Top Economics Books

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In 1849, the Scottish philosopher and historian Thomas Carlyle coined the phrase “the dismal science” to describe economics. His contemporary, John Stuart Mill, loudly contested Carlyle’s views, expressing his optimism that economics has the best shot of all human endeavors to actually make us better people.

And like it or hate it, the fact is that this social science regulates many aspects of your life. These 15 books went the furthest in analyzing which and how. And some of them profoundly altered our world.

#1. “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith

The Wealth of Nations SummaryIf you’ve ever been in Scotland or England, Adam Smith has probably been in your pocket quite a few times. Literally: he’s the guy on the Scottish £50 note and the most recent English £20 note!

And the awesome thing he did to get there was writing “The Wealth of Nations,” his magnum opus, and the fundamental work in classical economics!

Published at the very dawn of the Industrial Revolution, and more than a decade before the Storming of the Bastille, the work (considered the first modern economics book!) is as fresh today as it was two and half centuries ago. In fact, its ideas about the free market, labor division, and the invisible hand still resonate loud with most of the economic theorists active today.

And did we mention: it is the second most cited book in social sciences published before 1950!

#2. “Capital: Critique of Political Economy” by Karl Marx

Capital SummaryAnd that’s only because Karl Marx’s “Capital” is the most cited one!

For a good reason, might we add. Because If Adam Smith can be credited as the founder of modern economy, “Das Kapital” set the foundations of materialist philosophy, economic history, and historical materialism.

For better or for worse, Marx wrote “The Communist Manifesto” as well – and that has somewhat tarnished the reputation of his most important work in the Western hemisphere. But, as the first sentence of this review proves, only among the general population.

Both political thinkers and leading economists think very differently. And they continually go back to Marx’s “Capital,” because the book – a mammoth three-volume study – is widely considered to be the best analysis of the historical origins of capitalism.

And because Marx’s theories about the surplus value and the inevitable fluctuations and economic crises in any capitalist society – wait for it – have been proven right. Over and over again.

#3. “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy” by Joseph A. Schumpeter

Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy SummaryWe already featured Joseph Schumpeter‘s influential 1942 volume in our list of the top 15 entrepreneurship books. But, we can’t leave it out of this list as well. The reasons are many. We’ll list only three.

First of all, the only two social science books published before 1950 and cited more than this one, are the above two entries on this list.

Secondly, no list of most influential economists in history would be complete without the name Joseph Alois Schumpeter, the popularizer of concepts such as “creative destruction,” “entrepreneurship,” and “innovation.”

And finally, because it’s only natural after the foundational works of capitalism and socialism, that we include the one which best compares the theories.

Schumpeter’s final verdict in “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy”?

Somewhat unexpectedly, that capitalism will inevitably collapse. Not in the way Marx pictured it, though. But in a way which may be already happening.

#4. “John Maynard Keynes: 1883 – 1946: Economist, Philosopher, Statesman” by Robert Skidelsky

John Maynard Keynes SummaryAdam Smith and Karl Marx are usually considered the most influential economists to have lived before the turmoil-driven 20th century. And few would disagree that John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman deserve the same accolades for the period ever since.

As the subtitle of Robert Skidelsky’s book tersely summarizes, John Maynard Keynes was a British economist, philosopher, and a statesman. And, possibly, the single most influential person of the 20th century.

And this book – available in three volumes, and in an abridged single-volume version – is widely considered to be the definite biography of his life and beliefs.

Its author, Robert Skidelsky, is a Russian-born Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick, and just like Keynes himself, is a baron. Unfortunately, neither has won a Nobel Prize.

Keynes because he died in 1946 before his ideas became ubiquitous, and Skidelsky because – well, there’s no such thing as Nobel Prize for History. Otherwise, thinks Norman Stone, this biography would have easily got Skidelsky the award. It’s that good.

#5. “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, And Money” by John Maynard Keynes

The General Theory of Employment, Interest, And Money SummaryWhen “Time” magazine says that your ideas may have singlehandedly saved capitalism, your masterpiece is bound to be included in any list of the best economic books ever written.

You see, as we said above, Schumpeter and Marx were fairly certain that capitalism will one day transform into something more akin to socialism.

And when the Great Depression began in the last months of 1929, many were certain that Marx’s predictions had come true. And that’s when the least talked-about revolution of the past century happened: the Keynesian revolution.

It was instigated by “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money,” Keynes’ 1936 magnum opus and the foundational text of macroeconomics. One of its main ideas – that governments need to intervene in cases of free market crises and severe unemployment – was accepted by almost every capitalist state in the world in the two decades after Keynes’ death.

And just when you thought Keynesianism had fallen out of favor, the financial crisis of 2007-8 happened. And, once again, everybody was leafing through their notes on the margins of “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money.”

#6. “Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Friedman

Capitalism and Freedom SummaryWondering what caused the demise of Keynesianism?

Well, it’s got a lot to do with one single person, the 1976 Nobel Prize winner, Milton Friedman. And his 1962 classic, “Capitalism and Freedom.”

Considered one of the most influential books written after the war, “Capitalism and Freedom” builds upon Friedman’s conviction that Keynesian economics is “a naïve” theory. And strives to find a better answer to the question how should the government help free trade and individual freedom.

The answer? By meddling as little as possible.

This premise (that political freedom follows economic freedom) is the fundamental in Friedman’s economic theory. However, “Capitalism and Freedom” also advocates measures such as GMI, negative income tax, and school vouchers – things largely ignored in discussions about his influence.

A close advisor to both Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Milton Friedman has been repeatedly lauded by libertarian thinkers and criticized by left-wing intellectuals. Either way, he’s still as influential as ever.

#7. “Capital in the 21st Century” by Thomas Piketty

Capital in the 21st Century Summary“Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” is one of the most recent books on this list. Published as “Le Capital au XXIe siècle” in 2013 (an obvious nod to Marx), its 2014 English translation made its author, Thomas Piketty, a fairly young French economist, a global superstar.

A simple fact may illustrate just how influential this book has been even in the short timespan: it’s the most sold book ever published by the Harvard University Press.

It’s a historical analysis, striving to understand better some economic relationships based on the data available about the past two centuries. And, at least in theory, it has successfully managed to revolutionize some common beliefs.

Because its main conclusion is that concentration of wealth stems from a long-term disbalance between the rate of return on capital and the rate of the economic growth – in favor of the former.

The solution?

The often criticized and dreaded progressive taxation. Piketty claims that, in fact, it’s our best tool to eliminate inequality.

#8. “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Freakonomics SummaryWe can tell you one thing from the start: you won’t find a more eccentric economist than Steven D. Levitt or an acclaimed economics study stranger than “Freakonomics”! Co-written with “New York Times” journalist Stephen J. Dubner, the book started a collaboration which will propel both authors to stardom.

Levitt, a winner of the 2003 John Bates Medal for the most promising U.S. economist under 40, had already gained a reputation as an unconventional economist even before the publication of this book. But, “Freakonomics” was a freakish success: in 4 years, it sold over 4 million copies!

Mixing pop culture and serious economy, “Freakonomics” employs the utility maximization model to investigate instances of cheating in sumo wrestling, the role of legalized abortion in crime reduction, or the insignificant effects of good parenting on good education.

And if you like it – don’t worry: there are three sequels!

#9. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

Daniel KahnemanThinking, Fast and Slow Summary is not really an economist. Which is why we didn’t forget to include this book in our top 15 psychology book list.

However, he has won the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. So, he definitely belongs in our current list as well.

Thinking, Fast and Slow” summarizes Kahneman’s major ideas, in an accessible and introductory manner. Its central argument is that there are two different systems of thinking. The first one, “System 1,” employs emotions and is fast and instinctive, while the second one, “System 2.” is reasonable, slow and logical.

Both of them have been repeatedly shown to be biased. Then why, asks Kahneman, do we believe human judgment so much, when it’s fundamentally flawed?

And you can see how this relates to economic thought. In fact, it’s so revolutionary, that it has spawned a new era in economics – behavioral economics. Its main idea: that humans are just too unpredictable and complex to be explained away by macroeconomic theories.

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#10. “The Affluent Society” by John Kenneth Galbraith

The Affluent Society SummaryHave you ever used the phrase “conventional wisdom”? Even if you haven’t, we bet you know what it means. And it feels as old as time, right?

Wrong: it was invented in 1958 by John Kenneth Galbraith!

For most of his life, Galbraith was a much-admired public intellectual and a leading proponent of post-Keynesian economics and American liberalism after the war.

Published in 1958, “The Affluent Society” is the second part of his economics trilogy, which includes both “American Capitalism” (1952) and “The New Industrial State” (1967).

Hotly debated and frighteningly divisive, the book strives to understand the origins of economic inequity. Galbraith points his finger at the obsolete economic traditions, in the vein of Adam Smith, which – he believes – are not suited for affluent societies such as the post-war American.

His way out?

Moving from private production economy to a public investment economy, while eradicating poverty, and improving the quality of public schools. All it takes is just moving some money from the private to the public sector.

#11. “The Road to Serfdom” by Friedrich von Hayek

The Road to Serfdom SummaryFriedrich Hayek is another Nobel Prize winner on our list. A staunch defender of classical liberalism, he’s also the third, after Keynes and his biographer Skidelsky, with an FBA award.

Written during the Second World War, “The Road to Serfdom” is Hayek’s most famous book. It shows beautifully both his economic expertise and his political interests and knowledge.

The basic idea is Hayek’s then-innovative belief that political freedom is not possible in societies where the government has economic control. And, in his opinion, this phrase describes all non-capitalistic societies, whether fascism, national socialism or communism.

Unlike most of his contemporaries, Hayek thought that these three systems of thought are fundamentally the same. And that their basic flaw is favoring the state over the individual.

Milton Friedman has compared this book’s importance to Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations.” So, you can see why we had to include it in our list.

#12. “Human Action: A Treatise on Economy” by Ludwig von Mises

Human Action SummaryFriedrich Hayek frequently said that he owes much of what he has become to his teacher.

His name?

Ludwig von Mises, an Austrian-born American émigré who was probably the most important figure in the post-war liberalist revival.

Human Action” is a gargantuan thousand-page treatise on economy, in which Mises expounds most thoroughly the ideas he came to be known for. Much like Hayek and Friedman after him, Mises believes that free trade is not only a sound basis for an economic system, but also for civilization itself.

