Five Books That Changed My Business Mindset

I totally admit to having a ton of business books – with 90% of them in the “still have to read” category. As much as I love learning the information in them, I honestly just get bored and eventually decide I’d rather pick up the latest true crime book I’ve received in my last Amazon shipment.

However, there are a few books surrounding business topics that I’ve found to actually be gripping – even if merely from concept rather than great storytelling.

Below are five books I read that had a profound impact on my career as an entrepreneur. I’ve read every book on this list no less than twice. ;-)

My Business Top Five

E-Myth Revisited
by Michael Gerber

E-MythHands down, the E-Myth Revisited book has been the single most influential book that I’ve read in my business career. Suggested by my partner in MFE Interactive as a “must read” years ago, I didn’t truly get “passive income” and “wealth via freedom” until I read this book.

While the first chapter was a bit hard to get through, once the book hits its groove, it becomes not only an explanation of the above, but also a manual for how to achieve it (making your business about selling your knowledge and not your time.)

The Dip
by Seth Godin

The DipHonestly, The Dip is based on a common sense principle. Deciding what you’re willing to do and when you need to continue to forge on or when you need to quit, before the need to make that decision arises.

The book explains that quitting isn’t a failure (in fact, it shows you why quitting can sometimes be the smart thing to do)… often the failure is in the reason behind the quitting – quitting because it got tough.) If your decision to quit (or keep going!) is based on facts laden with emotion, you may not be making a “good” decision. A book I wish I’d read at the beginning of my career.

Think Big and Kick Ass
by Donald Trump

Think Big and Kick AssFirst let me say that I’m not neccessarily a “Trump fan girl.” I have two books in my 100+ business books that were written by Donald Trump. This was the first one I’d ever bought. I certainly don’t agree with everything the guy does and he definitely has an ego bigger than most. But this book had an impact on me.

It focuses on the various challenges Trump has faced in his “up and down” career and how he reacted to them. It felt candid. Three of the chapters – “Creating Luck,” “Revenge” and “Never Take Your Eye Off the Ball” were especially mindset changing or mindset reinforcing for me.

The Wal-Mart Effect
Charles Fishman

The Wal-Mart EffectNo matter what you may think of Wal-Mart as a corporation (good, bad… bully, victim) this book (whether you consider the “slant” biased or not) contained various lessons you could learn from the actions (or inactions) of one of the worlds most successful corporations.

It’s no secret I’m not a fan of Wal-Mart. That said, for me the book served as both an education and a reminder of what happens when a company loses sight of its original goals and how slowly something with good intentions can morph as time goes by and goals evolve. It also reminds me how much collateral damage goals based solely on “more profit” can create.

100 Ways to Motivate Others
by Steven Chandler

100 Ways to Motivate OthersI bought this book on a whim at an airport. I liked that the entire book is broken into bite sized chunks. Every “way” is its own mini-chapter. And I’ve got about half of those “ear marked” for quick reference.

I really identified with and appreciated #31 (stop cuddling up) and have made a conscious effort to always keep #40 (lead with language) in my mind when addressing problems internally. #11 (lead from the front) is one I am constantly pushing myself to get closer to. #32 (do the worst first) is one I’ve long struggled with as an admitted fan of procrastination, but I know the core principle is the ideal I want to reach.

Win Them All!

I think it’s so imperative for an entrepreneur to read all these books that I’ll be giving the set of five of them away in the inaugural edition of my newsletter – which will be sent out on June 6th, 2011. The winner will be chosen at random from the subscriber list.

All you have to do to enter is be subscribed to my newsletter before June 1st, 2011 and be a subscriber when the first edition comes out (I will be announcing the winner in the newsletter, along with details on claiming your prize!) So sign up for the newsletter now! Good luck!

About Rae Hoffman

Rae Hoffman aka "Sugarrae" is an affiliate marketing veteran and the CEO of PushFire, a search marketing agency specializing in SEO audits and link building strategies. She is also the author of the often controversial Sugarrae blog. You can connect with Rae via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Sugarrae runs on the Genesis Framework

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  1. Would love to win this. What great resources. Thanks for sharing!

  2. These books sounds great, and I’ve been wanting to read “The Dip”…which you’ve reminded me of today. Thanks!!

  3. Drew C David says:

    Reading IS imperative. Thanks for providing us with your own content and the chance to explore the works of others!

  4. Thanks for the list Rae – I read E-Myth after you suggested it last year and I have to say that out of all the books I “had” to read for my Masters in Business…that one was the most powerful…I would also like to add Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter and Rework by 37Signals (goes with my overall philosophy of getting something done and not sitting there analyzing it to death ;)

  5. Gene Babon says:

    Nice list, Rae. I agree with The Dip (and most other stuff written by Seth Godin). The E-Myth Revisited is on my wish list.

