10 Pivotal Books That Changed the Lives of Millionaires

 Who doesn’t love a life changing book?

I want to know what books were PIVOTAL in the success of the people I interview. So I ask them 🙂

I’ve gone through over 80 interviews and come up with the most recommended 10 (plus some!)

Have you read these yet? What do you think? Are there any on the list you haven’t heard of?



You Will Learn: A better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Read it and you’ll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don’t need outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don’t need to be a workaholic. You don’t need to staff up. You don’t need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don’t even need an office. Those are all just excuses.

Co-written by David Heinemeier Hansson a previous guest here!


What Brenton Hayden had to say, “My favorite book is Rework. They have a chapter in there “Fire the Workaholics.”  If you’re working too hard, you’re not doing it right.  That’s not to say not to work hard, but you need what I call clarity breaks.

If you’re tired, don’t work anymore.  If you’re frustrated, stop working.  If you’re angry, don’t write anymore emails, don’t do anymore work, your work will always be affected by that.  If your project is taking significantly longer than you had anticipated, it is probably time to cancel that project or see if there is something that you’ve got that is an MVP of a viable product.”

Buy REWORK on Amazon.

Inbound Marketing

You Will Learn: How to stop pushing your message out and start pulling your customers in. Inbound Marketing is a how-to guide to getting found via Google, the blogosphere, and social media sites.


What Jerry Mills had to say, “There’s a great book by, anybody who is thinking about starting a business they should read this book, it’s called Inbound Marketing by the guys at Hub Spot.”



Awaken the Giant Within

You Will Learn: Practical guidelines for concentrating your thoughts and emotions on the attainment of your goals.

What Derek Sivers had to say: “I read  Awaken the Giant Within. Someone who was a real mentor to me gave me this book and said you should read this. With that kind of heavy recommendation from somebody I admired, I really gave it my full attention and really dove in and read it not just once but like five times over the next five years and really ingested it.”





You Will Learn: That we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing.


What Frank McKinney said, “I want everybody to listen very carefully. There is a great author out there by the name of Malcolm Gladwell. You may have heard of him. He wrote ‘The Tipping Point’, he wrote ‘Blink’, and he wrote a book called ‘Outliers.’

I read in ‘Outliers’ that to become an expert at anything in life, you need to put in 10,000 hours. If you want to be an expert real estate person, you want to be an expert author,  I did the math.. It takes five years at  forty hours a week to equal 10,000 hours. I was so astonished when I looked back and realized that’s exactly what I did.”

Buy OUTLIERS on Amazon.


The Dip

You Will Learn: If your goal is even worth the hassle. Maybe you’re in a Dip—a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it’s really a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better, no matter how hard you try. This book helps you determine which one you are in.


What Michael Port had to say: “One of my colleagues Seth Godin wrote a great book called The Dip. It basically makes one big point. He says there’s this American idea that you never should quit anything you do. The person who doesn’t give up always wins. He says actually that’s not necessarily the case. Sometimes quitters do win. That’s different. That’s not contradictory to the concept of the pursuit of mastery, what I’m suggesting earlier. It’s not about dabbling. It’s not about a little bit of this, little bit of that, little bit of this. It’s about having the fortitude to look at what you’re doing and identifying the dip, as he calls it.”

Buy THE DIP on Amazon.


Good to Great

You Will Learn: How good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness.

What Michael Port said, “If you read Good to Great by Jim Collins, it talks about great leaders deal with reality. They don’t make stuff up. They don’t pretend things are one way when they’re actually another way.”



Buy GOOD TO GREAT on Amazon.

Rich Dad Poor Dad

You Will Learn: The principle that income-generating assets always provide healthier bottom-line results than even the best of traditional jobs.


What Dane Maxwell had to say, ” It all started when I read the book Rich Dad Poor Dad. I’m not a typically really super intelligent guy so I really appreciated the simplistic way that Rich Dad Poor Dad explained financial wealth. He talked about passive income and not exchanging time for money.”


Buy RICH DAD POOR DAD on Amazon.



E-Myth Revisited

 You Will Learn: The life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed. Plus the distinction between working IN your business and working ON your business.



What Brad Schy said, “I’d say if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, that you should read Michael Gerber The E-Myth.  I would absolutely recommend that.  Now I wish I had again implemented everything that he said. ”

Buy THE E MYTH on Amazon.


War of Art

 You Will Learn:The resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself.


What Michael Hyatt said: “Steven Pressfield is an absolutely must read and I don’t know how many copies I’ve given away of the War of Art, but you need to read his whole discussion about the resistance.”

Buy THE ART OF WAR on Amazon.


Four Hour Work Week

 You Will Learn: Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.


What Hanny Lerner had to say: “I love the book  the 4-Hour Work Week and although not everything obviously relates, but I love the idea of building a business that can run without you there working.  You need to work on your business, not in your business.  It’s so true.  If you build a business around everything being done without you there, A) you have more time to do other ideas and other ventures and B) you just can enjoy life.  It’s a great book.”

Buy THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK on Amazon.


