5 Books That Changed My Life

5 Books That Changed My Life

Read & Grow Rich.

It’s a motto I like to live by.

And one that’s proven to be true when taking stock of just about every successful entrepreneur I’ve come to know in the last 20 years.

But just like you can “read your way to success”, you also read your way out of a deep hole.

Personal turning points are often found by turning the page (literally).

(particularly if it’s a page out of one of these)

And at age 23, coming off of a second failed startup, I desperately needed to sync myself up to something that could spur new growth and flip my fortunes.

That’s when a trip to my local bookstore changed EVERYTHING and put me on an epic trajectory that would see me read hundreds of books over the next decade.

Of those, I often get asked for the MOST impactful, life-changing, and transformational of the bunch.

Today, I finally open up that vault of wisdom for public consumption:

Now before you jump over to Amazon to abuse its single-click checkout system, let me ask you something…

What was the most inspiring, life-changing book you’ve ever read?

How did it flip your fortunes?

Inspire new ideas?

Or pull you out of a seemingly hopeless rut?

I’d love it if you could take a second to share that with me in the comments below.

That way we can all make a nice quick deposit in the communal knowledge bank.

And if you know of any friends or fellow entrepreneurs who could use a boost, then make sure to share this post with them.

They’ll thank you for it 🙂

To your growing bookshelf (and the bottom line it inspires),


P.S. Make sure to watch till the end where I reveal one of the best marketing books ever read (and definitely the one with the weirdest title).

P.P.S. If you’re strapped for time and want to make sure you get the absolute MOST out of your reading time, then check out this simple (but powerful) learning strategy I use to soak up the most value from every word.

  • Ben Kafton

    I’ve already read a couple of these, but had never heard of the Tim Sanders book, so I’ll definitely check it out! For me, I’m interested in visual art, etc, the book that really changed how I thought about my art is called “Architecture in Perspective by Johannes Mohrle. Then I’ve always been a fan of Ben Franklin’s autobiography and inherited a 1908 copy that I still keep.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell


      Thanks for sharing your recommendations … Ben Franklin’s is a classic.


  • Rich

    I loved Made To Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath, all around how ideas stick. Another choice would be Start Small, Stay Small by Rob Walling for those looking to run a solo business with good systems in place.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Rich, thanks for sharing.

      Actually had a call with Rob last week… haven’t read his book but big fan of his work overall.


  • http://www.slowhustle.com Peter Awad/Slow Hustle Podcast

    Bold by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. This book is super inspiring and challenges you to think much, much bigger. If you are ok with feeling small and challenged, go for it. If you need to feel like the smartest person in the room, don’t read it.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell


      Great suggestions … both the books and not reading if you’re not feeling up to the challenge. 🙂


  • Richard Cinta

    I loved the Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. As a solo entrepreneur, I wasted tons of my time doing administrative and boring tasks. Now I have 5 virtual assistants that keeps me happy focused more on the important tasks.

    My voice will go with you by Sidney Rosen is a book about a famous Hypno-therapist that the original..Milton Erickson. Great book on creating powerful shifts in people’s thinking. .rapidly.
    Your Right To Be Rich. Audio book in Napoleon Hill’s own voice. Is great to hear his personal passions and persona that you can’t get in a book

    Lean Startup by Eric Reiss is Great book and foundation for Entrepreneurs. I remember Dan has recommended this book as well.

    I’ve read e myth…I’m headed to Barnes & Noble to pick these other books up.

    I love this quote from Dan Kennedy. “Rich people have big libraries. Poor People only have Big TVs”

  • Francois Seger

    I was not even 18 yrs old when I had the chance to read :
    In Search Of Excellence, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman. 1983. This book not only taught me how to run a succesful business, but, more important, it determined also my entire future by convincing me to leave the old Europe to emigrate in North America.
    I owe these guys so much !
    The books is now a little bit old in terms of management concepts but I’m pretty sure it still does the trick in many ways.
    Great idea for asking, Dan, Thank you!

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell


      Such an incredible book.

      In Search of Excellence would be on my top 100 for sure.

      So glad to hear it inspired you to make the move.

      Great to see you in the comments!


  • http://www.collectve.com Tyler Beaty

    I had the pleasure of hearing Keith Ferrazzi talk a year ago – changed the way I treat networking, and even spurred the idea for the startup my team and I are building.

    Some of my personal favorites are Give And Take by Adam Grant and the classic How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

    Just dove into Love is A Killer App – Loving it so far! Thanks for the recommendation Dan.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell


      All great books .. thanks for sharing and glad to hear you’re enjoying Love is The Killer App.

      Books are powerful.


  • Fernando

    “Work like your dog” by Weinstein and Barber. So inspiring. Your job it’s not about the work itself, but how you decide to live it.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Fernando, never heard / thanks for sharing.


