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Derek Sivers


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Derek Sivers is an American writer, musician, programmer and entrepreneur best known for being the founder and former president of CD Baby, an online CD store for independent musicians. A professional musician since 1987, Sivers started CD Baby by accident in 1997 when he was selling his own CD on his website, and friends asked if he could sell theirs, too. CD Baby went on to become the largest seller of independent music on the web, with over $100M in sales for over 150,000 musician clients.
165 books on this list
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Thinking, Fast and Slow
by Daniel Kahneman (Apr 02, 2013)
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In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fas...
Derek Sivers
Feb 11, 2020
If you liked “Predictably Irrational” or “Stumbling on Happiness” or any of those pop-psychology books, well, this is the Godfather of all of their work. Huge thorough book gives a great overview of much of his work. Read the other quotes on Amazon about it.     source
Moonwalking with Einstein
The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
by Joshua Foer (Feb 28, 2012)
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The blockbuster phenomenon that charts an amazing journey of the mind while revolutionizing our concept of memory An instant bestseller that is poised to become a classic, Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer's yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top "mental athletes." He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising...
Derek Sivers
Feb 11, 2020
For those fascinated with memory. Riveting page-turner about a journalist (with no particularly good memory) who went to cover a memory championship event. Intrigued and befriending some competitors, he starts practicing, and a year later wins the U.S. memory championship event himself. Inspiring dive into the subject of memorization.     source
This book is also recommended by
Bill GatesTim CowlishawSahil Lavingia
Made to Stick
Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
by Chip Heath (Jan 02, 2007)
Goodreads Rating
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The instant classic about why some ideas thrive, why others die, and how to improve your idea's chances--essential reading in the "fake news" era.Mark Twain once observed, "A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on." His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, a...
Derek Sivers
Feb 11, 2020
Actually analyzing what makes certain ideas or stories more memorable than others! Fascinating. Apply this wisdom to your songs, bio/story, communication with fans, etc.     source
This book is also recommended by
Sahil LavingiaArvind Narayanan
Prisoners of Geography
Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World (1) (Politics of Place)
by Tim Marshall (Oct 11, 2016)
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In this New York Times bestseller, updated for 2016, an award-winning journalist uses ten maps of crucial regions to explain the geo-political strategies of the world powers—“fans of geography, history, and politics (and maps) will be enthralled” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram).Maps have a mysterious hold over us. Whether ancient, crumbling parchments o...
Derek Sivers
Oct 15, 2019
The world's cultures and politics are this way because of geography : oceans, rivers, mountains, deserts, farmable land, etc. Fascinating for me because I'd never looked at this world this way before.     source
This book is also recommended by
Fareed ZakariaLee McKenzie
Culture Shock! Finland
A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette
by Deborah Swallow (May 30, 2008)
Goodreads Rating
Whether you travel for business, pleasure, or a combination of the two, the ever-popular "Culture Shock!" series belongs in your backpack or briefcase. Get the nuts-and-bolts information you need to survive and thrive wherever you go. "Culture Shock!" country guides are easy-to-read, accurate, and entertaining crash courses in local customs and eti...
Derek Sivers
Oct 05, 2019
Surprisingly insightful. Much better than expected. An outsider’s insights into Finnish culture. I read it on my way to Finland, and swooned at the description of what sound like my kind of people. My experience in Finland mostly matches the book’s description, except I was in louder central Helsinki, so the anti-social silence was not on display. The book has a list of spectrums of culture which could be a good framework to categorize various countries’ cultures.     source
This Is Marketing
You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See
by Seth Godin (Nov 13, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
Real marketing isn't about racking up clicks and tweets; it's about connection, empathy, and making a difference. Over the past quarter century, Seth Godin has taught and inspired millions of entrepreneurs, marketers, leaders, and fans from all walks of life, via his blog, online courses, lectures, and bestselling books. He is the inventor of count...
Derek Sivers
Aug 02, 2019
A must-read for every entrepreneur. A holistic, generous, human, emotional, long-term, story-driven approach to your business. The world would be a much better place if businesses were led this way. You'll have a competitive advantage if you do this, since so few do.     source
Everything Is F*cked
A Book About Hope
by Mark Manson (May 14, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
From the author of the international mega-bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck comes a counterintuitive guide to the problems of hope. We live in an interesting time. Materially, everything is the best its ever beenwe are freer, healthier and wealthier than any people in human history. Yet, somehow everything seems to be irreparably and h...
Derek Sivers
Jul 27, 2019
Philosophy made relatable. Great points about taking feelings seriously, pain as the speed of light, humanity as an ends not means, and democracy acknowledging human nature. Sections on Nietzsche and Kant are fascinating, not academic. The second half grabbed me the most.      source
This book is also recommended by
Alexander StubbAlemsah Ozturk
A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade
by Robert Cialdini Ph.D. (Jun 05, 2018)
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The acclaimed New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller from Robert Cialdini—“the foremost expert on effective persuasion” (Harvard Business Review)—explains how it’s not necessarily the message itself that changes minds, but the key moment before you deliver that message.What separates effective communicators from truly successful persuade...
Derek Sivers
Jul 23, 2019
An interesting look at a single topic: what someone encounters beforehand greatly affects the influence of what comes after. Priming.     source
This book is also recommended by
Naval RavikantScott Adams
Stubborn Attachments
A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals
by Tyler Cowen (Oct 16, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
Growth is good. Through history, economic growth, in particular, has alleviated human misery, improved human happiness and opportunity, and lengthened human lives. Wealthier societies are more stable, offer better living standards, produce better medicines, and ensure greater autonomy, greater fulfillment, and more sources of fun. If we want to con...
Derek Sivers
Apr 15, 2019
Subtitle “A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals” gives a hint of its contents. I love these kinds of books: full of well-considered, smart, rational and surprising ideas from an economist.     source
Surviving AI
The promise and peril of artificial intelligence
by Calum Chace (Jul 29, 2015)
Goodreads Rating
Artificial intelligence is our most powerful technology, and in the coming decades it will change everything in our lives. If we get it right it will make humans almost godlike. If we get it wrong... well, extinction is not the worst possible outcome."Surviving AI" is a concise, easy-to-read guide to what's coming, taking you through technological ...
Derek Sivers
Mar 05, 2019
A good overview of Artificial Intelligence. If you know nothing about it, start here, then read “Life 3.0” afterwards.     source
Atomic Habits
An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
by James Clear (Oct 16, 2018)
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The instant New York Times bestseller. Over 1 million copies sold! Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad o...
Derek Sivers
Dec 29, 2018
I was doubtful, but everyone kept telling me it’s awesome, so I reluctantly read it. Holy crap! It’s GREAT! Feels like the definitive masterpiece on the subject of how to make good habits and break bad ones. Very focused on helping you take action. Very relatable and inspiring.     source
Watching the English
The Hidden Rules of English Behavior
by Kate Fox (Jan 07, 2014)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: Nonfiction
Kate Fox, the social anthropologist who put the quirks and hidden conditions of the English under a microscope, is back with more biting insights about the nature of Englishness. This updated and revised edition of Watching the English features a new foreword and fresh chapters on the unwritten rules and foibles of "squaddies," bikers, horse-riders...
Derek Sivers
Oct 01, 2018
The first book I read about a country’s philosophy, and still one of the best. (Au Contraire, about the French, is the other.) I re-read it now 11 years later, and loved her insights and writing. Active anthropology. A must-read if you’re spending time in England.     source
The Consolations of Philosophy
by Alain De Botton (Apr 03, 2001)
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Alain de Botton's The Consolations of Philosophy takes the discipline of logic and the mind back to its roots. Drawing inspiration from six of the finest minds in history - Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche - he addresses lack of money, the pain of love, inadequacy, anxiety and conformity. De Botton's book led one cr...
Derek Sivers
Aug 28, 2018
How can the lessons of philosophers change your life? Thoughtful, unique, and funny book (cute illustrations) with some insightful ideas around that.     source
The Story of Philosophy
The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers
by Will Durant (Jan 01, 1991)
Goodreads Rating
A brilliant and concise account of the lives and ideas of the great philosophers—Plato, Aristotle, Bacon, Spinoza, Voltaire, Kant, Schopenhauer, Spencer, Nietzsche, Bergson, Croce, Russell, Santayana, James, and Dewey—The Story of Philosophy is one of the great books of our time. Few write for the non-specialist as well as Will Durant, and this boo...
Derek Sivers
Jul 20, 2018
Profiles of some top philosophers: Plato, Aristotle, Bacon, Voltaire, Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche. But wow - Durant’s writing steals the show. A hundred various thoughts to digest.     source
How to Live
Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer
by Sarah Bakewell (Sep 20, 2011)
Goodreads Rating
Winner of the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for BiographyHow to get along with people, how to deal with violence, how to adjust to losing someone you love—such questions arise in most people’s lives. They are all versions of a bigger question: How do you live? This question obsessed Renaissance writers, none more than Michel Eyquem de Mon...
Derek Sivers
Jul 05, 2018
A great biography of the original essayist Michel de Montaigne from the 1500’s, it also explores his philosophical questions. I loved learning about Pyrrhonian Skepticism.     source
This book is also recommended by
Anthony BourdainMarc AndreessenRyan Holiday
12 Rules for Life
An Antidote to Chaos
by Jordan B. Peterson (Jan 23, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
What does everyone in the modern world need to know? Renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson's answer to this most difficult of questions uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research.Humorous, surprising, and informative, Dr. Peterson tells us why skateboarding boys an...
Derek Sivers
Jul 05, 2018
A unique thinker with strong opinions presented as indisputable fact. More surprisingly interesting ideas than almost any book I've ever read. Extremely thoughtful, but occasionally abruptly concludes with an unsupported point. It has a conservative “this is how it is” certainty. It’s a broad collection of thoughtful insights on life, mixed with a lot of Bible interpretation.     source
This book is also recommended by
Marc AndreessenAndrew Price
The Courage to Be Disliked
The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness
by Ichiro Kishimi (May 08, 2018)
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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for the mind, The Courage to Be Disliked is the Japanese phenomenon that shows you how to free yourself from the shackles of past experiences and others’ expectations to achieve real happiness.The Courage to Be Disliked, already an enormous bestseller in Asia with more than 3.5 million copies sold, demonstrates...
Derek Sivers
Jul 05, 2018
Wow. A profound little philosophy book from Japan, communicating the psychology of Alfred Adler - a rival of Freud. Told as a conversation between an angry student and a patient teacher. A little book so good that I rushed home from other activites to keep reading it, and finished in a day. A surprisingly fresh perspective on how to live. (The “disliked” part is not the point, so don’t let the title distract you.)     source
Thinking in Bets
Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts
by Annie Duke (May 07, 2019)
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Poker champion turned business consultant Annie Duke teaches you how to get comfortable with uncertainty and make better decisions as a result.In Super Bowl XLIX, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made one of the most controversial calls in football history: With 26 seconds remaining, and trailing by four at the Patriots' one-yard line, he called for a p...
Derek Sivers
Jul 05, 2018
Amazing point: Would your belief in something stand up to the question, “Wanna bet?” If you had to gamble significant money on that belief, would you still feel 100% about it? Or maybe more honestly 60%? This creates healthy skepticism encouraging you to seek the best information instead of just defending your belief. Now objective accuracy wins instead of argument.     source
Never Split the Difference
Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
by Chris Voss (May 17, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations—whether in the boardroom or at home.After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including...