The Lean Startup

 You Will Learn: Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, the Lean Startup relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.




What Neil Patel has to say: “The Lean Startup was one of them.  Another one is The Dip by Seth Godin.  Those are some books that I would check out if you want to be an entrepreneur and figure out how to create a business online.”


Honorable Mentions:

Blue Ocean Strategy

 You Will Learn: Challenge everything you thought you knew about competing in today’s crowded market place. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than a hundred years and thirty industries, it argues that lasting success comes from creating ‘blue oceans’: untapped new market spaces ripe from growth and skipping the bloody red oceans of rivals.


What Marissa Levin had to say: ” I also am a big fan of The Blue Ocean Strategy.  Basically what that says is that rather than competing with a competitor, what you want to do is really create uncontested market space.  How can you basically become one of a kind in a sea of competitors?  It talks about great examples of how that’s happened.  So I think that’s a great book.”


Think and Grow Rich

You Will Learn:  There have been more millionaires and indeed, billionaires, who have made their fortunes as a result of reading this success classic than any other book every printed. (From the books description! It has been recommended a lot from my interviews!


What Tony Hartl said, “I would say Think and Grow Rich from a motivation inspiration standpoint really opened my eyes at a young age.”

DOWNLOAD the original Think and Grow Rich Ebook for Free Here!



What if you have heard of all of these? What if you KNOW they were good but need more ideas for Christmas gifts? Check out these.. also recommended but not as well known!

Failing Forward
by John Maxwell

Maxwell Leadership Bible
by John Maxwell
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter

Maslow on Management
by Abraham Maslow

Pour Your Heart Into It
by Howard Schultz and Dori Jones Yang

Mastering the Rockefeller Habits
by Verne Harnish

The Ultimate Question
by Fred Reichheld

The Five Temptations of a CEO
by Patrick Lencioni

Who: The A Method for Hiring
by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
(These are affiliate links by the way :)

Post in the comments what one of YOUR pivotal books would be. What book changed your life?


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64 Responses to “10 Pivotal Books That Changed the Lives of Millionaires”

    • Jaime

      Interesting! I hadn’t heard of it, but when I interviewed Michael Burcham he spoke of the Truth North concept. I’ll have to check it out!

  1. Howie Nguyen

    I’m only halfway through reading The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy so I can’t say if it’s my favorite book or not yet. It’s been pretty good so far.

    What I really need to read is Think and Grow Rich. I keep hearing about it everywhere.

    • Jason McFarlane

      Yes, The Compound Effect is really good! I have the audio version on my desk just waiting for another round.

      That being said, Think and Grow Rich still rocks! If you haven’t read it, what are you waiting for?

  2. Hugh

    I would have to say “The $100 Startup” would be on this list if it wasn’t so new. I read it just before “The Four Hour Workweek” (which I was a bit late to read) and can honestly say the two books complement each other excellently. Both are very inspiring, full of real world examples and calls to immediate action – no excuses.

    Thanks for making such a great blog by the way!


    • Jaime

      I loved Chris’ book too. No excuses is a huge trait of the successful! 🙂 And thanks for your kind words Hugh!

  3. Robyn

    This is such an excellent list! Thanks! My faves here are Rich Dad Poor Dad and Inbound Marketing. My latest read is by Lisa Anderson entitled, “Leverage Social Networks to Drive Business Results.” The book is perfect for any professional who would like to leverage their social networks and increase success in their business or on the job. I really got a lot of new insight out of this one. You can find the author’s website here: http://www.lma-consultinggroup.com/

    • Jaime

      Nice! It’s good to hear a newer book that provides keen insights! I feel like we are so up to date online it’s hard to get up to date info in books. Thanks for this!

  4. Art McElroy

    Mark Cuban’s How to win was a good book. My favorites are Linchpin, Outliers, and See You at the Top.

  5. Raymond Martinez

    My favorite book is 4 hour workweek. I love how Tim gives many tools to add to your tool box and also how he gives new ways to think about business in general. I am currently reading his new one the 4 Hour Chef and it is also a great book full of tools for life!

  6. Dilanka

    Out of this list, I have read:

    1.) Rework
    2.) Awaken the Giant Within
    3.) Outliers
    4.) Good to Great
    5.) Rich Dad Poor Dad
    6.) War of Art
    7.) Four Hour Work Week
    8.) Think and Grow Rich

    My current favorite would be Ricardo Semler’s Maverick


  7. Sharon Vornholt

    I have read most of these books, but have to say I love everything Tomy Robbins writes. He is possibly one of the most passionate people alive.

  8. Nate Guggia

    Crush It! This book started it all for me. Gary V. is the man! The Thank You Economy as well. And any of the Domino Project books. The best thing about Gary V. and Seth Godin is they narrate their own audio books. More authors NEED to do this!

  9. Evan

    The Innovator’s Solution is good – a new way of thinking about breaking into a market.

    As is Marketing Without Money by Lyons and de Bono – study of 20 Australian entrepreneurs. They point out that they break into existing crowded markets with little money.

