My Top 5 Motivational Books

Let's take a break from the tech scene and focus on some of my favorite motivational books I've read so far.

Last Updated: • Opinion •
Brown shelves of books

Lately, I've been trying to take it easy.

Over the past three months, I've had a number of projects thrown at me and I've had to turn them away.

I've even gone as far as to ask them if they want my referral of someone else to help them out. They said they weren't looking for anyone else. They said no one else could fit the role but me.

Let's just say that feels weird. Really weird!

A majority of my friends say I work too hard and I need to slow down a bit.

When I'm trying to relax and have some downtime, I try to feed my brain by grabbing a book or audio book and listen to them on the treadmill, in the car, or going for a walk outside (Yep, always multi-tasking).

What I always look for in a book are better ways to "hack" myself (by introducing new habits, of course), push and motivate myself into becoming a better person, or learn new business or entrepreneurial techniques.

I know I've mentioned my top 10 books every .NET Developer should own, but I feel like taking a break from the programming world today.

So in today's post, I wanted to share my top 5 motivational books with my audience. Most, if not all, of these books are also available in audio book format.

The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime by MJ DeMarco

First on my list is The Millionaire Fastlane. This book takes the reader down the life of MJ DeMarco and gives the reader a taste of what it takes to strive and become a millionaire.

MJ DeMarco also provides various stories and formulas of how to discover if your idea has the potential to make you millions or not. If it tests out to be a positive idea, the only thing holding you back is execution.

He really doesn't hold back because he's heard a lot of people whining and complaining they aren't millionaires.

But I'll let you in on a little secret. His book explains a formula that goes like this:

The More Value You Give x A Large Number of People = The Richer You Will Become.

I know, I know...this sounds like one of "those" books on how to get rich quick.

I can assure you there are a number of stories in here that mimic my own experiences throughout life. I've also had some failed entrepreneurial attempts that went absolutely nowhere.

The truth is I keep coming back to this book every once in a while to remind me that I need to show everything I do.

The point is to keep trying and never, EVER, give up...(oh, and don't whine!)

StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath

Next on my list is the StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. I wrote a StrengthsFinder 2.0 review back in 2015 along with the Entrepreneurial Strengths book.

These books are what I call interactive reading material. In the back of the book, they have a URL and a code. Navigate to the web page and enter the code to start your assessment.

In the end, it provides a list of characteristics on what kind of person you are and how to focus on your strengths to accomplish your goals.

The reason I love this type of book is because of the affirmation of what kind of person you THINK you are.

Play off these strengths and you more than likely will have a successful career based on those characteristics.

The 12-Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do In 12 Months by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington

Ok, I hate to admit that I'm JUST getting into this book (I'm 1/3 of the way through it), but everything I'm hearing (bought the audiobook) seems to resonate with me.

The objective is not to set goals based on yearly reviews, but more on a quarterly basis. Why?

  1. It makes it easier to achieve instead of a year from now.
  2. They are smaller goals that lead to more wins
  3. People usually forget what their goals were last year (Do you remember?)

The book is definitely motivating and gives the reader just cause for moving in this direction with "weekly" planning logs and other material to maximize what goals you want out of life.

Crush It! - Why NOW Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Besides the Millionaire Fastlane, there is one other book I hold near and dear to me: Crush it!

The book came out in 2009, but I still consider it a great book.

For those who haven't experienced Gary V. yet, he is definitely a firecracker who says what needs to be said with the way social and business work in the digital world.

See for yourself!

Haste and Hustle Gary Vaynerchuk Keynote in Ontario 2017 (1h 8min)

See what I mean? Now, imagine a book title called Crush It!

Crush It! takes you from building your personal brand to creating great content to monetizing.

His keynotes and videos always motivate the younger generation and enlightens the older generations and corporations as to what's coming in the digital age.

He is what I consider to be the ultimate marketing army-of-one and his books are a reflection of his passion as well.

ZAG: The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands by Marty Neumeier

"When Everybody Zigs, Zag!"

ZAG dives even further into how companies can make themselves stand out through differentiation.

I always looked at this book through a motivational perspective because of how companies try to achieve the "me-too" angle and start a race where someone is so far ahead, they think they can catch up, but they can't.

Instead of trying to follow them down the same path, pick a different path and give it all you got to strive for success down that new path.

What I did was take the thinking of this book for companies and took a different angle.

I applied this thinking to individuals.

This is why I always liked this book. Find where you are different and leverage that difference, whether you are a company, brand, or even just an individual.


Every once in a while I listen to a podcast and someone is interviewed or suggests a book that really intrigues me.

If I find that author or justification really compelling, I buy the book.

Usually, if I can find a deal on a good business or entrepreneurial book, I'll buy it and place it in my [virtual] shelf to read later.

But there's bad news with that mentality...

...I have a lot of books to read right now. :-|

Do you have any books that sparked a fire in you? To make you more motivated? Share your comments below and let's discuss.

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Picture of Jonathan Danylko

Jonathan Danylko is a freelance web architect and avid programmer who has been programming for over 20 years. He has developed various systems in numerous industries including e-commerce, biotechnology, real estate, health, insurance, and utility companies.

When asked what he likes to do in his spare time, he replies, "Programming."

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