Matt’s 2021 “What Business Books Did I Read?” List

I thought this would be a fun way to cap off the year. Highlighting my favorite book reads this year.

Now I wouldn't say I'm a crazy reader.. no where near one per week. But I am trying to increase that. And hope to at least double my numbers in 2022.

I'm strategic about what I read.. and it's usually related to business or self-help.

Yes, there was a day I would read fiction.. but for a long time, I can't even think about it. My commitment to trying to figure out how to be a success in life overrides everything. 😅 I read my first self-help book in the early 1990s (Napoleon Hill's, Think and Grow Rich) .. so it's been a LONG work in progress. haha

Audio Books !!

A big thing I learned about myself this past year or so is that I actually really enjoy listening to audiobooks on Audible. In fact, it's probably why I read as much as I did. I love listening to them when I'm relaxing, driving, cooking.. it's just so convenient and I feel like I'm being productive when I'm doing non-productive things. 🙂

So let's cut to the chase, shall we? What did I read this year and would recommend?

Atomic Habits

by James Clear

I'm all about habits.. I try to cultivate good ones, but I also know there's always room to improve. I picked this one up in the hopes it would serve as a framework to build better habits.

The book is filled with helpful tips and advice for breaking bad habits and forming good ones. You'll learn how to motivate yourself and how to design your environment to make it easier to deploy good habits. It also includes case studies of people who have successfully transformed their lives by changing their habits.

If you're looking to make some positive changes in your life, Atomic Habits is definitely worth a read!

Find it On Amazon

Unfu*k Yourself

by Gary John Bishop

How could a book with that title be popular? haha, I almost passed it by, but took the chance.

I don't necessarily feel right now I need to do this >> insert title << 😉 ? I'm in a good place? But I thought it might shore that up and reinforce things so I don't slide backwards. I wasn't disappointed.

Unfu*k Yourself is a book about taking personal responsibility for your life and your happiness. It's about recognizing that you are the only one who can make things happen for yourself, and that if you're not happy with where you are in life, it's up to you to do something about it.

The book is filled with practical tips and advice for getting out of your own way and taking control of your life. It's a motivational read that will help you to assess your current situation, set some goals, and start taking action towards achieving them.

“I am not my thoughts; I am what I do.”

Find it On Amazon

Never Split the Difference

by Chris Voss

Something I haven't spent much time on in my life is learning how to negotiate. But what's crazy is I'm always doing it! That's how I win projects and clients.. pay the bills. I know people that are known to be good negotiators in business and so I wanted to see if I could personally up my game in that regard.

I picked the right book. Never Split the Difference is a book about how to negotiate better. It was written by Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator. It was one of the more riveting books I've read this year.

The basic premise of the book is that most people negotiate using a “win-lose” approach, which ultimately leads to deadlocks and bad deals. Voss recommends using a “win-win” approach instead, which focuses on finding common ground and solving problems together.

Voss also offers some useful tips for negotiating, such as remembering that the other person is human, being prepared to walk away from a deal if it's not right, and keeping emotions in check.

Life is a series of negotiations.. I feel more prepared. 🙂

Find it On Amazon

Your Next Five Moves

by Patrick Bet-David

Master the Art of Business Strategy.. that's the sub-title that got me. I've been in business, running an agency, for 3 years.. strategy is a BIG part of my success. And, as with negotiating, it's an area I want to hone and get better at.

Your Next Five Moves is a great book written by Patrick Bet-David. The book is all about helping you achieve your next level of success in life. Bet-David lays out the five moves that will help you get there, including things like setting and achieving goals, developing winning habits, learning to think big, and more. If you're looking for a roadmap to success, this is the book for you!

Find it On Amazon

Start with Why

by Simon Sinek

Simon is everywhere.. YouTube, LinkedIn.. so I don't know why it took me so long to read this book. And I've seen this book referenced so many times.

As the year was winding down and I was reviewing my business and looking towards the new year, one of the areas I wanted to get better at was our ‘Why'. I believe we have a ‘why', but I don't know that it's well communicated or refined enough.

The underlying principle is that people don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. Interesting idea – harping on what you do over why you do it is something the majority of marketers are guilty of right now. But consider how powerful it would be if you were more centered around your WHY rather than your WHAT?

I've taken lessons from this book and am entering 2022 with a new outlook – and a defined ‘Why' that will show up in everything we do going forward.

Find it On Amazon

Limitless

by Jim Kwik

Doland talked about Jim Kwik and his S3 (Simple, Small Steps) methodology in our first episode together. And while looking for another book to read, I came across Limitless which coincidentally was the same author!

It is a guide to using the brain's innate creativity to make tremendous changes in your life. Author and serial entrepreneur, Jim Kwik, draws on his own experiences and those of his coaching clients, demonstrating how we can use our brains' abilities in such areas as memory, energy levels and mood to know better than before what will work for us – at work or in relationships – and then take pragmatic steps that move us toward greater success.

What I liked is it wasn't just theory.. it was actionable. And he gave you opportunities to practice what he was preaching. I especially loved the section on improving your memory. I have never had the greatest memory in terms of remembering names, facts or the abstract. (I'm a visual person.. I do very well remembering how to ‘do' things. Show me 20 steps and I can probably repeat it 3 months from now. Have me remember them by just verbally tell me? Not so much.)..

Some of these concepts are not new, but they were a good reminder and he built on what I knew a bit. Good stuff!

Find it On Amazon


So there you go! The list of business books I read and personally recommend especially for those starting or running a business; for those looking to improve their effectiveness and that could use new ‘tools' to up their game.

Please, if you have other biz books you can recommend, just put it in the comment box and I'll add it to my 2022 list of books to read. What should I read next!!? 😄

Matt Levenhagen

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