What I Read

So much of how I think and what I do is influenced by what I read.

Those of you who know me in real life know that I am always ready with a book or a blog post to recommend for just about everything.

Why?

For starters, I am passionate about learning and I believe the best way to do that is through self-directed education where figure out a problem you want to solve and then figure out how to solve it.

I didn’t finish college because I made a decision to start earning a living to support my young family. This was my choice and I would make it the same decision again because it taught me that I don’t have to wait for permission from someone else to improve my life.

I am in not advocating dropping out. I am saying you don’t need someone else to give you permission to improve your life.

Reading plays a huge role in my learning quest. Since I love to help people, I decided to put together a list of my favorite tools, blogs, books, and resources. Here we go.

Tools

Amazon.com — This is more of a store than a tool, but is the best way to get books quickly an inexpensively. I use the Kindle App on my phone, so I always have my books with me. We are also Amazon Prime members which comes with a ton of perks (my favorite is free 2 day shipping.)

Audible.com — Don’t have time to read because you do a lot of driving. This is your answer. I “read” for 22 minutes on the way to the office and 22 minutes on the way home. You can but books individually or subscribe to get credits for books each month.

Feedly — I read a ton of blogs, and I will recommend some in this post. Feedly is the best way to organize all of your favorite sites in one place. The free version is amazing, and they have a great app for your phone too. If you want to follow some of the sites I recommend, go sign up for an account.

Pocket — Do you ever see something online that you want to read or watch later? Pocket helps you do this. They have a simple plugin for your browser and great apps for your phone too. This is how I save articles for nightly or weekend reading.

Blogs

I subscribe to a ton of blogs. Every day there are over 200 new posts in Feedly, but this doesn’t mean I read them all. I like to skim throughout the headlines in my “All” list and just read the ones that peak my interest that day. I mark the rest as read and move on.

I love this process because the articles that draw my interest usually have to do with a topic I am thinking through or a problem I am struggling with. Sometimes, I am just curious. Regardless of the reason, I usually learn something.

Business

99u — Great productivity tips and marketing

AVC — Fred Wilson is a venture capitalist who generously gives advice and knowledge with his readers.

Feld Thoughts — Brad Feld is also a VC, and he also is generous with his experience.

Both Sides of the Table — Mark Suster shares his experience as both an entrepreneur and a VC. He has a great YouTube channel as well, Bothsides TV.

Only Once — Matt Blumberg writes about his experience as a fist-time CEO of a startup. The title comes from the fact you can only be a first-time CEO once.

Michael Hyatt’s Blog — This guys is brilliant. He was a CEO of one of the largest US publishers. He loves Jesus. He has an incredible aptitude for leadership.

Marketing

Seth Godin — Seth Godin is brilliant. Every post he writes will makes you think differently, or realize something very obvious for the first time. His ideas on learning, business, and picking yourself have shaped my life and my career. If you only read one thing online, Seth’s Blog is it.

OkDork.com — Noah Kagan is entertaining and great at getting you yo cough up your email address. I love his site because what he does to market and grow email lists works. He also give really actionable and easy to do advise. It’s not fluff like most marketing blogs that just want you to sign up for their service.

Copyblogger — Great writing is imperative to success in business. How well can you get an idea across? How well can you get someone to do something with your words. This site is full of amazing articles to get you writing at a higher level.

Technology

I am a nerd, and I love technology. These are the sites I go to when I’ve had a hectic day, and I just want to be entertained.

Android Central — I recently switched from iPhone to Android, and I love learning about the new-to-me operating system.

Ars Technica — These are great longer-form articles that cover technology as it relates to business, life, politics, etc. I love the different points of view and ideas from the writers of this site.

TechCrunch — News on apps, tech startups, devices, and everything web. I love it.

The Next Web — Similar to TechCrunch with a larger focus on startups.

Signal vs Noise — This is the blog of the company who makes Basecamp. They’re ideas on business, startups, web experience, software development processes, and marketing heavily influenced my 2 startups.

Design

swissmiss — This lady comes across some really cool stuff.

Officelovin — I freaking love cool office design. This site serves it up for me.

Books

The Bible — I know what you are thinking. This sounds like the standard righteous book every Christian should recommend. You are right. It is. But, I want to give you a challenge. Go read about Jesus. Open up Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, and read it like a story. You will learn something. The way Jesus lived, the person he is, and the lessons he taught, shape me every day. I have a life motto: the most helpful people win. It reminds me that life is about service to others. Serving others is the only true way to find fulfillment in life. And, I learned this in the Bible. You should read it.

Linchpin — This book changed my professional life. It will change yours too. Read it. It will challenge you, frustrate you, and motivate you. I read it and took action towards by dream of starting a company. You cannot read this book and stay the same.

How to Really Love Your Child — I wish I would have read this book before I had kids.

Love Does — Be inspired by a guy who lives his life for other people in a super creative way. You will want meet this guy.

Start Something That Matters — The founder of Toms tells you the story of how an awesome company came to be.

The Lean Startup — Great advice on how to start something from scratch.

Rework — The makers of Basecamp talk about their best practices for starting and running their company.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years — Learn how to live a life that would make a great story.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Our behavior is a product of our decisions not our conditions. Learn how to be more effective by taking responsibility.

The Flinch — Learn how to be courageous.

Startup CEO — Lessons from a first time CEO.

The Thank You Economy — Marketing through generosity.

How to Win Friends and Influence People — Be a nicer, more effective person.

Steve Jobs — Learn from the successes, mistakes, skills, and shortcomings of one of the most famous CEO’s of all time.

Steal Like An Artist — Be more creative.

Who Moved My Cheese — Handle change with positivity.

Quitter — Quit your job and go after your dream the right way.

The Dip — Know whether to quit or keep pushing.

Who You Are When No One’s Looking — Great character is series of small, consistent decisions.

The God You Can Know — God wants to have a personal relationship with Him.

New Sales Simplified — Incredible, simple, and actionable advice to improve your sales skills.

The Servant As Leader — Great leaders and great servants. This is the best book on leadership.

Purple Cow — Create products and services people can’t help talking about.

Made to Stick — How to get people to remember what you say and what you write.

Crossing the Chasm — Market innovative products and services when they are ahead of their time.

The Invisible Touch — Engineer great customer service.

Focus — Companies succeed when they have laser focused on one product or service line.

Making Ideas Happen — A process for taking action and turning your ideas into reality.

Getting Real — How to quickly build a successful web application from the team who built Basecamp.

Resources

There are some really amazing resources out there right now to learn literally anything. The internet has essentially replaced college for the self-motivated individual who is willing to put in the hard work. From Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to industry professionals sharing what they know on their sites, you can find information you are looking for if you are willing to look.

Udemy, Coursera, Lynda, and Skillshare — These subscription based learning sites have more courses than you can ever get to. What do you want to know. Just sign up and start learning.

Codecademy, Treehouse, and Codeshool — Learn to code. It’s easier than you think.

StackSocial — This site puts together “Name Your Own Price Bundles” which give you access to classed on Udemy. It’s an amazing way to learn a new skill. I am teaching my self to code on the cheap because of this site.

Google — This isn’t a joke. Take your education into your own hands.

Wrap Up

You are the only thing in the way of pursuing your dreams. Just start. Here is what you will find. The more you do, the more you will know. The more you search, the more you understand. The more you try, the more opportunities will open up.

One new site, resource, book, or tool will lead you to another that will help you.

Get started already!