Welcome to my collection of recommended readings for the bold venturer.
I’ve culled through my personal library of thousands of books to highlight some of my favorites for personal venturing. (read more/less)
I’ve personally read each of these books and have written specific reviews for many of them. While I believe there is something in each book that can help you on your journey, every author writes from their own worldview and you should evaluate each book on its own merit. My recommendation should not be construed as a blanket endorsement of all of the author’s ideas, so read with discernment.
In addition to links to my reviews, you’ll find links to Amazon.com where I will receive a modest affiliate commission, at no cost to you, if you choose to purchase a book. Any purchase you make of the linked products helps offsets the costs of maintaining the free content you find on this website.
If you’ve read an exceptional book that you think would be helpful for other venturers to know about, please contact me and let me know. I’ll be adding to this list, so check back regularly or subscribe to receive my reviews and other posts.
Creativity & Venturing
The Startup Checklist
Packed with the essentials of starting a new business in 25 highly-practical steps by one of the foremost authorities on startups.
Art & Fear
Whether you're creating a work of art or bringing your dream to life, fear will be present. This book explores connection to what you create—or long to.
Get as many ideas on the table as possible following this former Disney Imagineer's brainstorming system. It's a witty and creative read.
When I discovered the power of journaling, I thought it would be great to write a book about using writing to unleash ideas. Too late. This is that book.
Making Ideas Happen
Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and RealityBuy on Amazon Read My Review
Learn the action method to pump up your idea production. Packed with practical advice on what it takes to make your idea come to life.
The Path of Least Resistance
Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own LifeBuy on Amazon Read My Review
Identify the structures you need to create the outcomes you desire for your life and business. I reread this book regularly.
The War of Art
Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative BattlesBuy on Amazon
If you're feeling resistance to your work, this is THE book to read. Short. Pithy. Inspirational. Just what you need to kick-start yourself.
Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's WorkBuy on Amazon
Pressfield, writer of War of Art, uses his kick-in-the-pants speak and applies it to being a pro. Whatever you are pursuing, take it seriously. Be a professional.
The Artist's Way
A Spiritual Path to Higher CreativityBuy on Amazon
The creativity classic. It's the book that taught me how to journal. And to think more creatively. It's not just for people with paintbrushes.
Where Good Ideas Come From
The Natural History of InnovationBuy on Amazon
Terrific story-telling about innovation, liquid networks, hunches, and the formation of ideas. It will juice your thinking.
Talk Like TED
The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top MindsBuy on Amazon
Ted talks analyzed to bring you the winning ways to present your ideas. Great tips to make your message even more memorable.
Productivity & Leadership
The Science of Selling
David Hoffeld draws upon thousands of studies in psychology and neuroscience to give you a blueprint for getting inside your buyer's head.
The Art of Thinking Clearly
Rolf Dobelli has complied a list of 99 cognitive errors we often make. This is a helpful resource for those important decisions in your life.
Thought-provoking argument that the Internet is fundamentally rewiring our brains to be more reactive and shallow. Think deeply by reading this book.
Smarter Faster Better
Eight productivity principles woven with compelling stories by the Pulitzer Prize-winning NY Times reporter, Charles Duhigg.
Getting Things Done
If you want to get things done, start here. This is the book that launched a thousand apps. Still the productivity gold-standard.
A thought-provoking look at how to create smarter ways to achieve your goals faster than you might imagine. Packed with examples.
Start with Why
People don't buy what you do. They buy why you do it. There's good reason to start with why. This book shows you how.
What motivates people to take action? Daniel Pink throws a few curve balls on the conventional wisdom about goal-setting and rewards.
No One Understands You and What to Do About It
Have you ever wanted to have a do-over after leaving a bad impression with someone? This is your roadmap to recovering misperceptions.
The Power of Habit
Everything you need to know about how to form a habit, or break one. Easy-to-read, actionable and inspiring. It will get you going.
The godfather of willpower research has written the granddaddy of books on why you do—or don't do—what you want to. Often quoted foundational reading.
To Sell Is Human
Don't think your in sales? Think again. Pink hits a home run in shining a light on how the world of influence and selling has changed. And it affects everyone.
Clever application of Sherlock Holmes character is used to describe cognitive science. You don't need to be a Holmes fan to learn how to think like him.
Ironically, this book's lofty title really falls short. It's jam packed with more useful goal-setting information per page than nearly any other book I've read.
Without a doubt, this is one book I would have sent back in time to my younger self and held that kid hostage until he read it.
How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and LeadBuy on Amazon
What happens when we dare to be vulnerable? Ted rock-star Brene Brown deftly describes how the courage to be vulnerable can transform our world.
