Books sharpen our minds.

When was the last time a book shifted your outlook? Stirred your heart? Challenged your biases?

If you're like me, you know reading is a vital part of each of our journeys if we want to grow as people--let alone as marketers. Reading centers me, inspires me, and edifies me. And people often ask me what my favorite reads are.

Here are three right off the bat: Robin Sharma's, The Monk Who Sold His FerrariMarc Benioff's Behind the Cloudand The Bible.

I want to talk about how each of these affects not only my approach to B2B marketing but my outlook on life as well. 

My Big Three

1) The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

Robin Sharma writes of a man in the driver's seat of life. Julian Mantle lives in the heart of New York City and practices as one of the best litigation lawyers in town. The day-to-day goings are crazy, but he's eating it all up.

That all grinds to a halt when Julian has a heart attack in the middle of a case, which sheds light on the damage he's done to his body. He's only twenty-five but looks thirty years older.

And when Julian recovers, he makes some big changes.

He sells his Ferrari and vacation house and goes on a spiritual journey to the Himalayas. After meditating and re-aligning his perspective on what really matters, Julian returns to New York a changed--even unrecognizable--man. He's more loving and compassionate, and that makes him seem youthful again.

What do I take from this?

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari should make us take a good look at ourselves and ask what we choose to value. It should make ask ourselves and those around us, "Are we running too hard and killing ourselves? Or are we running with a passion and a purpose?"

There's nothing wrong with running our races well. Let's make sure we're running for the right reasons.

2) Behind the Cloud

This book tackles the daunting task of starting a business by looking at a plethora of cases and asking some basic questions. What were the challenges? What worked or didn't work? How were the financial statements? The result is a deep playbook for marketers, salespeople, and entrepreneurs alike.

Marc Benioff plays both friend and business coach in his book. His conversational tone is so natural that it feels like he's sitting next to you, explaining pathways to business success like a friend over coffee.

I go as far as to call this the Bible of the SaaS industry. It's vital for startups and every other step of business management.

3) The Bible

Thinking outside religion, the Bible is such a loving text. From Jesus' life, as well as the rest of the New Testament, I see so many examples of tangible servant leadership that I can't help but take them to heart.

I think of Jesus washing his disciples' feet, of Paul resolving to know nothing beyond his mission to the world, of Peter and the rest of the Apostles performing miracles and rejoicing when they were persecuted.

And, naturally, these examples make me look at myself again. I constantly ask myself, "What are the best principles of living and loving and caring for others?" These actions transcend what we do in our jobs, and the Bible help shape how I answer that question and better myself.

One Final Thought

If I can leave you with anything after recommending these books, it's this: don't look at a book as something you must read from start to finish to get anything out of it.

Instead, look at it to get just one thing of value, that one takeaway nugget that helps you improve your perspective or principles.

And if you can get that one nugget, you're already better off than you were before you started reading.