Blog Books

Ryan Recommends: Top 10 Books I’ve Been Reading This Year

As an entrepreneur, I’m always looking for ways to improve what I do.

Whether it’s a better way to organize my business, come up with new ideas, or just get some inspiration and motivation…

The books on this list have all made an impact on me in some important way.

Some of them are recommendations that I’ve shared with my Next Level ELITE group of entrepreneurs.

Others are books that I’ve had on my shelf for years that continue to have an impact on me.

And there are also a few surprises thrown in there as well.

Are you ready? Ok, here’s the list:

10. “Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t” – by Verne Harnish

When you’re scaling your business, it can be uncomfortable.

Sometimes my wife Tylene will say, “Why can’t we just go back to the way things used to be, with just you and me on the team?”

And to be honest, it’s tempting…and here’s why:

As your business goes through different stages of growth, it can be uncomfortable if you’re in an “in-between” stage…

That’s because you need to invest ahead of your growth curve…

And since Profitability & Growth are almost diametrically opposed forces, you can’t really have both at the same time.

If you want a high-margin business, you’re probably not going to be growing as fast.

If you want to scale, then you’re going to have to reinvest a portion of profits back into growth.

“Scaling Up” is a step-by-step blueprint covering these topics:

  • The different plateaus that you need to break through in your business
  • How to get past each plateau
  • How to identify when you’re in the middle of a plateau
  • And how to scale up to reach that next level when things become comfortable again

So as you’re thinking about the next step for your business; whether you’re at the 6, 7, or 8 figure mark or beyond (or even if you’re just getting started and are building momentum)…

You’ll find the strategies you’re looking for in this book: Click here to check it out now

9. “The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry” – by John Warrillow

I’ve recently made a HUGE strategic change in my thinking.

Here’s the epiphany that I had:

EVERY business should be a Subscription business.

Not an “Information Publishing” business.

Not a “Training” business.


I strongly believe that EVERY business should be focused on generating recurring income from subscriptions.

Having subscriptions as the core element of your business gives you the stability you need to plan ahead, grow your team, as well as predict and project what your revenues will be…

Most importantly, subscriptions help to PROTECT your business from being subject to volatile revenue events…

(i.e. running a Big Product Launch and hinging the entire success of your quarter based on the results of that ONE launch).

When it comes to adding subscriptions to your current business, “The Automatic Customer” is THE book to read:

Click here to check it out now

John recently did a guest expert call for our Next Level Group Mastermind and we were all blown away by his insights.

8. “What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work” – by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton

One of the things I like to do at each of my ELITE retreats is pick one of the most impactful books that I’ve read since the previous retreat.

 This time around, I gave away a book called “What Motivates Me.”

This book describes 23 different motivators you can use immediately and even includes a link to take an online assessment to find out your top motivators.

When I took the quiz, I was surprised to find out that my top motivators were:

  1. Prestige
  2. Autonomy
  3. Ownership
  4. Impact
  5. Creativity

Totally true, but NOT what I would have expected.

The HUGE benefit of this assessment is that it allows you to line up your role within your company to be 100% in line with what truly motivates you…

And I recommend you do the same with your team members, so you can align them with the roles that you know will motivate THEM to consistently bring their A-Game.

I joke that this book does the opposite of what we do since it’s the book that sells the quiz, and not the other way around…

Joking aside, Adrian and Chester’s assessment is definitely a worthwhile investment of your time.

We’re actually going through their process with my team now and we’ve already identified at least 2 or 3 SIGNIFICANT WAYS we can shift and improve. (More about that coming soon)

If you or your team needs motivation, you’ll want to grab this book: Click here to check it out now

7. “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” – by Greg McKeown

When I looked at what we had accomplished in the first half of 2015…

I realized that we had been pulled in a million different directions.

And while we had done well, we were left a little frantic.

I looked at what we had planned for the second half of the year, and we had something like 20 major projects on the list…

And I realized that it just wasn’t going to happen.

When I read the book “Essentialism”, I challenged myself with this idea:

“Can we distill our ENTIRE company down to only ONE initiative with ONE metric attached to it?”

To be honest, I struggled with this for a while, and I realized that I just couldn’t do it.

However, I could boil it down to THREE metrics.

And these would be the key metrics that are now guiding every decision we make.

If I hadn’t read “Essentialism”, I wouldn’t have had the insight to realize that in order to get to simplicity, you often have to walk through complexity.

And sometimes we get bogged down in the complexity.

But when you challenge your assumptions about what you really need to do to be successful in business…

And you ask yourself: “If I can only do ONE thing in my business this year, what is that ONE thing going to be?”