Mises’ defense of laissez-faire capitalism is founded on his investigations in praxeology, i.e., the deductive study of human action. In fact, that’s where the title comes from. However, with the advent of behavioral economics, spearheaded by figures such as Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, praxeology has grown out of favor.

Interestingly enough, Mises has not.

#13. “The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth” by Benjamin M. Friedman

The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth SummaryNo, Benjamin M. Friedman is in no way related to Milton Friedman. Ironically, the former Friedman made his name critiquing the policies of the latter one. Even if not straightforwardly: Benjamin Friedman’s “Day of Reckoning” ripped Ronald Reagan’s economic policies to pieces.

And – you remember – Milton Friedman was Reagan’s economic advisor.

In “The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth,” Benjamin M. Friedman once again tackles few problems which transcend economy per se. The central question: whether we should care about economic growth as much as we do?

The simple answer: yes, we should! Because in periods of stagnation – Benjamin Friedman shows – the first thing that happens is the decline of democracy and tolerance.

In other words, we’re not striving for good economic results because of the money. We’re doing that because it helps us be somewhat better to each other.

#14. “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future” by Robert B. Reich

Robert B. ReichAftershock Summary has served in the administrations of three U.S. presidents, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. And he acted as the Secretary of Labor between 1993 and 1997.

So, when he talks about the financial crisis of 2008, it’s wise to expect him to have some smart things to say.

The principal thesis of “Aftershock” is that if American governments don’t show some interest for the middle class, crises like this one are bound to reoccur. Just like Piketty and Galbraith, Reich examines the reasons behind America’s inequality and concludes that politicians ignored it for too long and that the blood of recession is on their hands.

How can we stop it from happening once again?

With a new deal between the government and the people. Its highlights: a reverse income tax, higher marginal tax rates based on a person’s earnings, school vouchers, carbon taxes, and a universal healthcare plan.

#15. “How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes” by Peter Schiff

How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes SummaryAh, the obligatory wildcard!

Peter Schiff is the son of Irwin Schiff, possibly the most famous tax protester in modern U.S. history. Irwin Schiff believed that income tax was illegal and sued the government. After few courts ruled against him, he was convicted to a 13-year prison sentence.

He recently died in prison, but not before inspiring many followers.

And – you know what they say – like father, like son. Or sons.

So, unsurprisingly, Peter Schiff is a strong supporter of the Austrian school of economic thought, i.e., economists in the vein of Hayek and Mises. And in “How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes” he teams up with his brother Andrew to finish both theirs and his father’s mission.

Namely, to show where Keynesians erred and where their father and the Austrians were right. And he uses a simple analogy (about a fishing island nation) – and an even simpler language – to explain complex economic ideas.

And that’s the best part!

It doesn’t really matter if you agree with the Schiffs or not. You’ll learn the basics of economy, nevertheless.

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Top Entrepreneurship Books

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Want to become the next Elon Musk? Why don’t you first spend some time learning about how the one we’ve grown to adore came to be.

Because entrepreneurship is not as easy as you would think. And it doesn’t take only a good idea and a lot of courage to turn it into a functioning business. You’ll also need a lot of hard work, and even more knowhow.

But, why would you listen to us?

Here are few people you should.

#1. “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy” by Joseph A. Schumpeter

Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy SummaryLet’s start with a bit of theory. And what better way other than with a book by the original entrepreneurship theoretician.

Joseph Schumpeter was a colorful character. He once promised to become the most influential economist in the world, the best horseman in Austria, and the greatest lover in Vienna. At the end of his life, he regrettably sighed that he failed at one: there were just too many good riders in Austria.

Jokes aside, Schumpeter was a genius thinker. He thought that economy is moved forward by innovation and change which create temporary monopolies which are creatively destructed afterward by another great entrepreneurship idea.

He also believed that capitalism will one day fall apart because of the success of these entrepreneurs. And because of the intellectual elite advocating a more humane society. He explained this in-depth in “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy,” probably his most popular book.

#2. “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” by Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek SummaryLike it or not, you’re living in a capitalist society. And the chances are, you’ll live in one as long as you live. (That is, unless you want to move to Cuba or North Korea – which, let’s face it, is one of the worst ideas you may have in your life).

And in a capitalist society, you can choose; you’ll either work 8 hours a day, or be the one who gives orders to others to work for him. The latter kind is the one Timothy Ferriss talks about.

In his opinion – and he knows this from personal experience – working for (more than) a third of your life is even worse than moving to North Korea. So, he advises you to stop working so much. And work for only 4 hours. A week.

Yes, you’ve heard it right!

It’s not a fantasy. And “The 4-Hour Workweek” is a 50+ tips and tricks cheat sheet. So, what are you waiting for?

#3. “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers” by Timothy Ferriss

Timothy FerrisTools of Titans Summary is a regular guest on these entrepreneurship booklists. And there’s a reason for that! An entrepreneur himself, he has built an empire around his patented 4-hour learning techniques.

“Tools of the Titans” might be an even better book than our previous entry. It’s as groundbreaking, but much more diverse and multifunctional. This may sound a bit strange, when you realize that most of Ferriss’ words inside this book are questions.

The mystery unravels when you hear that the answers are given by top actors, athletes, and scientists.

Yes, you’re right: “Tools of the Titans” is Tim Ferriss’s podcast in the form of a book!

And if you don’t know anything about “The Tim Ferris Show,” it would suffice here to say that it is the first business/entrepreneurship/interview podcast to pass 100 million downloads.

#4. “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” by Peter Thiel

Zero to One SummaryIf you don’t know him by now, Peter Thiel is the 3-billion-worth co-founder of PayPal and the first outside investor in Facebook.

So, safe to say, that whenever he’s trying to relate a message, it must be worthwhile to pay attention.

And in “Zero to One” he has quite the interesting idea. Namely, that most innovators are moving from 1 to 1.1, 1.2 etc. when the greatest entrepreneurs strive to make that coveted leap from 0 to 1.

In laymen’s terms, this means that if you’re planning to build the next multi-billion-dollar business, it would be a good idea to stop thinking in terms of new operating systems or different types of tablets. Because, the next Bill Gates and Steve Jobs out there is currently working in a totally different industry.

If you focus enough, that someone may be even you.

#5. “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries

Eric RiesThe Lean Startup Summary has had his own fair share of startups behind him; some of them were successful, others spectacularly failed. He learned how to take lessons from the latter and implement them in the former. In fact, that’s why he’s currently where he is.

And that’s why “The Lean Startup” is one of the best books – if not the best – for every young entrepreneur out there. Its main idea is that startups don’t need to be such dangerous endeavors. And that efficiency can be acquired in a much faster manner than it is usually believed.

This is the background for his own patented lean startup methodology, which encourages regulated experimentation, validated learning, and iterative releases.

It worked for him. It should work for you as well.

#6. “The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future” by Chris Guillebeau

The $100 Startup SummaryIf someone came to you now and told you that you can change your life with merely $100, you’ll probably won’t believe him.

Yet, if that someone has identified and closely studied 1,500 individuals who built large businesses on a $100 original investment, you’ll probably think again.

Well, Chris Guillebeau Is the eccentric we’re talking about, and “The $100 Startup” is the book we gladly recommend. It is an in-depth study of the 50 most interesting $100 to $100,000 cases, coupled with a lot of practical advice and an almost manic enthusiasm.

The most valuable lesson?

You can earn money from your passion. You just need to find its most lucrative aspect.

#7. “Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike” by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog SummaryFor most of human history, knowledge was imparted only from one generation to the next. And, consequently (like “The Greatest Salesman in the World” taught us) the secrets of success were kept safe in small groups of elected people.

But in the 20th century, the world of money turned on its head. And, suddenly, some of the richest people alive started sharing their secrets with the world.

And when that happens, expect Phil Knight, the founder of “Nike,” to be the one who’ll keep the lest things to himself. Because, he’s not only one of the richest people in the world; he’s also one of the most generous philanthropists.

And “Shoe Dog” explains how he got to there. The beginning? A young man in a Japanese shoe factory, acting as a representative of a large American, when in fact he is its only employee and his father its only investor.

Already interesting? It only gets better.

#8. “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” by Ashlee Vance

Elon Musk SummaryElon Musk needs neither introduction nor hyperlinks.

One of the most unique entrepreneurs at the moment, he is described by Ashlee Vance, the author of “Elon Musk” as an amalgam of people as brilliant and as innovative as Thomas Edison and Howard, Henry Ford and Steve Jobs.

And he is fully dedicated to building the future of mankind – arguably, more than any other person alive.

Thorough researched and splendidly written, “Elon Musk” by Ashlee Vance is a book which transcends the world of entrepreneurship.

Much like Elon Musk himself, in fact.

#9. “Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur” by Derek Sivers

Derek SiversAnything You Want Summary originally wanted to become a musician. However, he ended up being an entrepreneur in the music industry. You may already know the company he founded and subsequently sold, CD Baby.

The lesson?

Whatever you want to do, this is an age of entrepreneurs. And the sooner you realize this, the better for your future. However, it doesn’t hurt to work what your passionate about the most.

“Anything You Want” is Sivers’ very sincere, very concise (it’s less than a hundred pages) entrepreneurship manifesto. It compresses 10 years of experience in a one-hour read.

And yes – it’s a must read.

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#10. “The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators” by Chris Brogan

The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth SummaryNo, we didn’t choose this book because of it’s catchy title! (Although, this would be a good place to say that we do love the title!) We chose it because its author is Chris Brogan, #1 social media power influencer in the world.

And because we’re down for whatever he’d say!

And in “The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth” he says that it’s not only true that non-conformists make the world go round; it’s also even truer that the more unusual and more eccentric these non-conformists are – the better it is for the progress of humanity.

The book is a wonderful rallying call to these guys. And if we are allowed to paraphrase it, it sounds something like this: “Misfits of the world – unite! You have created the world of today, you’ll shape the world of tomorrow as well!”

#11. “The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms” by Beth Buelow

The Introvert Entrepreneur SummaryIn more than one way, “The Introvert Entrepreneur” may be read as a companion piece to Brogan’s “The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth.”

Much like Brogan, Beth Buelow is aware that the people who change the world are rarely conventional. However, she chooses to focus on those who are not merely misfits, but who are introverts as well.

And, at first sight, it’s a tough world for introverts out there! Business is a war, and it seems as if it’s a place where only loud and aggressive dominators can prosper.

However, Buelow shows that this doesn’t need to be the case. After interviewing many introverts who have flourished as entrepreneurs, she shows that you don’t need to lose your personality to be part of a success story.

