the App Store (for iOS) or Play Store (for Android) and hope for the best. People aren’t going to stumble across your app, and even if they do, they won’t have much reason to download it. You have to take an active role in marketing and selling your creation.

Step 1: Build a Website

No website, no business. You cannot — cannot — rely on the App/Play Store to connect customers with your app. You have to build an audience of your own, in your own little corner of the Internet. You need a digital storefront, a “shop,” even though you’re not selling a physical product.

Your website doesn’t need to be fancy, and it shouldn’t be complex. It needs 4 things:

  1. A Home Page: this should include nothing more than a simple, concise explanation of what your app does. Create a headline, a brief description, and perhaps a short demonstration video. 
  2. An About Page: A simple, engaging, honest description of who you are, and why you created this app. Modern consumers like to see how the sausage is made, and who’s making it. 
  3. A Blog: You need content. More on that below. 
  4. Lead capture: An opt-in that allows you to collect email addresses from visitors to your website.

Step 2: Produce Content

No one has any reason to try your app until they trust you.

The only way to earn trust is to build credibility. And the only way to build credibility is to produce regular, valuable, quality content that actually engages and helps people. You have to build a relationship with an audience by producing blogs and other content that showcase your understanding of their needs.

Blogs in particular are the most vital kind of content. While videos, podcasts, and other content (especially webinars) can do wonders for your marketing, written content has the unique advantage of simultaneously boosting your credibility while also boosting your visibility through SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Step 3: Capture Leads

Once you’re producing great content that attracts visitors, you have to convert those visitors to leads. That means collecting their email addresses. Of course, you’ve got to offer them something in exchange for their contact information. Among the options:

  1. Content subscriptions: Ask visitors to sign up for updates whenever a new blog or other content is posted. Also, offer a weekly or monthly newsletter. 
  2. Exclusive downloadables: pdf’s, e-books, infographics, or anything else you don’t offer on the site can be gated behind an email opt-in. 
  3. Discounts and trials: offer coupon codes, free trials, or temporary upgrades.

Once you’ve got some contacts, you can really start marketing.

Step 4: Email Market

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it: email is king. Email marketing is the most effective way to turn leads into customers. Design a smart, effective, action-based email marketing campaign and implement it. Your email contact list is worth as much to your business as the product itself — maybe more. So use it.

Step 5: Create Evangelists

Once you have people using your app, get them to do some of your marketing for you.

Offer incentives to get users to share your app with others. Offer discounts, credits, or upgrades in exchange for bringing new business, and watch your customers multiply. Be sure that the ability to share your app with others is included as an in-app feature. There is no more effective advertising than the word of someone you know personally!

For a fantastic in-depth explanation of this kind of viral marketing, read Ryan Holiday’s Growth Hacker Marketing.

Believe It

As I said at the top of this post, so few people actually turn their app idea into a functioning business. I think the reason for that is simple: they can’t see a realistic path forward. But if you’ve done your market research, have a great concept, and are willing to execute a plan…what’s stopping you?

For more on testing the viability of your app idea, check out our free Idea Validation Course. Imagine, research, create, test, market, sell, tweak, and repeat. For a total investment of as little as $3000 to $5000 dollars, a solid app idea really can become a viable business.

Entrepreneurship Marketing Uncategorized

Make Your Online Course Stand Out

You’ve got something to share: knowledge, experience, a skill, insights. You know it’s valuable. You’re ready to monetize it. People want to learn, and you’re willing to teach them online.

You’re just not sure how.

Whether you’re a fitness coach, a language teacher, a cook, a ferret trainer, or anyone else who can show someone how to do something, building an online course is a great idea. You won’t just enhance someone else’s skill set. You’ll evolve your own abilities, by gaining the insights only teaching offers. You’ll also grow the kind of personal reputation and branding cred that can be the foundation of a business.

But it won’t work if you’re not engaging

No matter how much you know about your field, no course can really stand out if you’re not hooking your audience, empowering your students, and creating a memorable experience. Here’s how to make your online course shine.


I’m in a unique position to discuss education as a marketing tool. That’s because I’ve worn two main hats in my professional life. In the first phase, I was a full-time educator, teaching and working in administration at the high school and university levels for over a decade.

Eventually, I came to see both the power and the limits of traditional education. Ultimately I chose the entrepreneur’s path, creating our alternative to conventional business school, The $100 MBA. So as an entrepreneur, I’m still a teacher. Even the marketing for my other businesses, like WebinarNinja, are based on an educational approach.