Derek Sivers
Jul 04, 2018
Advanced book about negotiating. Serious hostage type stuff. For a lighter book on negotation, read “You Can Negotiate Anything” by Herb Cohen.     source
The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
by Daniel H. Pink (Apr 05, 2011)
Goodreads Rating
The New York Times bestseller that gives readers a paradigm-shattering new way to think about motivation Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That's a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others). In this provocative and...
Derek Sivers
May 30, 2018
Essential for all managers. Deep surprising study of motivation at work. Extrinsic vs intrinsic. Work vs play. When money is used as an external reward for some activity, the subjects lose intrinsic interest for the activity.     source
This book is also recommended by
David Heinemeier HanssonTobi Lutke
The Lessons of History
by Will Durant (Feb 16, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: HistoryNonfiction
A concise survey of the culture and civilization of mankind, The Lessons of History is the result of a lifetime of research from Pulitzer Prize–winning historians Will and Ariel Durant.With their accessible compendium of philosophy and social progress, the Durants take us on a journey through history, exploring the possibilities and limitations of ...
Derek Sivers
Apr 25, 2018
They wrote the massive 11-volume 10,000-page “Story of Civilization” covering Western history, then wrote this tiny 100-page book succinctly summing up its lessons for our present day.     source
This book is also recommended by
Tim FerrissNaval RavikantRay DalioKevin Systrom
The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
by Daniel H. Pink (Jan 08, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
The instant New York Times Bestseller#1 Wall Street Journal Business BestsellerInstant Washington Post Bestseller "Brims with a surprising amount of insight and practical advice." --The Wall Street JournalDaniel H. Pink, the #1 bestselling author of Drive and To Sell Is Human, unlocks the scientific secrets to good timing to help you flourish at wo...
Derek Sivers
Apr 17, 2018
A quick, entertaining, and informative book focusing on the effects of timing on your life. All points are kept extremely practical and applicable to life and job/work.     source
Getting the Love You Want
A Guide for Couples, 20th Anniversary Edition
by Harville Hendrix Ph.D. (Dec 26, 2007)
Goodreads Rating
REVISED AND WITH A NEW FOREWORD ARE YOU GETTING THE LOVE YOU WANT? Originally published in 1988, Getting the Love You Want has helped millions of couples attain more loving, supportive, and deeply satisfying relationships. The 20th anniversary edition contains extensive revisions to this groundbreaking book, with a new chapter, new exercises, and a...
Derek Sivers
Mar 17, 2018
Legendary book about making relationships work, recommended by many. Main point is that we're looking for our partner to heal childhood wounds. A must-read if you're near the start of a serious relationship.     source
This book is also recommended by
Julie RiceWhitney Cummings
Perennial Seller
The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts
by Ryan Holiday (Jul 18, 2017)
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Bestselling author and marketing strategist Ryan Holiday reveals to creatives of all stripes--authors, entrepreneurs, musicians, filmmakers, fine artists--how a classic work is made and marketed. In Hollywood, a movie is given a single weekend to succeed before being written off. In Silicon Valley, a startup is a failure if it doesn't go viral or r...
Derek Sivers
Dec 06, 2017
Great thoughts on creating a timeless masterpiece (whether music, book, or any art) - and then promoting it. Very inspiring for any creator.     source
A Guide to the Good Life
The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
by William B. Irvine (Nov 04, 2008)
Goodreads Rating
One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still ...
Derek Sivers
Dec 04, 2017
Almost too personal for me to give an objective review, because I found when reading it that the quirky philosophy I've been living my life by since 17 matches up exactly with a 2000-year-old philosophy called Stoicism. Mine was self-developed haphazardly, so it was fascinating to read the refined developed original. Really resonated.     source
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Homo Deus
A Brief History of Tomorrow
by Yuval Noah Harari (Sep 04, 2018)
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Official U.S. edition with full color illustrations throughout.NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans...
Derek Sivers
Oct 22, 2017
Very interesting alternative perspective on life from a historian. Anti-religion, anti-humanism, pro-animal. Seems detached, but is quite opinionated. Much to think about, regardless. My notes here give a taste. A lot to think about.     source
Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
by John Allen Paulos (Aug 17, 2001)
Goodreads Rating
Dozens of examples in innumeracy show us how it affects not only personal economics and travel plans, but explains mis-chosen mates, inappropriate drug-testing, and the allure of pseudo-science....
Derek Sivers
Oct 09, 2017
Why are so many people so mathematically illiterate? (Hence the title: illiteracy → innumeracy.) I wish I was an expert at this. I love it when someone is able to blow apart a claim in a minute, or know a good versus bad deal, just by running the numbers. I’d love to get great at this, then re-learn almost everything in life, but now with this additional lens.     source
Life and Work
by Ray Dalio (Sep 19, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past forty years to create unique results in both life and business—and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.In 1975, Ray Dalio founded an investment firm, ...
Derek Sivers
Oct 07, 2017
Wow. So dense with wisdom that I wanted to highlight almost every paragraph. Instead, I skipped Part 1, about his background, because in the intro he recommends you skip it. I also skipped Part 3, about work principles, since they were all collaborative group-stuff, and I’m not working with anyone now. So here are my notes just from Part 2, “Life Principles”, which were so good I’ll probably re-read this book again next year. Caveat: it’s mostly so high-level — (“Decide what is true, then decide what to do about it.”) — that they’re more like koans to spark your own thoughts, instead of specific “do this” type advice.     source
Forty Tales from the Afterlives
by David Eagleman (Jan 12, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
At once funny, wistful and unsettling, Sum is a dazzling exploration of unexpected afterlives—each presented as a vignette that offers a stunning lens through which to see ourselves in the here and now. In one afterlife, you may find that God is the size of a microbe and unaware of your existence. In another version, you work as a background charac...
Derek Sivers
Sep 27, 2017
Awesomely creative think-piece. 40 very short fictional stories about what happens when you die. The framework is inspiring for anyone: coming up with 40 different answers to any one question. But they’re also just brilliant ideas and powerful little fables. I just read it a 2nd time and love it even more now.     source
This book is also recommended by
Stephen Fry
Life 3.0
Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
by Max Tegmark (Jul 31, 2018)
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In this authoritative and eye-opening book, Max Tegmark describes and illuminates the recent, path-breaking advances in Artificial Intelligence and how it is poised to overtake human intelligence. How will AI affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human? The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more th...
Derek Sivers
Aug 29, 2017
A deep, bold, and visionary dive into Artificial Intelligence and its many implications. One of the most interesting books I've ever read. If you haven't read much of AI yet, start with “Surviving AI” as an intro, then read this as a deep-dive. His perspective is amazingly thorough. Defining terminology was a great way to start. For example life is a “process that can retain its complexity and replicate”. Intelligence is the “ability to accomplish complex goals”. That keeps it broad enough to define future technology as alive and intelligent.     source
How to Read a Book
The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading
by Mortimer J. Adler (Aug 15, 1972)
Goodreads Rating
How to Read a Book, originally published in 1940, has become a rare phenomenon, a living classic. It is the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension for the general reader. And now it has been completely rewritten and updated. You are told about the various levels of reading and how to achieve them – from elementary reading, through...
Derek Sivers
Jun 10, 2017
Light? No. Serious. Very serious and scholarly. Advises to read books that are above your current ability. A very specific methodology is given. Read books twice, ask questions while reading, answer those questions, then summarize and criticize afterwards. The point is to grow up to the level of the author.     source
This book is also recommended by
Peter SkomorochRaul Pacheco-Vega
The Dip
A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
by Seth Godin (May 10, 2007)
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A New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller In this iconic bestseller, popular business blogger and bestselling author Seth Godin proves that winners are really just the best quitters. Godin shows that winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt--until they commit to beating the right Dip.Every new project (or job, or...
Derek Sivers
Mar 15, 2017
Tiny quick read with a punchy point: Anything worth doing has a painfully-hard middle period, which is where most people quit. But knowing this in advance, ask yourself seriously if you really have the dedication to stick it through that hard time. If not, then don’t begin! Quit in advance! But if so, then expect that dark dip, and don’t quit when you’re in it. Read the whole book if this applies to you. There’s not a wasted page.     source
This book is also recommended by
Ev WilliamsBrian Armstrong
Why More or Less Everything Is Fine
by Derren Brown (Nov 01, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
_______THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTELLER‘Deeply informative, moving, wise and full of love’Alain de BottonEveryone says they want to be happy. But that's much more easily said than done. What does being happy actually mean? And how do you even know when you feel it?In Happy Derren Brown explores changing concepts of happiness - from the surprisingly moder...
Derek Sivers
Mar 05, 2017
Brilliant and profound yet totally entertaining philosophy book by one of my favorite people. Gives an approachable overview of past philosophies and shows how they apply to your life today better than the harmful pop-self-help-positivity stuff. Amazing perspectives on desires, death, relationships, anger, and how being present doesn’t matter as much as the story you tell yourself afterwards. He has a fun writing style that’s not reflected in my notes here. Get the book.     source
Seeking Wisdom
From Darwin to Munger, 3rd Edition
by Peter Bevelin (Dec 31, 2006)
Goodreads Rating
Peter Bevelin begins his fascinating book with Confucius' great wisdom: "A man who has committed a mistake and doesn't correct it, is committing another mistake." Seeking Wisdom is the result of Bevelin's learning about attaining wisdom. His quest for wisdom originated partly from making mistakes himself and observing those of others but also from ...
Derek Sivers
Jan 17, 2017
A great overview of the lessons of Charlie Munger (partner of Warren Buffett) - and his approach to checklists of multi-disciplinary models to guide clear thinking. Main point: if you can just avoid mistakes, you're doing better than most. So it's a catalog of the most common or important mistakes. Focused on investing, but can be applied to life.     source
This book is also recommended by
Drew HoustonJason Fried
The Road Less Traveled, Timeless Edition
A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth
by M. Scott Peck (Feb 04, 2003)
Goodreads Rating
Perhaps no book in this generation has had a more profound impact on our intellectual and spiritual lives than The Road Less Traveled. With sales of more than seven million copies in the United States and Canada, and translations into more than twenty-three languages, it has made publishing history, with more than ten years on the New York Times be...
Derek Sivers
Oct 26, 2016
Profound truths and bold opinions on discipline, life, and love, written by a psychiatrist in 1978. It's been a best-seller all these years for a good reason.     source
Au Contraire
Figuring Out the French, 2nd edition
by Gilles Asselin (Jul 11, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
The French are famously enigmatic: fiercely independent yet deeply romantic,conservative yet avant-garde, rational yet emotional. What is it, exactly, that makes the French so . . . French? Written for anyone interacting with the French-tourists, businesspeople, international students, Francophiles-Au Contraire! offers a perceptive understanding of...
Derek Sivers
Oct 11, 2016
The absolute best book I've ever found on explaining the mindset of a country. (Runner-up is “Watching the English” by Kate Fox.) I wish every country had a book this deep. Not just what but why! Also appreciate the bold writing, skipping caveats.     source
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
by Mark Manson (Sep 13, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
New York Times BestsellerIn this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let...
Derek Sivers
Sep 26, 2016
The opposite of every other book. Don’t try. Give up. Be wrong. Lower your standards. Stop believing in yourself. Follow the pain. And oh yeah, kill yourself. Each point is profoundly true, useful, and more powerful than the usual positivity. Succinct but surprisingly deep, I read it in one night, then read it again a month later.     source
The Power of Passion and Perseverance
by Angela Duckworth (Aug 21, 2018)
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In this instant New York Times bestseller, Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” “Inspiration for non-geniuses everywhere” (People).The daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Angela Duckw...
