The 5 Career-Changing Books Used By The Smartest of the Bunch Entrepreneurs

I want to recommend you a book that will change your entire outlook.

But first, I’m assuming you are an entrepreneur, as this 5-book punch will only really have the desired effect on an entrepreneur’s thought process and his/her career progress. These are move-fast books for move-fast people, and not suitable for a traditional 9-to-5 mainstream kind of lifestyle and thought process. If you are in that category, these books might waste your time.

Secondly, get ready to increase your personal effectiveness by 5 times or more the next 3 months alone, and much more over the next 20 years.

Third, don’t read any of these books if you can’t read them all. That has the dangerous effect, like a powerful medicine, that if you take it part-way and stop, you’ll miss the full process of transformation, your old state will return with more power from resisting this strong injection, and you’ll wind up lost in a state far worse than ever before. I don’t want that kind of responsibility over anyone’s career. So read ALL the books, if any.

Why These 5 Books?

As an entrepreneur who has survived recessions and started multiple businesses from scratch, I’ve distilled them from more than a thousand other books that have had some good impact on my thinking, and

I selected for that true entrepreneurial essence that, refined like a gold elixir, and concentrated like a fine liquor, will spark an entrepreneurial storm in your own life. This is a favor to you, just because, well, you’re an entrepreneur, right?

If you apply all the insights you learn in these books, you’ll be writing me a million dollar check this time next year, and saying: “your stupid book recommendations made a difference!”

Does the order I read in matter?

Absolutely! Nothing will ruin you quite like the right medicine taken in the wrong sequence.

#1: The Lab where we put your new mind together

The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay

I bet the old boy never thought he’d wind up penning one of the top 10 entrepreneurial novels out there, but this scrappy story of a young boy growing up on a farm in Apartheid days in South Africa vaults your thought process into an entrepreneurial state of mind. I won’t spoil the process and the story by telling you what to expect. And if you can put this book down once you start reading it, then you’re probably not a good reader, and one hopes you still have entrepreneurial DNA. If this book sparks something within you, that’s good. That’s your entrepreneurial mind coming together, and you’re sensitized to the possibilities of taking the world by storm. Lacking that, as an entrepreneur, you might as well fold and call it a day.

#2: Master your internal weaknesses at the RoundTable of Wall Street, where money never sleeps

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, by Edwin Lefevre

In which a farm boy cuts his teeth on capitalism and dominates the market through psychology and a cool hand.

Loved by traders, and reviled by critics, this saga chronicles the indelible rise and adventure of a major force in the field of finance and the stock market, Jesse Livermore, a titan whose very word was said to move the markets.

Read and lauded by perhaps 70% of the top 30 traders on Wall Street, there are true psychology secrets, and grit to be learned in this ancient tome. Choice quote from the book:

“To learn that a man can make foolish plays for no reason whatever was a valuable lesson. It cost me millions to learn that another dangerous enemy to a trader is his susceptibility to the urgings of a magnetic personality when plausibly expressed by a brilliant mind. It has always seemed to me, however, that I might have learned my lesson quite as well if the cost had been only one million. But Fate does not always let you fix the tuition fee. She delivers the educational wallop and presents her own bill, knowing you have to pay it, no matter what the amount may be. Having learned what folly I was capable of, I closed that particular incident.” — Jesse Livermore

#3: The Little Secret that can make you a millionaire

The 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires, by Brian Tracy

A real kick in the pants of a book. Brief, cuts to the chase and bam! Forget the gurus and the “experts”. This book is so powerful you’ll want to skip all the other three books above and “cut to the chase”. DONT! You’ll only be cheating yourself if you do. Your mind is not ready if you do, and you’ll have only yourself to blame when the results don’t come.

#4: How to Start and Run A Profitable Business and Take Over the World

The Millionaire FastLane, by MJ DeMarco

Gosh, you’ve come far now from the lab so long ago where we made your mind. Now apply it to starting and growing a wildly profitable business using nothing but pure grit and mindset, and a relentless focus on hard work and selling skills.

If you skip this book and the last one, you are going to miss out on how a successful entrepreneur does the things from day 1 that will, in the course of time, massively place him on the path to relentless business and sales success, and how the financial and other rewards of entrepreneurship inevitably follow. So do yourself a favor, curl up on a couch and read both these books cover to cover. Without the actual knowledge of how to start and grow a profitable business the right way, you are going to dither and struggle and won’t get anywhere, like the other 90% of would-be successful entrepreneurs.

#5: The Elixir of Powerful Legacy and World-Domination: The Secret Behind World-Changing Brands like Ford, Apple, Nike, Berkshire-Hathaway and the Entrepreneur Master-Minds that started them

Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim, PhD(INSEAD Business School) and Renee Mauborgne, PhD(INSEAD Business School)

Here’s what the Harvard Business Review(best known for cold, non-excitable, pour-cold-water-on-your-party analyses) said about this mastermind volume, and it’s nothing less than that:

“So powerful is blue ocean strategy, in fact, that a blue ocean strategic move can create brand equity that lasts for decades.” — HBR

They are literally tripping over themselves, and I don’t blame them.

It hardly needs a qualifier. Only the smartest minds will bother reading this book, the top 1%.

Just as an example, this book is assigned reading at top 10 Business Schools and MBA programs in the entire world, including, with links to the assigned material:

MIT Sloan School of Business,

New York University Stern School of Business,

INSEAD Business School,

Harvard Business School

Carnegie Mellon University Heinz School of Business

The ideas of the Blue Ocean Strategy are such a huge deal, that INSEAD, rated inside the Top 4 MBA Programs in the world in 2015, has a whole Institute dedicated to its study and research, the INSEAD BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY INSTITUTE

Get it from me folks: This is the secret sauce that Coca-Cola and Pepsi are using to dominate the world, and leave you and all the other entrepreneurs and their brands way, way, and boy I mean way behind. And they are willing to hire armies of MBA grads who cut their teeth learning this secret sauce. Don’t say I didn’t tell ya, all that long ago!

If you want to create a world-changing institution that people will still be talking about, potentially centuries after you’re dead, rather than a mere company that makes you and your workers cash, this is the tome you had better not miss.

And these particular professors have combined years of research and academic work to deliver the goods.

The smartest entrepreneurs are applying this research as fast as they can, all over the world:

Originally published at on November 6, 2015.


I write thought-provoking essays to help entrepreneurs beat the blues and become more productive. Visit my blog, Tomahawk’s Digital Cheatsheet, to learn more about my research into productivity and how you too, can become MacGyver.