The 7 Unusual Books That Shaped Millionaire Mindsets

Out of the many emails I get from blog readers each week there’s a couple of common issues that keep coming up:

1. You have no guide or mentor to show you step-by-step and support you

2. You have no idea if you can personally even do this whole “build a business” thing

The other complaint I hear a lot is that

nobody around you understands what you are trying to do.

All of this is SUPER frustrating.

I remember taking a car trip with my father many years ago now before my online businesses really started to take off.

I felt great that I was starting down the path of creating my own future rather than relying on a job or a boss to provide my lifestyle…

And him turning and saying, rather aggressively “if this doesn’t work over the next couple of weeks – then you’re to go and get a job!”.

Little experiences like that can absolutely crush you before you ever get traction towards a great little freedom business that sends you the income you need to do the things you want.

They can also be used as excuses to quit.

I mean, imagine if you made the decision to quit and you were JUST AROUND THE CORNER from big success?

“Maybe they are right. Maybe I should just stop this silly idea of building a business and go get a job like the rest of them.”

One of the notable, common traits I see in all entrepreneurs who started from nothing yet built great empires or even nice little freedom businesses is that they all had to contend with an enormous fear of failure combined with lack of support from those close to them.

In other words: “If it is to be, it’s up to me!”

To silence the fear of failure, I always turned to something reliable to strengthen my resolve and to guide me when nobody around seemed to understand.

That reliable, glorious, 24/7 mentorship was found in GREAT BOOKS.

But not just ANY old books.

Books that helped shape the minds of successful entrepreneurs. Books that have been mentioned from people who have done what I want to do.

You see, books allow you to download the mindsets, experiences and cheat sheets from the smartest and most successful people in the world.

It’s the closest thing we have to being Neo in the movie “The Matrix” where he downloads skills directly into his brain in a matter of seconds.

Here I’m going to share my 7 favourites, that have helped to shape past and present millionaires and successful startup entrepreneurs.

1. “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand

Notable Readers:
Mark Cuban – Entrepreneur
Steve Jobs – CEO Apple
Alan Greenspan – Private Advisor
Brad Pitt – Actor

I read this book super fast (couldn’t put it down) and resonated heavily with it around 7 or 8 years ago.

Unlike the other books on this list it’s fiction designed to deliver an understanding in Rand’s popular philosophy: Objectivism.

It’s about the main character, Howard Roark’s entrepreneurial vision clashing with the mediocre society and people around him who try to pull him down.

Mark Cuban says in an interview on C-SPAN in 2006 that he learned from it that  “It doesn’t matter what everybody else thinks —it’s how you see yourself and what your own dreams are”.

He also said that the book was “Incredibly motivating to me. It encouraged me to think as an individual, take risks to reach my goals, and responsibilities for my successes and failures.”.

After you have finished the book, check out the 1949 movie staring Gary Cooper. I stumbled upon this last year.

It’s brilliant and does a good job of bringing the book to life. Probably the best book to movie adaptation i’ve seen and will keep you aligned and motivated with the themes.

I like it because it gives you a deeper understanding of the values of an entrepreneur through a brilliant and entertaining story rather than just listing facts and statistics like most non fiction books.

This book is for you if: 
– You need a core philosophical mindset shift
– Need some strength to deal with minimal support for your entrepreneurial lifestyle

Notable Quote:

“Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. man had no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons,and to make weapons – a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and we have comes from a single attribute of man -the function of his reasoning mind.”
― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

2. “Winning Through Intimidation” by Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer

Notable Readers:
Dr. Jerry Buss – Owner, Los Angeles Lakers
Mark Ford – Editor, The Palm Beach Letter
Harvey Mackay – Author

Although heavily focused on real estate and with a title that inspires a very narrow-minded/aggressive view on business.

I fell in love with this book because of it’s opening paragraph:

The overriding message in many motivation and personal-development books is that if a person just maintains a positive mental attitude and works long, hard hours, he will ultimately succeed. A nice thought, to be sure, but one that borders more on mysticism than reality.

I’ve been through so many motivation/self help systems to try and be positive and in “a peak state” all the time, with the idea that being positive will bring me the success that I wanted.

In the end I just got more frustrated with myself if I wasn’t feeling so great. Which led to more unnecessary negativity.

The Shocking Truth: You’re human.
You don’t need to feel in a “peak state” all the time to be successful.

Successful people in business or any other fields feel the same wide range of emotions that you do.