Derek Sivers
Sep 10, 2016
Grit is her word for persistence, focus, endurance, and constant improvement. Great thoughts on this point. If interested in it, also read the books here about deliberate practice.     source
This book is also recommended by
Josh WaitzkinTim FerrissJoshua Waitzkin
The ultimate “parenting bible” (The Boston Globe) with a new Foreword—and available as an eBook for the first time—a timeless, beloved book on how to effectively communicate with your child from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors.Internationally acclaimed experts on communication between parents and children, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish “...
Derek Sivers
Aug 17, 2016
Great thoughts on acknowledging kids' feelings.     source
This book is also recommended by
Brian ArmstrongMiguel de Icaza
The Gardener and the Carpenter
What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children
by Alison Gopnik (Aug 01, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
One of the world's leading child psychologists shatters the myth of "good parenting"Caring deeply about our children is part of what makes us human. Yet the thing we call "parenting" is a surprisingly new invention. In the past thirty years, the concept of parenting and the multibillion-dollar industry surrounding it have transformed child care int...
Derek Sivers
Aug 10, 2016
Great philosophy of parenting.     source
Ego Is the Enemy
by Ryan Holiday (Jun 14, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
“While the history books are filled with tales of obsessive, visionary geniuses who remade the world in their image with sheer, almost irrational force, I’ve found that history is also made by individuals who fought their egos at every turn, who eschewed the spotlight, and who put their higher goals above their desire for recognition.” – from the P...
Derek Sivers
Aug 01, 2016
Forget yourself and focus on the work. Be humble and persistent. Value discipline and results, not passion and confidence. Be lesser, do more. This message is crucial, but the opposite of almost every other book. I wish everyone would read this. I need to re-read it each year. It's that important. It's easy to read this and say “oh yeah I've got my ego under control”, but the problem is deeper than that.     source
This book is also recommended by
Lenard McKelveyAubrey MarcusGeorge Raveling
Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t
And Other Tough-Love Truths to Make You a Better Writer
by Steven Pressfield (Apr 25, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
There's a mantra that real writers know but wannabe writers don’t. And the secret phrase is this:NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T. Recognizing this painful truth is the first step in the writer's transformation from amateur to professional. From Chapter Four: “When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, you develop empathy. You acquire t...
Derek Sivers
Jul 28, 2016
About the technique of writing stories. Good for what it is, but note it's not part of the War of Art series.     source
Guns, Germs, and Steel
The Fates of Human Societies
by Jared Diamond Ph.D. (Jul 17, 2005)
Goodreads Rating
Explaining what William McNeill called The Rise of the West has become the central problem in the study of global history. In Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond presents the biologist's answer: geography, demography, and ecological happenstance. Diamond evenhandedly reviews human history on every continent since the Ice Age at a rate that emphasi...
Derek Sivers
Jul 25, 2016
Why did the people of certain continents succeeded in invading other continents and conquering or displacing their people? Fascinating world history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. See the notes.     source
The Inevitable
Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future
by Kevin Kelly (Jun 06, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
A New York Times Bestseller From one of our leading technology thinkers and writers, a guide through the twelve technological imperatives that will shape the next thirty years and transform our livesMuch of what will happen in the next thirty years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion. In this fascinating, provoc...
Derek Sivers
Jun 30, 2016
What are today's technologies inevitably going to lead to? Great predictions. Half of it was super-inspiring, painting a vision of the future that made me want to jump on it. Half felt like “well, duh, obviously!” maybe because I'm already deep in it.     source
This book is also recommended by
Marc Goodman
Secrets from the New Science of Expertise
by Anders Ericsson (Apr 11, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
“This book is a breakthrough, a lyrical, powerful, science-based narrative that actually shows us how to get better (much better) at the things we care about.”—Seth Godin, author of Linchpin “Anyone who wants to get better at anything should read [Peak]. Rest assured that the book is not mere theory. Ericsson’s research focuses on the real world, a...
Derek Sivers
May 20, 2016
After being quoted in many books, the guy who coined “deliberate practice”, and spent his career studying just that, finally writes his own take on it. But I've already loved “The Talent Code”, “The Little Book of Talent”, “Moonwalking with Einstein”, “Talent is Overrated”, and “Little Bets”, which are all about this same field. So I didn't get much new out of it, but if you haven't already read those, maybe start here at the horse's mouth.     source
This book is also recommended by
Josh Waitzkin
Steal Like an Artist
10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
by Austin Kleon (Feb 28, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put re...
Derek Sivers
May 10, 2016
Short, inspiring insights into creativity and the creative life: the day job, the mindset, etc. Also read his other book “Show Your Work”.     source
Total Recall
My Unbelievably True Life Story
by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Nov 05, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
In his signature larger-than-life style, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall is a revealing self-portrait of his illustrious, controversial, and truly unique life.The greatest immigrant success story of our time.His story is unique, and uniquely entertaining, and he tells it brilliantly in these pages.He was born in a year of famine, in a small Au...
Derek Sivers
May 05, 2016
I was not expecting to love this so much! I'm not a fan of his, but MAN his ambitious mindset, especially in his early days when he first moved to America, is so inspiring. Both on the movie-star side and real-estate side. If you need a role model or inspiration for thinking big, this is it. (Skip the final section on his governor days.) I was telling friends stories and thoughts about this book for weeks afterwards.     source
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart
Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now
by Gordon Livingston (Mar 04, 2008)
Goodreads Rating
After service in Vietnam, as a surgeon for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1968-69, at the height of the war, Dr. Gordon Livingston returned to the U.S. and began work as a psychiatrist. In that capacity, he has listened to people talk about their lives-what works, what doesn’t, and the limitless ways (many of them self-inflicted) that people ...
Derek Sivers
Apr 26, 2016
Powerful and profound life lessons from a psychiatrist who's been listening to people's problems for decades.     source
This book is also recommended by
Naval Ravikant
Living Beautifully
with Uncertainty and Change
by Pema Chodron (May 21, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
Is it possible to live well when the very ground we stand on is shaky? Yes, says everyone's favorite Buddhist nun, it's even possible to live beautifully, compassionately, and happily on shaky ground—and the secret is: the ground is always shaky. Pema shows how using a traditional Buddhist practice called the Three Vows or Three Commitments is a wa...
Derek Sivers
Apr 20, 2016
Everything she writes is wonderful. All a similar theme. See the other books here for other (maybe better) examples.     source
Deep Work
Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
by Cal Newport (Jan 05, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you'll achieve extraordinary results.Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work ...
Derek Sivers
Apr 10, 2016
Crucial subject, dear to me: shutting out distractions for deep productive concentrated work. No huge surprises but great supporting thoughts. I liked the point of considering the downside of the internet, instead of only the positives.     source
This book is also recommended by
Jeff Morris Jr.
Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches
The Riddles of Culture
by Marvin Harris (Dec 17, 1989)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: NonfictionHistory
This book challenges those who argue that we can change the world by changing the way people think. The author shows that no matter how bizarre a people's behavior may seem, it always stems from concrete social and economic conditions. It is by isolating and identifying these conditions that we will be able to understand and cope with some of our o...
Derek Sivers
Feb 19, 2016
Mind-blowing anthropology. Great argument that the reasons that religions worship cows or hate pigs, that tribes wage wars, or Europe's 200 years of witch hunts, are all very practical economic reasons usually unknown to the participants or washed out of history. But they're revealed here in zoomed-out hindsight. My notes here can't describe it. You have to read the whole book. Riveting.     source
The Geography of Genius
Lessons from the World's Most Creative Places
by Eric Weiner (Nov 01, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
Tag along on this New York Times bestselling “witty, entertaining romp” (The New York Times Book Review) as Eric Winer travels the world, from Athens to Silicon Valley—and back through history, too—to show how creative genius flourishes in specific places at specific times.In this “intellectual odyssey, traveler’s diary, and comic novel all rolled ...
Derek Sivers
Feb 02, 2016
What made Athens, Florence, Hangzhou, Vienna, Calcutta, and Silicon Valley such creative centers? Author goes to each to find out, and dives into the subject of creativity in general. He's such a great writer, so insightful, and finds so many great points of view from the people he interviews. See his other book here “Geography of Bliss”. Equally brilliant.     source
This book is also recommended by
Jeffrey Shaw
The Truth
An Eye-Opening Odyssey Through Love Addiction, Sex Addiction, and Extraordinary Relationships
by Neil Strauss (May 01, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
The title of this book has been changed to The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships. Please see that book listing for more information....
Derek Sivers
Nov 22, 2015
Deep look at romantic relationships. Neil’s autobiography of transformation from being a womanizing sex addict, through therapy, concluding with commitment to his girlfriend. But interlaced in his story are powerful lessons about relationships.     source
This book is also recommended by
Chris Messina
The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain (Jan 29, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.In Quiet, Susan...
Derek Sivers
Sep 02, 2015
Any introvert should like this book. Wonderful info and insights about introversion. It'll help you defend your preference for low-stimulus environments. Since reading it, I feel better about insisting on my quiet/alone time.     source
The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster
Why Now Is the Time to #JoinTheRide
by Darren Hardy (Mar 03, 2015)
Goodreads Rating
66 PERCENT OF SMALL BUSINESSES FAIL—AND IT’S NOT FOR THE REASONS YOU THINK*. This book is designed for those new (or early stage) to entrepreneurship or those who have watched from afar and have wanted/wished to join in, but the fear of the unknown has kept them stupefied and in paralysis. This book will detail the worst (which is not so scary afte...
Derek Sivers
Aug 01, 2015
Rar! My heart rate is racing as I tear through this riveting book. Darren captures and spreads the entrepreneurial spirit better than anyone I know. I've been a successful entrepreneur for 25 years but The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster just got me more excited and enlightened than I've been in a long time. You must read and USE this immediately!     source
On Writing Well
The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
by William Zinsser (May 09, 2006)
Goodreads Rating
On Writing Well has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet. Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, b...
Derek Sivers
Aug 01, 2015
Great blunt advice about writing better non-fiction. So inspiring.     source
The Talent Code
Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown.
by Daniel Coyle (Apr 01, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
'Talent. You've either got it or you haven't.' Not true, actually.In The Talent Code, award-winning journalist Daniel Coyle draws on cutting-edge research to reveal that, far from being some abstract mystical power fixed at birth, ability really can be created and nurtured.In the process, he considers talent at work in venues as diverse as a music ...
Derek Sivers
Jul 10, 2015
A great book showing that deep practice - (struggling in certain targeted ways - operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes - experiences where you're forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them) - is what really makes you improve at anything.     source
This book is also recommended by
Joe RoganJason FriedPeter AttiaKelly Starrett
This book is about saying yes to life in all its manifestations—embracing the potent mixture of joy, suffering, brilliance, and confusion that characterizes the human experience. Pema Chödrön shows us the profound value of our situation of "no escape" from the ups and downs of life....
Derek Sivers
Apr 16, 2015
Powerful thoughts on not running, distracting, or escaping, but sticking with something all the way through.     source
A Brief History of Humankind
by Yuval Noah Harari (May 15, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be ens...
Derek Sivers
Mar 21, 2015
I resisted reading this popular history of mankind, because it came out when I had just finished “Guns, Germs, and Steel” and “Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches”, on the same subject. But wow - this book is at its best when the author is sharing his personal perspective about binding myths, humanism, and other ways that “truths” are not true. And you get an interesting history of the world along with it. Strange mix of history and philosophy.     source
A Mind for Numbers
How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)
by Barbara Oakley PhD (Jul 30, 2014)
Goodreads Rating
Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a higher level of math competency, A Mind for Numbers offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating but inescapable field. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to st...
