Hola gorgeous souls!!!
Question I get asked quite a bit:
What’s the best business books you can recommend?
So here’s the momentous list at last.
It’s just five books. A beautiful five. You don’t need that many to radically change your life, dearest heart.
And I also want to make this disclaimer: There have been a number of books that I’ve tried to read that just DON’T ding my bells but might ding yours. We all need different lessons at different times. Don’t bother forcing yourself to finish a book if it’s not rocking your socks off.
Say “Thanks” and high-fives it goodbye. And sashay your way to one that does.
And another disclaimer: normal top ten posts bore me shitless. I like stories! Interesting things! Distracted by sparkly things! So this is a very goddess-leonie list. Regular readers, you know what that means. New readers: welcome to the group hugs & scrumptious hilarity that ensues whenever I attempt to do anything normal!
Did you ever watch “High Fidelity?” No? Okay, skip this paragraph. Anywaysies, it’s totally in my Top 5 Movies Of All Time. And there’s this one scene in it – after him & Laura break up, and he decides to reorganise his record collection into autobiographical order. So instead of knowing that a record was released in 1976, he needed to remember it was instead in 1978 that he bought it, after he’d lost his favourite black shirt (or something like that). You know how it is.
Anywaysies… this is my Top 5 business books. But NOT the way you’d usually expect it. It’s my autobiographical list.
Be prepared! Mind mianderings follow! Weeeeeeeee!!!!
Retire Young, Retire Rich
Written by: Robert Kiyosaki
This was one of the very first finance books I ever read – and I’m not kidding when I say it really DID change my life.
It’s Robert Kiyosaki’s story of how he & his wife created financial freedom for themselves. About how we was born poor & how they struggled so much before deciding they would make a momentous change for themselves.
And to be honest – it’s the cover of this book that really does me in. It’s a photo of him & wifeykins horse riding in Hawaii. There’s just something about the spirit of the photo – of joy, and possibility, and totally loving your life – that totally affects me.
After reading it, I started wondering…
What if I had enough money to live where I wanted to? What if my life was lived how I wanted? What if I could go from a total right-brained hippy into being a successful business person?
It was the most delightful book for me – just to get that whole process ruling. I LOVE reading other people’s stories – they are endlessly inspiring to me – far more inspiring than “how to” finance books.
From a personal level, I remember when I read this book – my love & I lived pay check to pay check. We had credit cards that were maxed, and no savings or investments.
We just didn’t think about our money – and we certainly didn’t look at our lives in terms of investments.
But things started changing after reading this book.
We paid off all our credit cards & cancelled them all. (We have debit Mastercards instead – they rock!)
We started investing in real estate.
We went from being totally ignorant about money – just going with the flow of normal – and started being aware & proactive about it.
And now we are in a really fantastic financial position.
If we can do it – anyone can!
The One Minute Millionaire
Written by: Mark Victor Hansen & Robert G Allen
I have talked before about how this book was the catalyst for the Goddess Circle, my $100 000 idea.
I found it in a bookstore when Ostara was still a newborn. I remember we would go back to our usual haunts – this little alcove of musty secondhand book stores in Fyshwick. One bookstore spread over three unevenly floored stores, and two more. Canty’s and Barry’s and someone else’s.
We were shell shocked new parents, trying to retain some semblance of our Past Life As Individuals With Interests.
And we’d eat a curried vege paste at the pie shop on the corner, and I’d drink lemonade and feed Ostara.
Then we’d venture into our bookaphile’s wet dream. We knew we were leaving Canberra soon, to return home to tropical paradise – that for all it’s tropically paradisey-ness, it was bookstore-less. So we needed to stock up. We were bookish alcoholics, and were about to enter drylands.
So my love’s arms would start piling up with fantasy books & kid’s picture books & self help must-haves, and then Ostara would start mewing again, so I’d sit in tears in the car, feeding her again for the twelfth time that day.
And my love would come and find me all tear stained and sit in the car beside me and I would say:
My life is over, I’ll never be able to look in another bookstore again, my life is over…
And he’d listen, and then he’d say
Come on darling, let’s give it another go, just ten more minutes.
(At this point, we’d only get 10-15 minutes out of her before she wanted More! Boob! Now! She was a boobaholic. Easily settled, but only with boob. Which is cool. Except when you’re the only one with boobs & are going not-so-quietly bonkers.)
But we were valiant.
And Chris jiggled her for a few minutes as I raced down bookstore aisles, pulling Must Have Books left right & centre. And then she started mewing like a tiny kitten again, so I swapped my pile of books for baby, and then jiggled her down the Business & Finance aisle.
I crouched on the floor & pulled out everything that looked:
- newer than 1980
- not contaminated with The Plague or The Smell
- remotely interesting.
There were about five in all.
And I had exactly 7.6 nanoseconds to decide which ones I wanted before Ostara’s mews became bleets.