Sometimes they are happy, motivated and productive… other times they are unwell, depressed and lazy.

A junior football coach used to tell us before we ran on to the field:

“We’re all made out of the same stuff. So there’s no reason you can’t go out there and beat these guys. They are just as scared as you are.”

There’s plenty of rich, successful people out there who are also lazy, annoying slobs.

The secret they don’t want you to know is that they simply HAD THE RIGHT PLAN.

They had the right method and blueprint to ensure that they were successful. This is NOT the blueprint taught in school.

It doesn’t matter what religious beliefs you have, what background you came from or any other moral code you ascribe to.

If you have the right plan and EXECUTE on that plan – then you’ll have the same success as others get.

This book is for you if:
– You need a dose of realistic perspective on business
– You need to zoom out and start viewing this whole business thing as a game
– Want a bit of a kick in the ass

Notable Quote:

“Every person has the inherent right to “self-proclaim”–to announce, at any time he chooses, that he is on any level he chooses to be on.”
 Robert Ringer, Winning through Intimidation: How to Be the Victor, Not the Victim, in Business and in Life

3. “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss

Notable Readers:
Ramit Sethi – Entrepreneur
Phil Town – #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Rule #1
Blake Ross – Co-founder of Firefox
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Actor

It’s coming up to ten years since this book was released and I remember a close friend giving me a copy when we were little 20 somethings dreaming of taking on the world of entrepreneurship.

It’s been an absolute game changer in our industry and although the content is a little dated in terms of what works in “Freedom Business” these days, the core philosophy is as solid and as motivating as ever.

Tim is a polarising character. Some love him. Some hate him.

I have nothing but respect for him and his body of work – plus his ability to live life on his own terms.

The other thing I really love about Tim is his ability to build an amazing tribe.

I’ve certainly taken a lot of lessons from seeing his blog and follower base grow.

We have built a solid number of email subscribers, followers and community members here at Freedom Studios… and a lot of that inspiration came from a little post recommended called “1000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly.

This post talks about how if you have 1000 true fans (something definitely achievable for most people with the internet and a bit of industrial spirit), then you can make a great living.

Anyway the one big takeaway from The Four Hour Work Week was his technique of “Dreamlining” and asking important questions such as

“What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”.

Dreamlining is where you map out the specific goals you want in the areas of BE, DO and HAVE.

BE: Things that you want to be
Examples:  Be great at cooking, great at french, great fun at parties, etc

DO: Things you want to do
Examples: Go live in Thailand for a year, Race a Ferrari around Monaco, Date multiple people at the same time

HAVE: Things you want to have
Examples: A whole new wardrobe, own a nice big beautiful home, an amazing office

This book is for you if:
– You’re just starting out building a business
– You need some inspiration on what the freedom lifestyle is like
– You want to feel like this is something you can actually achieve

Notable Quote:

“It is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor. The choice is between multiplication of results using strengths or incremental improvement fixing weaknesses that will, at best, become mediocre. Focus on better use of your best weapons instead of constant repair.”
– Tim Ferriss, The Four Hour Work Week

4. “The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing” by Al Ries & Jack Trout

Al Ries Jack Trout

Notable Readers:
Dharmesh Shah – CTO of Hubspot and founder of OnStartups
Tim Ferriss – Entrepreneur

Whenever we launch a new product or business here internally at Freedom Studios, we run it through a series of “success checklists”.

One of these checklists is the 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing.

When deciding on a particular branding or marketing strategy for a new product, we first make decisions filtered through these 22 laws.

This is an image of one of our secret new ventures coming out of Freedom Studios.

A physical product called “Presence Stone”. I can’t talk much about it yet, but when we were designing this product we looked at Law 1: The Law Of Leadership.

This law states that “it’s better to be first in the market than it is to be better”.In other words if you can’t be the market leader in a category, then you invent a new category and be first in it!

This book is for you if:
– You have your business idea and are about to start building
– You are about to launch a marketing campaign
– You need some fundamentals in sales

Notable Quote:

“Many other computer companies (and their entrepreneurial owners) became rich and famous by following a simple principle: If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.”

5. “Influence” by Robert Cialdini

Influence

Notable Readers:
Peep Laja – Conversion Consultant
Eben Pagan – Entrepreneur
Jeff Walker – Online Entrepreneur

Another “success checklist” that we use to write persuasive sales copy for businesses launched at Freedom Studios is from my old pal Robert Cialdini.