That’s when you get the clarity you need.

And while getting down to ONE thing might not happen, if you can scale down and focus in like I did, that’s a MAJOR step forward.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed in your business, you need “Essentialism”: Click here to check it out now

6. “Six Thinking Hats” – by Edward de Bono

I talk a lot about creativity…

What drives it…

How to come up with your Big Ideas…

And the process that has to happen before those ideas become real assets in your business.

This book provides a simple approach to managing your thoughts and your focus by wearing one of six “hats” at a time.

(i.e. getting the facts with the White Hat, spotting potential dangers with the Black Hat, etc.)

“Six Thinking Hats” is an invaluable resource on how to use a specific type of “role-play” thinking in order to generate your best ideas.

If you’re looking for a fresh and fun way to improve your focus and productivity then this is your book:  Click here to check it out now

5. “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” – by Ashlee Vance

Some of you may know that Tesla is one of my favorite companies.

I admire what they do, and I even remind my team that it’s our job to be Tesla:

To be the absolute best at what we do.

Elon Musk might be the single most important human walking the Earth today.

While reading this book, you learn about his failures; how he almost bankrupted himself twice to realize his vision and he didn’t even care.

After he sold his share of PayPal, he could have taken his $1.5 billion and coasted for the rest of his life.

Instead, he decided to risk it all on his “Next Big Thing” and almost went completely broke!

That’s commitment to his cause, and I have nothing but admiration for that.

In short, if you want to be inspired…

If you want a portrait of a truly great person and entrepreneur…

Read this book: Click here to check it out now

4. “Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry” – by David Robertson

 It’s no secret that I love playing LEGO with my kids…

(And by myself, too)

But more than that, I really admire the company and everything they’ve built (pun intended).

This book offers huge insights into everything LEGO has done right, with a ton of practical lessons you can implement in your own business.

So whether you’re a LEGO lover like I am or you just want to get an inside look at the impact a company like this can have on a global scale…

Then you need to read this book: Click here to check it out now

3. “Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way” – by Steven Pressfield

Sometimes you just need an external push to get you going…

To do what you know you should be doing.

There are periods when you need to inject yourself with that kind of motivation…

However, usually it comes from a movie, a video, or a speech…

And it’s rare to find a book that gives you the same effect.

For example, if you asked me to name an inspirational TED talk, well, I could name 15 different ones, but nothing would immediately stand out in my mind.

If you asked me to name ONE book that gave me the same kind of inspiration?

The first one that would come to mind would have to be “Do the Work” hands down.

The subtitle of the book is: “Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way”…

And that’s exactly what the book pushes you to do.

So if you’re struggling with procrastination…

Lack of motivation…

Fear of failure…

Or anything else that’s keeping you from going after what you want…

You need to read this book immediately: Click here to check it out now

2. “Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success” – Adam M. Grant Ph.D.

What holds many people back from starting their own business is the subconscious feeling that wanting to make a lot of money makes them greedy…

Or even that it’s somehow bad to want to be rich.

As if you’re taking something valuable from someone and not providing enough value in return.

Well, that couldn’t be FURTHER from the truth.

In fact, it’s the people who are Givers who usually end up being the most successful.

This book challenges the conventional wisdom about what it takes to get ahead and become successful, and here’s the good news:

The more you give, the more you get.

And it holds true when it comes to growing your business, managing your team, or your own personal development.

This is a great read that will definitely make you rethink your approach to business: Click here to check it out now

1. One Small Step Can Change your Life: The Kaizen Way” – by Robert Maurer Ph.D.

This book has been extremely influential in my life in a number of ways.

It describes how to use the psychology of small steps to make big changes in your life.

Your brain is trained to treat any new opportunity as a threat, which triggers the brain’s natural fight or flight response…

And simultaneously slows down or stops rational and creative thinking.

It’s why we have such a hard time sticking to our resolutions and making big changes.

The trick is to ask yourself this question:

“What’s the absolute smallest step I can take towards my goal?”

And then take action on it immediately.

I found myself using this technique when I was stuck in the early days of my business…and I continue to use it to this day whenever I feel like I’ve hit a wall.

If the step is small enough, it works every time.

This book gives you the tiny hinges in your life that swing the BIG doors: Click here to check it out now

So now I’m curious…

  1. Which books from this list are going on YOUR to-read list?
  2. What are you reading RIGHT NOW that you’d recommend?
  3. What’s been the best book that you’ve read this year and WHY?

I’m always looking for new books to read, so be sure to leave a comment below and let me know your recommendations!