  • orangesprocket

    Thanks for sharing Dan some great suggestions. Some I’ve read and haven’t read. Time to go back to the bookshelf and refresh!. All the best!

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Absolutely my pleasure! Love to hear which books impacted your life?


  • Clarence Wooten

    The most inspiring book I ever read? That’s a difficult question. I would have to say that the most helpful book that I ever read based on the timing of when I read it was “Burn Rate: How I Survived the Gold Rush Years on the Internet” by Michael Wolfe. In the book I leaned about the Silicon Valley law firm, Wilson Sonsini (SWGR). I was fortunate enough to hire WSGR as my counsel for ImageCafe.com, my first true startup, even though I was based in Maryland at the time. They setup and educated me on corporate structure, helped me navigate the seed financing and negotiated the acquisition of ImageCafe.com by Network Solutions in 1999. I owe it all to that one book.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Clarence, I love how one book can change the direction of your life!



      • Clarence Wooten

        Thanks Dan… Keep doing what you’re doing. I’m a fan.

  • Mark Spolander

    Rich Dad Poor Dad, E-Myth and How To Win Friends and Influence People – financial education, followed by structuring businesses correctly and finally how to lead and engage people! Plenty more but these changed my life the most 🙂

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Rich Dad Poor Dad is a solid one… thanks for the comment!


  • Nawar

    I always fought the temptation to read Napoleon’s “Think and Grow Rich,” just because everyone did that already! So I ended up reading another great book of his “Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success” which was published in 2011! It’s one of the best books I’ve read in the past couple of years.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Nawar, never head of it .. thanks for the recommendation!


  • Daniel Rodriguez del Villar

    Thanks Dan! For me, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was a life changer

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Top business book of all time / definitely in top 20 for me.


  • http://www.officialgabrielstein.com/ Gabriel Stein

    Great post! All of those books are excellent. The E-Myth has been especially relevant in my personal business journey. It’s always interesting to hear what books were helpful to people and especially the time frame (presuming they’re using JITL and not JICL).

    Here’s the list of Dan’s favorites with Amazon links:
    1. Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders

    2. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

    3. Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

    4. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

    5. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

    6. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Thanks for linking them up Gabriel!


  • BC

    Great post Dan. Purple Cow is in my top 20, and I’m a huge Tony Robbins fan. Two books that really changed my perspective are “The Obstacle Is The Way” by Ryan Holiday. Its heavy on Stoic principles but a very inspiring read. The second is “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown. This book blew me away, I used to have a problem with saying yes to everything, over-extending myself, and generally not being able to focus because of it. This book gave me a pretty great framework for saying no to 90% of things so I could focus 100% of my energy on the top 10% of things I want to do.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      I’ve read both … big fan of Ryan’s work and Essentialism. Thanks for the comment!

  • http://makedreamprofits.ru/ Eugene Bos

    Wow, 2 new books in the Amazon wish list!:) I liked Emyth too, even sign up on there website, but their courses actually were very different from the book content

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Eugene, agree with you on the E-Myth… fan of the book / story / message – not their training per se. I hired an E-Myth coach when I was 24 and was lucky to have someone extraordinary that allowed us to deviate from the curriculum 🙂


  • Tony Wacheski

    Thanks Dan, great videos, very consumable. I like audioBooks while riding my bike. I use my product (created in Ottawa) Anytune.us – Ultimate Music Practice App – to listen to audioBooks faster (1.3X). Who has time for normal speed. I am reading T.D Jakes’: “Instinct” right now, simple and reassuring. Keep sharing.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Tony, nice! 1.3x is way better.

  • JohnnyUtah12

    Lynchpin by Seth Godin. Amazing.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Solid book!


  • David Head


    Thanks for sharing all of this. I’m downloading 1, 4, and 5 now! I’ve heard these referenced a million times but never felt compelled enough to pull the trigger on reading them until I watched your video.

    Napoleon Hill and Tony Robbins are by far two of my favorite authors so I was glad to hear you mention them on this list! They helped me get on the right tracks to get my habits in order to build my businesses early on.

    Anyway, I was just told about you and your blog by a friend so I’m glad that I signed up! Look forward to all of your future content!

    – David

  • Kunal Sampat

    Never Eat Alone was the first book I read. It was PHENOMENAL!

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Kunal, that book definitely changed my life… whats crazy is 10 years after I read it, started hosting dinners, etc… through some weird twist of fate I ened up on a call with the Author Keith Ferrazi.

      Guess what he said on that call?

      “If you’re ever in LA, let me know and we can get brunch.”

      A few weeks later, we connected in person and he’s been someone I enjoy chatting with atleast yearly.

      Neat how the world works.


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