And she explains how introverts can use their weakness to their benefit. So, what if the world is loud and chaotic!

#12. “The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future” by Steve Case

The Third Wave SummaryLet’s put it this way: if you’ve ever used dial-up internet, you should be thankful to Steve Case, the author of “The Third Wave.” Because, he is also the co-founder and one-time CEO of AOL.

And as Case convincingly argues, he was merely one of the many entrepreneurs who rode the first wave of the technological revolution. They were the pioneers, the people who paved the way for the internet by building the infrastructure.

The second wave came with Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the rest. They used the existing infrastructure and exploited its possibilities. And brought to many people on the planet a new, virtual way to live their lives.

Steve Case’s book wouldn’t have been called “The Third Wave” if he hadn’t written a word or two about what follows next. Entrepreneurs of the world, lend us your ears: the Internet of Things. Enough with the virtual world. It’s time you transform the real one.

#13. “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Mastering the Inner World of Business” by Nanci K. Raphael

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Mastering the Inner World of Business Summary“The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Mastering the Inner World of Business” is not your regular entrepreneurship book. Most of them are interested in the value of your ideas and the process which might transform an idea into a startup, or a startup into a million-dollar business.

Nanci Raphael writes about something all of these authors tend to forget. The barriers. The obstacles. The emotional challenges.

Unfortunately, they are both real and numerous. And without a proper guidebook may obliterate even the best idea and even the most promising startup.

That’s why, “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Mastering the Inner World of Business” dedicates each of its chapters on a separate problem, ranging from doubt and loneliness to stress and tiredness.

You know – the things you can’t plan. But, which will inevitably happen.

#14. “The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs” by Kevin D. Johnson

The Entrepreneur Mind SummaryBecoming an entrepreneur is not an easy task. It may have to do something with your DNA, but, much more, it has everything with how much dedication and effort you’re planning to offer.

In “The Entrepreneur Mind,” Kevin Johnson, a serial entrepreneur, shares his experiences and knowledge, structuring them into one hundred lessons, divided in seven different areas.

So, prepare to learn 35 new things about strategy, everything from thinking big to having an exit strategy. Then, discover why there’s no point to rush for an MBA, before delving into 13 lessons about the importance of people.

The fourth area is finance (14 lessons), followed by 13 lessons about marketing and sales. You can’t be an entrepreneur without picking up 7 leadership tips. Johnson ends the book with 17 short instructions about motivation.

His final lesson: “you’re an entrepreneur forever.”

#15. “Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity” by Charles Duhigg

Charles DuhiggSmarter Faster Better Summary is a Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter for “The New York Times” and an author of two books on productivity.

Duhigg’s first book, “The Power of Habit,” is probably the more celebrated one. However, “Smarter Faster Better” may be the better choice for entrepreneurs who like to think big. Because, while Duhigg’s debut book concentrates on why we do what we do, this one explores how we can do it better.

Well-researched and brilliantly written, “Smarter Faster Better” explores in-depth eight productivity concepts. In order, these are: motivation, teams, focus, goal setting, managing others, decision making, innovation, and absorbing data.

Even at first glance, many overlap with Johnson’s lessons. As the perfect evidence how essential they are.

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Top Parenting Books

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Parenting is right around the corner and you’re feeling unprepared? Dreading the fact that some have started a while back? Wondering if you’ll be able to do a good job?

Don’t worry – these worries are as common as stars on a bright night sky! And there are numerous ways to ease them.

Reading these 15 books may be the best one.

#1. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

What to Expect When You're Expecting SummaryHeidi Murkoff, the brilliant brain behind the amazingly successful “What to Expect” series, is a name almost every pregnant woman in the United States knows very well. In fact, chances are if you’ve ever been pregnant and read a book on pregnancy – it’s one of hers.

We can be even more accurate in our estimates – it’s most probably “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”!

You know how we know that?

Because statistics say that 93% of American pregnant women who buy a book on pregnancy, opt for this one. Making “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” the longest-running “New York Times” bestseller. Ever.

Really – do we need to say anything more?

#2. “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk SummaryEver since its publication in 1980, “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” has been repeatedly praised by experts and parents alike.

In fact, more often than not, it has topped lists such as ours. And, considering the sheer number of them in this internet age, – that should tell you something!

Down-to-earth and practical, the book focuses on what, at this moment, may seem even mythical to you: parent-child communication. Use the advice offered here and you’ll think differently. After all, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish are the preeminent experts in this field.

And there’s a reason why “The Boston Globe” dubbed this bestseller “the parenting bible”!

#3. “Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Siblings Without Rivalry SummaryWell, we sang a few praises for Faber and Mazlish in the above entry. It was only logical that their second collaboration would find its place on our list as well.

Once again both intelligently written and profoundly practical, “Siblings Without Rivalry” is as essential to parenting two children as “How to Talk to Kids” is to parenting itself. Faber and Mazlish know how to use their expertise in communication in this case as well.

The book will teach you how to redirect the excessive energy in your children from being wasted in bouts of conflict to being sublimated into wonderful feats of collaboration.

And it will make you smile all the way!

#4. “Parenting with Love and Logic” by Foster Cline and Jim Fay

Parenting with Love and Logic SummaryOnce the children come, your life inevitably starts to change. Luckily, you have so much love in you, you’re able to go through – almost instinctively – through all those sleepless nights and recurrent tantrums.

However, for Foster Cline and Jim Fay, love is only one part of the equation. The second part is logic. And you’re going to need a guidance in both of these areas if you want to raise a motivated child ready to face the real world.

Parenting with Love and Logic” will help you exercise control over your children in a healthy and anger-free way. And one of the best things about it is its index. You can’t even imagine the breadth of its helpfulness!

#5. “The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer” by Harvey Karp, M.D.

The Happiest Baby on the Block SummaryIt’s a question most parents dread to even think about! You’ve guessed it: now, how should you soothe your crying baby to sleep at 2AM so you get few hours of it yourself before the exhausting workday that’s ahead of you?

Believe it or not, Harvey Karp, M.D. has the answer. “The Happiest Baby on the Block” may well be titled “The Happiest Parents on the Block” because that’s how you’ll feel after implement Karp’s advices.

Methodically sound, they revolve around four key concepts: the fourth trimester, the calming reflex, the 5 S’s, and the cuddle cure. Believe us: these will become part of your everyday habits for many years after the birth of your children.

#6. “The SleepEasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5” by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack

The SleepEasy Solution SummaryOne more book about tackling sleeping problems! And this one’s written by two Hollywood psychotherapists, Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack. Consequently, it’s endorsed by everyone from NBC’s Conan O’Brien to Greg Kinnear and Ben Stiller!

What does “The SleepEasy Solution” promise?

Well, above all, that it’s effective and that it will do its job in less than three nights. But, also something much more important: a customized sleep planner!

So, finally you’ll get the best of both worlds! Not only a child who sleeps, but also a child who sleeps, more or less, regularly.

And we don’t need to tell you what this means for you, our dear exhausted parents, right?

#7. “The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive” by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

The Whole-Brain Child SummaryDaniel J. Siegel is a child neuropsychiatrist; Tina Payne Bryson, on the other hand, a parenting expert. No wonder that each of their three collaborations has been deemed revolutionary.

The Whole-Brain Child,” however, has attracted the most attention. And, boy, there’s a reason why!

Frist of all, it’s based on the most advanced scientific findings. Secondly, it explains away most of your child’s behavior which may seem as irrational to you. And finally – it’s packed with practical advice you’ll know by heart few months into parenting!

The basic idea of the book is that the brain of your child hasn’t fully developed well into its twenties. And that during this period, its right side (emotions) will inevitably dominate its left side (logic). Use the authors’ 12 strategies to overcome this problem.

Oh, and did we mention: Harvey Karp strongly recommends this book.

#8. “Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids: Creating the Relationship You Want with the Most Important People in Your Life” by Paul Axtell

Paul AxtellTen Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids Summary is primarily a renowned communication consultant – and has quite the portfolio to prove it.

However, he’s also a father of two now-adults, and a grandfather of thirteen children; additionally, he’s also old enough to be able to look back on his life and see what he did right and what wrong with his children.

Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids” is where these three characteristics meet. The book neatly combines his communication theory knowhow with his experience as a parent and grandparent.

Beautifully illustrated by Jane Elizabeth Barr, this Gold Medal Winner for best parenting book in 2011 has everything you need to know about how you can improve your communication with your children.

#9. “Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance: A Powerful New Approach to Overcoming Fear, Panic, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” by Christopher McCurry, PhD

Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance SummaryThere’s a reason why we did a Top 15 list of mindfulness books; there are many of them, and many people are interested in reading them.

Well, Christopher McCurry was amazed to find out that in this wealth of mindfulness books, there is not one dedicated to raising a child. Which is even more fascinating when you take into consideration the fact that mindfulness helps treat anxiousness problems in adults.

Why shouldn’t it do the same in children, as well?

That’s the basic premise of “Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance.” Using his knowledge from acceptance and commitment therapy, McCurry revolutionizes the way parents can help their anxious children.

And he claims that his approach works even for children as young as four!

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#10. “Parent/Teen Breakthrough: The Relationship Approach” by Mira Kirshenbaum and Charles Foster

Parent, Teen Breakthrough SummaryHere’s another book about parent/child relationship. This time, however, it’s about bigger and – dare we say? – more problematic children.

You know the drill: when the hormones kick in, the idyllic parent/child relationship you’ve developed may suddenly break down. And, there’s nowhere to turn for help. Unfortunately, it seems like whatever you’re doing, you’re only making it worse.

Well, take a chill pill and calm down! “Parent/Teen Breakthrough” will take you to the promise land, baby step by baby step!

Featuring many sample dialogues (oh, how familiar they sound!) and concrete suggestions, Mira Kirshenbaum’s and Charles Foster’s book will certainly help you build a loving relationship with your teenage child.

#11. “How to Talk with Your Kids About Sex: Help Your Children Develop a Positive, Healthy Attitude Toward Sex and Relationship” by Dr. John Chirban

How to Talk with Your Kids About Sex SummaryAt some point during your life, your child will either ask you the dreaded question (“Mommy, Daddy – what is sex?”) or, much worse, happen upon some sex-related stuff and will try to understand on its own.

According to Dr. John T Chirban, by this moment, it may be a bit too late to start talking with your child about sex. But, how would you know when it’s too early?

