Note from Sean: This week we have another guest post from our Location Rebel Community Manager, Liz Froment. She’s one of the biggest reader’s I know and has led quite a few discussions on them inside the LR forums. This week, she covers 12 books you should read to kickstart your own location independent lifestyle education.
Take it away, Liz!
A New Approach to Reading
One of my favorite quotes is by a guy named Charlie Munger. Chances are you might not have heard of him. But, I’d guess you’ve heard of billionaire investor Warren Buffett. Charlie is his right hand man at Berkshire Hathaway.
What makes Charlie and Warren interesting, besides that they could spend their days diving into swimming pools full of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck and don’t, is they love to read.
And I mean love it.
There are a million quotes out there about them and reading, that Warren tries to read 500 pages a day, that Charlie hides out in his office and reads for 6 straight hours. But my favorite?
Go to bed smarter than you woke up. – Charlie Munger
I’ve always been a big reader, knocking out twice weekly trips to the library growing up. So I’m proud to wave my book nerd flag high and follow Charlie’s advice.
I’ve got endless book lists saved in my Pocket account, book podcasts (let’s get real wonky) subscribed to in iTunes, and I don’t even want to get into how many are just waiting to be read on my Kindle.
Read daily, even if it’s for 15 minutes, or 25 pages.
But, once I started growing my own business, I realized that my past assortment of reads wasn’t exactly going to cut it anymore.
I needed a new education, even past what I’d learned in college as a business major. That’s when I took a new approach to reading, I wanted to expand my knowledge and hone in on the variety of skills I’d need to be better at building my own business.
Now that didn’t mean brushing up on accounting and finance (shudder). Nope, it also included topics like psychology, writing, and mindset.
In short, I’ve become a much more well rounded reader.
What I want to do here is show you what I’ve read that’s helped me be better. This is by no means the end all and be all of lists. I didn’t pull this off the interwebs, I’ve read every single one of these and personally recommend them all.
Let’s get started.
If you’re reading Location 180, you probably have a slightly different view about work and jobs as opposed to the conventional wisdom. That doesn’t mean just because you want to work for yourself life is all glitter and free beers (I wish). There is a struggle, “the resistance,” and a lot of hard work that goes into it.
These books can help you dive a bit more deeply into some ways you might want to think about approaching work, both now and into the future.
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
Ah, the grandaddy of them all. For many, this was the book that started the dream of lifestyle design. I remember seeing it constantly on my weekly flights or train rides between New York and Boston when I was working at KPMG. Needless to say, it was only about 2 years later I found myself reading it on the sly during lunch breaks in my cube.
Now, I don’t actually follow much of what Ferriss says in the book, and frankly I think a 4 hour work week is a bit of pipe dream for all but a few. But what I do think this book hits on is the concept of the possibility that you can change your life and design the lifestyle you probably never thought was possible.
Mastery by Robert Greene
Robert Greene is the guy behind books like the 48 Laws of Power and the Art of Seduction. In Mastery he takes a deep dive into the concept that in order to truly master your life (and career) you need to take the long approach. Putting in the time being an apprentice, learning from a mentor, and practicing focus can help you establish mastery in any field.
What I really enjoyed about this book is that it’s a good combination of practical advice, interesting biographies, and inspiration. Plus, it highlights taking an approach to work that I personally believe in, the apprenticeship model, and I’ve followed in my own career path (both on and offline).
The End of Jobs by Taylor Pearson
I’ve always been a big fan of Taylor’s blog, so when his book came out it was pretty much a no-brainer option for me to read. I’m glad I did. In it he takes a deep dive at the system as we see it today, giving an historical perspective on wage growth, globalization, and technology as it applies to the traditional approach to employment.
While I love a history lesson (I could do another list of just history books), what I really enjoyed was how much practical information and advice was packed in here. I actually think it’s a must read for anyone who is thinking about jumping into the world of entrepreneurship right now.
If you had told me a few years ago that one of the biggest keys to success in building a business and working online was mindset, I would have ignored you. Oh the irony. Now I actually think that the mental strength, positive outlook, and stamina you need to develop to do this well is something that’s not highlighted enough.
These books do a nice job of helping you understand some of the mental part of being a lifestyle entrepreneur.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
Mindset was recommended to me by John McIntyre, and I am so glad he did. Not only was it one of the top 3 (yup, I get that detailed) books I read last year, it’s one of the all time impactful books I’ve read. So, you shouldn’t be surprised, I’ve recommended it to everyone.
Dweck studies the differences between the fixed and growth mindsets and how people with these mindsets approach and tackle life. For most of us, our mindsets are a combination of nature and nurture. But, we can work to mold our mindsets to make ourselves unstoppable in all aspects of life. Farnham Street gives a nice little infographic and primer on the book.
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
Yup, I went there. And no, this isn’t a deep dive into Grey’s Anatomy or Scandal (though Kerry Washington = awesome), but it does look at a year in the life of their creator, famous television show runner Shonda Rhimes. It’s a story about how pushing yourself outside your comfort zone can have incredible effects.
What you learn about Rhimes is she was an overweight, unhappy, super introvert who basically said no to everything. So, she spent a year saying yes to things instead, pushing herself way out of her comfort zone. I enjoyed the honest look at her real struggle. How doing this terrified her, how she realized all her missed opportunities in the past and it inspired me to be more proactive about taking action in my own life (and business).
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
Another must read for anyone building a business, but especially those who work in the creative fields like writing, art, and design. It’s a super short read, but you will come back to it (as I have) over and over as you move through the other stages of your business.
