Books that Influence

A couple of days ago I asked a very simple question on Facebook: If you were to give a present to someone of the BUSINESS BOOK that MOST INFLUENCED you, what would it be?

I ended up getting 10 very different responses and thought I would share them here.  It is quite likely that through the power of the Google search, someone looking for inspiration may land on this blog and find that for which they have been searching.

(in no particular order, but numbered just the same for the sake of orderliness)

1. The Power of Alpha Thinking - Jess Stearn

This is a book about the art and practice of meditation, specifically exploring the Silva Method, one of the first self improvement courses that utilized subconscious reprogramming and 4-days of mental training.  This one could be hard to find as it been out of print for a long time, but comes highly recommended by many, including a very wise friend of mine.

2. I Had It All The Time - Alan Cohen

Cohen offers some stark advice on how to stop trying to fix yourself and start living your life, the one that nature intended.  He contends that the time is NOW to accomplish everything you've ever dreamed, not after you get that new job, buy that new car, or make a certain amount money.  There is power in the present. I'm completely paraphrasing based on what I'm reading online but this is a book that will go on my TO READ pile.

3. Who Moved My Cheese? - Spencer Johnson

Learning through parables, just like the Bible - which we'll get to shortly as a recommended book of influence - Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese tackles the nuances of managing change and how to come out on top. Based on the volume of change happening in Fort McMurray, this should be a local best-seller!

4. Make Today Count - John C. Maxwell

I like John C. Maxwell.  I was given a gift earlier this year of his Leadership Moments paperback, a collection of inspirational thoughts gleaned from his many published works.  Make Today Count suggests things we can do every day to maximize our success, to make the most out of our lives.  Do you feel scattered, inconsistent, unfocused?  This could be the book you absolutely need.

5. The Holy Bible

I don't know if the suggestion of The Holy Bible was linked to the King James version of the book, but because it gives me a good talking point, let's make that assumption.  The December 2011 edition of National Geographic digs into the history of this historic text and pulls out a large number of sayings or phrases that have been commonplace for hundreds of years but were first seen in 1611 when this version of The Holy Bible was released in England.  "From time to time", "know for a certainty", "turned the world upside down", "the skin of my teeth", and "a man after his own heart", all made their global debuts in this epic work.

6. Good to Great - Jim Collins

I'd been hearing about this book for years.  I finally picked it up and quickly realized why it is on this list.  You've heard the saying about "getting the right people on the bus"?  It was Jim Collins who crafted that wonderful analogy.  He and his colleagues researched a vast numbers of companies to find the commonalities between the ones that went from good to great and stayed there.  This should be mandatory reading for anyone striving for organizational success.

7. Rich Dad Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki

The sticker on the cover of this book boasts that it is The #1 Bestselling Personal Finance Book of All Time. I love the sub-headline that might be difficult to read in the above image: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money-That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!  I haven't read this book yet, though it was once recommended to me from a good friend who has been enormously successful.  I did read The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton, which infused in me the idea of paying myself first.  It inspired me to change the way I handle my personal financial affairs.

8. Fierce Conversations - Susan Scott

Bad communication is the root of all evil.  It's amazing how many times interpersonal difficulties - at home and at work - are a direct result of our inability to communicate effectively.  This one is particularly appealing to me, because I've had more than several occasions in recent months when my message was getting lost in translation.  Fierce Conversations is going at the top of the TO BUY list.

9. Persuasion - Arlene Dickinson

You know her you love her, the outspoken business shark in CBC TV's hit Dragon's Den, also CEO of Venture Communications.  How did she go from being a divorced, high school grad with no savings and no idea what she was going to do with her life to one of the most successful business leaders in Canada?  Persuasion, pure and simple.

10. The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz

Last, and certainly not least, is Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements.  The friend on Facebook who recommended it described several occasions when she was reading The Four Agreements on a trip and ended up passing it along to a stranger, because she just couldn't help herself.  That is high praise indeed, though perhaps a little tough on the pocketbook as she is on copy five or six now.  I feel fortunate because a copy of this classic is on the shelf in the Ananda Center for Balance, my wife's yoga and massage studio in the basement.  I just might steal it for a few days over the holidays.

So there you go, ten books that inspired ten friends that may inspire you.  Merry Christmas!


  1. Great list and great blog Russell! I will be sure to add the ones I am missing to my collection! Thanks

  2. What a great list! I will put a couple of those books on my Santa list for myself!


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