Well, that’s where “How to Talk with Your Kids About Sex” comes in handy. Chirban explains parents the when-s, the how-s, and the why-s – at each stage of a child’s development.

So you can plan well and plan ahead!

#12. “1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12” by Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D.

1-2-3 Magic SummaryThomas W. Phelan is a clinical psychologist with a Ph. D. And his objective in “1-2-3 Magic” is to easily and straightforwardly use his expertise to make your and your child’s life happier and more fulfilled!

And when we say easy – we mean as easy as 1-2-3! Because, according to Phelan, there are exactly three steps to becoming a better parent!

First of all, you need to teach your children to control their emotions. Secondly, you need to encourage their good behavior by providing positive feedback and rewards. And, finally, you need to strengthen the parent/child bond.


Well, that’s what the book is about! And its methods work for all children aged 2 to 12!

#13. “Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason” by Alfie Kohn

Unconditional Parenting SummaryYou may already know Alfie Kohn as a crusader against grade-based education. In fact, “Time Magazine” has described him as “perhaps the country’s most outspoken critic of education’s fixation on grades and test scores.”

Many TV appearances – yes, including twice on Oprah – have merely reinforced this idea of Kohn as

However, he has also written one of the best books about parenting. And it’s directed against the same perceptions which rile him up in the current US education system. You see, “Unconditional Parenting” claims that the whole parenting paradigm is wrong.

That, in fact, it’s not about learning how to control your kids, but about finding out how to work with them. Because, all children need unconditional love. And, because, through the right training, offering it works best for both sides.

#14. “All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood” by Jennifer Senior

All Joy and No Fun SummaryUnlike most of the books on this list, “All Joy and No Fun” is much more theoretical than a practical volume. Interestingly enough, this is exactly what makes it not only unique, but also a must-read.

Jennifer Senior is an award-winning journalist, whose political columns have been frequently anthologized. In “All Joy and No Fun” she shows a completely different side of herself, exploring one aspect of life you’d think hasn’t changed much during the past millennia.

However, Senior claims that it has – and radically so. As a result of this, she argues, modern parents have much more complex and far less clear roles than ever before.

Which makes parenting both a joy and – well, a pretty difficult job. Senior might not help you do it – but, she will definitely help you feel less alone.

#15. “Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!” by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad SummaryA time for our wildcard.

“Rich Dad Poor Dad” is not really a book you would expect to find on a list of the 15 best parenting books ever written. Yet, we had no doubts we’ll include it right from the start.

An autobiographical story about Robert Kiyosaki’s early years, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” tells the story of how his worldview was influenced by two very different paternal figures. The first one, Kiyosaki’s real dad, was a well-educated employee; the second one, the father of his best friend, a street-smarts entrepreneur.

Who do you think was the rich one?

And that’s why we chose to include this book. If you want to raise a financial maverick, it will be a good idea to start from the very beginning.

Albeit implicitly, Kiyosaki explains how.

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Negotiate This Summary

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Negotiate This SummaryBy Caring, But Not T-H-A-T Much

The art of negotiation can be learned.

Below, we give you the fundamental principles you need to follow to become better at the negotiators’ table.

Who Should Read “Negotiate This”? and Why?

“Negotiate This” is a book which will teach you the twelve underlying principles of successful negotiating.

We recommend it to all readers who feel they would benefit from becoming better negotiators – even if it comes to simple everyday situations such as negotiating the salary.

About Herb Cohen

Herb CohenHerb Cohen is an author, negotiation expert and strategy consultant.

“Negotiate This Summary”

Negotiating is a game.

Of course, we do not say that it is a game meaning that it is not serious, but meaning that it involves specific rules which, if you follow, you will be at the winning side most of the time.

Whenever you sit on the negotiating table, use psychology.

You need to walk in with an attitude that you are in charge, that you are the one that has options to choose from, and that you do not depend on that particular negotiation.

If people think that you can easily walk away and you have nothing to lose, they will act differently.

Keep emotional distance, and watch and assess the situation like you are an objective observer.

Do not involve personal matters inside the negotiation. Also, do not have too big expectations. The negotiation will have a much better outcome if you are open to more options.

The detachment and objectivity will help you anticipate actions and arguments before they happen, and you will more likely step aside and keep them pass, keeping the negotiations on the table.

Do not worry. The more experience you get, the easier the process of evaluating the situation will become.

Now, to become a better negotiator, you need to understand that the final objective of negotiating is for both parties to say “yes.” In a perfect scenario, the situation after the negotiation will be better for both parties.

However, although the common goal is of a positive nature, during each negotiation, there are conflicts. In such cases, it is essential that both parties remain in the talks, trying to figure out their point of shared interest.

In other words, if the parties focus on their differences only, they will never come to an agreement.

To be able to find a solution which is in the best interest of both sides on the negotiation table, you need to try to walk in your counterpart’s shoes, and see the world from their point of view.

Control your reactions and think really hard before you react in some way. Hear what the other party has to say – take notes and make sure you have heard it all correctly before you reply.

If their arguments are rational, think about accepting them; or giving equally logical counter-arguments as well.

Note that although you may be objective during the negotiations, it does not mean that those sitting on the opposite side will not be emotional or ruled by old habits.

The essential thing a negotiator needs to be equipped with is patience.

Be slow. Ask questions. Ask for information to be repeated. Ask explanations.

Also, always try to work with a partner. Making a decision alone will burden you more. If you have to do it alone, give yourself some time to discuss the decision over with someone before you shake hands.

Another thing that you should remember is that no matter how difficult your counterpart seems to be, you have to stay cooperative and respectful even at times when you don’t feel like it.

Always be the bigger man. No matter what the situation makes, you feel like.

In our key lessons, we cover the ten principles of successful negotiating.

So, read on.

Key Lessons from “Negotiate This”:

1.      Setting Objectives
2.      Making ‘How’ Concessions
3.      Open with Commonality
4.      The Titanic principle
5.      The Ping-Pong Table Theory of Life
6.      Broadening the Gauge
7.      The Vail Condo
8.      Make ’em Work
9.      You Owe Me an Apology
10.    Closing the deal

Setting Objectives

Before you start the negotiations, always set specific goals and make a list of your priorities.

Making ‘How’ Concessions

If the negotiation hits a plateau, make a concession which is not connected to your goal, but to the negotiation process.

Open with Commonality

Try to find common ground with your counterpart, even if it means talking about the weather. Small talk will create a connection before you start the actual negotiation.

The Titanic principle

Always try to look at the root of the offers the other party gives you, instead of just instinctively reacting to the tip of the iceberg.

The Ping-Pong Table Theory of Life

People want what they want because of how those things fulfill their emotional needs. Whenever you think that the goals of the other party do not make sense, think of this principle.

Broadening the Gauge

Research as much as you can, since the more information you have, the more bargaining power you have as well.

The Vail Condo

A continuation of the previous principle, sometimes the information you have about your counterpart can take you to forming a much better offer.

Make ’em Work”

Even if you agree from the very beginning, make your counterparts work for the concession.

You Owe Me an Apology

If you do something that asks for an apology, like for example losing your temper, apologize. Do not consider it as a weakness.

Closing the Deal

Finally, when you feel that it is time to move on, there comes a time when you close the deal.

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“Negotiate This” Quotes

We seem forever absorbed in trying to get others to agree with us. Click To Tweet Almost without exception you don’t change people’s behavior through rhetoric but only by altering their ways of looking at things. Click To Tweet I am not a pacifist, nor one who believes in the sacrifice of ethical principles and values for the expediency of even a profitable deal. Click To Tweet Following the trite counsel of keeping your nose to the grindstone merely guarantees a short, bloody nose. Click To Tweet While seeking our own satisfaction, we must come to terms with the contrary preferences and desires of others. In a negotiation, there’s always at least one other participant, and rules or at least etiquette of play. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Negotiate This” is an entertaining book, which can teach you a thing or two, although you may find that it is a bit loosely structured.

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Top Sales Books

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Are you in the sales business? If you’re living in the United States, you’re very likely to answer “yes” to this question. Because 1 in 9 Americans works as a sales rep.

But, as a book on this list suggests, the other 8 do this as well. Yes, that includes you, too! The only thing is that you don’t know it yet. But, whether it’s ideas or yourself, you’re selling things on a daily basis.

And these 15 books are the best to teach you how your technique.

#1. “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling” by Frank Bettger

How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling SummaryIf you know Dale Carnegie – which we suppose you do – then we’re sure that him endorsing Frank Bettger’s debut book is a recommendation enough for “How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling”.

If not – well, just look at the title! Who doesn’t want a good success story?

And Bettger’s is the ultimate one. At 29 he was a failed insurance salesman; however, at 40, he could have well retired. This book explains what he started doing differently.

And it covers everything from conquering fear and winning confidence to the seven essential rules for closing a sale.

#2. “Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness” by Jeffrey Gitomer

Little Red Book of Selling SummaryA college dropout with a background in languages, Jeffrey Gitomer doesn’t sound like someone who’d author a sales bestseller. And yet he has – few of them, as a matter of fact.

The “Little Red Book of Selling” is the most famous and celebrated among them, both among regular salespeople and experts in the field. What’s best about it is that it’s more than accessible!

Just as its title suggests, it’s small (both in terms of size and in terms of length) and unconventional as hell. There are amusing cartoons on almost every page and a mini-content before every chapter. And, boy, Gitomer’s style is maniacally enthusiastic!

So much so, that even if you’re not a salesperson, you might want to become one.

#3. “The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation” by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

The Challenger Sale SummaryDubbed “the most important advance in selling for many years,” “The Challenger Sale” is an exceptional book. Its main idea: that the times have changed and that there’s a better way to sell in the 21st century!

Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson claim that there are five different types of salespeople: hard workers, relationship builders, lone wolves, reactive problem solvers, and challengers. So far, the science of selling has favored the relationship builders.

In “The Challenger Sale,” Dixon and Adamson claim otherwise: it’s the time of the challengers. And what’s so different about them?

Read this book to find out.

#4. “Be a Sales Superstar: 21 Great Ways to Sell More, Faster, Easier in Tough Markets” by Brian Tracy

Brian TracyBe a Sales Superstar Summary is somewhat of a legend in the field of self-help and sales books. He has authored more than seventy of them (if anyone counts), and most of them have been translated into many languages.

And, sure, you’ll find his 1988 classic, “The Psychology of Selling,” on most of the lists similar to this one. But, after we did some thinking, we decided that we’ll opt for “Be a Sales Superstar” in ours.