I narrowed it down to three, tossed them at Chris on the way out, and nestled back into BreastFeeding Station (aka back seat of the jeep) with Ostara.
I started reading it that afternoon on the couch while (you guessed it!) Ostara was on the boob.
She was going through these stints where she’d breastfeed for like 3-4 hours at a time.
(I AM NOT KIDDING.)
It was effing nuts. It did make for some awesome book reading sessions though. I even managed to do part of the Creative Goddess e-course illustrations on the sales page while I was boobfeeding her.
(HOLY DINGERS MOTHERS ARE AMAZING. SERIOUSLY.)
I know you are all pretty much riveted by my boobs at this point (who can blame you, really!)… but I did start this story with another intention in mind.
Oh yes! Because I read this book! And it’s one of my top fives!
The One Minute Millionaire is 50% a fictional story and 50% tips on how to make money.
And being who I am – totally inspired by stories instead of facts – I just read the story, with the full intention of reading back over the tips. (I never did.)
And it’s about how a mother needs to come up with $1 million to have her children.
And she works out how to do it.
And at that point in my life, I knew with this beautiful baby girl in my arms that I had a huge task ahead of me.
I wanted to move home to tropical paradise – a place that doesn’t have many jobs.
I wanted my love to be a stay at home dad with me.
And I wanted to keep making my art & books & miracles.
I just needed to work out the money stuff to make that happen.
Reading that story of a woman coming up with $1 million made me look at what I needed to live my dream.
I needed $100 000 – a number that seemed all too huge.
But I found out how I could do it in a dream – and it became the Goddess Circle.
So I can absolutely say this book was a major catalyst in my life.
I’m here, sitting in my favourite cafe, eating raw cheesecake made by my sister (who has gone on to create her own incredibly successful business), living in tropical paradise, my love at home with Ostara while I go out to write.
Our lives are a really beautiful balance of family time, with both my love and I having time to do the things we love – I get to do this beautiful goddess business of mine, he gets to study Psychology.
All because of a fraction of time, a handful of books, a moment spent dashing through bookstores in a haze of newborn mama-ishness.
Written by: Martha Stewart
I’ll be honest:
I thought this was going to be totally crap.
I’m actually NOT a Martha fan.
I’m not NOT a Martha fan – she just doesn’t get shown on Australian TV that much.
The only thing I do remember seeing of Martha was demonstrating on Oprah how to fix that problem that everrrrryone lays awake worrying about:
How on earth do I fold fitted sheets so they sit nicely in the linen cupboard?
And me being an uber messy hippy arty type thought:
“Ummm Why The Face? WHO FOLDS SHEETS?”
Martha does, and she also folds fitted sheets like origami & ties them with satin ribbon.
So I totally crossed her off my list as Not My Type.
Then I fell upon her business book in the discount box at a bookstore. It was only $5 – crazy cheap! (Oh non-Australians, just so you know – books are *not* cheap here in Australia. Most sit around $30. I know they are 50-70% cheaper in other countries. But there you go! Expensive! Books! In! Australia! And that’s really the only reason I could say Australia is sucky. We rock at pretty much everything else!)
[Also: have you ever noticed Leonie is Queen of the Interloping Stories? No? Good! Continue on! Like I never said this!]
Anyways, I am unable to resist the allure of cheap books, like, EVA.
So I got it.
And read it in the park during lunch hour of my cubicle job.
I remember laying in the grass, the sun being so beautifully Springish, defrosting my frozen winter bones (this is when we lived in alpine Canberra – aka Cantartica!)
And DEVOURING the book, consuming it whole, thinking aloud in my head:
“HOLY CRAPADINGLE!!! THIS BOOK IS ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD!!!!!”
I found it so useful to see how a crafty maker kinda person had revolutionised their business to make it so profitable & ubiquitous.
Plus – as I’ve said – I get way more mojo out of hearing people’s stories than just reading a bland how-to book.
So, *high five* Martha.
You can come fold my fitted sheets any ding dang time you like!
The Four Hour Work Week
Written by: Timothy Ferris
I can remember exactly where I bought The Four Hour Work Week.
We were in Singapore after a month trekking around India, staying at this beautiful, lush hotel (as an apology from our travel agent who totally flubbed our booking & sent us to Singapore instead of Hong Kong. SO CLOSE, lady – only like a couple thousand kilometres apart!) But anyways, after backpacking around India & becoming the most stinky, vomety & sensory-fried version of ourselves, staying in a beautiful soft, quiet apartment with a CLEAN! TOILET! was a total delight.
After sleeping for a gazillion hours, buying Singapore Zoo t-shirts and disposing of our decomposing India attire, we started venturing out into the attached shopping mall.
Incase you are wondering, South East Asia does the shopping mall awesomely. Handy hint: they like them. A LOT.