If we are to take the principle of “dealing with reality as it is” from Robert Ringer above, then this book is the application of that reality in every day persuasion (for example getting someone to buy your stuff).

Persuasion can be seen as a negative thing.

But it’s actually neither positive or negative.

It is what it is: a tool that is used by others to influence you, or you to influence others.

Persuasion happens to you every single day. It happens between you and your boss or you and your customers. You and your kids.

It’s a natural, normal part of life.

So it makes sense to be aware when persuasion techniques are being used on you and how you can defend yourself, or use them yourself to get what you need.

This book is for you if:
– You are interested in persuasion and psychology
– You want to know the science behind why people make purchases
– You wish to write better sales copy

Notable Quote:

A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”
Robert B. Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

6. “Pitch Anything” by Oren Klaff

Pitch Anything

Notable Readers:
Rodney Mason – Advertising Age, CMO, Moosylvania
Andrew Warner – Founder, Mixergy
Josh Whitford – Founder, Echelon Media
Louie Ucciferri – President, Regent Capital Group

Amongst our community, this is by far one of the most popular books going around and offsets Robert Cialdini’s book very nicely.

Why?

Because wether you consciously know it or not:

like persuasion, you’re ALWAYS pitching (or being pitched to).

The book is called Pitch Anything, but it could be titled “Persuade Anyone” because that’s what it’s all about:

how to present an idea so that the other person gets intrigued and ultimately buys into whatever it is you are selling or doing.

I really appreciate how Oren talks about “Setting the frame” and uses story telling as a pitching tool.

As humans, we connect and share emotion through story.

So it makes sense to base your pitching around stories.

He uses really clear examples and stories himself, along with solid actionable takeaways. It’s a good reference book and easy to read in a few days.

This book is for you if:
– You’re new to selling anything
– You have high stakes meetings where you wish to gain something
– You are starting to position yourself as a leader or business person

Notable Quote:

“Pitching is one of those business skills that depends heavily on the method you use and not how hard you try.”

7. “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

The Lean Start Up

Notable Readers:
Drew Houston – CEO and Founder of Dropbox
Tim Brown – CEO of IDEO
Mitchell Kapor – Founder, Lotus Development Corp.
Tim O’Reilly – CEO O’Reilly Media

I enjoy books that are easy to read, understand and implement.

The faster I can take a book and implement it into the real world for me, the better.

So where most business books are very simplistic in their writing – Eric Ries in “The Lean Startup” is actually quite opposite in that he gets very technical.

This is with good reason though. He is all about the technical step-by-step of launching a new product successfully.

This means building, measuring and testing. Quite technical things in themselves.

He defines a start-up as a “human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty” and that’s exactly what you are dealing with wether you are starting a new business or trying to grow your existing:

CRIPPLING UNCERTAINTY.

Eric states that entrepreneurs should create a “minimal viable product” as soon as they can, as cheaply as they can and start testing it with real people/potential customers.

He talks a lot about “split testing” which is a tool taken from old school direct advertising, where you test slightly different versions of the same product with different groups of customers to see which works best.

As online freedom business entrepreneurs, we do this stuff with landing pages, headlines and ads all the time.

This book is for you if:
– You like a more technical “engineering type” approach
– You’re interested in minimising the risk when launching your business
– You want a step by step map overview of creating a business that works

Notable Quote:

“We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.”
Eric Ries, The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

I’ll continue to refer to these books for many more years to come.

And all of these books have influenced extremely successful people to achieve exactly what it is they want in life and in business.

Which ones do you like?

Which ones should also be included?

Leave me a comment below!

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48 Comments

  1. Steven S.

    Reply

    Good stuff, Tim. Keep on keepin’ on.

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      You too Steve

  2. Juan

    Reply

    Awesome post I’ve been reading the 4 hour workweek it’s a great book! Cheers from Mexico can’t wait to join the SSM program good fucking vibes for everyone
    Keepin on

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Cheers Juan

  3. Sundeep

    Reply

    The Millionaire Fastlane is a great inspirational book that deals directly with the freedom business concept.

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      I enjoyed that read too Sundeep.

  4. Chun

    Reply

    No Scientific Advertising? 🙂

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Needs a whole post on it’s own Chun 😉

  5. Raj

    Reply

    Thanks Tim. What an awesome list of books you have mentioned here. When you are starting up the freedom business of this year?

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Launching Presence Stone in the next coming month as a side project… More details on the rest coming soon!