You know why?

Because it’s less theory and more practice. Because it’s a straightforward manual and a great handbook for tough times and for busy people. And, finally, because it covers everything, from getting more appointments, to closing sales faster.

Tracy at his best.

#5. “The Science of Selling: Proven Strategies to Make Your Pitch, Influence Decisions, and Close the Deal” by David Hoffeld

The Science of Selling SummarySelling is not really a science. And yet, David Hoffeld, chief sales trainer at research-based firm, Hoffeld Group, claims that, with the right advice, it can be!

In “The Science of Selling” he makes his case. Combining many findings coming from fields as diverse as social psychology, behavioral economics, psychology and neuroscience, Hoffeld explicates how our brains are preprogrammed to act in accordance with some external impulses.

And through anecdotes and personal experience, he delves into these external factors which trigger the right buying decisions.

He’s on our list – as well as many others – so you can bet he does a great job!

#6. “The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million” by Mark Roberge

The Sales Acceleration Formula SummaryTalking about science!

Mark Roberge introduces into selling a word you’d only expect to see in the most exact sciences. Yes, formula! And he stands by his decision on each of the 200 densely written graphics-filled, data-driven pages of his book!

The main idea: selling is not an art, but a science. And just like any other scientifically proven experiment, you can reproduce the same results over and over again. Of course, the only prerequisite is to follow the same rules.

Roberge’s are mostly interested in sales scaling – the most difficult part of business. And, more than mostly, work.

#7. “Secrets of Closing the Sale” by Zig Ziglar

Secrets of Closing the Sale SummaryRecently deceased, Zig Ziglar was a world-renowned salesman and motivational speaker, an author of over 30 oft-cited books.

“Secrets of Closing the Sale” is much more than another book about how to get your buyers to say “Yes.” It’s a book which understands that selling is a part of your everyday activities. Because, as that great scene in “The Big Kahuna” taught us, most of the time we’re selling reps.

And, whether it’s ideology or merely talking someone into rooting for your favorite team, you need to find a way to convince other people to say “Yes.”

“Secrets of Closing the Sale” is the right way to start.

#8. “To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others” by Daniel H. Pink

To Sell Is Human SummaryWe’ve already featured Daniel H. Pink’s “Drive” on our Top 15 Psychology book list. But, we couldn’t resist including his “To Sell is Human” in this list as well.

He further expands on Zig Ziglar’s idea that we’re all sellers (and buyers). And to see where it would lead him, he rummages the Malcolm-Gladwell-way through a wealth of social studies and researches.

The result?

Hundreds of contra-intuitive insights you’d swear are total bonkers if not proven otherwise by Pink. And numerous rewritten rules in the sales bible.

Yes, including the ABC of selling!

#9. “Spin Selling: Situation Problem Implication Need-Payoff” by Neil Rackham

Spin Selling SummarySelling small has been examined volume after volume; but selling big is an altogether different matter. And as far as it is concerned, a recent two-chaptered “Forbes” column by Jayna Cooke put it best: “If You Aren’t SPIN Selling, It’s Time to Start.”


Well, because the author of “Spin Selling,” Neil Rackham, has advised Xerox, Honeywell and IBM, and because his techniques have been employed by many other companies, since the publication of this book.

SPIN is a groundbreaking, paradigm-shifting big sales model, based on an extensive research covering over 35,000 complicated sales calls.

And you can acquire it by… well, first acquiring this book.

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#10. “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini

Influence SummaryIt may feel like we’re cheating (because, we included “Influence” in our Top 15 Psychology book list), but – who cares? After all, what kind of a best sales books list would this one be without Cialdini’s classic?

Considered to be the seminal study in the ever-growing field of the psychology of persuasion, “Influence” is quite an outstanding book. It has been quoted and requoted by so many sales book authors since its publication you might already know that there are six persuasion principles.

We’ll leave the rest to Cialdini. He has a way with words.

#11. “7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go From Relationships to Referrals” by Michael J. Maher

The Seven Levels of Communication SummaryMichael J. Maher (pronounced like “Mayor”) is “North America’s Most Referred Real Estate Professional.” And “7L” is the book which explains how he got there.

A bit unconventionally, the book is actually an allegorical novel. It tells the story of down-on-his-luck property broker, Rick Masters. Rick meets a successful mortgage professional, Jay Michaels, who tells him that he can build a conglomerate without almost no personal promotion.

Soon, he is appointed a personal coach and he learns everything there is to know about the Seven Levels of Communication and the Spectrum of Solutions.

True, as a novel, “7L” is sloppily written and too long for its sake. But, as a sales guidebook – it’s a must read!

#12. “The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino

The Greatest Salesman in the World SummaryOg Mandino’s “The Greatest Salesman in the World” is the least specialist book on this list. But, that isn’t a setback; on the contrary, in fact: the book is universally loved and deemed as inspiring by almost everybody.

Mandino’s biography is inspirational in itself. A poor insurance salesman, he was on the brink of suicide, when he discovered the power of self-help books to actually change your life. So, he started writing them.

And in “The Greatest Salesman in the World” he went as far as possible. Telling the story of Hafid, the book is actually a ten-scroll guidebook which contains as many advices, ranging from “I will form good habits and become their slave” to “I will act now.”

“No one who follows these principles will ever fail as a salesman,” says a review by Paul J. Meyer. And he will definitely become a better person. That’s our addition.

#13. “Ultimate Selling Power: How to Create and Enjoy a Multi-Million Dollar Sales Career” by Donald Moine and Ken Lloyd

Ultimate Selling Power SummaryWhen we were writing our summary, we warned you that if you’re planning on entering the sales world, it’s not a good idea to miss “Ultimate Selling Power.”

A few months later, we’re even more confident of our initial judgment.

Offering great step-by-step instructions on how to increase your sales, this book will become your go-to place for many other things sales-related. Because, it also includes practical tips and tricks on creating the perfect marketing presentations, as well as many other on using the power of promotion to reach your target audience.

And it doesn’t hurt that Donald Moine and Ken Lloyd write engagingly and straightforwardly, does it?

#14. “Perfect Selling: Open the Door, Close the Deal” by Linda Richardson

Perfect Selling SummaryThis book is meant to be your favorite Sales 101. And it is written by one of the top three sales consultants in the world. Can you ask for something more in a book?

Straightforwardly written, “Perfect Selling” explicates a straightforward 5-step program to master sales. First, you need to immediately connect to your customer. Then, you have to explore his needs. Thirdly, you need to persuasively leverage your solutions. Resolving your customer’s dilemmas is the penultimate step. Acting and closing the sale is the last.

Sounds too complicated?

Don’t worry: it’s simple when Linda Richardson explains it.

#15. “Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives” by Keith Rosen

Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions SummaryAs Brian Tracy says, if you want to boost the sales of your company, sales coaching is the best place to start. And when it comes to sales coaching, there’s no better book than Keith Rosen’s “Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions.”

Well-written and jam-packed with case studies, Keith Rosen’s coaching classic has everything you might expect from it. Strategies, templates, scripts, coaching questions – as well as many reasons why to look no further than it.

And five of them are not even inside the book. They’re international best book awards.

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Top Psychology Books

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Psychology is one of the most interesting scientific disciplines. If you’re wondering why, please spend a moment thinking about one of Oliver Sacks’ opinions: the human brain is the “most incredible thing in the universe.”

Well, psychologists study it. And whether from a sociological, behavioral, or biological perspective, they have come across some brilliant findings.

We’ve spend some time choosing the best of the best among them.

And here they are!

#1. “Civilization and Its Discontents” by Sigmund Freud

Civilization and Its Discontents SummaryLet’s be honest: Sigmund Freud is a bit outdated. So much so, in fact, that he has become the butt of many “yo mamma” jokes. (Really, can you go lower than that?)

But, let’s not kid each other: Freud is not merely the father of modern psychology, but also so big that, even if you haven’t read any of his books, you already know many of his ideas.

And, really, we could have chosen basically any book by Freud, and we wouldn’t have made a mistake. We opted for “Civilization and Its Discontent” mainly because it’s his most relevant and least challenged.

In it, Freud claims that civilization and culture are built upon forfeited individual desires. And that there’s no other way. So, if you want to be happy and fulfilled, you’ll have to find some other way.

#2. “Man and His Symbols” by Carl Jung

Man and His Symbols SummaryPsychology was barely instituted, when it happened upon its first (and greatest) schism. Sigmund Freud saw in Carl Gustav Jung a potential heir, but Jung grew to become his intellectual nemesis.

A great thing – both for the sake of humanity and for the sake of science. After all, there’s no progress in conformity.

Anyway, Jung was a charismatic person. And in 1959 he gave a 40-minute interview for BBC’s John Freeman, which made him somewhat of a name among the general public. And yet, his complex books were inaccessible to it.

So, he decided to write “Man and His Symbols,” his last and simplest book. More importantly, his only book specifically written for the laymen.

Densely illustrated and beautifully written, the book is the best introduction to Jungian psychology, and one of the most influential psychological books ever published.

#3. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow SummaryDaniel Kahneman is one of the world’s most revered intellectuals.

How can it be any different? He is not only one of the most studied psychologists, but also the winner of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences!

And “Thinking, Fast and Slow” is both the best introduction to his work and the most accessible summary of his ideas. The book’s fundamental thesis is that there are two modes of thinking. The first one is fast, emotional, and instinctive, and the second one slow, rational, and logical.

Elucidating the biases of each one, throughout the book, Kahneman investigates a thought-provoking quandary. Namely, why do we believe human judgment so much, when it’s fundamentally flawed?

#4. “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini

Influence SummaryRobert B. Cialdini boasts with a portfolio lengthier than your detailed biography. And most of it revolves around a very specific aspect of psychology: the psychology of influence.

You can see why it’s so popular right from the start, can’t you? If you can learn how to make people say “yes,” you can make your life a lot easier.

Well, there’s no better place to start than “Influence,” Cialdini’s 1984 masterpiece, one of the smartest business books ever written. Well-researched and evidence-based, this book explains the six universal principles of persuasion, as well as how you can use them to your benefit.

Whether employing them – or defending against them.

#5. “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade” by Robert Cialdini

Pre-Suasion SummaryPossibly, we should have listed “Pre-Suasion” before “Influence.” But, it was written well afterward, and we always prefer actual to thematic chronology. (“Star Wars” fans know what we’re talking about!)

