It’s the day after Christmas.
Some are taking it easy. Others are sorting through their holiday gifts and deciding what to keep, return or exchange. Others are getting pumped up for Boxing Day sales. I’m one of those nerds that looks to see what’s on sale at the bookstore (both the digital and physical ones). The prices have all dropped, so it’s easy pickings. It’s also the perfect time to think about this because starting tomorrow (maybe even today), your brain and body are going to start moving into New Year’s headspace. And, as great (or miserable) as 2013 was, nobody wants to repeat the same year over again. Most of us want to improve – at best – or even tweak it a little bit more in the positive direction.
Combine those two worlds, and here’s a list of books that will inspire you to up your game in 2014:
- Accidental Genius by Mark Levy. There are so many books on productivity and how to organize your ideas and thoughts. Most of them give practical tips and ideas, but few take you to the depths of how to grind through an idea and turn it into something more. Levy’s instructional techniques around freewriting – without question – will get you there. This simple and fast technique has helped me to get started on projects that have been sitting around, or to have a breakthrough on a concept where the ideas weren’t flowing. Here’s my promise to you: this book will make your work better and help you to get projects that you have been putting off to move forward. Quickly.
- The Art of The Pitch by Peter Coughter. If you are in the marketing and communications business, then you’re pitching. Always. There have been tons of books published on how to make your pitches better, but none as strong as The Art of The Pitch. If you’re looking to win more business and win more pitches, then this is the must-have book for you.
- Choose Yourself by James Altucher. A great, great book about the choices we make in our lives when it comes to business and getting what we want. This book is equal parts motivational and equal parts wake-up call to the new realities of business. On top of that, Altucher is one of the best and brightest business writers out there. The book is easy, accessible, funny and profound. You will think differently about your work after reading this amazing book.
- Do The Work by Steven Pressfield. This book was published on Seth Godin‘s The Domino Project imprint. It’s a modernized and abridged version of Pressfield’s seminal book, The War of Art. If you’re struggling with motivation or how to just "put your ass where your heart is," as Pressfield says, this book will help you meet and battle what he calls, "The Resistance." A brilliant and fast read.
- Linchpin by Seth Godin. When people think of Seth Godin, they often think of Purple Cow or Permission Marketing or The Dip. I think of Linchpin. It’s one of Seth’s bigger/longer books (and for good reason). The subtitle of the book is, "Are You Indispensible?" This book defines what it means to be indispensible in the work that you do, and how to chart the course. This book is indispensible if you’re looking to be indispensible. I read this one every year… around this time of year.
- Little Red Book Of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer. I used to think that the notion of selling was icky. I first came across Gitomer’s work by reading The Sales Bible well over a decade ago. What I quickly realized is that Gitomer doesn’t teach you how to sell anything. Sadly, we equate sales with manipulation, and that is not Gitomer’s game. Like Altucher, Gitomer is hilarious and fun to read. HIs books are quick, actionable but – most importantly – practical. Another book you should read and re-read at this time of the year, to get you in the mood to make some moves.
- Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. This book came out in 2005 and helped me better understand two major forces that the most successful people deploy that most of the rest of the population take for granted. One, the power of networking. Not for networking’s sake, but to build a viable community. Two, the ability to use moments like breakfast, lunch and supper to meet and connect – one on one – with people you do not normally connect with. It amazes me how the bulk of the population eat with the same people at work – each and every day. Those with valuable networks get access to opportunities that most can only dream of. This book will help you create the framework.
Now, it’s your turn. Which are the books that inspire you to do big things?