Here are a few of my favorite books of all time that I recommend highly, and in no particular order.
- Overachievement: The New Model for Exceptional Performance by John Eliot.
This book is pretty much the only How-To on being a world class superachiever I’ve ever seen. If you want to kick ass, buy this book, commit it to heart and do what it says. It’s a battle plan for kicking ass that bucks all modern convention and MAKES SENSE. No single book has had as much of an impact on me as this one. I made a blog post about this book, and you can read it here for more information on it.
- Winning by Jack Welch.
This is a book about kicking ass, written by Jack Welch, the CEO of General Electric. He’s widely regarded as the best CEO of all time, and he’s accomplished incredible things on a staggeringly global scale that most people can only imagine. This is one of the best business books I’ve ever read, written by a man that’s BEEN there, DONE it, and KICKED ASS. And he explains how. This book was written as a response to the reviewers of his first biography that felt it lacked substance. This book serves as a pretty solid “Oh yeah? How about this, bitches?” to his detractors. :)
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
This is *THE* handbook on dealing with people respectfully, intelligently and productively. This book shouldn’t just be required reading in every school in the world, it should be its own dedicated subject. I can’t imagine a more important book for human beings to read than this. I firmly believe that if everyone in the world read this and actually abided by it, that all war and violence would end forever. But since that’s goddamned impossible, it’d do anyone good to read this so they can understand other people better and get WICKEDLY socially adept and become loved by everyone.
- The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.
Taken at face value, this is the ‘How To Become The Ultimate Evil Ruler of the World’ handbook. But if you’re not a complete idiot, this is an absolutely riveting guide on how to understand peoples’ motivations, intentions and psychology, and learn to work with it. You’ll learn to understand why people are the way they are and what to do about it, politics (global, national, local and in the workplace), how to influence others, and get a healthily cynical view of the world. It uses historical examples from the titans of the past like Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Caesar, Napoleon, Kissinger, Mao, George Washington, and dozens of others, and each example perfectly illustrates which particular strategy the man was using (or misunderstanding) and the consequences and explanation of each. Even if you’re just a history fan, this is a fascinating analysis of it. But if you’re committed to understanding and working with people, this is a great book to pick up. That is, unless you were just born perfectly understanding everything about everyone. In which case, hey, you already rule the world single-handedly, what do you need BOOKS for? :)
- The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene.
This is another book by the author of the 48 Laws of Power. Taken at face value, this is how to seduce anyone into sleeping with you. Taken more intelligently, this is the end-all, be-all guide of generating and USING charisma and personal magnetism. It uses historical and fictional examples just like 48 Laws, and is just as important a read.
- The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene.
This is the latest book by Robert Greene, the author of The Art of Seduction and the 48 Laws of Power. This is a more high-strategy book on dealing with people and organizations, once again drawing on historical and fictional examples. These three books are all you really need to know how to take over the world.
- The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (A Little) Craziness and (A Lot of) Success in America by John D. Gartner
A career psychologist examines the link between apparent insanity and phenomenal levels of success in key figures throughout history, such as Christopher Columbus, Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Carnegie and others. Most interestingly, he tells them in sequence and shows the crucial parts each one of them played in creating America, from discovering it, to establishing religious freedom, to building its economical architecture and onto the advent of industrialism and even mapping the human genome. It’s a fascinating read, and it really struck a chord with me because his psychogical (yet easily readable) profiles on each of these great men and their quirks, strengths and weaknesses are very, very familiar to me. It’s also pretty funny to see that Christopher Columbus and Alexander Hamilton were both batshit crazy and almost got themselves killed by their own insanity on a pretty regular basis. Loved this book. :)
- P.T. Barnum: America’s Greatest Showman by Philip B. Jr Kunhardt.
P.T. Barnum was the inventor of advertising, marketing and self-promotion. During his time in the mid-1800s, he was one of the richest, most successful and most famous men in the world. This book is an unbelievably great look into how he built his career from scratch, became world famous in a time when that was DAMNED hard, and made history in countless ways, such as introducing the elephant, hippo and giraffe to America, how he single-handedly revived all modern theater to the US, and how he introduced the word “Jumbo” into the English language. He’s had more of an influence on American culture than most people would guess. This man is my hero.
- From Reel to Deal: Everything you need to create a successful independent film by Dov S-S Simens.
This is a completely awesome book that shows you how to make an independent film from start to finish. Everything from writing it to finding a director to securing financing to buying what you need for the shoot to who you need to hire to managing people to handling post-production to publicity to finding distributors to making gobs of money. Itâ€™s an absolutely phenomenal book with lots of parallels to the game industry, particularly the methods of securing financing for a project. The beauty of this book is that itâ€™s PURE nitty-gritty details instead of high theory and basic fuzzy concepts. Itâ€™s MEAT. PURE MEAT. Information you can take and immediately use. Itâ€™s viciously pragmatic, and I LOVE that. No bullshit, no dicking around, itâ€™s pure information generated from hands-on experience from an expert. Itâ€™s one of the best, most inspiring books Iâ€™ve read in ages and Iâ€™m BLAZING through it. Iâ€™m not even interested in making movies, and Iâ€™m loving it! I made a blog post about this, and you can Read it here for more information.
- Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player by Robert Rodriguez.
This is a book written by the director of Spy Kids, Sin City, Desperado and Once Upon A Time in Mexico detailing how he went from a 23-year-old kid that wanted to make movies to a serious Hollywood player. He started by selling his body to science and writing his screenplay as he did so, and took it from there. This is his journal from that time in his life. It’s incredibly inspiring for anyone wanting to get started doing something huge. :) I made a blog post about this, and you can
read it here for more information.
- Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard.
This book basically shows anyone how to take the long, slow, Zen path to mastering anything. Very cool, very inspired reading. Highly recommended, especially if you’re an impatient bastard like me.
- The Ten-Day MBA 3rd Ed.: A Step-By-Step Guide To Mastering The Skills Taught In America’s Top Business Schools by Steven A. Silbiger
This is a totally killer book on business administration that’s full of hard, practicable, meaty, fascinating facts and best practices. Great primer for low level business administration, if you’re into that kind of thing. I made a blog post about this, and you can read it here for more information.
- Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein.
Warren Buffett is the second richest man in the world, second only to Bill Gates. Even more impressively than Bill, he built his fortune by investing money wisely in other peoples’ companies instead of building his own. If Microsoft collapsed, there goes Bill Gates, but nothing could topple Buffett short of America simply disappearing. This guy is one of the smartest and funniest men in the world, and this book shows how he went from a young boy growing up in the Midwest to a very old young boy living in the Midwest that happens to have a net worth of $45 billion. Tremendously inspiring, and hilarious. I made a blog post about this, and you can read it here for more information.
- Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton and John Huey.
This is the story of how Wal-Mart was built. It’s absolutely incredible to look at the behemoth Wal-Mart is today, then to read this book and see its hilariously weird, shaky beginnings when Sam and his company were wracked with debt and on the verge of daily collapse, and how he kept persisting and opening new stores when everyone in the world thought he was insane. This is the greatest rags-to-riches business success story of all time. If you don’t like it, you don’t like America, man. :)
That’s all for now, but this will be updated over time.