17 Must-Reads for Dreamers & Hustlers

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Goals are a really amazing thing because they mean HOPE. When everyone makes their goals for new years, it means that even if just for a few weeks, they believe something can be better about themselves or something around them in the new year. Sure, sure… I know most people fall off the wagon pretty quickly, but to me it would be far worse to not even try at all. 

I am ridiculously hopeful for 2017 to be one of the best years of my life. I am settling into a new job, I WILL BE GETTING MARRIED, and I have this gut feeling that this will be a game-changing year for photography in my life. I want to prepare for the whole-lots-a-good coming my way this year so I can soak up every moment of it. There are so many ways I need to prepare and plan for 2017, it seems a little overwhelming at times but if there is one thing I am passionate about, it’s education! 

Business books. Not the most exciting category, right?! I used to avoid them like the plague. They fell right into the self-help category in my mind and I found myself thinking, “I do not like books like that because I have to find my own way and I typically have pretty good instincts about things” What a ridiculously arrogant and ignorant why to think! I gave in and began reading a few of the books listed below and quickly realized that they not only motivated me to work harder, but the right books also helped speed my learning curve and where going to help me reach my goals FASTER. We use books to help us learn so many things. Why not turn to great books to help become epic dream chasers! In “Start” by Jon Acuff, he talks about there not really being any shortcuts to getting your goals, but there being a few things that can speed up the process and standing on the shoulders of giants is one of them. 

I have polled some great groups of entrepreneurs and the list below represents 17 must-reads for 2017. Some are new, some are classic. A few about marketing mixed in with goal-setting and productivity advice. A few of these I have personally read, but the rest are ones I cannot wait to dive into. If you want to jump on one of these great books, just click on the title! Once you are done, pass it on to a friend who needs some inspiration. Love kindle books? You can loan those to friends too!! 

Read. Learn from the best. Stand on their shoulders so you can get where you want to be faster and have fun while you are doing it! 

2017 is going to be a great year!!! 

I think we are all familiar with that feeling we get when it is time to get down to work on a big project. We avoid it like the plague. It is amazing how many well-crafted excuses I can make for myself when it comes to getting out of STARTING. Jon Acuff has a gift for taking material that could be dry and making it personable and hilarious. I drive my fiancé crazy in the evening because I am constantly forcing him to listen to hilarious passages as I read. This book does an amazing job of setting the stage for accepting where you are at right now and motivating you to get going! 


This book has been on almost every list I have seen from creative entrepreneurs I respect. I have not gotten to read it yet, but it is certainly on my must-read list for 2017.

 In Purple Cow, first published in 2003 and revised and expanded in 2009, Godin launched a movement to make truly remarkable products that are worth marketing in the first place. Through stories about companies like Starbucks, JetBlue, Krispy Kreme, and Apple, coupled with his signature provocative style, he inspires readers to rethink what their marketing is really saying about their product. In a world that grows noisier by the day, Godin’s challenge has never been more relevant to writers, marketers, advertisers, entrepreneurs, makers, product managers, and anyone else who has something to share with the world. (Amazon) 


Tim Ferris is no stranger to success. He is also the author of the New York Times best-seller Four Hour Workweek and runs The Tim Ferris Show which is an extremely successful podcast. One amazon review compared this book to being like “copying notes from the smart kid in class.” We can leverage the success of other people to speed up our own timelines. That is about the closest thing to a shortcut when chasing a dream and this book aims to help you do it! 


The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you. (Amazon) 


If you are still working a typical day job and are following a passion in your off hours, this book is for you! I like my day job, but this book helped me look at my current job in a whole new light. Jon Acuff has a hilarious writing voice and I genuinely felt PUMPED UP to get out there and make it happen. After finishing this book, I immediately bought another Acuff book and I am loving that one too! 


