book compressedIf you don’t read, you can’t lead.  

Think about the progress in your life right now.  If you are struggling, you are probably not learning enough – get reading!  Build your reading list. If you are successful, then you already know what I’m talking about.  Check out the tips and books below.

The best gift you can give yourself this holiday season is an Amazon account, if you don’t already have one.  Personally, I buy 2-3 new books a month and LOVE it!  So kick 2014 off right by building your personal development library with the reading list below.  You can do it with printed books, ebooks, or audio books, but make the commitment to yourself for growth.  You will thank me.

Leaders are Readers


Some great reading advice I received earlier in the year was from a wonderful mentor, Tai Lopez, who suggested giving structure to the way you read.  Tai suggested to read three types of books each day:

  • In the morning, read a CLASSIC book.  Something that stands the test of time and inspires you to think.  This is a fantastic way to start your day.
  • In the afternoon, read a SKILL book.  One of those books you have to grab a pen and take notes.  Mid day is a perfect time to
  • Before bed, read a BIOGRAPHY.  Hearing about the journeys of others and their amazing stories puts you in a different head space and puts your life in perspective.

Scheduling my reading this way has been a phenomenal shift for me this year, so thank you Tai!  My goal is to create more balance in the three areas in 2014 and also read MORE!  Speed Reading for Dummies, here I come!

So here are my reading list top ten picks for the year that made an impact for me:


1) Iron John: A Book About Men – Robert Bly

Be a man, man!

Iron John was an AMAZING book I stumbled upon this year.  It made me take a deep look at how I think as a man and where many of our ideas come from about manhood. I have recommended it to all of my guy friends, and also for women to help them understand.

In this deeply learned book, poet and translator Robert Bly offers nothing less than a new vision of what it is to be a man.Bly’s vision is based on his ongoing work with men and reflections on his own life. He addresses the devastating effects of remote fathers and mourns the disappearance of male initiation rites in our culture. Finding rich meaning in ancient stories and legends, Bly uses the Grimm fairy tale “Iron John,” in which the narrator, or “Wild Man,” guides a young man through eight stages of male growth, to remind us of archetypes long forgotten-images of vigorous masculinity, both protective and emotionally centered.Simultaneously poetic and down-to-earth, combining the grandeur of myth with the practical and often painful lessons of our own histories, Iron John is a rare work that will continue to guide and inspire men-and women-for years to come.


2) The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth – John Maxwell

John Maxwell is the man!  One of my favorite authors on leadership, Maxwell does it again with this book on personal growth.  This one made an impact on me, and there are so many great take-aways that you can apply immediately.  He discusses success habits, mindset, gratitude, and mentorship to name a few.  But you have to make sure you do something with his lessons and think long term.  There are no quick fix solutions, but there ARE ways to think and act like a leader.


3) The Lean Startup – Eric Reis

A must read for any entrepreneur.  I actually listened to the audiobook version of this one earlier in the year and it was a big eye opener.  Reis really digs into the fact that we don’t need to be perfect to launch a business, and getting something out there TODAY is the bets way to go.  Just get in front of customers and stop being a chicken.

And listening to all of the failed attempts by others made me feel relieved that I am not totally crazy!

If you are a wantrepreneur, or you are already super successful and haven’t read this one, Stop and get it today.

4 ) Getting Things Done – David Allen

Probably one of the most common complaints I hear from people is “I don’t have enough time!”  Well, it’s usually the fact that they SUCK at time management.  I am one of them.  But when I read this book, things got a whole lot clearer for me.

Getting Things Done is a best-seller and another must-read.  You will increase your productivity by taking the things you need to do and getting them out of your head.  Then you learn how to organize EVERY thing on your list, how to categorize, and how to file.  Also, there is a thinking tool on how to get rid of junk.

The beauty of this book is in its simplicity.

So put this one on your to-do list, then check it off once you buy it and read it!

5) Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless – Jeffrey Gitomer

I read this book about five years ago, and picked it up again this year for review.  I was conducting some customer service training and this book is my number one resource for inspiration.  Gitomer is a beast when it comes to sales and service and he is just a cool guy.  Having been to many of his events and spoken with him in person, I can tell you he is the real deal.

The premise of this book is quite simple.  Stop just satisfying your customers and go and WOW them.  Create loyal, raving fans that run to the rooftops and scream your brand to everyone.  You will come away with tons of new ideas on how you can take your service to the next level.

