Five Awesome Books I can’t stop Recommending


Reading is the easiest and oldest way to continuously expand your mind. I’ve come to really love reading over the last few years and have dabbled in everything from mystery to biographies. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that as you read books, there are some that you simply read and there are others that change your perspective or even your life. Each of us can look back at the books we’ve read over the years and quickly identify the handful that left a lasting impact and became a sense of inspiration for your life. Whether it was a book that shaped your perspective on relationships, money, marketing, power or your country; we all have them.

When I first started my advertising and marketing career, I sat in my parents basement and read 25+ books to give me an advantage going into interviews and into boardrooms. After a year or two into my career, I wrote a post that highlighted what I considered the Best Marketing and Advertising Books on the book shelf. That brings us here… A new list, but a little shorter. These are books that have changed my perspective and ultimately changed my life. I highly recommend that everyone take a look and give these books a read.

Design For How People Learn

Design for How People Learn | Cover

Of all the books you’ll read on this list, this one is one of the easiest and quickest reads. Earlier this year, I provided a series of social media webinars and spent quite some time thinking about how I could ensure that my points and message came across effectively. I thought about how the brain would receive my content and what key points I needed to emphasize to ensure they came across effectively. In some sense, it was me evaluating my presentation with the intent of manipulating a story that would provide the listeners the ultimate value from the session.

Shortly after delivering the workshops, I came across this book from a friend. If you’re already familiar with e-learning and how humans learn, there might not be much value in this book. If you’re a professor, speaker or professional who aims to teach people how to understand complex topics, this book will help you understand how people learn. For me, this book has provided me with a new outlook on how I can design learning experiences to help people with personal development and digital marketing. It showed me how to do a better job engaging the audience and ultimately have a better understanding of key concepts for developing effective learning programs.

This is an example of the awesome diagrams you’ll find inside:
The book is packed into a small yet organized space filled with checklists and useful information that would benefit everyone from designers to developers. While the text was extremely engaging, I found myself ridiculously aware and interested in the design assets that highlight concepts like knowledge, motivation and skills gaps. The book is a must read and I guarantee it will help shape and change your way of thinking.

On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins

On Intelligence | Great Books

This is one of those books that has changed everything. Not only did it inspire me to think differently, it also has impacted the way I see the world around me. I lent this book to a friend and he shared a similar feeling in saying that this book is not just an eye opener, but a life changer. The fact is however, the concepts explored in this book are not new. The themes and ideas raised throughout this book have been brought up before but for me, never so clear.

The book isn’t an easy read as it’s a very detailed book that highlights everything from neocortical computing to how the cortex works. One of my favourite books, Pitch Anything, is a great book to read prior to this one as you can apply many of the ideas covered in Pitch Anything with some of the concepts you’re reading about here. In my opinion, while the book is not an easy read, it’s very well written but requires a deeper level of thinking and possibly research to go along with it while you flip from one page to the next. I’ve read it twice since buying it and have a feeling that simply because you’ll enjoy it so much – You will do the same. If you have any interest in understanding the role of the brain in making us who we are, you owe it to yourself to read this one. It’s a game-changer.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Steal Like an Artist | Book

In 1996, Steve Jobs said:

“Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal”

This quote has been circulated around the web for years and reached a new spike in popularity when Steve Jobs biography was released. If you’re a creative, you understand the significance of this quote and are probably quite familiar with the essence of what it means. This book isn’t based on Apple or Steve Jobs, instead it’s based on 10 ideas that the author wishes he had known when he started his young career. The ideas while simple, are very profound as they will inspire you to reflect at your own life and think about what you can do to release your creative brilliance. Here is an example of one of these simple yet thought provoking concepts:

Dont Wait Until You Know | Steal Like an Artist
This is a book that started as a lecture and eventually emerged as a blog post that went viral. The blog post while very similar, doesn’t cover the same details that the author associates with each idea. The book is filled with sketches and drawings that make you feel energized and young as you go through this innovative balance of text and illustration. This is not a large book and is far from a difficult read. It’s great to leave on the coffee table as it’s an approachable book that will give you a quick boost of inspiration when you need it most. The book is well written, to start, and it delivers a message that is art in itself. Similar to the other books on this list, this is one I strongly recommend.

Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think

Abundance Book | Recommendation

Of all the books on this list, this one will truly make you think, reflect and reevaluate what you know and what you do not. It’s a book that will challenge your thinking and reinforce ideas that you may have overlooked due to pessimism and resentment.

This book is about humanity. It’s a book about how we as a society, as a race and as a unified group can provide abundance. It’s the idea that we will eventually be met with an opportunity to provide the basic needs to every man, woman and child on the planet. It’s a crazy thought. It’s a thought that makes many people scratch their head and wrinkle their nose. It’s a bold look at our future backed up with amazing research showcasing the exponential growth of technology along with three other forces conspiring to better the lives of the human race.

If you were to look at history and conventional wisdom, it would be quick to express that the gap between the well of and the poor cannot be closed. The author of this book combats conventional wisdom with ideas around the rising billion, technophilantropy, DIY innovations and the fimilar concept of exponential teconological advancements. The author believes that these forces will solve our biggest problems. Ranging from healtcare to education and freedom to food – This book provides me with optimism but also inspiration to be a part of the future that many highlighted in this book are trying to build.

Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers

I’m a strong believer in optimizing our lives for happiness. I believe that happiness comes from the combination of both meaningful work and play.

In the professional world, play is rarely looked at in a positive light. It’s looked down upon because years of corporate policies and conventional wisdom has placed ideas of what it means to be a professional in the minds of millions. The authors of this book understand that there may be something wrong with that type of thinking. Similar to a book that would be provided to a gym teacher in elementary school, this book is filled with more than 80 games. The games are described clearly (feel free to call them activities if you’re afraid of the looks you’ll get from clients) and in detail to help you engage your audience on a deeper level. This book is a great compliment to Design for How People Lear as it will identify key examples of how you can get people involved in your meeting, seminar, or classroom.

The games in this book are meant to engage groups, both large and small, in learning and discovery. I found myself noting in nearly every margin how I could use each game for everything from business model planning to content marketing. The clear, concise descriptions and plans for each games are exactly what you need to ensure that you and your teams are thinking differently. It may be difficult to introduce this kind of thinking to your group initially but at the end of it all, you will be glad you did.