Derek Sivers
Mar 03, 2015
Thought I was getting a book about math, but ended up being a surprisingly good book about learning in general. Main points are about diffused thinking vs focused thinking.     source
When Things Fall Apart
Heart Advice for Difficult Times
by Pema Chodron (Jun 07, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
Pema Chödrön's perennially best-selling classic on overcoming life's difficulties cuts to the heart of spirituality and personal growth--now in a newly designed 20th-anniversary edition with a new afterword by Pema--makes for a perfect gift and addition to one's spiritual library. How can we live our lives when everything seems to fall apart—when w...
Derek Sivers
Nov 30, 2014
Profound philosophy on facing the negative emotions head-on and getting to know them well, instead of trying to avoid them or escape.     source
This book is also recommended by
Tara BrachKrista TippettJerry ColonnaLiz Lambert
The Breakthrough Power of Lateral Thinking
by Shane Snow (Sep 06, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
Smartcuts by Shane Snow has descriptive copy which is not yet available from the Publisher....
Derek Sivers
Nov 20, 2014
Inspiring study of how successful people took smart shortcuts and bypassed the long-slogging dues-paying process. Great insights on momentum. Read the whole book for specific stories of Jimmy Fallon, Skrillex, Elon Musk, David Heinemeier Hansson, and Michelle Phan.     source
This book is also recommended by
Noah Kagan
Superhuman By Habit
A Guide to Becoming the Best Possible Version of Yourself, One Tiny Habit at a Time
by Tynan (Sep 09, 2014)
Goodreads Rating
Our willpower is limited, yet we rely on it every day to get our tasks done. Even if we build willpower slowly over time, it's never enough to reach all of our goals. The solution lies in habit creation, the method by which we transform hard tasks into easy ones, making them automatic and independent of our will power. Each of us has millions of ha...
Derek Sivers
Oct 10, 2014
Great little manifesto about habits. Very well thought-through practical applications, tips, and philosophies on creating and sustaining the habits you want.     source
Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want
by Nicholas Epley (Jan 06, 2015)
Goodreads Rating
You are a mind reader, born with an extraordinary ability to understand what others think, feel, believe, want, and know. It’s a sixth sense you use every day, in every personal and professional relationship you have. At its best, this ability allows you to achieve the most important goal in almost any life: connecting, deeply and intimately and ho...
Derek Sivers
Oct 01, 2014
Many new brilliant insights, especially about over-estimating the differences between you and others, thereby separating into us-vs-them tribalism. Scan to the end of my notes, to see. If you know more books like this, please recommend them to me. I adore this subject.     source
Zero to One
Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
by Peter Thiel (Sep 16, 2014)
Goodreads Rating
If you want to build a better future, you must believe in secrets.The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things. Thiel begins with the contrarian premise t...
Derek Sivers
Sep 12, 2014
Brilliant, bold, and clear thoughts about how to make a big Silicon Valley size company. Other great insights like definite/indefinite optimism/pessimism.     source
Fluent Forever
How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It
by Gabriel Wyner (Aug 05, 2014)
Goodreads Rating
The ultimate rapid language-learning guide! For those who’ve despaired of ever learning a foreign language, here, finally, is a book that will make the words stick. At thirty years old, Gabriel Wyner speaks six languages fluently. He didn’t learn them in school -- who does? -- rather, he learned them in the past few years, working on his own and pr...
Derek Sivers
Aug 18, 2014
Forget Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, and the rest. I really believe this is the best way to learn another language, by far. Using the most up-to-date techniques and insights, and a unique emphasis on getting the sounds correct first. It's not easy, but it's much more effective than any other program or guide. Highly recommended if you're serious, and ready to do it.     source
A Geography Of Time
The Temporal Misadventures of a Social Psychologist
by Robert V. Levine (Jul 22, 1998)
Goodreads Rating
In this engaging and spirited book, eminent social psychologist Robert Levine asks us to explore a dimension of our experience that we take for granted--our perception of time. When we travel to a different country, or even a different city in the United States, we assume that a certain amount of cultural adjustment will be required, whether it's g...
Derek Sivers
Aug 03, 2014
Interesting look at how different cultures consider time in different ways.     source
The Compound Effect
by Darren Hardy (Oct 02, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, based on the principle that little, everyday decisions will either take you to the life you desire or to disaster by default. No gimmicks. No Hyperbole. No Magic Bullet. The Compound Effect is a distillation of the fundamental principles that have guided the most phenomenal achievements in busi...
Derek Sivers
Jul 17, 2014
Classic self-help book, in the best sense. Inspired the hell out of me. Mostly fundamentals I had heard before, but put in a very energetic go-do-it way. As he says, “You already know all that you need to succeed. You don’t need to learn anything more. If all we needed was more information, everyone with an Internet connection would live in a mansion, have abs of steel, and be blissfully happy.”     source
When Cultures Collide
Leading Across Cultures
by Richard D. Lewis (Sep 28, 2005)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: NonfictionBusiness
Richard Lewis provides a truly global and practical guide to working and communicating across cultures, explaining how our own culture and language affect the ways in which we organise our world, think, feel and respond, before going on to suggest both general and specific ways of making our influence felt across the cultural divide. There are pene...
Derek Sivers
Jul 16, 2014
Masterpiece of cultural observations. I wish there were more books like this. My Wood Egg books were created with the same goal. Insights into different countries' cultures. Some amazing, like the reason for American's lack of manners, or Japanese procedures. My detailed notes don't do it justice because I practically underlined the entire book, I loved it so much.     source
The Obstacle Is the Way
The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
by Ryan Holiday (May 01, 2014)
Goodreads Rating
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” — Marcus AureliusWe are stuck, stymied, frustrated. But it needn’t be this way. There is a formula for success that’s been followed by the icons of history—from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs—a formula that let them turn obst...
Derek Sivers
Jun 30, 2014
A succinct adrenaline-generating call to clear thinking and rational action. Many historical examples. Incredibly inspiring.     source
The Antidote
Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking
by Oliver Burkeman (Nov 05, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
Success through failure, calm through embracing anxiety—a totally original approach to self-helpSelf-help books don't seem to work. Few of the many advantages of modern life seem capable of lifting our collective mood. Wealth—even if you can get it—doesn't necessarily lead to happiness. Romance, family life, and work often bring as much stress as j...
Derek Sivers
Jun 28, 2014
Surprisingly deep and philosophical. The first book I've read in years that makes me want to read it twice. The title and cover make it seem like light pop, but it's a wonderfully-cynical British journalist diving into Stoicism, meditation, death, etc.     source
This book is also recommended by
David Allen
How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
by Chip Heath (Mar 26, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
The four principles that can help us to overcome our brains' natural biases to make better, more informed decisions -- in our lives, careers, families and organizations.In Decisive, Chip Heath and Dan Heath, the bestselling authors of Made to Stick and Switch, tackle the thorny problem of how to overcome our natural biases and irrational thinking t...
Derek Sivers
Jun 27, 2014
Interesting and insightful dive into the subject of how to make big decisions. Specific useful advice.     source
This book is also recommended by
Julia Galef
Show Your Work!
by Austin Kleon (Mar 06, 2014)
Goodreads Rating
In his New York Times bestseller Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon showed readers how to unlock their creativity by “stealing” from the community of other movers and shakers. Now, in an even more forward-thinking and necessary book, he shows how to take that critical next step on a creative journey—getting known. Show Your Work! is about why gener...
Derek Sivers
Jun 15, 2014
Short inspiring book about sharing your work online. Really healthy perspective. Makes me want to do it much more.     source
This book is also recommended by
Chase Jarvis
How to Learn a Foreign Language
by Paul Pimsleur Ph.D. (Oct 01, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
In this entertaining and groundbreaking book, Dr. Paul Pimsleur, creator of the renowned Pimsleur Method, the world leader in audio-based language learning, shows how anyone can learn to speak a foreign language.If learning a language in high school left you bruised, with a sense that there was no way you can learn another language, How to Learn a ...
Derek Sivers
Jun 05, 2014
Short, punchy, incredibly insightful and useful book about learning another language, especially for a first-timer. I've read a few books on the subject now, but this is the only one that spoke directly to my issues. Especially loved his points on the importance of sounds over words. Hint: a language that is written but not spoken is called a dead language.     source
Choose Yourself!
by James Altucher (Jun 02, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
The world is changing. Markets have crashed. Jobs have disappeared. Industries have been disrupted and are being remade before our eyes. Everything we aspired to for "security," everything we thought was "safe," no longer is: College. Employment. Retirement. Government. It's all crumbling down. In every part of society, the middlemen are being push...
Derek Sivers
Apr 10, 2014
Anyone who likes my writing will probably LOVE his writing. We've got a very similar style and approach. I was smiling most of the way through, reading things I could have (and wish I would have) written myself. His vulnerability is so endearing.     source
Give and Take
Why Helping Others Drives Our Success
by Adam Grant (Mar 25, 2014)
Goodreads Rating
For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But in today’s dramatically reconfigured world, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. In Give and Take, Adam Grant, an award-winning researcher and Wharton’s highest-rated professor, examines the surprising forces...
Derek Sivers
Mar 26, 2014
If you feel you are too generous, or too greedy, or are wary and insist on reciprocation, consider reading this research-based look at the subject of these different personality types. Counter-intuitive findings.     source
The Bed of Procrustes
Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (Incerto)
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Oct 25, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
The Bed of Procrustes is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb's landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don't understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, Antifragile, and Skin in the Game.By the author of ...
Derek Sivers
Jan 15, 2014
I'm thrilled if I get a few counter-intuitive thought-provoking ideas from any source. This book is filled with his usual cocktail party sprezzatura bravado, but refreshingly succinct, minus his usual blowhard explanations of his superior scholarly approach to life.     source
This book is also recommended by
Naval Ravikant
Self Reliance
by Ralph Waldo Emerson (Apr 02, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 - April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more th...
Derek Sivers
Nov 08, 2013
Pow! This punched me in the gut from page one. Takes a tiny effort to read the English of the 1840s, but what a reward. A masterpiece essay (manifesto?) on independence, non-conformity, and trusting oneself.      source
This book is also recommended by
Barack Obama
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big
Kind of the Story of My Life
by Scott Adams (Dec 30, 2014)
Goodreads Rating
Scott Adams has likely failed at more things than anyone you’ve ever met or anyone you’ve even heard of. So how did he go from hapless office worker and serial failure to the creator of Dilbert, one of the world’s most famous syndicated comic strips, in just a few years? In How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Adams shares the strate...
Derek Sivers
Oct 28, 2013
Random assortment of life tips/hacks from the creator of Dilbert. Interesting common thread of making your life a system for increasing your odds at success. But I liked the random tips, too.     source
The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking
by Edward B. Burger (Aug 26, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
The coauthors are mathematics professors. Burger teaches at Wiliams College; Starbird at The University of Texas at Austin. Here, they “reveal the hidden powers of deep understanding (earth), failure (fire), questions (air), the flow of ideas (water), and the quintessential element of change that brings all four elements together. By mastering and ...
Derek Sivers
Aug 30, 2013
Short and brilliant book with tips on being a better thinker. Being persistent, thorough, rooted in fundamentals, creative, and a more active learner. Surprisingly inspiring.     source
A Short History of Nearly Everything
by Bill Bryson (Sep 14, 2004)
Goodreads Rating
In Bryson's biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To ...