As a teacher/entrepreneur, I’ve learned something: lessons are meaningless without results.

Learning isn’t relevant until it produces a tangible outcome. And the only way to produce results, to produce outcomes, is to engage students in those shared, tangible goals. If the students aren’t invested — personally, emotionally — it doesn’t matter how much you know, or how good your advice is.

Your lessons have to give your students a win. And then another. And then another, until together you reach a place where your students can do (that’s do, not know) what they couldn’t before.

The Content

The first thing to do when planning the actual content of your lesson (we’ll get to the delivery below) is to establish the course goals. You’ve got to apply what formal educators call “backwards design” lesson structuring.

Put simply, you start with the result you want. Teachers often use the abbreviation SWBAT (Students Will Be Able To). Any decent lesson plan begins and ends with the SWBAT goal. This way, everything you plan to do — talk, give exercises, demonstrate, etc. — is student-oriented, not you-oriented.

If you’re teaching an online course, start with your SWBAT. By the end of the course, your Students Will Be Able To…play intermediate-level songs on the guitar. Improve their golf handicap by 10 points. Lose weight, sink free throws, finally get their ferret to do celebrity impressions. Whatever.

The point is to establish a measurable difference between now and then, rather than just “teach them about….”

Next, break your overall course goal into smaller micro-goals, one for each individual lesson. If your overall goal is to get students “To Be Able To” build their own website, then the micro-goal of lesson one is to design an effective homepage layout. If it’s a fitness course, a micro-goal could be to master a push-up technique.

You get the idea.

Each time your students achieve a micro-goal, they get a feeling that no amount of lecturing can produce: the feeling of a win. Every win builds faith and confidence not just in themselves, but in you. Most importantly, every win improves the most important metric in any paying student’s view: the ROI on their time and money.

The Delivery

Of course, the greatest content in the world is useless without effective delivery. The course and its structure have to be engaging, but so do you!

Use the following very simple, but way too often overlooked, strategies to keep everyone awake, interested, and open to your instruction:

Interact. Don’t lecture; converse. Every course needs to have some way in which the students can interact with the teacher and/or each other. It can be as simple as a space to put comments or a chat box. A forum, a Facebook group, or even a small email chain will do the trick.

Whatever you do, make sure that you’re not just talking, but listening and adapting your teaching to the students’ needs.


Use visuals, and not just of your talking head. Any relevant imagery, even basic “B-roll” footage, will help keep your students’ brains engaged in what you’re trying to convey. Even basic editing skills will allow you to create lively lessons that maintain everyone’s interest. For a great example, see Brian Dean’s YouTube page, where he offers lessons on SEO. It’s a dry topic that Dean’s clever editing brings to life.


Set expectations. One practice I’ve never understood is when online teachers hide the duration of a lesson.

Every student should know exactly how much time they’ll need to put into each lesson, so that they can mentally commit to it. Even written content can have an approximate read time. Doing so creates a focused space around the lesson, reducing multitasking and committing the student to the shared micro-goal of the day.


Use examples. Engagement is all about relevance. If your students can’t connect the content to the real world, you’re likely to lose them. You’ll notice I often use the examples of fitness coaches or music teachers or trainers of various housebroken rodents. Whatever you come up with, the content needs context.


Less is everything, not just more. Fewer words, shorter videos, less time in front of the screen. Keep. It. Tight. If you take an hour to convey what could’ve been conveyed in half an hour, you’ve stolen your students’ time. The value of a course is in the time-to-results ratio — there’s a reason most episodes of The $100 MBA Show are 10 to 15 minutes.


Speaking of The $100 MBA Show, we’ve got several episodes specifically designed to help you build your online course. Some of them are from our early days (we’re at over a thousand eps), so you’ll have to subscribe to the show to get access via the podcast app of your choice. Otherwise, check them out on our website:

How to Create an Online Course, episodes MBA325- MBA327

Online Course Pricing, episode MBA351

Sales Videos for Online Courses, episode MBA511

Remember, teaching is a skill. It takes practice, years of it, to get really good.

Whatever your field of expertise, keep teaching. The more you teach, the more you’ll deepen your own understanding of the topic, and the more you’ll hone the skills of engagement that make yourself truly valuable to your audience.