So you can walk kilometres in them. All while staying close to bathrooms. Which we needed – just so we could periodically run to & lose a whole bundle of body weight in. Thank you, oh sweet Delhi belly. What delights you have shared.
Anywaysies! Happily, the closest store to the hotel was a bookstore. (Literally – it was the closest a store could get. The hotel was attached to the mall, so you could pop out for some crazy voodoo doll keychains (all the rage in Asian 2007) & durian flavoured cheesecake without even having to go outside.
Life is good.
SO! It was in that thoroughly dishevelled, poo-ridden, India-recovering state that I found the book. I’d seen it a zillion times before in bookstores (Dear Borders Canberra City, I’m looking at you… but I hear you are gone. Dissolved. I miss you, even though I moved away first. I think it’s better that way. I don’t think I could have watched you be dismantled. Love, Leonie.) & I’d read about it 73.8 trillion blogs (I like to be exact).
And I was really needing something new & fresh in my life after India.
I felt like India had torn away all my parts, dismantled me & brought me to my knees.
And I know I had needed it – I knew it was good medicine.
And yet I felt broken by the sheer enormity of India, of how the dirt & the poverty & the sad obsidian eyes had made my heart quake. I was disappointed with myself for not finding India this truly enlightening experience. I’d had all these nightmares before I’d left for India – that I would go, and sleep my way through it. That I would go home before it was my time. That I wouldn’t understand India.
And in so many ways that dream had come true. I’d been & had the India scars tattooed all over my skin, but I still couldn’t read them. Still couldn’t work out what they meant. Still couldn’t get over just how hard it was – on my eyes, my nose, my digestive tract, my head, my relationships, my compassion, my heart.
Have I ever told you about India?
I don’t think I did. I don’t think I even could. A little bit here, but not the great tomes I expected to pour forth. Even now, some four years on (maybe five – who counts these things?), I still search for the words that are true about India.
I am left with:
India was hard. India was sacred.
Go if you are called.
I think I could say that about most of life, really.
I’m telling you all this, because I like telling stories. I like taking you in my pocket and in my heart everywhere I go. There are so many beautiful adventures to take in this world. Every.single.day.
So I found The Four Hour Work Week after India, in a country I was never supposed to be in, but was there anyway, staying in this posh hotel, sneaking durian into the hotel to eat on the balcony (that heavily-scented fruit isn’t allowed in posh spots because it stenches up the place), rushing to the toilet, re-calibrating my senses after the onslaught of India, seeking solace, and peace, and a dream of where to go next.
So it entered my life.
And it’s the story of A Dude who decides he only wants to work a few hours a week, and spend the rest of his time doing crazy shit. Travelling & breaking rules & working out new ways to work and live and everything. Dude is totally an Indigo child, no?
And the Four Hour Work Week made my head go:
The little top on my head flipped off and clattered to the floor, spinning around like a china saucer.
And I thought:
Dude could make it happen for him. I can make it happen for me.
That’s just what I’m like. If there’s something I want that I don’t have I think:
Well, I can totally do it. I can do anything!
And then I go and do it.
So I started dreaming and scheming what was possible.
The Four Hour Work Week wasn’t the full puzzle for me. But holy dinger, it definitely was a big piece of it for me.
(And then we flew home. And I kissed the ground outside the terminal. It was so lovely! And blue! And clean! And bright! And shining! So much space! And spent Christmas totally delirious thinking back over all the magic and woo-woo and WTF just happened to me. And I read back over and over and over again the thick journal I wrote in at India. Spilled ink & photographs & words & art. One day I will show it to you. It was India in a book. The End.)
Written by Ankesh Kothari & Michael Keesee
I met Ankesh online through a business forum a few years ago – and he immediately stuck out to me as this wildly genius business brain. He has a totally different way of seeing into business systems & marketing. I’ve been badgering him ever since to write a book.
And now he has, and of course I ordered it straight away.
It’s compelling & interesting & brilliant & smart.
I really, really dig his clever way at looking at the world of business & marketing & finding brilliant ways to change it up.
G E N I U S.
I know I haven’t said a huge amount about this book.
But I don’t really know what to say.
Just that it’s got all these flipping brilliant strategies & possibilities & ways to make your business bigger & more profitable.
And it’s flipping brilliant.
Ankesh! In a book! Dream come true!
Also: in true High Fidelity autobiographical style – this is the last one I’ve read. Actually, it’s still on my nightstand. There is SO MUCH in this book!
Wasn’t this the best post ever?
So TOTALLY not about business books, and yet TOTALLY is.
The blend between money & life & heart & spirit… just the way my life is.
Coz you rock.
This was fun! I so hope this helped my dearest heart!!!!
I’m off home! Go cuddle baby! Perve on hunky love! Read books! Make dinner!
Must buy nappies on way home. Thanks for reminding me. You totes got my back.
Your best friend forever,