New Year, New List: Entrepreneur Reading List 2019

Entrepreneur Book

Since the business side of my world is focused on entrepreneurialism and business growth, so is my new year reading list.

As I negotiate my way through another holiday season filled with family, friends and fun, and enter another new year, I find myself reflecting on the year gone by, and contemplating the one before me. Typically I pause to enjoy my successes and consider my failures, although I tend to think of the latter as lessons and challenges yet to be conquered.

Each year, I strive to experience as much as possible.

However, this past year was also a difficult year. I found myself re-learning, yet again, the lessons of my past. In simple terms, the more I learn, the more I realize just how much I have yet to learn; the list just gets bigger.

For the new year, like in the past, I find myself considering actions that will help me develop and further grow my intellectual capital. Hopefully some of these lessons will enable me to successfully address those unconquered challenges, making space for new ones in the future.

One way I accomplish this is to create a reading list for the upcoming year.

As one might expect, since the business side of my current world is focused on entrepreneurialism and business growth, so is my reading list. Notwithstanding the focus, I demand breadth within it.


  • Rise and Grind – Outperform, Outwork, And OutHustle Your Way To A More Successful And Rewarding Life | by Daymond John

A kung fu master could be the ultimate at 40 years old, and you think he doesn’t need to learn any more moves. But a kung fu master needs to learn a different set of moves at 70, when his muscle retention and reflexes aren’t the same. To still be a master, he has to find other things to do to replace what is gone. And so I think (work) is a constant learning curve.

  • Crushing It! – How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too | by Gary Vaynerchuk

It’s a matter of survival to think beyond your current successes and constantly look for ways to create new ones so that you’re never limited to any one platform or even one topic. How do you do that? By creating a personal brand so powerful that it transcends platforms, products, and even your passion.

  • Never Eat Alone – And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time | by Keith Ferrazzi

Identify the people in your industries who always seem to be out in front, and use all the relationship skills you’ve acquired to connect with them. Take them to lunch. Read their newsletters. In fact, read everything you can. Online, there are hundreds of individuals distilling information, analyzing it, and making prognos-tications. These armchair analysts are the eyes and ears of innovation. Now get online and read, read, read. Subscribe to magazines, buy books, and talk to the smartest people you can find. Eventually, all this knowledge will build on itself, and you’ll start making connections others aren’t.

  • Tools of Titans – The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers | by Tim Ferriss

Here’s my 8-step process for maximizing efficacy (doing the right things): Wake up at least 1 hour before you have to be at a computer screen. Email is the mind-killer. Make a cup of tea (I like pu-erh) and sit down with a pen/pencil and paper. Write down the 3 to 5 things—and no more—that are making you the most anxious or uncomfortable. They’re often things that have been punted from one day’s to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on. Most important usually equals most uncomfortable, with some chance of rejection or conflict. For each item, ask yourself: “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?” “Will moving this forward make all the other to-dos unimportant or easier to knock off later?” Put another way: “What, if done, will make all of the rest easier or irrelevant?” Look only at the items you’ve answered “yes” to for at least one of these questions. Block out at 2 to 3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today.

  • Never Split the Difference – Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It | by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

Negotiate in their world. Persuasion is not about how bright or smooth or forceful you are. It’s about the other party convincing themselves that the solution you want is their own idea. So don’t beat them with logic or brute force. Ask them questions that open paths to your goals. It’s not about you.

  • Option B – Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy | by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant.

We plant the seeds of resilience in the ways we process negative events. After spending decades studying how people deal with setbacks, psychologist Martin Seligman found that three P’s can stunt recovery: (1) personalization—the belief that we are at fault; (2) pervasiveness—the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; and (3) permanence—the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever.

  • Peak Performance – Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success | by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness

The take-home message wasn’t that the majority of these great performers did their best work at a certain time of day, or that there is an optimal hour for productivity. Rather, each individual figured out when they were most alert and focused, and designed their day accordingly. These individuals were optimizing around their respective chronotypes, which is the scientific term for the unique ebb and flow of energy that everyone experiences over the course of 24 hours.

This post has been updated on January 1, 2019. Scroll below to see the original reading list in 2016.


  • BOLD – How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World

by: Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
This is the book I have chosen to help me think outside of my box. With a focus on exponential technologies, wealth creation and positively impacting the lives of others, this one is a must!

How to Launch a Tech Startup If You Are a Non-Technical Founder [Infographic]

  • Good Profit – How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World’s Most Successful Companies

by: Charles G. Koch
This is the book I have chosen on strategic approaches to business. While the brilliance of the Koch brothers is obvious based on their clear business success, the strategy deployed to build this success appears less obvious. While to some, the term “good profit” may be a bit of an oxymoron, it is not to me as it’s all about how the profit is made, and how it is utilized. Regardless, I expect this book will challenge my strategic perspective and provide an opportunity to learn more about the Koch family.

  • Extreme Ownership – How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

 by: Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
This should provide the necessary intellectual challenges and potentially answers on the subject of leadership. This book was on my list early as my personal experience from the corporate world revealed veterans to be some of the strongest players I have encountered. Is this the result of values, discipline, training or all of the above? I don’t know, but hope to get at least a glimpse into the reasons such individuals enter the corporate world with more maturity, focus and yes, leadership skills than their peers. Finally, as a member of my early list, Extreme Ownership ended up as a holiday gift to me from my children, which can only add to my enjoyment of the read!

  • The Art of Social Media – Power Tips for Power Users

 by: Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
Created by one of the visionaries of today’s startup world. It is my first marketing related read of two. Years ago I attended Kawasaki’s Boot camps for Entrepreneurs and Investors, met him and have been a fan ever since.

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  • Meaningful – The Story of Ideas That Fly

 by: Bernadette Jiwa
This is my second read on marketing. Based on the title, and the profound manner in which Ms. Jiwa can challenge one’s mind and way of thinking, it may also turn up providing additional challenges to my visionary side. I am a subscriber to Ms. Jiwa’s newsletter / blog, and I read it regularly. They are typically thought provoking and concise. If you’re not currently a subscriber, it’s worth a look.

  • ABOVE THE LINE – Lessons in Leadership and life from a Championship Season

by: Urban Meyer and Wayne Coffey
This is my “for fun” read. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of Urban Meyer. However, Meyer is a winner and has developed Ohio State into a winner. I love to learn about how and why people win. Who knows, maybe Mr. Meyer will convert me to being a fan; as did his Florida predecessor Steve Spurrier.

As I work through the last of these, I expect to have added considerably more intellectual capital to my tool box. I also expect to re-learn my lesson once again, realizing I have even more to learn about life than I perceive today. It all appears to be part of the process. I hope your reading selections for the year will help you enjoy and benefit from the process as much as I do.


Alexa Cleek