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Best Life Books: Recommended Reads for Purposeful Entrepreneurs


Best Life Books is a monthly roundup of books and audiobooks for purposeful entrepreneurs, including coworking space operators, community managers, and anyone working for a brighter future.

I’ve included links to purchase the books on Amazon and Audible. If you purchase through these links, I get a small commission at no cost to you. 🤓

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller


The One Thing is one of those books I never really stop reading. I’ve read it cover to cover a few times, but I keep close by and flip it open to any page regularly when I want a bit of inspiration or focus.

The overarching theme of the book is that we need to find the one thing, in any situation, that allows us to produce extraordinary results.

It’s so simple, yet not always easy, right?

As Keller explains in the book, when you want the best chance to succeed at anything, your approach should always be to go small:

“Going small is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus…When you go as small as possible, you’ll be staring at one thing. And that’s the point.

The One Thing on Amazon | The One Thing on Audible

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo

white fragility

A couple of months ago I ordered (along with enough other people to send the books onto the NYT bestseller list) How to Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.

I was raised to be “not racist,” and I’ve always considered myself “not racist,” but in the last few months, I’ve had my eyes open to the fact that being nice and well-intentioned isn’t enough. I am the product of a racist society so I am inherently racist. It’s a hard, uncomfortable truth to sit with. But it’s important to do the work of unraveling inherent bias and privilege if we want to live in a world where we can celebrate our differences and create a world where everyone has the opportunity to fulfill their potential.

My plan was to jam through the two books as quickly as possible, to get myself up-to-speed. Turns out, however, this work lasts a lifetime and beyond. There is no shortcut.

Both of these books require slow reading to really absorb the insights and messages. I find that reading a few paragraphs gives me plenty to think about for a day or two.

I’m currently working my way through White Fragility and it has stopped me in my tracks more than a few times. My only concern with it is that it definitely has an academic feel, so I’m afraid people will miss the message because it’s delivered with a tone that requires deep reading. Maybe that sounds weird, but I’d like to send an anti-racist book to a few loved ones in my life, but this one requires more energy and focus to sort through than they’re likely to spend. If you have recommendations for super-accessible anti-racist books I could send to loved ones, please send them my way.

Here’s an passage from the book:

“To continue reproducing racial inequality, the system only needs for white people to be really nice and carry on – to smile at people of color, to go to lunch with them on occasion. To be clear, being nice is generally a better policy than being mean. But niceness does not bring racism to the table and will not keep it on the table when so many of us who are white want it off. Niceness does not break with white solidarity and white silence. In fact, naming racism is often seen as not nice, triggering white fragility.”

White Fragility on Amazon | White Fragility on Audible

This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See, by Seth Godin

Oh, Seth. Yes, Seth Godin is everywhere, but for good reason. He cuts through all the marketing jargon and gets to the heart of telling brand stories, making authentic connections, and earning the trust of your community like no one else.

All of Seth’s books are great. Remember when Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable came out way back in 2003? At the time, the notion of standing out and doing something different was gamechanging. Now we all do it, thanks, in large part, to the reach and impact of Mr. Godin.

Between then and now, he’s written a couple dozen other books, and he blogs regularly about marketing, changemaking, storytelling and not getting distracted by the endless sea of marketing fads, tools and distractions. This is Marketing is his latest (2018) and it is a doozy—probably my favorite yet.

Here are a few insights from the book:

“Marketing is our quest to make change on behalf of those we serve, and we do it by understanding the irrational forces that drive each of us.”

“The most important lesson I can share about brand marketing is this: you definitely, certainly, and surely don’t have enough time and money to build a brand for everyone. You can’t. Don’t try. Be specific. Be very specific.”

“Marketing is the act of making change happen. Making is insufficient. You haven’t made an impact until you’ve changed someone.”

Good stuff, yes?

This is Marketing on Amazon | This is Marketing on Audible

Have a good recommendation for the Best Life Books series? Drop me an email. I’d love to hear from you.

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