    Success Built to Last has good stuff in it – though it reads like it was written by a committee. Study of people who sustain success rather than just once off.

    I live in Aus so don’t both considering me for the prize.

  10. Alex

    An influential book for me was “Personal Development for Smart People” by Steve Pavlina, as it takes a holistic view of improving your life overall, not just finances. A runner up would be ” $100.00 startup” by Chris Guillebeau. What made that helpful is it gave different examples of successful entrepreneurs who either consciously expand their business or consciously keeping it small based on their lifestyle choices.

  11. Karla

    I loved the 4 Hour Workweek! Also Rich Dad Poor Dad and The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. What is interesting is the study of comparison of the mindset of millionaires vs “working class”. Millionaires read business books that they can apply to becoming a millionaire or staying there, the “middle class” usually reads fiction books.

  12. Brad

    I loved MONEYBALL with all of the emphasis on analytics and asking questions from different perspectives.

  13. Matthew Allen

    Rich Dad, Poor Dad is one of my all time favorites. I’m currently reading, Why We Want You To Be Rich, co-written by Donald Trump & Robert Kiyosaki. Great book.

    From this list, I definitely want to check out Inbound Marketing & The E-Myth.

    So glad I found your blog via your guest post on Smart Passive Income!

  14. Liz Froment

    Great list, some I know, others I hadn’t heard about yet. One of my favorites, beyond those mentioned like Crush It and 4 Hour Workweek is called Let My People Go Sufing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard. Yvon founded Patagonia and One Percent For the Planet, he has a great approach to business.

  15. Dave P

    This is a great list of books. I’ve already read the 4 hour work week and Think and Grow Rich- Both of these books have changed the way I see the world. I look forward to checking out some of these books and continuing to learn.

    • Jaime

      I hope another book you read from this list helps you change the way you see the world!

  16. Tom

    How to get rich. By Felix Dennis teaches you a lot of lessons. Most important is START RIGHT NOW!

  17. Greg

    “Influence” by Robert Cialdini. It’s all about how to motivate yourself and others to take action.

    • Jaime

      Yes! This has been recommended too but not enough to make the list. Though it’s a GREAT book.

  18. Alan Sloas

    “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie changed everything. You don’t just read that book, you have to study it!

  19. Russell

    Great list, but some missing classics.

    Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
    Ownership Thinking – Brad Hams
    Who – Geoff Smart
    The Science of Success – Charles Koch

    and my new all time top 5

    How to get Rich – Felix Dennis

    Learn on…

    • Jaime

      Atlas Shrugged! One of my all time favorite books. (I even have the Reardon Steel bracelet from the movie – Love Dagny!)

      I also liked Felix’s book- but I haven’t heard of the others! Geesh I’ll have to get a new reading list out too from all these awesome comments 🙂

  20. Greg

    I too, like How to Win Friends and Influence People. I need to read it again and start to implement the principles it teaches.

  21. Jeremiah Say

    Thanks for the list. Personally, I have read only rich dad poor dad. Next I will read, 4 hours work week followed by Good to Great:)

  22. Marc

    Hi Jaime!

    I absolutely love your site. This is my first visit, and this is the first article I’m reading, but I will be looking at all the content. Loving it so far.

    One other book that I love — “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by the late and great Stephen Covey should be on this list!!!


    • Jaime

      Thanks Marc! So glad you found the site! Looking forward to helping you as best I can in 2013 🙂

  23. Yassin Hives

    first of all your name means “I love” in french

    The Lean Startup, this one got my attention i assume because Neil recommended it.

    I am going to do my best to read them all, one my favorites is The Power of habit Charles Duhigg

  24. Livia

    From Good to Great- this is an exceptional book and of course, everything that Seth Godin writes is worth reading. Excellent list, I would also want to suggest some recent books more focused on the mobile industry but hey, mobile equals business now, right?.

  25. Gene Hammett


    Great list here. I have read many of these books and adding a few more to my “wish list”.

    I wanted to share one book that I believe is just AWESOME. It is “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek.

    I think one of my favorite books. Check out the TED talk too.

    Gene Hammett
    Leadership Coach

  26. Aldo

    Glad I found your website. Good list, there are a few on there I havent read but will get right on it.

  27. Aslam Ansari

    One of the excellent collection in life changing books and your reply style is so beautiful Jaime.

  28. Sergio

    Thanks for sharing

    My favorite book is The Millionaire Fastlane ( reading the 3rd time:)

  29. Ankit

    Big bets big rewards by Sushil Mantri.

    A fascinating success journey. It keeps you intrigued till the very last page.

  30. Nicola Cairncross

    Have read and loved many on your list and in the comments, most life changing for me were 7 Habits, Rich Dad, Outliers, Lean Startup (all the lean books are good) and E-Myth. Can I highly recommend “Traction” by Gino Wickman, a perfect follow on to E-Myth and E-Myth Manager, also “Great Boss, Dead Boss” odd title and first couple of pages but when you get into it, a great story and very enlightening on how people act in organisations – forming tribes of many kinds. Now I am off to read your book!