  6. Peter

    Reply

    Awesome stuff, Tim.

    Really enjoyed the format of the book reviews and how you laid out what each book could help you with.

    One suggestion to make it even better (just imo). Give a specific instance of how the books has helped your journey personally. The summaries we could find on amazon and read, with some personal anecdotes from you it would be something I’d really want to read. Thanks for the great post 🙂

    I’m gonna watch the Fountainhead movie adaptation now, and super excited to join the upcoming SSM!

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Great idea Peter – i’ll include more personal stories on how I applied them next time. Cheers and see you in the next round soon 😉

  7. Dmitriy

    Reply

    Thank you, lots of value in this article.

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Cheers Dmitriy!

  8. James

    Reply

    With businesses in website/video and social media becoming super competitive, what kind of businesses will SSM 5 go into?
    How do I ensure I get I know I am getting the best marketing for my $?

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Hey James,

      Great question. SSM evolves as the different markets and strategies evolve. Like I was just replying to Adam… The actual model we use is the same. We apply our PROVEN model to any different business idea you can think of.

      – Physical Products (we have people doing health food bars, for example)
      – Consulting Products (specialist knowledge, phone consulting products, etc)
      – Online Services (websites, videos, copywriting, SEO)
      – Information Products (blogs, online courses)

      Keep an eye on your email for more details and videos on this.

      T

  9. Adam

    Reply

    Hey Tim!

    Great content! Won’t it be weird if 300 people all come out at the same time with identical business models?

    G

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Hey Adam,

      Great question. We are in our 5th instalment of SSM now and have refined it over the years. The actual model we use (Freedom Business Blueprint) is the same – but the businesses are VASTLY different. So we apply our PROVEN model to any different business idea you can think of.

      – Physical Products (we have people doing health food bars, for example)
      – Consulting Products (specialist knowledge, phone consulting products, etc)
      – Online Services (websites, videos, copywriting, SEO)
      – Information Products (blogs, online courses)

      All these types of businesses are covered. We only teach stuff we’ve had direct real world experience in though.

      T

  10. Harry

    Reply

    Whats the average number of guys that make it with this content Tim? I heard a lot of guys don’t make the $50K a month?

    Pumped!

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Hey Harry,

      50k/month is not, by any means, an easy thing for everyone to do and i’m not suggesting everyone will reach that goal.
      To be honest there’s only a handful of our members cracking that.
      It takes a lot of focus and dedication to hit that mark within the short amount of time that SSM runs.

      The majority of members (that follow the course step-by-step) sit around the 5k to 10k/month and are building to hit more each month.

      I liken it to a new gym program. If you show up and do what the trainer says – then you get the result.

      Like a gym program some fall off, then get back on. The great thing about our community is it’s always there – ready to support you when you’re ready.

      More on this in the lead up to the opening in July. Hope this helps.

      T

  11. Brent Dulin

    Reply

    Thanks for the tip. I’m going to check them out.

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Enjoy, Brent.

  12. Sander Vee

    Reply

    Some nice ones I hadn’t heard about. Thanks Tim

    Good to see the new blogs and emails coming by the way.

    Cheers,
    Sander

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Sander! Great to see you around man. Love your work.

  13. Jaime

    Reply

    I feel totally related to the lack of support that people close to me is giving me now that They know I am going to start this summer(with SSM) my entreprenurial adventure.
    The funny thing is, since I understood what my journey was, I feel infinite motivation and not a single time felt like quitting. The hard times are yet to come when we start for real, but I am ready.
    I have been writing a comment in every blogpost to keep the momentum going, and I am actually pretty excited.
    I have been saving for the program the entire year, and now I am going to read the few books in this list that I have not read yet.
    Thanks for the recomendation and inspiration. I will never understand how people do not read. We live in the information era, and everyone says that knowledge is power, yet, people choose to be stuck in mediocrity.
    Anyways, let´s make this happen, together.
    Cheers from Spain.

    ~~Jaime

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Hey Jaime… Sounds like you’ve got what it takes and are a smart dude. I’m in to make this happen with you… perhaps we will see you on the next wall of fame with your Freedom Business crushing it?

  14. Sam

    Reply

    Just ordered a couple of these books off Amazon. Can’t wait to start reading them and for SSM to start!

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Going to be a big 2015 Sam 😉

  15. Julien David

    Reply

    Great post Tim, haven’t heard of some of these so I’ve added them to my list to read this year. Cheers!

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Cheers Julien good to see you mate.

