My Top 8 Must Reads in Year One of Entrepreneurship


If you were to ask me 5 years ago if I liked to read I would have laughed. I did not spend my spare time reading, I never really enjoyed it. Turns out, I was just reading the wrong materials. I remember my bookworm husband telling me about a book he was reading, and he encouraged me to give to try, so I did. From that moment then on, I was hooked on books.

This year I have read over 30 books and I still get excited to start the next one. The books on my list have inspired me to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams. Through reading it became clear to me that there was a way to use my marketing, design and interpersonal skills to form my business and build relationships with people.

I want to share with you my top book suggestions in hopes that you will be inspired to pursue your desires. I believe sharing our motivations to benefit others is our responsibility and fosters the entrepreneurial spirits. Here are my top 8 books for entrepreneurs, dreamers, students, and anyone really! I want to inspire you to take steps toward pursuing your best life.

1. The 5 Second Rule – Mel Robbins

Book5secondruleThe 5 Second Rule has to be one of the most motivational books I have ever read. It has always been a dream and desire of mine to work for myself. In the midst of reading this book, I blocked out all the doubt in my head and called my husband and said I am starting my business. That day I registered my business and started Leviathan Design.

Using the science of habits, riveting stories and surprising facts from some of the most famous moments in history, art and business, Mel Robbins explains the power of a “push moment.” Then, she’ll give you one simple tool you can use to become your best self. It takes just five seconds to use this tool, and every time you do, you’ll find yourself doing something about your instincts or intuitions instead of pushing them aside.

In The 5 Second Rule, you’ll discover it takes just five seconds to:

Become confident
Break the habit of procrastination and self-doubt
Beat fear and uncertainty
Stop worrying and feel happier
Share your ideas with courage


2. Shoe Dog

Bookshoedog.jpgI love this book because it is a real life narrative that anyone can achieve greatness if they pursue it with persistence and passion. It is a reminder that a lot of businesses start where there is nothing, nothing but a dream and hard work.

Shoe Dog is the autobiography of Nike’s founder Phil Knight, who at last decided to share the story of how he founded one of the most iconic, profitable and world-changing brands in the world. In 1962, when Phil Knight was 24 years old, he had just earned an MBA from Stanford, and didn’t know what to do with his life. You travel the next 18 years with Phil Knight, through continuous adversity, self-doubt, and never-ending financial uncertainty. This book is a candid look into entrepreneurship.

Phil wrote Shoe Dog to share the experience of starting Nike. To share all the ups and downs, so that young entrepreneurs can press on, comforted that even a great titan of a company as Nike started somewhere. “It’s all the same drive. The same dream.” He wants to tell people to think hard about how to spend their next forty years, to follow a calling and not to settle for a job. “If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highest will be like nothing you’ve ever felt.”


3. Be Obsessed or Be Average

bookbeobsessedorbeaverge.jpgBe Obsessed or Be Average is an in your face, motivational book. It shows the importance of being obsessed with your life and giving  yourself permission to have an intense desire to win in every area of your life. At 25 years old, Grant Cardone was headed for destruction, with no money, barely hanging onto his job and had a severe drug addiction. Cardone enrolled in a rehabilitation program, where his counselor advised him to give up on his dreams of making it big and concentrate only on living a drug-free life. He said no. He said no to giving up on obsessing about his dreams of making it big. He took his obsessive behaviors and threw it at something worthy.

Cardone went back to his job at the car dealership and become obsessed with sales. He was in the top 1 percent of salespeople in the entire auto industry. He still wanted to go bigger. Today, Cardone is one of the most famous motivational speakers in America, and he has no plans to stop growing his brand. He is absolutely obsessed with success and he wants you to become obsessed as well. This book sets out to destroy the stigma our society has on the word obsession. A good obsession for worthy goals is what can drive you to achieve your dreams.


4. High Performance Habits

bookhighperformancehabits.jpgBrendon Burchard, known as the world’s highest-paid performance coach, reveals six habits that can lead to long-term success. To become a high performer, you must seek clarity, generate energy, raise necessity, increase productivity, develop influence and demonstrate courage. High Performance Habits shows how to practice these habits.