Pressfield teaches you the term “The Resistance” to encompass everything that makes you not want to take action, it can be wrapped up as fear, procrastination, laziness, whatever, and inspires you to push through it to get off your butt and get going. Since you’ll hit a lot of blocks as you grow your business, you’ll need to know how to deal with it, this book shows you the mindset to do it.
That’s right, I included travel. That’s because for many of you (as it was for me) one of your biggest goals in building your own business is to have the ability to travel more. I was desperate to get out of my cube and two weeks vacation, but wanted to be able to approach travel in a different way.
These books help you really see the importance of traveling outside of being ‘the tourist.”
Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves
Yea, that Rick Steves, the earnest kinda nerdy guy who has made a fortune on his guide books and tv show empire. But, this book is no guide book, instead you learn about the real Rick Steves, the weed smoking, naked hot tubbing, beer drinking Rick Steves and how he uses travel to educate himself and expand his perspective.
Unexpectedly, this is one of my favorite books, and ironically the only book my sister has ever told me to read that I liked (well, besides Harry Potter). I’ve recommended it to a bunch of people who love to travel, and try to keep the lessons in mind when I’m out on the road myself. It’s amazing how much you can learn and enjoy from taking the time to truly try to understand other people and cultures.
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts
I was introduced to this book on a recommendation from Tim Ferriss’ blog a few years back. This is another book that takes a different look at travel. Rolf Potts is a writer who lives a very simple life, in a trailer in the Kansas prairie, in order to allow him more time and flexibility to travel on extended trips around the world.
Pott’s book covers a life on the road, teaching you how to travel long term. He makes you realize that travel isn’t only for the rich and privileged, that with openness and the right mindset you can live a lifelong adventure. The tips and advice are great even if, like me, you aren’t interested in round the world long term travel.
One of the most important skills anyone can have is the ability to write. Having done pretty well in school I thought I’d be fine, yea that was a rude awakening. Writing essays in school is a world apart from being able to effectively communicate online through email, blog posts, sales pages, and even social media.
For an advanced lesson in how to be a better writer, read these books (and practice a lot of writing).
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
This was one of my favorite books from last year. I’d read a few other books about how to write but this one stood out to me as the best, even topping Stephen King’s On Writing. Lamott gives you practical advice on not only how to approach writing, but how to be a writer as well, all wrapped up in with stories of her life and experiences.
This book had me going with a range of emotions, there were some parts where I truly laughed out loud.It also helped to bust through some of blocks and fear so many writers face like having terrible first drafts or taking criticism from others. I took away a great appreciation of what it really takes to be a good writer.
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
If you’re looking for one book to teach you how to become a better writer for the web, this is it. Ann Handley is the woman behind the very popular MarketingProfs site, and an expert content marketer, so she knows her stuff. This book gives you an in depth look at how to write excellent content that will drive people to your site or blog.
I picked Everybody Writes up on a whim, but really enjoyed it. It should go without saying, but Handley is a pro here. I found myself taking tons of notes on how to be a better writer. From simple tips like what words to use, to how to think more about the people who I’m looking to engage, and got plenty of inspiration on future content plans.
Ahhh productivity. It’s a magic word in the world of the online entrepreneur. Everyone wants it, will read endless blog posts about it, and search high and low for the secret sauce. Fortunately, you can cut through the noise and read a couple of very good books on how not only get better at being productivity but also the thought process behind it.
Both these books help you understand how you can better tap into your own productivity.
The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller
Gary Keller is the guy behind the huge real estate firm Keller Williams, so we’ll say he knows a few things about building a successful business. So what’s the secret to his success? Finding the one thing in your work or life that makes everything else easier.
It’s a pretty simple formula, but oftentimes it’s the really simple things that we overcomplicate. At least I know I do. The book itself is a very quick and easy read. I found myself nodding yes at sections, and realizing that once again, a key to success is drilling down and focusing on the very few things that matter to drive you forward.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
I went into this book without high expectations, and man was I wrong. I actually loved it. If you’re someone who struggles with building solid good habits, this could be for you. What Duhigg, a reporter for the New York Times, does here is offer you a look at the psychology and science behind building powerful habits.
What I liked about the book was it gives a deep dive into the why behind habits. As someone who generally has a hard time managing productivity and forming consistent good habits, this book from the scientific studies to the case studies really drive the points home and helped me move forward. A change to your approach could be all you need.
Time to Start Reading
Well, there you have it.
One last thing.
Don’t fall into the trap of reading only business books, especially if you want to be a better writer. As someone who was on a strict business book only diet for a long time, I realize now I was stubbornly missing out on some truly awesome reading material.
I try to rotate a mix of books through a variety of genres throughout the year, and because I can’t resist, here are some all around non-business great reads to check out:
- A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra – Best book I read last year
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Eye opening and challenges you to think
- The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant – Total page turner
- Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling – Oh yes, I went there, and you’ll get just as hooked
- My Life in France by Julia Child – American cooking icon (who also worked for the precurser to the CIA during WW II) before she knew how to cook
Now back to our regularly scheduled reading…
These twelve books will get you started on a full year of reading. You should be able to tackle one of these a month, and feel like you’ve learned a ton about growing your business and yourself.
I wanted to make this list a little bit different than others, trying to feature books that had a major impact on me but weren’t the ones on every list you see out there.
Hopefully, I’ve succeeded.
For similar sites that feature quality lists of epic books, check out some of these:
- The Personal MBA Recommended Reading List
- An Entrepreneur’s Library: 67 Books for Entrepreneurs
- Derek Siver’s Book List
Now, I know there are probably some books you think I missed and some I haven’t read, I’d love to hear more about them, so share your thoughts in the comments.