  16. Jordan Scuffle

    Reply

    I’ve already read half of these books. Tons of value! I can’t wait to read the others.
    Also, I’m extremely thrilled to see that your posting this kind of stuff up. Im always sharing values with my friends and I will be sharing this video to them. Hopefully Ill be seeing much more! Thanks Tim

    Ps, Im not a SSM member yet but I will be soon!! I can’t wait!

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Thanks Jordan…. You’ll be seeing much more from me mate. Glad it’s resonating with you and see you in the next round of SSM. Going to be absolutely epic.

  17. Mir s

    Reply

    Awesome value Tim, the fountainhead is a book i have heard about for a long time. Will get it as soon as possible, but will probably take a few months before i finish it 😛

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Yeah push through it Mir – or even check out the movie.

  18. Iván

    Reply

    I would add to the list the book “Blue Ocean Strategy”. I’m reading The Fountainhead right now (I started it once a couple of years ago. I finished Atlas Shrugged recently and found it deeply influencing on both the wealth creation and the personal relationships level.
    Great post.
    Iván

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Nice Ivan

  19. Tom Dudar

    Reply

    Thanks Tim!
    Real game changing books, just as the doctor ordered. I’m gonna start with The Fountainhead.

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      I wish I could go back and read for the first time. Enjoy Tom.

  20. Sven

    Reply

    The lean start up is great book! I really enjoyed seeing it in there.

    I would love to see an example of someone making 10k/month so I know
    a) is really real
    b) what it takes

    (sorry if english isnt that greatest)

    Love from Sweden
    Sven

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Cheers Sven – stay tuned to your email. I’m preparing some cool case studies for you.

  21. MeAndVR

    Reply

    Question(s) first:
    1.) I assume you plan to offer more and charge more (I think I noticed a pattern … and you would practice what you preach). That would be fine, but I know I could not afford that. Can you tell us if the assumption is correct?
    2.) I do not remember what the participation requirements looked like the last time any more. How much time will we need to be able to invest, etc.?

    About the books:
    I have only read “The Lean Startup”, and I have read a lot of books in that category in the past few years.
    If you like that book and want to read books with a similar character, read:
    – “Do The Work”
    – “Smartcuts”

    Probably marketing / pitching is something I should read about again.
    1.) I am about to pitch a product idea at my day job of doom … and
    2.) I consider trying to apply the lean startup methods, the concept from “How I sold 1 million e-books …” (Twitter & Blogging, kinda a 1000 true fans thing …) and eventually start a Virtual Reality related crowdfunding project.

    What I always recommend:
    reading books with ideas that overlap. (I want to write a book “Build A Thought Framework” one day and introduce the concept of “idea absorption” – we can read a book and not see the true genius of the concepts. A net of ideas that those new ideas can be attached to increases the absorption rate).

    The best high level book is “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”.
    It gives you the terminology to describe where people are stuck on the self-development ladder. The book contains the cure if you read it properly.
    The advice that interdependence is a step forward from independence, as long as you have independence to fall back on, is also counterintuitive and pure gold.

    Then, for getting the management aspect right, I would read “The Art Of War”.
    After reading that book, reading all those method related books will make a lot more sense. Also, “Abundance” goes well with that book, because it shows ways to predict the future to a certain degree – and timing is one of the most important success factors. I have yet to read their new book “Bold”. Not sure if I can recommend it.

    Another book I love is “Fundamentals Of Piano Practice”. Everybody with a growth mindset should read the beginning, not just people who are interested in learning to play an instrument. The beginning is very neutral and provides a great way to think about skill, science and talent.
    The book goes well with “The First 20 Hours”.

  22. Ali

    Reply

    Hi Tim, Awesome list! Do you have any book suggestion about how to form a team who support you in your vision for those who are low on budget and suck at working with people?

  23. Alessandro Boshant

    Reply

    When are you having the secret society master mind program and where do I go to sign up?

  24. jose

    Reply

    Check out Your First 100 Million from Dan Peña I already recommended it 2 Tyler and Alex… it’s worth reading
    http://www.danlok.com/daniel-s-pena/books/building-guthrie/

    He also recomends winning through intimidation and other books like Tough-Minded Management by Joe D. Batten or Release Your Brakes by James Newman

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      Thanks Jose

  25. Aisake

    Reply

    Some new ones here for me. Thanks for the heads up Tim.

    • Timothy Marc

      Reply

      No worries Aisake, hope they serve you well

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