Nearly every business book list I came across in 2017 had Tim Ferriss' Tribe of Mentors and Tony Robbins' Unshakeable. Later this month, Gary Vee's new book, Crushing It, is sure to make most business book lists this year. Every entrepreneur I know will be picking it up and (hopefully) implementing the ideas contained within it. But if everyone's reading it, then it's not special. It's normal.

Starting out my entrepreneurial career, I remember reading something in one of Jeffrey Gitomer's books along the lines of "If you want a new business idea, read a book that's over 50 years old." I admit I thought he had lost his mind, but I couldn't shake the thought. So a few weeks later, I decided to pick up one of his suggestions. I could hardly believe just how relevant and different it was from the best-sellers.

So while your competition is ordering all the latest books, try going against the grain and pick up these books instead.


He Can Who Thinks He Can by Orison Swett Marden (1908)

I'd never thought a book written in 1908 could be so inspirational. It's one of the first personal development books ever written and it's gotten better with age. As much as I love Tony Robbins, I'd recommend this book any day over his tombs as it's a great introduction into mindset hacks.  

Grow Rich With Peace Of Mind by Napoleon Hill (1967)

Marketing genius Dan Kennedy calls this Napoleon Hill's best book. This book really emphasizes the importance of having clear goals and a positive mental attitude and a much easier read than it's more famous sibling.

You Can by George Matthews Adams (1913)

Catering more to people who are just starting out their careers, this is an easy read full of fundamental concepts on the keys to success in life.

The Power Of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (1952)

Norman Vincent Peale was an American minister who popularized the concept of positive thinking and it comes recommended by many of the top personal development speakers. Entrepreneurs have highs, but they also have lows. This book will help you deal with the hardships you'll encounter.


The Art Of Money Getting by P.T. Barnum (1880)

PT Barnum was considered "the greatest showman." This excellent book talks about 20 secrets to growing a successful business and despite being written in 1880, the principles still very much apply today. If you're looking for ideas on how to make more money, this is a good place to start.

Dynamic Selling by Robert Tralins (1961)

An absolute gem if you're looking for material to help teach your sales team or tips on how to close better. When I ran a brick-and-mortar business this was my go-to guide on selling and it's served me well since I moved online.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin (1791)

Franklin was a self-made man. He raised himself out of poverty to become one of the most famous men in history. Franklin had a reputation as being creative, honest and a man of his word.  Every entrepreneur should make a study of how he did it.

The Greatest Salesman In The World by Og Mandino (1968)

A pocket-sized book on what it takes to be a great salesperson. Full of timeless wisdom, and positive messages. Salespeople face a lot of rejection, this is a great book on how to overcome it.


Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins (1923) 

Claude Hopkins is known as the father of advertising. Every master copywriter mentions it as having influenced their work. For any entrepreneur looking for ways to understanding the theory behind marketing and advertising, this is a must-read. My millionaire friend rereads this once a year, that says something.

How To Write A Good Advertisement by Victor Schwab (1942)

For small businesses, every buck counts. That's why it's critical entrepreneurs make a study of marketing and advertising. They can't afford to throw money away on poorly written ads. Applying some of the ideas contained in this book helped me boost my click-through rate by 34%, all with a few simple changes.

The Robert Collier Letter Book by Robert Collier (1931)

Genius Network creator Joe Polish talks about this book as being critical reading for any small business. It's a great compliment to the previous two books as it has tons of examples to learn from.