Derek Sivers
Aug 25, 2013
Fun read of everything from the big bang to tectonic plates to the evolution of early man.     source
This book is also recommended by
Warren BuffettDominic D'AgostinoStewart Brand
Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto)
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Jan 28, 2014)
Goodreads Rating
Antifragile is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, and The Bed of Procrustes.Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the bestsell...
Derek Sivers
May 15, 2013
Bold perspectives, unusual ideas, and surprisingly wise advice around an interesting subject of the “opposite of fragile.” Looking through that lens at health, education, governments, business, and life philosophy. Very inspiring, and sparks a lot of further discussion.     source
The Willpower Instinct
How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It
by Kelly McGonigal (Dec 31, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
Based on Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal's wildly popular course "The Science of Willpower," The Willpower Instinct is the first book to explain the new science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity.Informed by the latest research and combining cutting-edge insights from psyc...
Derek Sivers
Feb 05, 2013
Amazing book about willpower from Stanford psychology professor who teaches just this. Killer first point: The best way to improve your self-control is to see how and why you lose control. This is a better book than the other book on Willpower here on my list, because it's more actionable, better written, better presented. Really amazing (IF you act on it!)     source
This book is also recommended by
Jane McGonigal
The Icarus Deception
How High Will You Fly?
by Seth Godin (Dec 31, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
In Seth Godin’s most inspiring book yet, he challenges readers to find the courage to treat their work as a form of art.Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun. But he ignored that warning and plunged to his doom. We’ve retold this myth, and many others like it, to generations of kids. All the...
Derek Sivers
Jan 11, 2013
VERY interesting. Seth is moving from talking about business to talking about being an artist in the broad sense of anyone who creates (and ships!) something daring and new. I loved the distiction between the industrialist and the artist, as it helped me give a term for something I'd experienced: not being able to relate at all to those who just want to grow business for business' sake, whereas I always saw my business like a creative art project. The book stays very high-level, so don't look for “TO-DO” type tips.     source
Wired for Story
The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence
by Lisa Cron (Jul 10, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
This guide reveals how writers can utilize cognitive storytelling strategies to craft stories that ignite readers’brains and captivate them through each plot element. Imagine knowing what the brain craves from every tale it encounters, what fuels the success of any great story, and what keeps readers transfixed. Wired for Story reveals these cognit...
Derek Sivers
Nov 18, 2012
If you've read other books on how to write a great story, this probably won't hold much new for you. But this was my first book on this subject, and I loved it. Changed the way I pay attention to movies and novels. Makes me want to write a novel.     source
Turning Pro
Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work
by Steven Pressfield (May 30, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
Turning pro is free, but it's not easy.When we turn pro, we give up a life that we may have become extremely comfortable with. We give up a self that we have come to identify with and to call our own.Turning pro is free, but it demands sacrifice.The passage from amateur to professional is often achieved via an interior odyssey whose trials are surv...
Derek Sivers
Oct 25, 2012
In the same vein as his other books “Do the Work” and ”War of Art” - but a message that needs to be said again and again to really get through. It's all about the resistance, avoiding distractions, getting serious. Here he dives more into the mindset shift of thinking of your art as a hobby versus a real career. This stuff shakes me to the core, every time.     source
This book is also recommended by
Aubrey Marcus
So Good They Can't Ignore You
Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
by Cal Newport (Sep 18, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
In an unorthodox approach, Georgetown University professor Cal Newport debunks the long-held belief that "follow your passion" is good advice, and sets out on a quest to discover the reality of how people end up loving their careers.Not only are pre-existing passions rare and have little to do with how most people end up loving their work, but a fo...
Derek Sivers
Oct 07, 2012
Shockingly smart thoughts about your career. A must-read for anyone who is not loving their work, wanting to quit their job, and follow their passion, or not sure what to do next. I'm recommending this many times a week to people who email me with these kinds of questions. Best book I've ever read on the subject. See for a better summary.     source
This book is also recommended by
Andrew NgKevin Kelly
No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs
The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Guide to Time Productivity and Sanity
by Dan S. Kennedy (Oct 15, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
In 2004, Kennedy took on the world of cell phones, PDAs, faxes, emails and every other communication device that pervade the lives of entrepreneurs and suggested when to tap it, and when to give it the heave-ho. He delivered a fresh take on the mantra time is money” and showed entrepreneurs how to maximize their time to better manage their business...
Derek Sivers
Oct 05, 2012
Repeated message: Your time is precious. Know its value and don't work for less. Defend it against time-vampires. Be hard to reach. Make every minute count. Do only the valuable tasks. Good conventional wisdom.     source
The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment
by George Leonard (Feb 01, 1992)
Goodreads Rating
"The pracitcal wisdom in George Leonard's book will have a great influence for many years to come." —Michael Murphy, author of Golf in the Kingdom and The Future of the BodyDrawing on Zen philosophy and his expertise in the martial art of aikido, bestselling author Gorge Leonard shows how the process of mastery can help us attain a higher level of ...
Derek Sivers
Oct 01, 2012
A description of the path to mastery in any field: to enjoy regular practice for its own sake, to push your capabilities but to accept the plateau, to surrender to the path and exercises your teacher gives you. Stay focused, not distracted like the dabbler, impatient like the obsessive, or complacent like the hacker.     source
This book is also recommended by
Maurice AshleyTerry Laughlin
The Pragmatic Programmer
From Journeyman to Master
by Andrew Hunt (Oct 29, 1999)
Goodreads Rating
-- Ward Cunningham Straight from the programming trenches, The Pragmatic Programmer cuts through the increasing specialization and technicalities of modern software development to examine the core process--taking a requirement and producing working, maintainable code that delights its users. It covers topics ranging from personal responsibility and...
Derek Sivers
Sep 27, 2012
Classic book for computer programmers. I read it first in 2003 before I was taking book notes, so I read it again now to take notes. Great wisdom in here. Amazing to see how much of its advice was adopted as norms by Ruby on Rails.     source
This book is also recommended by
Jeff Atwood
The Little Book of Talent
52 Tips for Improving Your Skills
by Daniel Coyle (Aug 21, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
The Little Book of Talent is a manual for building a faster brain and a better you. It is an easy-to-use handbook of scientifically proven, field-tested methods to improve skills—your skills, your kids’ skills, your organization’s skills—in sports, music, art, math, and business. The product of five years of reporting from the world’s greatest tale...
Derek Sivers
Sep 08, 2012
First he wrote The Talent Code, which I also highly recommend, then he distilled all that research about deliberate practice into 52 actionable tips. Amazing and inspiring, you can read the whole thing in 90 minutes, then get to work!     source
What Technology Wants
by Kevin Kelly (Oct 13, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
"Verbalizing visceral feelings about technology, whether attraction or repulsion, Kelly explores the “technium,” his term for the globalized, interconnected stage of technological development. Arguing that the processes creating the technium are akin to those of biological evolution, Kelly devotes the opening sections of his exposition to that anal...
Derek Sivers
Apr 26, 2012
Fascinating historical and philosophical perspective on technology, where it's come from, where it's going.     source
This book is also recommended by
Jason Silva
The Power of Habit
Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
by Charles Duhigg (Jan 07, 2014)
Goodreads Rating
OVER 60 WEEKS ON THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LISTWith a new Afterword by the authorIn The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that...
Derek Sivers
Mar 01, 2012
Great dissection and analysis of what creates habits, and the power of changing just one of three steps in the habit loop.     source
by Marcus Aurelius (Apr 07, 2020)
Goodreads Rating
The Meditations are a set of personal reflections by Marcus Aurelius. He writes about the vicissitudes of his own life and explores how to live wisely and virtuously in an unpredictable world.Part of the Macmillan Collectors Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful b...
Derek Sivers
Feb 04, 2012
A true classic, filled with stoic wisdom mostly about being your best rational self, doing good for its own sake, and not letting other people upset you.     source
The Developing World
How an Explosion of Creativity in the Developing World Is Changing the World, and Why the Developed World Has to Start Paying Attention.
by Fredrik Härén (Aug 13, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: Nonfiction
How an Explosion of Creativity in The Developing World is changing the world, and why the Developed World has to start paying attention.There is an explosion of creativity happening in the developing world right now. Best selling creativity author and keynote speaker Fredrik Härén wanted to understand what this creativity explosion means, what it w...
Derek Sivers
Dec 28, 2011
This is a wonderfully one-sided book that shows how exciting the big growth of China, India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, and Korea are. He's found great examples of people and companies doing really innovative things, but most of all it's a mindset.     source
You Are Not So Smart
Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, an d 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself
by David McRaney (Nov 06, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise, based on the popular blog of the same name. Whether you’re deciding which smartphone to purchase or which politician to believe, you think you are a rational being whose every decision is based on cool, detached logic. But here’s the truth: You are not so smart. You’re just ...
Derek Sivers
Nov 15, 2011
Great summary of 46 cognitive biases. Much of it covered in other books like Predictably Irrational, but if you haven't read those, this is a great starting book. Otherwise, just a good reminder, and worth reading.     source
This book is also recommended by
Terry Crews
Do the Work
Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way
by Steven Pressfield (Mar 13, 2015)
Goodreads Rating
Do the WorkOur enemy is not lack of preparation; it's not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account.The enemy is resistance.The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million rea...
Derek Sivers
Oct 25, 2011
A true manifesto. A call to action. A kick in the butt for any creative person. Great thoughts on overcoming the resistance to creating.     source
The Lean Startup
How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
by Eric Ries (Sep 13, 2011)
Goodreads Rating
Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for on...
Derek Sivers
Oct 23, 2011
The methodology here is the one I recommend the most. The stuff I preach is like a cute casual intro to the real deal: the Lean Startup methodology. (As an aside: this book is the one that pushed my book out of the #1 slot on Amazon's Entrepreneur charts. Quite an honor.)     source
Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength
by Roy F. Baumeister (Aug 28, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
Pioneering research psychologist Roy F. Baumeister collaborates with New York Times science writer John Tierney to revolutionize our understanding of the most coveted human virtue: self-control. Drawing on cutting-edge research and the wisdom of real-life experts, Willpower shares lessons on how to focus our strength, resist temptation, and redirec...
Derek Sivers
Sep 09, 2011
You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it. Two traits that consistently predict “positive outcomes” in life: intelligence and self-control. Most major problems, personal and social, center on failure of self-control. When people were asked about their failings, a lack of self-control was at the top of the list. So let's talk about self-control....     source
The Power of Full Engagement
Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal
by Jim Loehr (Jan 01, 2003)
Goodreads Rating
“Combines the gritty toughmindedness of the best coaches with the gentle-but-insistent inspiration of the most effective spiritual advisers” (Fast Company). This groundbreaking New York Times bestseller has helped hundreds of thousands of people at work and at home balance stress and recovery and sustain high performance despite crushing workloads ...
Derek Sivers
Sep 03, 2011
The authors worked with the best athletes and executives for years, and found that the best ones knew how to push themselves, then recuperate, push, recuperate. Take this same approach to your emotional, mental, physical, and even spiritual life, and it's a powerful metaphor. Think of sprints, not marathons. Be fully in whatever you're in, then give time to recuperate. But push futher each time, past your comfort zone, like a good exercise plan.     source
This book is also recommended by
Noah Kagan
What Got You Here Won't Get You There
How successful people become even more successful
by Marshall Goldsmith (Feb 01, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
America's most sought-after executive coach shows how to climb the last few rungs of the ladder The corporate world is filled with executives, men and women who have worked hard for years to reach the upper levels of management. They're intelligent, skilled, and even charismatic. But only a handful of them will ever reach the pinnacle--and as execu...