6) Tested Advertising Methods – John Caples

Very soon, I am launching a new site (so stay tuned) and have been diving into the world of copywriting.  If you do any sort of marketing, you must read books like this.  The principles of writing ads have not changed.  You need to get people to stop and pay attention to you, especially in today’s overly-advertised world.

Trusted Advertising Methods is a solid self-check for you to go through to see if you are creating authentic messages or just fluffy garbage.  Check it out.

7) To Sell is Human – Daniel Pink

I LOVE SALES.  But what I love more than sales, is teaching so-called “non-sales” people how to sell with authenticity and feel good about asking for money.  To feel proud about their processes, products, and services.

Sales has got a bad rap, and I am stoked that Daniel Pink wrote this book to let everyone know selling is normal!  Pink kind of came out of nowhere with this book, as he is not a typical sales author, so it was wicked to see him put this one together.

Any of you non-sales people, grab this book.  You will love it and feel good about  selling.  And for the sales people, you will learn a few things in here about sales authenticity and self awareness.

He even re-invents the ABCs of selling.  Solid.

8) The Goal – Eli Goldratt 

The Goal is one of the most important business books you will ever read.  It was also just listed as one of the top three books that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has all his managers read.  

This year has been a year of massive growth for me, and i have to especially give a shout out to my new friend and mentor, Dr. Domenico Lepore for recommending this book to me.  Domenico is the founder of Intelligent Management Inc. and actually was mentored by Eli Goldratt himself.  He has taken the teachings in this book, created his own methodology,  and built a massively successful career consulting all over the world.

You gotta read The Goal.  It is a very complicated series of concepts for organizational design, presented in a novel format that makes it easy to read, as well as to understand.  You will re-think what you know about how to run, manage, and measure a business.


9) Long Walk to Freedom:  The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela – Nelson Mandela

Well this one is a no-brainer, so I won’t spend much time other than saying, get this book.

10) Made in Japan – Akio Morita

I bought this book after hearing Vishen Lakhiani from Mindvalley speak about it.  It is the story of Akio Morita, founder of Sony, and his journey to building the great electronics empire we know today.  It is fascinating to hear Morita’s story where he describes the war as told form the Japanese side, and the struggles Japan went through afterwards.

I found it especially cool to hear about the technology and where it came from.  We take for granted our smart phones, mp3 players, car stereos, and bluetooth.

Morita stood his ground and built a company with integrity and tells an inspiring tale.  Grab this one too!

Well that’s my list for this year.  Would love to hear your comments and suggestions for other books.   And stay tuned for the launch of my new site very soon! Happy Reading!


Joe Girard
Follow me!

    5 replies to "Holiday Reading List for 2013: Top 10 Personal Development Books"

    • mickmarketingmiller

      Awesome post Joe. I have a question for you: amongst your personal and professional responsibilities/tasks, how do you find the time to read three times a day? I like the idea of reading three different genres of books three times a day, but is it sustainable? In addition, do you read physical books or do you use an Kindle device?

      I don’t see Seth Godin in your list of author’s books to read. He has a few eBooks that are free on his site that are a great read. Idea Virus, by Seth Godin is a good eBook!


      • Joe Girard

        Great question Mick! I would suggest you re-frame the way you look at activities. It is VERY easy to get caught in the “I’m too busy” mode and not read. It goes the same way for eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising, or spending time with loved ones. We can ALWAYS get too busy. But when you put a 100% priority on your daily activities and build these habits, you take complete control of your life. If you are like me, and believe that reading has tremendous value in not only your professional growth, but personally, and spiritually – the question changes from “how do you find the time?” to “How can you NOT find the time?”

        But you don’t have to start reading three times a day. Just get something that interests you and grab 30 minutes a day. I would say even pick one topic a month and learn as much as you can on that one topic. After 12 months, you will have a pretty solid knowledge base.

        And yah, ebook, audio book, ANY learning. Just be consistent, brother! Hope that helps!

    • […] fact.  Make it a daily habit to read for 30 minutes a day.  And read different types of books.  Read my post on how to make the most of your reading habits.   Set a goal to learn one new topic a month and try and learn as much as you can about that topic. […]

    • […] Learning: I always talk about the best gift you can give others is your own personal development.  This piece of advice is huge.  Read books, get information online, and study the strategies […]

    • […] wrote in a previous post the best types of books to read and when, and that a great type of book to read before bed is a biography – a story of someone […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.