When the guy who re-wrote the book on Google Advertising shared his list of must-read books for entrepreneurs, we listened. A highly sough-out consultant, Perry Marshall is the author of seven business books dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and small businesses owners like yourself gain more from online advertising to teaching you how to get more sales from 20% of your customers.
Here, Marshall shares his go-to books to help you get started on your entrepreneurial journey.
1. Winning Through Intimidation by Robert Ringer.
In all transactions, someone has the upper hand. Honest folks are squeamish about this. Passive-aggressive “screw you over” types are not. You must recognize this truth and apply it wisely. One of the best books ever for sales rookies. If you hate the title, that means you especially need to read it.
2. My Life in Advertising by Claude Hopkins.
Most people don’t read the great masters, but Claude Hopkins invented direct response advertising as well as the coupon. This book takes you inside the mind of one of the great business titans of all time. If you read closely he’ll reveal to you what advertising is really all about.
We all make tactical business failures and strategic failures and there are thousands of books to address those problems. But most long-term career failures and business tragedies come from ignoring the principles in Proverbs: not the tactics and strategies, but failures of wisdom, discernment, morals, discipline and character.
Proverbs is the most influential business book of all time, a fount of Jewish business wisdom. It’s sold more copies and shaped more leaders than Adam Smith, Napoleon Hill, Peter Drucker, Ayn Rand, Jack Welch, Dale Carnegie and Stephen Covey put together. It’s even more relevant in our information-drenched age of social media.
4. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
Al and Jack establish the foundational truths of how companies and brands rise from zero to influence and success in this book.
5. How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis.
This is a rollicking read by a gifted writer and a brutally honest autobiography by a guy worth hundreds of millions that includes some dark confessions. “At one time I had 14 mistresses on the payroll—big mistake.” Make sure to read the chapter about raising money—it’s gold.
6. Work the System by Sam Carpenter.
This book addresses the burning question that people in my company ask every day: “What system, if fixed or set in motion, would have prevented this problem from ever happening in the first place?” Sam Carpenter insists the universe is working 99.9% correctly all the time, so disappointing results always flow from a systemic input you can fix. Empowering and immensely practical.
7. Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.
Plastic surgeon wonders why he fixes some patients’ ugly nose and they rise to prominence and success, while he fixes others and they look in the mirror and still insist they’re ugly. Maltz is the man who popularized the notion of the self image. He’s far wiser and more profound than the copycats who came after. This is a deeply insightful and classic book about your inner game. If you can, pick up one of the original used copies from the 1960s.
8. The Star Principle by Richard Koch.
One of the great business geniuses of our time (he’s #435 on the Times of London Rich List this year) delivers the elegant formula he used to grow his fortune from $4 million to nearly $400 million in 25 years. Without a doubt, the most under-rated book on this list. Score your business according to Richard’s formula using this book.
9. Money and the Prosperous Soul by Stephen DeSilva.
I’ve watched people convert $1000 of knowledge into a fortune. I’ve also witnessed others take a million dollars of education and burn empires to the ground. Having taught marketing to hundreds of thousands, and personally consulted with thousands, I’ve discovered you can learn most of what you really need to know about business in 2-3 years. After that, your success has more to do with emotional and spiritual beliefs and “head trash” than what you actually know in your brain. DeSilva does a better job of untangling spiritual beliefs about money than anyone else I’ve seen. Along with Star Principle, this is the other hugely underrated book on my list.
10. 80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall.
Is it perverse for me to put my own book on this list? Maybe. But this is the book I wish I’d had when I started my sales career 20 years ago. It would have spared me years of baloney sandwiches and ramen soup. 80/20 is the most powerful principle in business and it’s the most efficient, elegant framework for explaining every smart move you make in marketing.