    Each year I compile a list of The Best Business Books published that year. Seth Godin is on the list for last year. Check out The Best Business Books of 2010 —

  6. Tanner Christensen says:

    Unbelievably I have yet to read most of these books. “The Dip” by Seth Godin, especially intrigues me, as I struggle to move foward in several of my recent ventures.

    Looking forward to the newsletter and really, truly crossing my fingers that I win. :)

  7. Lyndon Reid says:

    Thanks Rae – I have a few of those but will grab the others.
    I find a good book very motivating :)

  8. Patty Gale says:

    Great list! I’m reading E-Myth Revisited right now and wish I would have read it years ago. It’s been a long time since I read a book and took notes, but this one.. I have 5 pages of notes already of key points, ideas as well as changes I need to implement in my business. It’s definitely a keeper. I’ll add the others to my list.

    Another really good one is “Be Our Guest – Perfecting the Art of Customer Service” about the inside culture of Disney and how the Disney experience is brought to the consumer and the message is consistent across the entire company.

  9. Bill Parlaman says:

    Thanks for these Rae. I’ve actually read 3 out of the five. You might like to read the War Of Art. I think this would be right up your alley. And it’s a very fast read.

    Thanks, Bill

  10. I’ve been following your blog for quite some time. And frankly, most of these picks were not too surprising. But Trump? C’mon Trump? Now that was a curve ball I didn’t expect. But since you haven’t lead me wrong so far, I’ll have to check it out. Who knows. Sometimes the deepest wisdom (I can’t believe I’m saying this about the Donald) comes from the strangest places.

  11. Rae Hoffman-Dolan says:

    @Dave – LOL, dude, like I said, I’m not a Trump fan girl. I bought this book, read it, LOVED IT… bought another of his as a result, didn’t make it through six chapters and it’s now half read on my shelf. Maybe it had a better editor, storyline artist – don’t know. But Think Big and Kick Ass really hit me. :)

  12. Tiffany says:

    I haven’t read any of these. Perhaps I need to step away from the digital reports and ebooks. :)

  13. I would love to read these books. I have The Tribe by Seth Godin and Why we want you to be rich by Trump and found them both valuable.


  14. I think I’ve just learned something. Offer people the chance to win free books relevant to them and you’ll have them falling over themselves in their rush to sign up.

    Fabulous prize.

    I already had you in my Reader and I was already following you on Twitter (although I have just now added you to my personal favorites list in the hope that in some karmic way that will influence the gods that sort out lucky draws) but now I’m on your newsletter list too.

  15. Janis Miller says:

    Thank you for the insight into five of your favorites — and thank you for the chance to win all five! I am definitely IN! :) Look forward to you newsletter.

  16. Debbie Summers says:

    Looking forward to your newsletter and a chance to win 5 great books!

  17. Shannon says:

    I just finished reading the E-myth and have the Trump book waiting in my to read pile. I’m going to order the Dip cause I think I need that right now.

    I would also recommend Pour Your Heart Into It. Thought it was a great book, especially in relation to being customer needs driven.

  18. 4 hour work week not on the list?

  19. Rae Hoffman-Dolan says:

    @Matt nope… wasn’t a fan of the writing style or the hyped up tone of the book… E-Myth I think is a much more practical, realistic and less hyped version of the same theories.

  20. Thanks for this list. It’s hard to narrow the list of books down and you’ve done a great job. I will definitely be getting some of these.

    Also – I was at your webinar last night – thanks for that as well! I definitely learned a lot. Sharing your knowledge in a free forum is a great thing to do, and it meant something to me.

  21. Ash Buckles says:

    Thanks for your thoughts on these books. Short, direct and informative.

    I found Emyth extremely boring. A few tidbits if great info but a horrible read for me.

    The Dip was mind blowing and perfect at 82 pages. I’ve sustained and quit happily many times since reading this.

    I’m certain I wouldn’t make it thru a trump book but I’ll look for a highlights review. :)

    The Wal-Mart Effect sounds like a must.

    100 ways… Sounds like a book I need today!


  22. Miguel Martinez says:

    Big thank you for the book list, and specially the e-Myth. Reading it, loving it and at the right time in my career/life.


  23. Alex Aguilar says:

    Great reading suggestions Rae – I’ve added them all to my list. I’ve already read the Trump book, and I’m in the same boat as you; not a fan of the man or his huge ego, but I did glean a few useful things about the business world from his book.

  24. Mike Murphy says:

    Awesome list Rae,

    I’m reading the Emyth right now and love it. Very insightful.
    I haven’t read the others but will when I win them ;-) /order on Amazon.

    I love your site…so much great no-fluff info.

    Mike Murphy

  25. Seriously not a single book by Napoleon Hill in books that change your mindset

    To me “Think and Grow Rich” has been the most influential book.

  26. BD Williams says:

    You should read Primal Branding.

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