Derek Sivers
Aug 22, 2011
Aimed at already-successful people. The personality traits that brought you to success (personal discipline, saying yes to everything, over-confidence) are the same traits that hold you back from going further! (Where you need to listen to lead, and don't let over-confidence make you over-commit.) Stinging counter-intuitive insights that hit very close to home for me. Great specific suggestions for how to improve.     source
Man's Search for Meaning
by Viktor E. Frankl (Jun 01, 2006)
Goodreads Rating
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Based on his own experience and the stories of his patients, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with re...
Derek Sivers
Jul 14, 2011
Powerful, deep, etc. First half describes life inside Auschwitz. Second half has powerful succinctly-said insights into the universal struggle. There's a reason this book has sold a billion copies.     source
The Practicing Mind
Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life — Master Any Skill or Challenge by Learning to Love the Process
by Thomas M. Sterner (Apr 10, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
In those times when we want to acquire a new skill or face a formidable challenge we hope to overcome, what we need most are patience, focus, and discipline, traits that seem elusive or difficult to maintain. In this enticing and practical book, Thomas Sterner demonstrates how to learn skills for any aspect of life, from golfing to business to pare...
Derek Sivers
May 27, 2011
Great simple philosophy: Life itself is one long practice session. Everything in life worth achieving requires practice. Practice is not just for artistic or athletic skill, but practicing patience, practicing communication, practicing anything you do in life. The process/practice itself is the real goal, not the outcome.     source
Fail-Safe Investing
Lifelong Financial Security in 30 Minutes
by Harry Browne (Jan 10, 2001)
Goodreads Rating
Do you worry that you're not paying enough attention to your investments? Do you feel left out when you hear about the clever things other investors seem to be doing? Relax. You don't have to become an investment genius to protect your savings. Distilling the wisdom of his thirty years' experience into lessons that can be applied in thirty minutes,...
Derek Sivers
Apr 21, 2011
Its main point is the “Permanent Portfolio” - a beautiful simple idea to have 25% of your savings each in investments that do well during boom (stocks), bust (bonds), inflation (gold), deflation (cash). Then just rebalance when they get too far out of 25% each. No predicting the future. No worrying about the news. Just 25% each and rebalance.     source
Poke the Box
When Was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time?
by Seth Godin (Jan 01, 2015)
Goodreads Rating
We send our kids to school and obsess about their test scores, their behavior, and their ability to fit in.We post a help wanted ad and look for experience, famous colleges, and a history of avoiding failure.We invest in companies based on how they did last quarter, not on what they’re going to do tomorrow.So why are we surprised when it all falls ...
Derek Sivers
Mar 15, 2011
Awesome short manifesto about getting into the habit of starting things. Inspiring as hell. Go go go!     source
Making Ideas Happen
Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality
by Scott Belsky (Mar 27, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
"Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. This book helps you with the hard part." -Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment According to productivity expert Scott Belsky, no one is born with the ability to drive creative projects to completion. Execution is a skill that must be developed by building your organizational habits and harnessing the support ...
Derek Sivers
Mar 09, 2011
The full title - “Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality” - describes its contents perfectly. Great book on that subject.     source
This book is also recommended by
Simon Sinek
The Personal MBA
Master the Art of Business
by Josh Kaufman (Aug 28, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
Master the fundamentals, hone your business instincts, and save a fortune in tuition. The consensus is clear: MBA programs are a waste of time and money. Even the elite schools offer outdated assembly-line educations about profit-and-loss statements and PowerPoint presentations. After two years poring over sanitized case studies, students are shuff...
Derek Sivers
Feb 16, 2011
Wow. A masterpiece. This is now the one “START HERE” book I'll be recommending to everybody interested in business. An amazing overview of everything you need to know. Covers all the basics, minus buzz-words and fluff. Look at my notes for an example, but read the whole book. One of the most inspiring things I've read in years. Want proof? I asked the author to be my coach/mentor afterwards. It's that good.     source
Do you want to lose fat, double testosterone, get the perfect posterior or give your partner a fifteen-minute female orgasm? Whatever your physical goal, The 4-Hour Body eclipses every other health manual by sharing the best kept secrets in the latest science and research to provide new strategies for redesigning the human body.And you don't need t...
Derek Sivers
Dec 18, 2010
Amazing book for anyone wanting to improve their body. Core concept is the “minimum effective dose”: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome. Anything beyond that is wasteful. This documents Tim's years-long pursuit of the minimum effective dose of everything, from weight loss to muscle-building. Related subjects include orgasm, sleep, and medical tourism.     source
The New Psychology of Success
by Carol S. Dweck (Dec 26, 2007)
Goodreads Rating
Now updated with new research — the book that has changed millions of lives.After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of hum...
Derek Sivers
Nov 27, 2010
Crucial distinction: People in a “fixed” mindset believe that you *are* great or flawed. People in a “growth” mindset believe your greatness (or flaws) are because of your actions. The fixed mindset is very harmful in every area of life (work, art, relationships, business, etc.) We get our initial mindset from our environment. When parents say, “You are great,” instead of ”You did great work,” they accidentally create the “fixed” mindset.     source
Art & Fear
Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
by David Bayles (Apr 01, 2001)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: ArtNonfiction
"This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people; essentially-statistically speaking-there aren't any people like that. Geniuses get made once-a-century or so, yet good art gets made all the time, so to equate the making of art with the...
Derek Sivers
Nov 23, 2010
For artists and musicians only: beautiful insights into the creative process.     source
Start Small, Stay Small
A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup
by Rob Walling (Jun 08, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
Product Description: Start Small, Stay Small is a step-by-step guide to launching a self-funded startup. If you're a desktop, mobile or web developer, this book is your blueprint to getting your startup off the ground with no outside investment. This book intentionally avoids topics restricted to venture-backed startups such as: honing your investm...
Derek Sivers
Nov 16, 2010
Great how-to guide about being a micropreneur: an entrepreneur running many small but profitable businesses.     source
Hackers & Painters
Big Ideas From The Computer Age
by Paul Graham (Apr 30, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
"The computer world is like an intellectual Wild West, in which you can shoot anyone you wish with your ideas, if you're willing to risk the consequences. " --from Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age, by Paul GrahamWe are living in the computer age, in a world increasingly designed and engineered by computer programmers and software...
Derek Sivers
Aug 20, 2010
A collection of essays from one of the best. Loosely about intelligence, entrepreneurship, programming, and questioning norms. Many brilliant ideas and insights.     source
This book is also recommended by
Ev WilliamsBrian ArmstrongKeith Rabois
Making a Good Brain Great
The Amen Clinic Program for Achieving and Sustaining Optimal Mental Performance
by Daniel G. Amen (Dec 26, 2006)
Goodreads Rating
Daniel Amen, M.D., one of the world’s foremost authorities on the brain, has news for you: your brain is involved in everything you do—learn to care for it properly, and you will be smarter, healthier, and happier in as little as 15 days!You probably run, lift weights, or do yoga to keep your body in great shape; you put on sunscreen and lotions to...
Derek Sivers
Jul 28, 2010
About the care of the physical brain - the goo in your skull - from a doctor who scans brains and has linked specific behavior to brain chemistry.     source
How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
by Chip Heath (Feb 16, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
Why is change so difficult and frightening? How do you create change when you have few resources and no title or authority to back you up? Chip and Dan Heath, the best-selling authors of Made to Stick, are back with a ground-breaking book that addresses one of the greatest challenges of our personal and professional lives — how to change things whe...
Derek Sivers
May 10, 2010
Great great great great GREAT psychology book about real ways to make change last - both personal and organizational. So many powerful insights, based on fact not theory. Inspiring counterintuitive stories of huge organizational change against all odds. Highly recommended for everyone.     source
On Writing
A Memoir of the Craft
by Stephen King (Jul 06, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
"Long live the King" hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King's On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer's craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King's advice is grounded in his viv...
Derek Sivers
May 05, 2010
Great thoughts about writing (mostly books) from one of the most successful writers ever. Oddly doubles as an autobiography, telling many stories about his life from childhood.     source
This book is also recommended by
Cam KaskyJason CalacanisJoAnn Corley-Schwarzkopf
The Happiness Hypothesis
Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
by Jonathan Haidt (Dec 01, 2006)
Goodreads Rating
In his widely praised book, award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt examines the world’s philosophical wisdom through the lens of psychological science, showing how a deeper understanding of enduring maxims-like Do unto others as you would have others do unto you, or What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger-can enrich and even transform our lives...
Derek Sivers
May 01, 2010
Psychology professor's digestible but deep insight into how our minds work, around the topic of happiness. Great metaphor of a rider on the back of an elephant. Rider is reasoning, elephant is emotions. Rider has limited control of what the elephant does. Surprising insights into ethics and morality. See my notes for great quotes, but read the whole well-written book.     source
This book is also recommended by
Joe Rogan
I Will Teach You To Be Rich
by Ramit Sethi (Mar 23, 2009)
Goodreads Rating
At last, for a generation that's materially ambitious yet financially clueless comes I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Ramit Sethi's 6-week personal finance program for 20-to-35-year-olds. A completely practical approach delivered with a nonjudgmental style that makes readers want to do what Sethi says, it is based around the four pillars of personal fi...
Derek Sivers
Mar 23, 2010
An amazing book about consumer finance and a healthy approach to managing your money. If you are age 18-35, this is a must-read! My notes are scarce, so get the book. Even if over 35, you might find some good tips on lowering your fees on various services, and a good reminder of good savings practices.     source
This book is also recommended by
Peter AdeneyBJ Fogg
Business Stripped Bare
Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur
by Richard Branson (Jan 22, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
The biggest business publication of 2009 — Branson's business secrets now in paperback.In Business Stripped Bare, Sir Richard Branson shares the inside track on his life in business and reveals the incredible truth about his most risky, brilliant and audacious deals. Discover why Virgin tried to take on one of the world's biggest superbrands, how V...
Derek Sivers
Feb 17, 2010
A real and specific description of the inner workings of the Virgin companies. Every entrepreneur, investor, and manager should appreciate this detailed account of practices, philosophies and stories from the core.     source
The Geography of Bliss
One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
by Eric Weiner (Jan 05, 2009)
Goodreads Rating
Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, "The Geography of Bliss" takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author's case, moments of "un-unhappiness."...
Derek Sivers
Jan 20, 2010
Cranky NPR reporter dives deep into Iceland, Bhutan, Qatar, Holland, Switzerland, Thailand, India and Moldova to find out why people are happy (or not) in each. So beautifully written with astounding insights into culture and happiness. Amazing. Been thinking about it for weeks afterwards.     source
Talent is Overrated
What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else
by Geoff Colvin (Jan 01, 1844)
Goodreads Rating
Very few people are truly great at what they do. But why aren't they? Why don't they manage businesses like Warren Buffett, play golf like Tiger Woods or play the violin like Itzhak Perlman?Greatness doesn't come from inborn talent but from 'deliberate practice'. This isn't the kind of hard work that your parents told you about, but more of it equa...
Derek Sivers
Nov 16, 2009
Talent is not innate - it comes from thousands of hours of deliberate practice: focused improving of your shortcomings. That's it. If you can get past the first 20% of the book that just asks questions, the next 60% is quite good.     source
This book is also recommended by
Donald Trump
How We Decide
by Jonah Lehrer (Feb 09, 2009)
Goodreads Rating
The first book to use the unexpected discoveries of neuroscience to help us make the best decisions.Since Plato, philosophers have described the decision-making process as either rational or emotional: we carefully deliberate, or we “blink” and go with our gut. But as scientists break open the mind’s black box with the latest tools of neuroscience,...