Yes, it’s another book by Robert B. Cialdini. And, for that matter, another book on the topic of influence. But – in a prequel type of way.

Because, if in “Influence” Cialdini teaches you how to persuade people, in “Pre-Suasion,” he teaches you how to prepare the ground for it. In other words, influencing people starts well before the actual techniques kick in.

And, by the same analogy, Cialdini’s “Influence” starts with “Pre-Suasion”.

#6. “The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting Ancient Wisdom to the Test of Modern Science” by Jonathan Haidt

The Happiness Hypothesis SummaryOne of world’s top thinkers, Jonathan Haidt is one of the many social psychologists we couldn’t ignore when making this list. Unlike Cialdini, he specializes in the psychology of morality. So, basically something almost completely opposite than him.

And “The Happiness of Hypothesis” is here to prove it!

Deemed “the most intellectually substantial book to arise from the ‘positive psychology’ movement,” “The Happiness Hypothesis” has it all! Plato, Jesus, Buddha, how their ideas compare with modern psychological findings, and yes – a scientific formula for happiness.

It should work – but, that’s not the point! Find out what is.

#7. “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers SummaryA book so good we’ve written about it twice! (Really!)

And we can even rephrase that! An author so great we could have listed each of his five books here and no one would have blamed us for being biased.

Yes, we’re talking about the phenomenon that is Malcolm Gladwell. “Outliers” was his third book and his third “New York Times” bestseller. Once again, Gladwell takes his readers on journey through a host of research studies in the fields of social science, to make a startling point.

In this case, that successful people are successful because they usually practice the right way for about 10,000 hours. (Yes, that’s more than five years if you practice 5 hours on a daily basis!)

Of course, believe us when we say that the destination is less interesting than the journey.

#8. “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell

Blink SummaryMalcolm Gladwell wrote “Blink” about three years before “Outliers.” Needless to say – both are still read and discussed. “Blink” maybe even more!

In a nutshell, it’s a book about Kahneman’s first mode of thinking: the fast, intuitive one. It shows how some people are great decision-makers and are able to analyze a complex situation in few minutes.

And the reason behind this?

Well, they are capable of something Gladwell calls “thin-slicing,” i.e. the ability of separating the important from the unimportant. In other words, good and rapid decision-makers don’t analyze everything faster than you.

They just know what to analyze and reach to a conclusion faster.

#9. “Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts” by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) SummaryCarol Tavris and Elliot Aronson are well-respected psychologists, with the latter one being one of the most quoted in history.

In “Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)” they try to see how their psychological theories work in the real world. And they show, over and over again, that you are bound to make many mistakes in your life – and admit none of them!


Because, there are many self-justification mechanisms which work in that direction. Whether it’s cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, or fabricated memory – you’ll find them all in here.

In addition to few advices on how to trick them.

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#10. “The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil” by Philip Zimbardo

The Lucifer Effect SummaryPhilip Zimbardo is, undoubtedly, one of the most cited psychologists in history. And the reason behind this is the Stanford prison experiment which he conducted in 1971.

In it, a group of 24 people were randomly assigned roles of prisoners and prison guards. The two-week experiment ended only after six days, because prison guards turned sadistic, and prisoners started experiencing bouts of depression.

The Lucifer Effect” builds upon the findings of this experiment. And it concludes that people are not inherently good or evil. They can be either – based on the situation.

And some are capable of exploiting this.

#11. “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales” by Oliver Sacks

Oliver SacksThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat Summary was not only the preeminent neurologist of the past fifty years, but also the prime popularizer of the discipline.

Called a poet for the power of his writing, Sacks was the person who introduced us to the biological predetermination of some of our actions.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” takes this into the extreme, showing how our brains can malfunction to the point of… well, mistaking our closed ones for hats.

Yes, that’s a true story! And only one of the many this book has to offer. Make no mistake, though: it’s not a simple book. Each of the stories here is poignant and humane, beautiful and enlightening.

In a “it makes you wonder” kind of way.

#12. “Getting Unstuck: How Dead Ends Become New Paths” by Timothy Butler

Timothy ButlerGetting Unstuck Summary is not actually a big fish in the waters we’re currently swimming. But, we couldn’t resist adding this little gem of book in our list.

Mainly, because of the wealth of practical advice it offers. And because all of it focuses on something many people experience nowadays: a state of crisis.

“Getting Unstuck” can help you overcome this. Ignore the theoretical framework, which basically boils down to one thing only: know thyself. Use the practical exercises, because they do exactly that.

And, because, as Butler claims quoting a German poet, if it doesn’t work, you must change your life.

It’s that simple.

#13. “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink

Drive SummaryMuch more than a behavioral scientist, Daniel H. Pink is a provocative thinker. “Drive” is a good example to what extent.

In it, Pink examines what is the thing which really motivates people. And tries to show that all of the old models we rely on may be wrong. For a simple reason that motivation may be much more intrinsic than one would believe.

In other words, especially in the case of mechanical jobs, rewards and punishments do nothing for motivation after a certain degree. What does are three completely unrelated things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Find out what Pink means by each of them – the book is both captivating and straightforwardly written.

#14. “The Psychology of Winning: Ten Qualities of a Total Winner” by Dr. Denis Waitley

The Psychology of WinningLove him or hate him, Denis Waitley is a motivational heavyweight.

And, even though (at least when compared to the other books on this list), his books are based more on inspirational writing than scientific studies, he’s so good at the former, that it turns into something science is bound to explore in the future.

In other words, it works! And Waitley has a daunting portfolio to prove it.

If we are completely honest, “The Psychology of Winning” is much more than a book: it’s a whole industry. But, it started here, with these ten qualities.

Maybe that’s where your journey to the pedestal should start as well.

#15. “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain

Quiet SummaryHave you ever felt that this world somehow wasn’t built for you to thrive in it?

Well, Susan Cain wondered the same thing during her Harvard Law School years. And she was flabbergasted to find out that the fact her education seemed “a trial” to her wasn’t because of her traits, but because the world simply didn’t like them.

And she had a revelation: the world was built by and for extroverts, pressing the introverts to the wall the same way women were before the feminist awakening.

Cain’s “Quiet” is widely credited by many psychologists for starting the Quiet Revolution, an attempt to “unlock the power of introverts for the benefit of us all.” Because, that’s basically the main premise of the book: Western society loses out by misunderstanding introverts and may win much if it starts caring for their happiness.

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The Ultimate Sales Machine Summary

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The Ultimate Sales Machine Summary

MicroSummary: “The Ultimate Sales Machine” by the late great sales and marketing guru Chet Holmes is based around a simple premise: that mastery isn’t about doing 4,000 things, but about doing 12 things 4,000 times. And these 12 things – ranging from time management techniques to aggressive marketing strategies – are exhaustively examined and resourcefully related throughout this wonderful little book.

Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies

No matter how good your company is doing, it probably can do a lot better. Interestingly enough, the strategies you need to employ are pretty much the same even if it is not doing good at all.

And according to Chet Holmes, you only need to focus on twelve of them to become “The Ultimate Sales Machine.”

Our summary takes a quick – but piercing – look at all twelve!

Who Should Read “The Ultimate Sales Machine”? And Why?

The Ultimate Sales Machine” is one of the numerous books out there which aim to help you make the operations in your company as efficient as possible. And just like them, it’s a book everyone with a crucial position in any company should find valuable.

We can single out the sales reps, the executives, and the CEOs – but, believe us, many others may find both pleasure and benefit if they reserve some time for “The Ultimate Sales Machine.”

About Chet Holmes

Chet HolmesChet Holmes was a much-admired corporate trainer and sales and marketing consultant. Beloved lecturer and founder of Chet Holmes International, his portfolio included numerous Fortune 500 companies, such as Warner Bros., NBC, Pacific Bell, GNC, Citibank, Wells Fargo and many others.

“The Ultimate Sales Machine” was the only book he authored before he passed away from leukemia in 2012.”

“The Ultimate Sales Machine Summary”

Let’s cut to the chase, by citing one of the most oft-quoted sentences ever written by Chet Holmes: “Mastery isn’t about doing 4,000 things, it’s about doing 12 things 4,000 times.”

A good cue as any to start listing and summarizing each of the twelve key strategies from the subtitle of “The Ultimate Sales Machine.”

1. Time management

Do you have too many of those “one-minute” meetings which take a bit longer to finish (which, by the way, are even less efficient than you already know)? Well, it’s time to end them all!

And it’s time you started each and every one of your days by already knowing what you want to do – and what you’ll ultimately end up doing. In order to do this, use the Ivy Lee method and make each night a list of 6 tasks you’ll work on the next day.

In that order. No excuses.

2. Continuous employee training

Let’s face it: no one becomes better without training, and, after a while, even the best ones tend to stagnate unless they are continually pushed forward.

By the new ideas and strategies, by the fact that they’re learning, by the new-found youth – you name it! Either case, training is essential and it never stops.

3. Regular company meetings

Of course – there are also some meetings that make sense. These are the ones aimed at improving the company chemistry and further advance the idea of a shared tradition and a common goal.

Maximize the effectiveness of these meetings by developing procedures each of your employees will know beforehand.

4. Develop the right strategies

First of all, find out what makes your product so essential and unique; and start from there. This way, you won’t even need to talk about your product to persuade your customers. You’ll prepare them by talking about their needs first.

5. Hire sales superstars

Creating the best sales team is not an easy job. You can really learn a lot from the rookies, but, it’s the sales superstars which ultimately make the difference. You’ll probably need more money to hire them, but, it will pay off – in the long run.

6. Target the best buyers

We’ve already talked about the Pareto principle, and Malcolm Gladwell has even written a book to demonstrate the consequences of the 80/20 rule on society as a whole.

In the case of your company, it means that a lot of your income comes from a small number of your customers. Find who they are. And never let them go!

7. Perfect your marketing strategy

Of course, you’ll need the ultimate marketing strategy to do this. It’s a combination of advertising and direct mail campaigns, of good public relations management and a long personal contacts list. But, nowadays, it’s mainly about using the phenomenal power of the internet to, say, turn a tweet into a trend.

8. Perfect your presentation with visual aids

Leonardo da Vinci believed that the “eye embraces the beauty of the whole world.” So, use this when presenting your product. A simple graph may relate thousands of sentences in a single second. (For example, just have a look at what Hans Rosling did with boring statistical data.)

9. The sales process starts with a list of your ideal customers

This one is closely related to 6; the only difference is that these customers are not yours. That doesn’t mean that they don’t belong on a longlist of 100 ideal customers.