A Failure of Nerve
Leadership in the Age of the Quick FixBuy on Amazon
Difficult to read but extremely thought-provoking insights into leadership and the challenges leaders face to remain courageous in a quick-fix culture.
Eat That Frog!
21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less TimeBuy on Amazon
Don't put off that project—or reading this book. Productivity guru, Brian Tracy, has great tips for eating that frog. It's a fast read so you can get right to it.
Thinking, Fast and Slow
One of the clearest presentations of how the brain works and why we need to be vigilant about the decisions we make. Think slowly on your big life decisions.
The Disciplined Pursuit of LessBuy on Amazon
Go from busy to productive. This book will mess with your life, priorities, and get you asking yourself the tough questions about what's important.
Manage Your Day-to-Day
Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative MindBuy on Amazon
This is an excellent collection of essays on productivity, focus, and sharpening your creative mind, from a variety of seasoned thought-leaders and creatives.
Maximize Your Potential
Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible CareerBuy on Amazon
Creatives and thought-leaders share essays on creating opportunities, building expertise, cultivating relationships, and taking risks.
Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely AnyoneBuy on Amazon Read My Review
An FBI hostage negotiation trainer shares his secrets and techniques to creating an environment where real listening can take place.
Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted WorldBuy on Amazon Read My Review
This is the book on turning from distraction and growing your ability to concentrate. The closest thing I've seen to my own strategic margin principles.
Career & Transition
Designing Your Life
Bill Burnett & Dave Evans apply product design principles taught at Stanford University to life design in their helpful new book, "Designing Your Life."
I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was
One of the books I most recommend. Sher provides practical advice to navigate the seven different ways we can get stuck in our career.
How to Find Fulfilling Work
Are you feeling unfulfilled in your work? This book offers a simple, but helpful, way to conceive of the work that will make you come alive again.
Jumping to a different career? Here's a practical guide for career transition covering everything from finding the next career to how to rebrand yourself.
Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your LifeBuy on Amazon
This remains the classic work on life purpose. There are so many cogent thoughts in this book, you may end up dog-earring every page.
Business as a Calling
Work and the Examined LifeBuy on Amazon
Perhaps the best explanation of the theology of work. The first half of this book, especially, is a must-read for Christian business leaders.
Courage and Calling
Embracing Your God-Given PotentialBuy on Amazon
A well written examination of the Christian calling in the workplace and the courage to embrace our vocation and not just an occupation.
Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to WorkBuy on Amazon Read My Review
Apply this innovation model to your own career and disrupt yourself first. A terrific book to evaluate if it's time to change-it-up.
The Renaissance Soul
How to Make Your Passions Your LifeBuy on Amazon Read My Review
Do you have so many interests that you find yourself wondering if you’re somehow defective? This book will speak volumes to you.
Inspiration & Reflection
The Way Back
The Way Back by Phil Cooke & Jonathan Bock is a call to reexamine our attitudes and actions as believers, and reengage in ways that can truly transform our culture.
Do the Next Right Thing
A guidebook for the Christian to navigate necessary actions in the midst of agonizing dilemma. Written toward men but suitable for women.
The Sacred Romance
The greatest love story ever is of God's pursuit of you. It's why Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship. And it's why you are here.
Easily digestible. Wonderfully written. Use this book as an important diagnostic to ask yourself, “Where can I be more fearless today?
What makes you think you'll be the one in ten to finish strong? This has been the lead-off book for every men's group I've led.
Don't Waste Your Life
The imminently popular pastor's challenge to make your life count by avoiding the alluring and trivial passions of comfort and pleasure.
Jesus in the 9 to 5
It's popular to ask, "What would Jesus do?" Doc Hensley imagines Jesus as a the leader of a modern-day business and the leadership lessons that emerges.
Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle
A Guide to Personal SuccessBuy on Amazon
This little book is packed with wisdom and energy. And inspiration. His core premise? It's easy to make life decisions. And it's equally easy not to.
What's So Amazing About Grace?
By far, this is the best exposition about grace I've ever read. If you're looking for inspiration and reflection, look no further.
Windows of the Soul
Experiencing God in New WaysBuy on Amazon
One of my all-time favorite and most-read inspirational books. Gire will expand your awareness of God in unexpected places.
Walking with God on the Road You Never Wanted to Travel
Challenges and deep disappointment are bound to come. When they do, this is a helpful book to navigate the road you never wanted to travel.
The Gift of Being Yourself
The Sacred Call to Self-DiscoveryBuy on Amazon Read My Review
A spiritual essay on the “sacred call to self-discovery” as the subtitle promises. Worthy read, aiding in identifying the source of one's true and one's false self.
The Man in the Mirror
Solving the 24 Problems Men FaceBuy on Amazon Read My Review
An honest reflection on the twenty-four challenges men face, from a man who looked in his own mirror and didn’t like what he saw.