Derek Sivers
Nov 10, 2009
Brilliant book with one clear message: our emotional brain is faster and usually smarter than our logical brain. Our emotions are trained by years of logic and experience, retaining it all for real wisdom. Many decisions are better made by going with the gut feeling. Gets a little too technical with deep brain/neuro/cortex talk, but brings it back to usable points.     source
Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes And How To Correct Them
Lessons From The New Science Of Behavioral Economics
by Gary Belsky (Apr 06, 2000)
Goodreads Rating
Why do so many otherwise smart people make foolish financial choices? Why do investors sell stocks just before they skyrocket -- and cling to others as they plummer? Why do shoppers overspend when using credit cards rather than cash? What do our habits of tipping or buying lottery tickets indicate about our relationship with money?In this fascinati...
Derek Sivers
Oct 19, 2009
My favorite genre of book lately: clear examples of bugs in our brain: where our intuition is wrong. But this one focuses just on money issues. Loss aversion. Sunk cost fallacy. Confirmation bias. Anchoring. Etc. I love this stuff.     source
Science and Practice (5th Edition)
by Robert B. Cialdini (Aug 07, 2008)
Goodreads Rating
Influence: Science and Practice is an examination of the psychology of compliance (i.e. uncovering which factors cause a person to say "yes" to another's request). Written in a narrative style combined with scholarly research, Cialdini combines evidence from experimental work with the techniques and strategies he gathered while working as a sales...
Derek Sivers
Aug 15, 2009
Classic book on the psychology of persuasion. I read it 15 years ago, thought about it ever since, and re-read it now. How to get a 700% improvement in volunteers. How to sell more by doubling your prices. How to make people feel they made a choice, when really you made it for them.     source
The New Model for Exceptional Performance
by John Eliot (Oct 06, 2004)
Goodreads Rating
Were you ever advised to “just relax” before making a big speech? Or to focus on learning from your mistakes at work? In Overachievement, John Eliot, a rising star in the field of perfor-mance enhancement, says that these and many other traditional strategies are not only ineffective, but may actually hurt your ability to excel. Much of the convent...
Derek Sivers
Jul 04, 2009
Performance coach, with a bent towards sports, surgery, and executive performance, gives his thoughts on being a top performer. The key is the "Trusting Mindset": like a squirrel runs across a telephone wire. Just doing it, without thought, because you've trained yourself plenty until that point.     source
Ignore Everybody
and 39 Other Keys to Creativity
by Hugh MacLeod (Jun 11, 2009)
Goodreads Rating
When Hugh MacLeod was a struggling young copywriter living in a YMCA, he started to doodle on the backs of business cards while sitting at a bar. Those cartoons eventually led to a popular a reputation for pithy insight and humor, in both words and pictures.MacLeod has opinions on everything from marketing to the meaning of ...
Derek Sivers
Jun 28, 2009
Brilliant succinct wisdom on creativity from an artist. Seth Godin says, "Hugh harangues and encourages and pushes and won't sit still until you, like him, are unwilling to settle." I highly recommend this to all musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs. Even those that prefer not to read much. :-)     source
The How of Happiness
A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want
by Sonja Lyubomirsky (Dec 30, 2008)
Goodreads Rating
Learn how to achieve the happiness you deserve "A guide to sustaining your newfound contentment."--Psychology TodayYou see here a different kind of happiness book. The How of Happiness is a comprehensive guide to understanding the elemetns of happiness based on years of groundbreaking scientific research. It is also a practical, empowering, and eas...
Derek Sivers
Jun 01, 2009
Since I loved Stumbling on Happiness, I was prepared to love this, but the big difference is that Stumbling on Happiness showed tests and experiments to prove their points, whereas this book only presents conclusions. Maybe equally accurate but less convincing.     source
Management of the Absurd
by Richard Farson (Mar 13, 1997)
Goodreads Rating
An original, contrarian philosophy that challenges today's leaders to look past the quick fix and deal thoughtfully with the real complexities of managing people. In organizations, as in life, human behavior is often irrational -- and problems do not easily lend themselves to the simplistic answers and gimmickry offered in the myriad business "sel...
Derek Sivers
Apr 14, 2009
Counter-intuitive lessons about management. Highly recommended for managers and leaders, but also teachers and parents.     source
The Time Paradox
The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life
by Philip Zimbardo (Jul 07, 2009)
Goodreads Rating
Now in paperback, this breakthrough book on the new psychological science of time by one of the most influential living psychologists—the New York Times bestselling author of The Lucifer Effect—and his research partner launched on the front page of USA TODAY "Lifestyle" with a Time Survey and on CBS Morning Show.This is the first paradox of time: Y...
Derek Sivers
Apr 03, 2009
Profound idea that everyone has a primary time focus: either Future-focused, Present-focused, or Past-focused. Fascinating implications of each. Because I'm so future-focused, reading this book helped me understand people who are very present-focused. Also great advice on shifting your focus when needed. I read it 7 years ago, but still think about it almost every day.     source
Personal Development for Smart People
The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth
by Steve Pavlina (Oct 15, 2009)
Goodreads Rating
Despite promises of “fast and easy” results from slick marketers, real personal growth is neither fast nor easy. The truth is that hard work, courage, and self-discipline are required to achieve meaningful results—results that are not attained by those who cling to the fantasy of achievement without effort. Personal Development for Smart People rev...
Derek Sivers
Dec 27, 2008
A broad look at all different aspects of self-improvement. Some unique insights. But it's based on this abstract pyramid of power/love/oneness stuff that I couldn't relate to. Though inbetween those lie some great concrete ideas.     source
by Seth Godin (Nov 06, 2008)
Goodreads Rating
In this book, Seth Godin argues that now, for the first time, everyone has an opportunity to start a movement, to bring together a tribe of like-minded people and do amazing things....
Derek Sivers
Nov 17, 2008
Inspiring look at what it takes to organize and mobilize groups of people.     source
The Culture Code
An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do
by Clotaire Rapaille (Jul 17, 2007)
Goodreads Rating
Why are people around the world so very different? What makes us live, buy, even love as we do? The answers are in the codes.In The Culture Code, internationally revered cultural anthropologist and marketing expert Clotaire Rapaille reveals for the first time the techniques he has used to improve profitability and practices for dozens of Fortune 10...
Derek Sivers
Nov 01, 2008
Weird look at how different cultures (mostly Europe versus U.S. in this book) see things differently. Example: British luxury is about detachment whereas U.S. luxury is about rank.     source
How to Talk to Anyone
by Leil Lowndes (Sep 01, 2015)
Goodreads Rating
"You'll not only break the ice, you'll melt it away with your new skills." -- Larry King"The lost art of verbal communication may be revitalized by Leil Lowndes." -- Harvey McKay, author of “How to Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive”What is that magic quality that makes some people instantly loved and respected? Everyone wants to be the...
Derek Sivers
Sep 12, 2008
Wonderful considerate book about conversational people skills. (Warning: it’s written in an extremely flowery style, but try to see past that to get to the good stuff.) Gives specific instructions that are really useful for people who are not naturals. Just do what this book says, and people will warm up to you.     source
Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business
by Jeff Howe (Sep 15, 2009)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
Why does Procter & Gamble repeatedly call on enthusiastic amateurs to solve scientific and technical challenges? How can companies as diverse as iStockphoto and Threadless employ just a handful of people, yet generate millions of dollars in revenue every year?"Crowdsourcing" is how the power of the many can be leveraged to accomplish feats that wer...
Derek Sivers
Aug 27, 2008
Great look at a different way of getting a project done: not outsourcing it to a person, but developing a system where thousands of people can contribute a little bit.     source
Brain Rules
12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
by John Medina (Mar 07, 2008)
Goodreads Rating
Most of us have no idea what’s really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know—like the need for physical activity to get your brain working its best.How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy ...
Derek Sivers
Aug 26, 2008
New scientific insights into why our brains work this way, and how to use what we now know to learn or work better.     source
This book is also recommended by
James Altucher
Predictably Irrational
The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
by Dan Ariely (Apr 27, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
Why do our headaches persist after we take a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a fifty-cent aspirin? Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup? When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're making smart, rational choices. But are we? In this newly revised and expand...
Derek Sivers
Aug 11, 2008
My favorite type of book: pointing out and understanding all of the counter-intuitive things people do.     source
This book is also recommended by
Max LevchinKeith Rabois
The Magic of Thinking Big
(Vermilion Life Essentials)
by David J Schwartz (Aug 08, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
The Magic of Thinking Big gives you useful methods, not empty promises. Dr. Schwartz presents a carefully designed program for getting the most out of your job, your marriage and family life, and your community. He proves that you don't need to be an intellectual or have innate talent to attain great success and satisfaction, but you do need to lea...
Derek Sivers
Jul 26, 2008
A classic self-help book. Exactly what you'd expect. But very good.     source
This book is also recommended by
Tim FerrissJim KwikSharon HayesPeter Adeney
You, Inc.
The Art of Selling Yourself (Warner Business)
by Harry Beckwith (Oct 27, 2011)
Goodreads Rating
As founder of Beckwith Advertising and Marketing, Harry Beckwith learned early on in his career that no matter what product is being sold, the most important component of the sale is you. And in YOU, INC. Beckwith teams up with Christine Clifford (motivational speaker and former top sales executive) and they expand on this fundamental premise of se...
Derek Sivers
Jul 26, 2008
One of my favorite authors, and a massive inspiration for my e-book. This is his newest, but read anything he’s done. It’s all top-notch insights on making life easier by being more considerate, whether you call that marketing or just life.     source
How to Get Rich
One of the World's Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets
by Felix Dennis (May 26, 2009)
Goodreads Rating
Felix Dennis is an expert at proving people wrong. Starting as a college dropout with no family money, he created a publishing empire, founded Maxim magazine, made himself one of the richest people in the UK, and had a blast in the process.How to Get Rich is different from any other book on the subject because Dennis isn't selling snake oil, invest...
Derek Sivers
Jun 18, 2008
Shockingly honest thoughts from a filthy rich bastard.     source
This book is also recommended by
Neville Medhora
The Ultimate Sales Machine
Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies
by Chet Holmes (May 27, 2008)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
Chet Holmes helps his clients blow away both the competition and their own expectations. And his advice starts with one simple concept: focus! Instead of trying to master four thousand strategies to improve your business, zero in on the few essential skill areas that make the big difference.The Ultimate Sales Machine shows you how to tune up and so...
Derek Sivers
Jun 12, 2008
After reading E-Myth Revisited, this is the best book I’ve seen on how to turn it into real results, step-by-step. Not ambiguous. Very “do it like this”.     source
This book is also recommended by
Noah Kagan
The Four Pillars of Investing
Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio
by William J. Bernstein (Jan 01, 2002)
Four Pillars of Investing : Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio by William J. Bernstein. McGraw-Hill Publishing Company,2002 (...
Derek Sivers
Jun 07, 2008
If you've already read and loved The Smartest Investment Book You'll Ever Read, above, then read this more in-depth book next.     source
The Art of Learning
An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance
by Josh Waitzkin (May 27, 2008)
Goodreads Rating
In his riveting new book, The Art of Learning, Waitzkin tells his remarkable story of personal achievement and shares the principles of learning and performance that have propelled him to the top—twice.Josh Waitzkin knows what it means to be at the top of his game. A public figure since winning his first National Chess Championship at the age of ni...
Derek Sivers
May 30, 2008
Chess master becomes Tai Chi master, realizes his real genius is learning, and shares his insights and stories.     source
The 4-Hour Workweek
Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
by Timothy Ferriss (Dec 15, 2009)
Goodreads Rating
More than 100 pages of new, cutting-edge content. Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero ma...