Start contacting them. And using a good marketing strategy (see #7), commence with the wooing process.

10. Perfect your selling skills

And the wooing process is basically a science.

First of all, you establish a relationship. Then, you identify your customers’ needs. As we already said at #4, use this knowledge to talk your customers into craving your product even before they learn you’re selling it.

Then, prove your clients that not buying it will cost them more money than the opposite. Finally, close the sale. And then…

11. Follow-up

In Holmes’ opinion, following up is what makes the difference between a good and a great company. Because, building an emotional relationship with your client goes a long way. And, ultimately, can make all the difference.

12. Set objectives and constantly meet them

Be aggressive when setting your goals. And measure your performance over time – carefully and systematically. You don’t need to exceed your goals. You just need to be disciplined enough to meet them.

Key Lessons from “The Ultimate Sales Machine”

1.      Start Each Day with a 6-Item Priority List
2.      Once in a While, Call Your Best Buyers to Ask Them How They Are
3.      Never Stop Reading Summaries Such as This One

Start Each Day with a 6-Item Priority List

Ivy Lee is considered the founder of modern PR. Supposedly, he once made Charles M. Schwab’s steel empire ten times more productive by introducing its employees to a simple method. Namely, to write down each night 6 things they should do the day after. And to do them in the order of priority – no matter what.

True, it’s simple. But, it really works!

Once in a While, Call Your Best Buyers for No Reason

If you want to become a great company, it’s essential to build long-lasting customer relationships. True, some may say that challengers have started rewriting the book of sales from recently, but, even so, it wouldn’t hurt to call your best buyers from time to time.

Just to see how they’re doing. So that your professional relationship grows into something bigger.

Never Stop Reading Summaries Such as This One


Training is essential to becoming better. And if you don’t have time to read the whole books, reading their summaries may do the trick. So, what are you waiting for? Click on some of the links and go on reading!

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“The Ultimate Sales Machine” Quotes

Mastery isn’t about doing 4,000 things, it’s about doing 12 things 4,000 times. Click To Tweet Advertising brings in the customers, but it is your job to keep them buying from you. Click To Tweet Implementation, not ideas, is the key to real success. Click To Tweet You’re only one person away from the most important people in the world. Click To Tweet A company that thinks like a small company remains small. A company that thinks and acts like a big company is going to grow faster, smarter, and better. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Ultimate Sales Machine” has been lauded by many as one of the ultimate sales books ever. And the only reason it didn’t make the cut in our top sales booklist, is a pretty trivial one: it was a top 15, not a top 20 list,

And if we longlisted it among the best sales books in history, we don’t need to tell you that we think that “The Ultimate Sales Machine” is a book you should definitely read in detail and apply it as completely.

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Great by Choice Summary

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Great by Choice Summary

MicroSummary: “Great by Choice” is another master-product of Jim Collins’ in-depth decade-long market researches, this time written in collaboration with another influential management analyst, Morten T. Hansen. The question this time around: why do some companies take a nosedive, while others thrive in a state of crisis and chaos? The answer: they are disciplined and prepared.

Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck – Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

Have you ever wondered how is it that while some big companies are left to scrape the bottom of the barrel after a financial crisis, others emerge practically unscathed of disasters of apocalyptic proportions?

Well, so did James C. Collins and Morten T. Hansen. And they conducted a decade-long research, the conclusions of which they shared in “Great by Choice.”

And after reading the book, we share our conclusions with you.

Who Should Read “Great by Choice”? And Why?

As is the case with most of Jim Collins’ books, “Great by Choice” is a recipe for long-term business success.

Something chief executives, company owners, and business researchers are certainly much more interested than in the pervading get-rich-quick schemes self-help authors like to maniacally write about.

In its final chapter, the book includes possibly the first in-depth quantifying analysis of the role of luck in business success. And many will find that part especially interesting.

About Jim Collins & Morten T. Hansen

Jim CollinsJames C. “Jim” Collins III is one of America’s most famous business consultants and leadership teachers. His 25-year long research into topics such as company growth and sustainability, have resulted in six widely read classics. We have already summarized two of them at “Built to Last” and “Good to Great.”

See more at

Morten T. HansenMorten T. Hansen is a management professor at University of California, Berkeley, with a Ph.D. from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He was ranked by Thinkers50 among the 50 most influential management analysts in the world. He has authored two more books: “Great at Work” and “Collaboration.”

Learn more at

“Great by Choice Summary”

In “Good to Great” – deservedly featured in our top 15 leadership books in history list – business consultant guru Jim Collins tried to answer one of the most difficult questions in the business world.

Namely, why some companies make the leap from being good to being great, while others, no matter how similar to them, fall in the pit of mediocrity.

A decade later, Collins teams up with his colleague Morten T. Hansen in “Great by Choice,” to answer a new, as important, related question: why some companies thrive in chaos, while others completely lose it?

And, once again, he reaches some interesting, almost counter-intuitive, conclusions, via an exemplary decade-long fieldwork.

What the book ultimately boils down to?

That great companies are no luckier than good companies; and, that they succeed because, even in the case of chaos and uncertainty, they go on working as if everything is as orderly as ever. In other words, antifragility is a trait you acquire through a process which combines discipline and preparedness; not something you have in your DNA from the start, or something you get by luck and sheer courage.

And Hansen and Collins have just the right story to illustrate their point.

In 1911, two expeditions moved on a dangerous trip to Antarctica, in an attempt to become the first people to ever reach the South Pole. One of them was led by a Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, and the other by a British Royal Navy officer, Robert Falcon Scott.

Now, you would expect that the latter one was the one which historians remember, but – guess again: it was Amundsen’s expedition which won the race to immortality.


One word: preparation.

You see, Roald Amundsen knew where he was going and spend as much time as he could researching Eskimo habits and trying all potential food sources. Scott wanted to reach the Pole faster, so he carried a lot less weight and used the untested-for-that-terrain motor sledges. Both would prove fatal: not one member of Scott’s team ever made it home.

Well, write Collins and Hansen, the business world of today, with all its tumultuousness and unpredictability, it’s not much different than this polar race. Neither Amundsen nor Scott knew what they will face on Antarctica, but the former one did better in guessing and preparing for it.

All of the “10X companies” – companies which beat their industry indexes y at least 10 times in as many years – Collins and Hansen analyzed did just that to overcome difficult situations.

They prepared.


First of all, they were disciplined. They didn’t rush anywhere. They preferred consistency over rapid rise. By setting themselves targets and hitting them precisely year by year, they became immune to external influences.

Secondly, they were bold, only when boldness mattered. In other words, their leaders weren’t interested in taking risks, and, thus, weren’t required to be any more visionary than those of merely good companies. (Hey, remember Collins’ other classic, “Built to Last”? Let us refresh your memory.)

Finally, just like Amundsen, they were “productively paranoid.” The polar explorer tried dolphin’s meat so as to prepare for the worst-case scenario. The 10X companies constantly do this, so, when something bad happens, they already have a good strategy.

True, if nothing of the sort ever happens, it may be money down the drain. But, then again, 10X leaders don’t think that way: they don’t strive to outdo their objectives. They are perfectly content with meeting them.

Talking about discipline!

Key Lessons from “Great by Choice”

1.      10xers Walk the 20 Mile March
2.      “Fire Bullets, Then Cannonballs”
3.      Be SMaC and Productively Paranoid

10xers Walk the 20 Mile March

Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen base their findings on their in-depth decade-long research of companies which thrive in uncertain environments. And the conclusion?

The 10xers (the companies which beat their industries tenfold) simply walk the 20-mile march. Or, in other words, they are there for the long haul.

Fire Bullets, Then Cannonballs

Contrary to popular belief and intuition, the 10xers are neither more innovative, nor bolder than competitive companies. But, they are way more attentive. Or, to use Collins and Hansen’s terms: they use bullets, until they are completely sure of their target.

And, then, they fire the cannonballs.

Be SMaC and Productively Paranoid

SMaC stands for “specific, methodological and consistent” and it’s how discipline is implemented within a company. But, it’s only one aspect of what will get you through the hard times. The other one is being productively paranoid.

It means exactly what you think it means: prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

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“Great by Choice” Quotes

Innovation without discipline leads to disaster. Click To Tweet When you marry operating excellence with innovation, you multiply the value of your creativity. Click To Tweet Greatness is first and foremost a matter of conscious choice and discipline. Click To Tweet The idea that leading in a ‘fast world’ always requires ‘fast decisions’ and ‘fast action’ is a good way to get killed. 10X leaders figure out when to go fast, and when not to. Click To Tweet As the influential management thinker Peter Drucker taught, the best – perhaps even the only – way to predict the future is to create it. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

As we’ve already grown accustomed with Jim Collins’ books, “Great by Choice” is the lovechild of an exhaustive, thorough business research he, Morten T. Hansen, and a team of twenty researches did over a period of nine years.

That alone is a good recommendation in itself. It isn’t the only one: the findings of this research should be helpful to anyone with a dream of building a great company. And they are so original and related in such a straightforward and readable manner, that few would ever want to skip a page.

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The Road Less Traveled Summary

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The Road Less Traveled Summary

MicroSummary: “The Road Less Traveled” is an ultra-popular 1978 psychological book by M. Scott Peck, aiming to redefine concepts as ubiquitous as love and religion, and striving to demonstrate how understanding discipline and grace is essential to both leading a healthier life and truly grasping the meaning of your existence.

A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth

Life’s not treating you too kind? Can’t get your head around why seemingly everything and everyone is so unfair to you?

In “The Road Less Traveled,” M. Scott Peck says that you’re asking the wrong question. We look over the right ones in the summary of his ultra-popular book.

Who Should Read “The Road Less Traveled”? And Why?

As we commonsensibly point out in our critical review, a book as famous as “The Road Less Traveled” is an essential read for anyone with even a vague interest in spirituality. It’s also a book students of religion, psychology and human emotions must acquire at least some knowledge about.

But, finally and primarily, it’s a book which may help you become a better person. And even save your life. Just take a look at some of the Amazon’s comments – you’ll know what we mean.

About M. Scott Peck

M. Scott PeckM. Scott Peck was all but an ordinary American psychiatrist when the manuscript of “The Road Less Traveled” was turned down by Random House for being a bit “too Christ-y.” Six years later, its Simon & Schuster edition would make publishing history and Peck would become one of the most talked-about psychiatrists in the United States.

