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Forging Intellectual Steel: 99 Essential Books To Elevate Your In-Office Library

Updated: Apr 7

If you've ever embarked on the journey of building something remarkable from the ground up, then you know that relentless pursuit for greatness, the refusal to accept mediocrity, and the unwavering commitment to set audacious goals year after year. This book list is dedicated to individuals like you and the businesses you lead. It serves as a catalyst to inspire your team to embrace an "iron sharpens iron" mindset, encouraging the doers to not only get the job done, but to look for every way to do it better.


15 Books on Critical Thinking & Creative Problem Solving


Top 5 Essential Books

  1. A Beautiful Constraint: How To Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages, and Why It's Everyone's Business, by Adam Morgan & Mark Barden

  2. Just about every book Dave Trott has written, these are my favorites:

    1. Creative Mischief

    2. Predatory Thinking: A Masterclass in Out-thinking the Competition

    3. Power of Ignorance: How Creative Solutions Emerge When We Admit What We Don’t Know

    4. Creative Blindness (And How To Cure It): Real-life Stories of Remarkable Creative Vision

A Few Others Worth Your Time

  1. Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare, by Adm. William H. McRaven

  2. Strategic Intelligence for American World Policy, by Sherman Kent

  3. The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster, by Darren Hardy

  4. Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets, by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead, and Kevin Maney

  5. Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

  6. Some Malcolm Gladwell classics

    1. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

    2. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

    3. Outliers: The Story of Success

  7. Critical Thinking and Intelligence Analysis, by David H. Moore

  8. The Mom Test, by Rob Fitzpatrick

16 Essential books for building High-Performing Sales Teams


Top 5 Essential Books

  1. Fanatical Prospecting, by Jeb Blount

  2. The Sales Development Playbook, by Trish Bertuzzi

  3. Million Dollar Consulting Proposals, by Alan Weiss

  4. Never Split the Difference, by Christopher Voss

  5. Selling From the Heart, by Larry Levine

A Few Others Worth Your Time

  1. Almost anything Jeb Blount puts his name on

    1. Objections

    2. Sales EQ

    3. Virtual Selling

    4. Selling the Price Increase

  2. The Irresistible Consultants Guide to Winning Clients, by David A. Fields

  3. Some Alan Weiss favorites

    1. Million Dollar Referrals

    2. Value-Based Fees: How to Charge - and Get - What You're Worth

    3. Million Dollar Launch

  4. Balancing the Demand Equation: The Elements of a Successful, Modern B2B Demand Generation Model, by Adam B. Needles

  5. How To Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

  6. Secrets of Closing the Sale, by Zig Ziglar (audio book)

17 Books On How To Create great Content & Engage your Audience


Top 5 Essential Books

  1. Resonate, by Nancy Duarte

  2. Contagious, by Jonah Berger

  3. Hey Whipple Squeeze This, by Luke Sullivan

  4. How To Write Better Copy, by Steve Harrison

  5. The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White

A Few Others Worth Your Time

  1. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell

  2. Other essentials by Nancy Duarte

    1. Data Story

    2. Slideology

  3. Two books jam packed with insights by Rob Fitzpatrick

    1. Write Useful Books

    2. The Workshop Survival Guide

  4. Confessions of an Advertising Man, by David Ogilvy

  5. Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative, by Jane Alison

  6. They Ask, You Answer, by Marcus Sheridan

  7. Words That Work, by Frank Luntz

  8. Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World, by Robin Koval & Linda Thaler

  9. On Writing Well, by William Zinsser

  10. Talk to Me: How to Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers, and Interview Anyone Like a Pro, by Dean Nelson

11 Books on Management & Organizational Communication


Top 5 Essential Books

  1. Sensemaking in Organizations, by Karl Weick

  2. Good to Great, by Jim Collins

  3. The Path of Least Resistance for Managers, by Robert Fritz

  4. Principles, by Ray Dalio

  5. The Toyota Way, by Jeffrey Liker

A Few Others Worth Your Time

  1. Team of Teams, by General Stanley A. McChrystal

  2. Start Your Own Business, by the staff of Entrepreneur Media

  3. Built to Last, by Jim Collins

  4. Getting To Yes, by William Ury & Roger Fisher

  5. Difficult Conversations, by Douglas Stone, Sheila Heen, and Bruce Patton

  6. The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You, by Julie Zhuo

15 Books for the leader in you


Top 5 Essential Books

  1. Cardinal Virtues in Focus, by Henry Bocala

  2. The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz

  3. Extreme Ownership, by Jocko Willink

  4. Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind, by Nancy Kline

  5. The Obstacle Is the Way, by Ryan Holiday

A Few More Worth Your Time

  1. A couple more favorites by Jocko Willink

    1. Leadership Strategy & Tactics

    2. The Dichotomy of Leadership

  2. A few more from Ryan Holiday

    1. Courage Is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave

    2. Discipline is Destiny, The Power of Self-Control

    3. Stillness is the Key

  3. It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, by Colin Powell

  4. Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown

  5. Seven Lessons for Leading in Crisis, by Bill George

  6. More Time To Think, by Nancy Kline

  7. The Wisdom of the Bullfrog, by Admiral William H. McRaven

13 Books To boost your understanding of the world around us

  1. The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians, by David Rubenstein

    1. Best experienced on Audio, where each conversation is just that, a conversation between David Rubenstein and a master historian. It's delightful!

  2. The Power Broker, by Robert Caro

  3. How To Feed The World, by Jessica Eise

    1. Also worth checking out:

      1. The Communication Scarcity in Agriculture

      2. Against the Odds: A Path Forward for Rural America

  4. The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham

  5. Two books by Mark Miodownik that make learning about material science easy & fun

    1. Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World

    2. Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives

  6. The World In A Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization, by Vince Beiser & Will Damron

  7. Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power, by Robert D. Kaplan

  8. The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age, by Davis S. Abraham

  9. The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future, by Gretchen Bakke & Emily Caudwell

  10. Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics, by Tim Marshall

7 Books To Invest In Personal, Financial, and mental health

  1. The New Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy, by Mark Sisson

  2. Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, by James Nestor

  3. I Will Teach You To Be Rich, by Ramit Sethi

  4. Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy, by Sadhguru

  5. The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice, by Deborah Adele

  6. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F****, by Mark Manson

  7. Meditation As Medicine, by Dharma Singh Khalsa M.D.

5 Fun & Insightful Coffee Table Books

  1. Prisoners of Geography: Our World Explained in 12 Simple Maps (Illustrated Young Readers Edition), by Tim Marshall

  2. History of the World Map by Map, by the Smithsonian Institution

  3. The Global Economy As You've Never Seen It, by Jan Schwochow

  4. Civil War Logistics: A Study of Military Transportation, by Earl J. Hess

  5. Kid President's Guide to Being Awesome, by Brad Montague and Robby Novak

If you'd like notes on any of the great reads above, connect and we'll talk more. Cheers!

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