Derek Sivers
May 15, 2008
Brilliant reversal of all of the “how to manage all your crap” books. This one tells you how to say “no” to the crap, set expectations on your terms, and be just as effective in a fraction of the time. This is perfect for musicians with other responsibilities (day jobs) that need more free time to actually make music!     source
The Smartest Investment Book You'll Ever Read
The Proven Way to Beat the "Pros" and Take Control of Your Financial Future
by Daniel R. Solin (Dec 23, 2009)
Goodreads Rating
What Are You Waiting For? This book will change the way you think about investing-and the results will prove it! "This is the simple hands-on, how-to and why book many readers have been looking for." -Scott Burns, syndicated columnist Daniel Solin cuts through the financial hype to show you exactly how to invest-with an easy-to-follow four-step ...
Derek Sivers
May 14, 2008
An itty-bitty quick-read no-fluff book with the wisest succinct advice to investors: You can't predict the future, and neither can anyone else. Determine your asset allocation, stick with cheap broad indexes, and rebalance occasionally.     source
This book is also recommended by
Tim Ferriss
How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
by Don Tapscott (Sep 28, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
The acclaimed bestseller that's teaching the world about the power of mass collaboration. Translated into more than twenty languages and named one of the best business books of the year by reviewers around the world, Wikinomics has become essential reading for business people everywhere. It explains how mass collaboration is happening not just at ...
Derek Sivers
Apr 23, 2008
Lessons learned from Wikipedia can be applied to most other businesses. How can you harness the spare-time or self-interest of thousands to build something better for everyone?     source
This book is also recommended by
Tyler Cowen
The Wisdom of Crowds
by James Surowiecki (Aug 16, 2005)
Goodreads Rating
In this fascinating book, New Yorker business columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea: Large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant–better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future. With boundless erudition and in delightfully clear prose, S...
Derek Sivers
Apr 16, 2008
Mind-blowing examples of how groups of diverse people acting independently are smarter than any one person in the group. Has huge implications for management, markets, decision-making, and more.     source
This book is also recommended by
Ben ShapiroKevin Rose
Here Comes Everybody
The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
by Clay Shirky (Feb 24, 2009)
Goodreads Rating
A revelatory examination of how the wildfirelike spread of new forms of social interaction enabled by technology is changing the way humans form groups and exist within them, with profound long-term economic and social effects-for good and for ill A handful of kite hobbyists scattered around the world find each other online and collaborate on the m...
Derek Sivers
Apr 06, 2008
Like Wikinomics and Crowdsourcing, required reading if interested in harnessing the collective power of people online.     source
This book is also recommended by
Tyler Cowen
The Culting of Brands
Turn Your Customers into True Believers
by Douglas Atkin (May 31, 2005)
Goodreads Rating
At first glance, companies like Apple and Nike have little in common with organizations like the Hell's Angels and the Unification Church. But in reality, they all fulfill the main definition of a cult: They attract people who see themselves as different from the masses in some fundamental way. Contrary to stereotypes, most cult members aren't emot...
Derek Sivers
Feb 08, 2008
Unique fascinating dissection of cults and why they work. Then how to apply those lessons to marketing your business.     source
Meatball Sundae
Is Your Marketing out of Sync?
by Seth Godin (Apr 24, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
?Gotta get me some of that New Marketing. Bring me blogs, e-mail, YouTube videos, MySpace pages, Google AdWords . . . I don?t care, as long as it's shiny and new.? Wait. According to bestselling author Seth Godin, all these tactics are like the toppings at an ice cream parlor. If you start with ice cream, adding cherries and hot fudge and whipped ...
Derek Sivers
Dec 30, 2007
Instead of asking how to use the new internet tools to support your existing business, ask how you can change your business to take best advantage of the new tools.     source
Stumbling on Happiness
by Daniel Gilbert (Mar 20, 2007)
Goodreads Rating
• Why are lovers quicker to forgive their partners for infidelity than for leaving dirty dishes in the sink? • Why will sighted people pay more to avoid going blind than blind people will pay to regain their sight? • Why do dining companions insist on ordering different meals instead of getting what they really want? • Why do pigeons seem to have s...
Derek Sivers
Jul 11, 2007
Not at all new-agey, as the title might suggest. Harvard professor of psychology has studied happiness for years, and shares factual findings that will change the way you look at the world.     source
This book is also recommended by
Sam HarrisMaria Popova
The Paradox of Choice
Why More Is Less
by Barry Schwartz (Jan 06, 2004)
Goodreads Rating
Whether we're buying a pair of jeans, ordering a cup of coffee, selecting a long-distance carrier, applying to college, choosing a doctor, or setting up a 401(k), everyday decisions—both big and small—have become increasingly complex due to the overwhelming abundance of choice with which we are presented.As Americans, we assume that more choice mea...
Derek Sivers
Jul 11, 2007
Faced with many options or decisions in your life? This will change the way you look at them. We feel worse when we have too many options.     source
This book is also recommended by
Pavel Tsatsouline
Maximum Achievement
Proven System of Strategies & Skills That Unlock Powers
by Brian Tracy (Jul 22, 1993)
Goodreads Rating
Every year thousands of people attend Tracy's seminars in order to attain newlevels of performance in their professional careers and private lives. Now heoffers his proven system of self-actualization in book form....
Derek Sivers
Nov 12, 2006
A classic self-help book. Exactly what you'd expect. I don't agree with all of it.     source
The Innovator's Solution
Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth
by Clayton M. Christensen (Nov 19, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
A seminal work by bestselling author Clayton M. Christensen, now updated with fresh examples.In the international bestseller The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christensen exposed the Achilles’ heel of many companies: by ignoring the disruptive technologies that evolve to displace them, they help initiate their own demise. In The Innovator’s Solution...
Derek Sivers
Sep 21, 2006
Required reading for business-owners and investors. Shows how technology improves faster than people's ability to use it, so when someone says a technology is “not good enough”, add “yet” and prepare for disruption.     source
This book is also recommended by
Jeff BezosKeith Rabois
Small Is the New Big
and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas
by Seth Godin (Aug 17, 2006)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
As one of today's most influential business thinkers, Seth Godin helps his army of fans stay focused, stay connected, and stay dissatisfied with the status quo, the ordinary, the boring. His books, blog posts, magazine articles, and speeches have inspired countless entrepreneurs, marketing people, innovators, and managers around the world. Now, for...
Derek Sivers
Sep 08, 2006
I’m a massive fan and disciple. A collection of his short insightful posts from his blog, all thought-provoking and inspiring for anybody marketing anything, even music.     source
The Art of Profitability
by Adrian Slywotzky (Sep 01, 2003)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
An extraordinarily new business slant on how companies can generate greater profits in 23 compact lessons with ongoing tutorials between two fictitious individuals. In the past, companies taught their employees about quality. In today's unstable economy, employers must stress the importance of profitability. Now with scores of examples from the gl...
Derek Sivers
Dec 02, 2005
25 different models of profitability presented in examples you can relate to your own business, making you realize profit-sources you’d never thought of before.     source
Getting Things Done
The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
by David Allen (Mar 17, 2015)
Goodreads Rating
"The Bible of business and personal productivity" —Lifehack"A completely revised and updated edition of the blockbuster bestseller from 'the personal productivity guru'"—Fast CompanySince it was first published almost fifteen years ago, David Allen’s Getting Things Done has become one of the most influential business books of its era, and the ultim...
Derek Sivers
Apr 30, 2005
Classic book with near-cult following. How to manage every last itty bitty tiny thing in your life. Keep your inbox empty.     source
The E-Myth Revisited
Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
by Michael E. Gerber (Oct 14, 2004)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
E-Myth \ 'e-,'mith\ n 1: the entrepreneurial myth: the myth that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs 2: the fatal assumption that an individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run a business that does that technical workVoted #1 business book by Inc. 500 CEOs.An instant classic, this revised an...
Derek Sivers
Feb 26, 2004
Absolutely everyone who is an entrepreneur or wants to be one needs to read this book. I first read it after 10 years of successfully running my company, and was still blown away and totally humbled by its wisdom. Re-reading it today, I'm amazed how my view of business was completely changed by this one little book. See my notes for examples, but definitely read the book itself to get the real impact.     source
This book is also recommended by
Tim FerrissDanielle MorrillDave Camarillo
The 48 Laws of Power
by Robert Greene (Sep 01, 2000)
Goodreads Rating
This amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive book synthesizes the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and Carl Von Clausewitz with the historical legacies of statesmen, warriors, seducers, and con men throughout the ages....
Derek Sivers
May 06, 2003
Warning: some think this book is pure evil. But power exists, so it can only help to understand it better, even if you choose not to wield it.     source
War of Art, The
by Steven Pressfield (Jun 16, 2015)
Goodreads Rating
Internationally bestselling author of Last of the Amazons, Gates of Fire, and Tides of War, Steven Pressfield delivers a guide to inspire and support those who struggle to express their creativity. Pressfield believes that “resistance” is the greatest enemy, and he offers many unique and helpful ways to overcome it....
Derek Sivers
Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what “Resistance” is. This book is about that. Read it.     source
A Geek in Japan
Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony (Geek In...guides)
by Hector Garcia (Jun 10, 2011)
Goodreads Rating
For every fan of manga, anime, J-pop, or Zen, A Geek in Japan is a hip, smart and concise guide to the land that is their source.Comprehensive and well informed, it covers a wide array of topics in short articles accompanied by sidebars and numerous photographs, providing a lively digest of the society and culture of Japan. Designed to appeal to th...
Derek Sivers
This is the book I've given most often as a gift because I’m fascinated with understanding the mindset of a place.     source
How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less
by Nicholas Boothman (Jul 02, 2008)
Goodreads Rating
Make instant, meaningful connections.   For interviewing, selling, managing, pitching an idea, applying to college—or looking for a soulmate—the secret of success is based on connecting with other people. And you can do it in 90 seconds or less through Nicholas Boothman’s program of establishing face-to-face communication.   A master of Neuro-Lingu...
Mother Night
by Kurt Vonnegut (May 11, 1999)
Goodreads Rating
Librarian note: Alternate cover edition for this ISBN can be found here.Mother Night is a daring challenge to our moral sense. American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a spy during World War II, is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal. But is he really guilty? In this brilliant book rife with true gallows humor, Vonnegut turns black and white int...
How to Win Friends & Influence People
by Dale Carnegie (Oct 01, 1998)
Goodreads Rating
You can go after the job you wantand get it! You can take the job you haveand improve it! You can take any situationand make it work for you!Dale Carnegies rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, Ho...
Power Schmoozing
The New Etiquette for Social and Business Success
by Terri Mandell (Jul 01, 1996)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
From breaking the ice at a business seminar to hosting a successful cocktail party, Power Shmoozing is packed with extremely useful techniques and real world information about how to talk to people, what to say, and how to keep in touch with them to cultivate productive long-term business relationships. For every business person who wants to move t...
Awaken the Giant Within
How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!
by Tony Robbins (Nov 01, 1992)
Goodreads Rating
Wake up and take control of your life! From the bestselling author of Inner Strength, Unlimited Power, and MONEY Master the Game, Anthony Robbins, the nation's leader in the science of peak performance, shows you his most effective strategies and techniques for mastering your emotions, your body, your relationships, your finances, and your life.The...
Derek Sivers
When I was 18, Awaken the Giant Within changed my life.     source
This book is also recommended by
Brian Koppelman
Derek Sivers
Great, little book that I highly recommend.     source