He authored many books afterward, dealing with topics such as human evil, love, suffering, spirituality, and even exorcism and possession. “People of the Lie” is the only one which earned at least some of the fame associated with “The Road Less Traveled.”

“The Road Less Traveled Summary”

“The Road Less Traveled” starts pretty memorably. And we’re pretty sure that quoting its first paragraph is a nice way to start our summary as well:

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

And the resolution of this so profoundly Buddhistic sentiment forms the basic premise of Peck’s book.

“The Road Less Traveled” is divided into four parts, each of them discussing a different feature of Peck’s philosophical system.

The first part is entirely dedicated to something your parents spent most of your childhood annoyingly imparting on you: discipline.

Guess what? Peck says that they were right on spot in doing so.

Discipline, in Peck’s opinion, is the essential element of your spiritual life and your psychological health. And it consists of four components, each of which deserves a separate attention.

Delaying gratification is possibly the most important aspect of discipline. It means sacrificing your present comfort to find some happiness in the future. Remember that beautiful Bob Dylan’s verse: “People don’t do what they believe in, they just do what’s most convenient, then they repent”? Well, delaying gratification is the exact opposite of this.

And it’s closely linked to the concept of acceptance of responsibility, which means exactly what it says. So, from now one, if you made a mistake – you were the one who made it.

Which leads us to the third aspect of discipline: dedication of truth. People, says Peck, will rather lie to themselves if that helps them adapt. But that’s not the right way and it leads to a schizophrenic society.

Finally, discipline is about balancing as well. It’s what you need to do when facing with a tough problem and irreconcilable factors which might impact your decision. It’s not a science: it’s an art. But, you should invest some time learning it.

In the second part of “The Road Less Traveled,” Peck deals with some of the most common misconceptions about love. Believing it to be much more universal and profound than your Hollywood-based version of it probably is, Peck argues that love is what you do when you extend your nemesis, the ego, towards someone else.

Almost obviously, from discussing love, Peck moves on to discussing religion in the third part of his book. Once again, he tackles one misconception after another to prove that religion is something more than merely an organized system of thought.

Which brings him to the last part of his book and his discussion about something as ineffable as grace. In order to bring this indescribable concept closer to his readers, Peck selects few real-life stories, which, in his opinion, show that miracles happen all around us.

And, obviously, he believes that these miracles are prove that you are not alone in this universe.

Key Lessons from “The Road Less Traveled”

1.      Your Everyday Menu: Discipline, a Four-Layered Sandwich
2.      Love Is an Action, Not a Feeling
3.      Laziness Is the Original and the Ultimate Sin

Your Everyday Menu: Discipline, a Four-Layered Sandwich

You’d think that a healthy life begins with a healthy diet; but, it seems smart people often think of it in terms of some other things. In Peck’s opinion, the essential element of a healthy life is discipline.

And, in his opinion, discipline means delaying gratification, accepting responsibility, being honest and truthful, and, finally, balancing. It’s not easy. But, nothing that matters in life is easy.

Love Is an Action, Not a Feeling

Peck believes that love is both the most important and the most misunderstood aspect of living. The way he sees it, love has nothing to do with romance and feelings. And it is way more complex than that passive “waiting-to-be-loved” version everyone loves to write about.

Love is active, and crammed with responsibilities and risks. And if you’re not willing to take them – you won’t find it.

Laziness Is the Original and the Ultimate Sin

You probably think that pride or the strive for knowledge is the original sin. However, Peck thinks otherwise. In a nutshell, that Eve and Adam were lazy to take the time and energy to debate whether eating the fruit is good or bad.

Don’t be like them. A good life requires a lot of dedication. And active participation.

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“The Road Less Traveled” Quotes

Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. Click To Tweet Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit. Click To Tweet Human beings are poor examiners, subject to superstition, bias, prejudice, and a profound tendency to see what they want to see rather than what is really there. Click To Tweet You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time. Click To Tweet I define love thus: The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Very few books have had a more profound impact on our thinking ways than “The Road Less Traveled.” In fact, many general readers consider it the best psychology book ever written. Thought-provoking and beautifully written, the book really lives up to the hype.

And the fact that it’s sold in almost 10 million copies, surviving for more than a decade on the “New York Times” bestseller list, is merely further evidence that it’s a must read.

In other words, it may not be as life-changing book for you as it has been for many other people. But, then again, their opinions count just as much as yours.

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The Audacity of Hope Summary

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The Audacity of Hope SummaryMicroSummary: “The Audacity of Hope” is former U.S. President Barrack Obama’s second book; and the one in which he expounds his political views and beliefs most clearly and thoroughly. The book covers everything from his opinions on the free market to his understanding of global politics, from his ideas about education to his healthcare strategies. Its main goal: to reclaim the original American dream.

Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

The Audacity of Hope” is Barrack Obama’s second book, following his 1995 memoir “Dreams from My Father.” And, for eight years, Barrack Obama was the U.S. President.

Need we say more?

Here’s our summary.

Who Should Read “The Audacity of Hope”? And Why?

If we were writing this paragraph a few years ago, we would have probably said something along the lines of “every U.S. citizen.” However, it’s been a year since Obama left office and, let’s face it, “The Audacity of Hope” is a book with an agenda. So, some of it may seem outdated.

But, even so, it’s good to contrast and compare the promises of a president with his actual deeds. So, you’ll know better next time around.

About Barrack Obama

Barack Hussein Obama IIBarrack Obama was the first African American president, holding the position from 2009 to 2017.

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, he worked as a community organizer in Chicago, before graduating first from Columbia and then from Harvard Law School. He taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004, when he ran for the U.S. Senate.

In 2009 Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” He accepted it while claiming that others “were far more deserving” of the honor than him.

Obama left office on January 20, 2017, holding a 60% approval rating. He is usually ranked among the top 15 U.S. presidents in history.

“The Audacity of Hope Summary”

You know this, but it sounds even more fascinating when put into perspective.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered in 1968. Barrack Obama won the 56th US presidential elections in 2008. In four decades, the African-Americans went from barely being allowed to enter politics to having the first African-American president elected.

It makes you wonder: perhaps the history of the United States would have been very different if the pollical climate wasn’t infested with so much racism and discrimination!

That’s where the beautifully titled “The Audacity of Hope” starts. In then-senator Obama’s opinion, even 40 years after the shooting of Martin Luther King, America was still suffering from the same lack of empathy. Only now, oppressors targeted different groups.

And the Republicans aren’t aware that they’ve barely moved from the mindset which killed thousands. “You’re responsible for yourself” is not the right message. It’s “We’re all in this together.”

But, then again, the Republicans – and the politicians, in general – can afford to act that way. After all, they have the money and the private jets.

And this is one of the roots of the society’s problems, says Barrack Obama!

Not only that this makes them unaware of the real-life problems which bother regular people, but it also makes them either corrupted or susceptible to corruption.

Bear with us for a second!

How much money do you think you’ll need to raise to win the presidential elections? If you said “a lot,” you’re right! Clinton and Trump, for example, raised about or more than 1 billion dollars!

Do you still believe that a poor person can become the President of the US? And, even worse: do you really think that the donors would not ask for a favor or two after the elections are done?

And what about the media?

Well, safe to say, they have their own interests as well. And, that’s why they’d rather serve half-truths than risk losing the financial support from a certain political group. In other words, they are all but willing to lie to you straightforwardly, if that gets them money.

Well, Barrack Obama believed that he had a solution to this problem: free TV and public funding!

It may sound a bit socialist (were there Republicans who didn’t call Obama a socialist during his tenure?), but it makes sense. Even though, it goes against the better Cold-War-laden judgment that it’s capitalism which brings freedom.

In other words, if the media is private and funded by the politicians, it will work for the politicians. If, however, is public and funded by the people, it will work for the people.

And many of the policies Obama describes in “The Audacity of Hope” are based on this simple idea. Whether it’s education or social security, he is strongly in favor of the idea that the oppressed will stay oppressed unless the Government helps them.

For example, the healthcare system doesn’t work not because it’s public – but because it’s not funded enough. Making it private may mean that it will advance, but it would also mean that its benefits will be reaped only by the rich.

In fact, Barrack Obama says, that’s what’s happening on a daily basis in the United States. And that’s what he intends to change.

Looking back at his presidency, it’s fair to say that, to some extent, he did.

Key Lessons from “The Audacity of Hope”

1.      The Laissez-faire Economic Policies Divide the American People
2.      The Government Should Always Be on the Side of the Oppressed
3.      The Cold War Is Over: The United States Shouldn’t Be a Global Policeman Anymore

The Laissez-faire Economic Policies Divide the American People

If there’s one thing all Republicans agree on is less regulation and government interventions in the economy. Democrats would beg to differ. And Obama spearheads these beliefs.

In his opinion, the market may thrive if completely free, but it won’t fix the inequalities. And that should be the goal of every country. So, the government is responsible for giving everybody the same opportunities.

The Government Should Always Be on the Side of the Oppressed

Speaking of which – the free market never gives a chance to those who are born poor. The government has to stand by their side. Because poor members of the society can’t grant their children neither a good education nor a decent health care.

And, thus, they are stuck in a vicious circle, out of which only the government can take them out.

The Cold War Is Over: The United States Shouldn’t Be a Global Policeman Anymore

The Cold War ended in 1991. In Obama’s views, the United States acts as if it is still happening. But, it’s time to put an end to all unilateral interventions. And, possibly, in the long run, even wars.

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“The Audacity of Hope” Quotes

I believe in evolution, scientific inquiry, and global warming; I believe in free speech, whether politically correct or politically incorrect. Click To Tweet A nation that can't control its energy sources can't control its future. Click To Tweet I wish the country had fewer lawyers and more engineers. Click To Tweet Each path to knowledge involves different rules, and these rules are not interchangeable. Click To Tweet America is big enough to accommodate all their dreams. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Audacity of Hope” – from its title to the bulk of its contents – is actually a book-length version of Barrack Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address. As such, the book is primarily meant as a kind of “thesis submission” for U.S. presidency – as former presidential candidate Gary Hurt described it at the time of its publication.

And you might think that there’s no point spending too much time going over Obama’s political views in theory when he had eight years to put them into practice. However, you’ll be wrong!

But, don’t take us wrong: we’re not taking a side. We’re just saying that especially today when many of his policies are reverted by United States’ new President, Donald Trump, it’s very good to have a perspective.

And it doesn’t hurt if you can get a perspective by reading a beautifully written book, pervade with inspiring messages and more than few literary bravados.

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