  • 1. Clarity – High performers always seek clarity which helps them to move out of distraction and helps them to focus on what’s important. Burchard says the best and the simple way to seek clarity is to focus on 4 things such as self, skills, social and service. For example, how would you love to describe yourself? How would you love to behave socially? What are the skills you want to develop and demonstrate? And what service you want to provide?
  • 2. Generate Energy – Most people lose energy and get wiped out in the transition between tasks and between meetings. High performers have mastered their transitions, they learn to take a quick break between different activities. They do this by mediation, relaxation or exercise.
  • 3. Raise Necessity – High performers ask themselves why it is important for them to perform well. High performers make work a necessity.
  • 4. Increase Productivity – High performers increase the outputs that matter. When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, he stripped down the product line. Then he focused on increasing the quality of the products that remained. That’s what we all have to do: The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
  • 5. Develop Influence – High performers develop influence by teaching people how to think and challenging them to grow. Teach people how to think and you change their lives. High performers say things like, “Think of it this way” or “What if we approached it this way?” or “What do you think about this?” Over time, they train the people around them how to think — because when you impact someone else’s thoughts in a positive way, you have influence.
  • 6. Demonstrate Courage – High Performers speak up for themselves. They share their truth and ambitions more often than other people do. They also speak up for other people more often than others do. In short, high performers are willing to share the truth about themselves. Just as important, they “honor the struggle.” They know struggling is a natural part of the process. That makes them more courageous, because they enter into a pursuit knowing it will be hard. They can handle the struggle because they expect it.

Whether you want to get more done, lead others better, develop skill faster, or dramatically increase your sense of joy and confidence, the habits in this book will help you achieve it. Each of the six habits is illustrated by powerful vignettes, cutting-edge science, thought-provoking exercises, and real-world daily practices you can implement right now.


5. The Obstacle is the Way

BookThe Obstacle Is The WaySome people are paralyzed in their tracks when they hit an obstacle in their lives, while others manage to thrive because of them. Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph doesn’t provide step-by-step instructions on accomplishing your goals, but it does offer a mindset that everyone can pursue. This book is for everyone, and I mean everyone. We all have obstacles in our life. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, artist, or student, this book is about seeing problems the right way. It cuts through the excuses you may have and delivers example after example of great people doing great things despite their struggles. This book is for everyone that wants to do something, but hasn’t yet.


6. Crush It

BookcrushitAre you passionate about something you wish you could do for a living? Is there something that keeps you awake at night? Have you had enough of working a job you don’t like, that barely leaves you any time for your hobby?

You don’t have to do it that way anymore. Crush It is the blueprint you need to turn your passion into your profession and will give you the tools to turn yourself into a brand, leverage social media, produce great content and reap the financial benefits of it. The book goes through Gary’s background, how he set up his business, how he learned about social media marketing, and contains specific recommendations on how to get started and specifically what to do to make money pursuing your passion using social media.


7. Think and Grow Rich

bookthinkandgrowrich.jpgThink & Grow Rich is probably the #1 most famous success book of all time. It was written by Napoleon Hill in 1937 and has sold over 15 million copies.

Riches begin with a state of mind. If we want to get rich, we must first change our minds so that we become, as Napoleon Hill calls it, money conscious. He says that we must literally THINK ourselves rich. The term riches by the way could mean any form of wealth like money, happiness, healthy relationships, business success etc..

This book offers the How-To of the above mentioned concepts. It shows us how we must think to become money conscious. It shows us how to think ourselves rich, how to control our minds and our thoughts so that we can become rich.


8. The Power Of Habit

BookhabitThe Power of Habit is by far one of my most recommended books. I believe everyone should read it if they want to take control over their life. It explains perfectly how our habits work backed by science, research, and real-life stories. This book provides practical strategies and techniques to apply changes on the individual, organizational and society level.

Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.


In sharing these book suggestions with you, my hope is that you will be inspired to pursue your desires. Pick up one of the above mentioned books and give it a read. I often hear from people that they do not have time to read. You do have time, and you owe it to yourself to continue learning. Do you commute to work? Then you can enroll in automobile university. Your car or mass transit are great opportunities to listen to compelling books or podcasts (my top podcasts coming soon). Just 20-30 minutes a day can get you through a book in 3 weeks. You owe it to yourself to compete everyday.  Please contact me to win and get inspired. I want to meet you!


“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

Below I have included a list of other books I have read this year that are definitely worth mentioning as well:


Written by: Kara Haan – owner/designer of Leviathan Design


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