In Delivering Happiness, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares the different lessons he has learned in business and life, from starting a worm farm to running a pizza business, through LinkExchange, Zappos, and more. Fast-paced and down-to-earth, DELIVERING HAPPINESS shows how a very different kind of corporate culture is a powerful model for achieving success-and how by concentrating on the happiness of those around you, you can dramatically increase your own. (Amazon) 


This is one of the heavy-hitter books you just cannot pass up. Some love it and some not so much, but The 4-Hour Workweek a must-read. This book claims to lay the blueprint for a successful life that includes escaping the 9-5 and working from anywhere. Perhaps the most controversial part of his books is Ferriss’ emphasis on outsourcing various parts of your work life overseas to a virtual assistant. Looking to gain some freedom? This book might be a great start. 


If you have not heard of Dave Ramsey, you might actually be living under a rock. His book, Total Money Makeover, has helped an incredible number of people get out of debt. Thinking of making the plunge and going full time with your passion? Imagine doing that without a car or house payment! Many entrepreneurs recommend Dave Ramsey and his methods for just that reason. I have a coworker that dreams of getting to do her “debt free scream” on The Dave Ramsey Show one day and I can see how much it motivates her every day! 

Your team will never grow beyond you, so here’s another question to consider. Are you growing? Whether you’re sitting at the CEO’s desk, the middle manager’s cubicle, or a card table in your living-room-based startup, EntreLeadership provides the practical, step-by-step guidance to grow your business where you want it to go.


Make It Happen is the story of how I surrendered my fear, took the leap, and got a life. In my case, a perfectly imperfect, fulfilling life as a mama, a working woman, and a grateful wife. This is the story of how I chose to make “it”―a greater purpose than mine―happen, and how you can too. (Amazon) 


#AskGaryVee showcases the most useful and interesting questions Gary has addressed on his popular show. Distilling and expanding on the podcast’s most urgent and evergreen themes, Gary presents practical, timely, and timeless advice on marketing, social media, entrepreneurship, and everything else you’ve been afraid to ask but are dying to know. Gary gives you the insights and information you need on everything from effectively using Twitter to launching a small business, hiring superstars to creating a personal brand, launching products effectively to staying healthy—and even buying wine. (Amazon) 


The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself. Whether an artist, writer or business person, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life. (Amazon) 


This is another book that people either love or hate. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love which was a success by almost anyone’s standards. We all chase after success, but what to we do AFTER we find it? Again, another great TED Talk can be heard by this great author. Can you tell I like TED Talks and podcasts?! 

Elizabeth asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.


THIS BOOK! Getting Things Done is sort of like a cult if you look into it. People are obsessed with it a for good reason. GTD has changed the way I manage my life. It takes time, patience, and trust in your system before it really starts to take hold. It took a lot of experimenting with different task management systems before I found the one for me. But, it was 100% worth it. If you want a taste of what this book is about, check out this TED Talk by David Allen. And now they even have a podcast!! Get ready for GTD to rock your world. 


A framework for personal development, The School of Greatness gives you the tools, knowledge, and actionable resources you need to reach your potential. Howes anchors each chapter with a specific lesson he culled from his greatness “professors” and his own experiences to teach you how to create a vision, develop hustle, and use dedication, mindfulness, joy, and love to reach goals. His lessons and practical exercises prove that anyone is capable of achieving success and that we can all strive for greatness in our everyday lives. (Amazon) 

Here we are with another author offering up epic podcasts! Check out The School of Greatness Podcast. I think I might need to make a list of my favorite podcasts next! 


If you’re ready to make some serious changes around here, You Are a Badass will help you: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks, figure out how to make some damn money already, learn to love yourself and others, set big goals and reach them – it will basically show you how to create a life you totally love, and how to create it NOW. By the end of You Are a Badass, you’ll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass. (Amazon) 


For more than sixty years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book has carried thousands of now-famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. Now this previously revised and updated bestseller is available in trade paperback for the first time to help you achieve your maximum potential throughout the next century!


In this first new and totally revised edition of the 150,000-copy underground bestseller, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. He walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed. He then shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business whether or not it is a franchise. Finally, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. After you have read The E-Myth Revisited, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way. (Amazon) 

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  1. Mylah Renae says:

    This is an awesome list! Some of them are my favorites and some of them are on my "to-read" list! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Allison says:

    This list! I need to read all of them! Thankyou for putting this together. So helpful!

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