Becoming a Lifestyle Entrepreneur: 12 Books to Jumpstart Your Education

Note from Sean: This week we have another guest post from our Location Rebel Community Manager, Liz Froment. She’s one of the biggest reader’s I know and has led quite a few discussions on them inside the LR forums. This week, she covers 12 books you should read to kickstart your own location independent lifestyle education.

Take it away, Liz!

A New Approach to Reading

One of my favorite quotes is by a guy named Charlie Munger. Chances are you might not have heard of him. But, I’d guess you’ve heard of billionaire investor Warren Buffett. Charlie is his right hand man at Berkshire Hathaway.

What makes Charlie and Warren interesting, besides that they could spend their days diving into swimming pools full of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck and don’t, is they love to read.

via GIPHY

And I mean love it.

There are a million quotes out there about them and reading, that Warren tries to read 500 pages a day, that Charlie hides out in his office and reads for 6 straight hours. But my favorite?

Go to bed smarter than you woke up. – Charlie Munger

I’ve always been a big reader, knocking out twice weekly trips to the library growing up. So I’m proud to wave my book nerd flag high and follow Charlie’s advice.

I’ve got endless book lists saved in my Pocket account, book podcasts (let’s get real wonky) subscribed to in iTunes, and I don’t even want to get into how many are just waiting to be read on my Kindle.

The secret?

Read daily, even if it’s for 15 minutes, or 25 pages.

But, once I started growing my own business, I realized that my past assortment of reads wasn’t exactly going to cut it anymore.

I needed a new education, even past what I’d learned in college as a business major. That’s when I took a new approach to reading, I wanted to expand my knowledge and hone in on the variety of skills I’d need to be better at building my own business.

Now that didn’t mean brushing up on accounting and finance (shudder). Nope, it also included topics like psychology, writing, and mindset.

In short, I’ve become a much more well rounded reader.

What I want to do here is show you what I’ve read that’s helped me be better. This is by no means the end all and be all of lists. I didn’t pull this off the interwebs, I’ve read every single one of these and personally recommend them all.

Let’s get started.

Work

If you’re reading Location 180, you probably have a slightly different view about work and jobs as opposed to the conventional wisdom. That doesn’t mean just because you want to work for yourself life is all glitter and free beers (I wish). There is a struggle, “the resistance,” and a lot of hard work that goes into it.

These books can help you dive a bit more deeply into some ways you might want to think about approaching work, both now and into the future.

The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Ah, the grandaddy of them all. For many, this was the book that started the dream of lifestyle design. I remember seeing it constantly on my weekly flights or train rides between New York and Boston when I was working at KPMG. Needless to say, it was only about 2 years later I found myself reading it on the sly during lunch breaks in my cube.

Now, I don’t actually follow much of what Ferriss says in the book, and frankly I think a 4 hour work week is a bit of pipe dream for all but a few. But what I do think this book hits on is the concept of the possibility that you can change your life and design the lifestyle you probably never thought was possible.

Get it on AmazonGoodreads Rating: 3.79  | Liz Rating: 4

Mastery by Robert Greene

Robert Greene is the guy behind books like the 48 Laws of Power and the Art of Seduction. In Mastery he takes a deep dive into the concept that in order to truly master your life (and career) you need to take the long approach. Putting in the time being an apprentice, learning from a mentor, and practicing focus can help you establish mastery in any field.

What I really enjoyed about this book is that it’s a good combination of practical advice, interesting biographies, and inspiration. Plus, it highlights taking an approach to work that I personally believe in, the apprenticeship model, and I’ve followed in my own career path (both on and offline).

Get it on AmazonGoodreads Rating: 4.24 | Liz Rating: 4

The End of Jobs by Taylor Pearson

I’ve always been a big fan of Taylor’s blog, so when his book came out it was pretty much a no-brainer option for me to read. I’m glad I did. In it he takes a deep dive at the system as we see it today, giving an historical perspective on wage growth, globalization, and technology as it applies to the traditional approach to employment.

While I love a history lesson (I could do another list of just history books), what I really enjoyed was how much practical information and advice was packed in here. I actually think it’s a must read for anyone who is thinking about jumping into the world of entrepreneurship right now.

Get it on AmazonGoodreads Rating: 4.14 | Liz Rating: 4

Mindset

If you had told me a few years ago that one of the biggest keys to success in building a business and working online was mindset, I would have ignored you. Oh the irony. Now I actually think that the mental strength, positive outlook, and stamina you need to develop to do this well is something that’s not highlighted enough.

These books do a nice job of helping you understand some of the mental part of being a lifestyle entrepreneur.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

Mindset was recommended to me by John McIntyre, and I am so glad he did. Not only was it one of the top 3 (yup, I get that detailed) books I read last year, it’s one of the all time impactful books I’ve read. So, you shouldn’t be surprised, I’ve recommended it to everyone.

Dweck studies the differences between the fixed and growth mindsets and how people with these mindsets approach and tackle life. For most of us, our mindsets are a combination of nature and nurture. But, we can work to mold our mindsets to make ourselves unstoppable in all aspects of life. Farnham Street gives a nice little infographic and primer on the book.

Get it on AmazonGoodreads Rating: 4.02 | Liz Rating: 5

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Yup, I went there. And no, this isn’t a deep dive into Grey’s Anatomy or Scandal (though Kerry Washington = awesome), but it does look at a year in the life of their creator, famous television show runner Shonda Rhimes. It’s a story about how pushing yourself outside your comfort zone can have incredible effects.

What you learn about Rhimes is she was an overweight, unhappy, super introvert who basically said no to everything. So, she spent a year saying yes to things instead, pushing herself way out of her comfort zone. I enjoyed the honest look at her real struggle. How doing this terrified her, how she realized all her missed opportunities in the past and it inspired me to be more proactive about taking action in my own life (and business).

Get it on AmazonGoodreads Rating: 4.07 | Liz Rating: 4

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

Another must read for anyone building a business, but especially those who work in the creative fields like writing, art, and design. It’s a super short read, but you will come back to it (as I have) over and over as you move through the other stages of your business.

Pressfield teaches you the term “The Resistance” to encompass everything that makes you not want to take action, it can be wrapped up as fear, procrastination, laziness, whatever, and inspires you to push through it to get off your butt and get going. Since you’ll hit a lot of blocks as you grow your business, you’ll need to know how to deal with it, this book shows you the mindset to do it.

Get it on AmazonGoodreads Rating: 4.09 | Liz Rating: 4

Travel

That’s right, I included travel. That’s because for many of you (as it was for me) one of your biggest goals in building your own business is to have the ability to travel more. I was desperate to get out of my cube and two weeks vacation, but wanted to be able to approach travel in a different way.

These books help you really see the importance of traveling outside of being ‘the tourist.”

Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves

Yea, that Rick Steves, the earnest kinda nerdy guy who has made a fortune on his guide books and tv show empire. But, this book is no guide book, instead you learn about the real Rick Steves, the weed smoking, naked hot tubbing, beer drinking Rick Steves and how he uses travel to educate himself and expand his perspective.

Unexpectedly, this is one of my favorite books, and ironically the only book my sister has ever told me to read that I liked (well, besides Harry Potter). I’ve recommended it to a bunch of people who love to travel, and try to keep the lessons in mind when I’m out on the road myself. It’s amazing how much you can learn and enjoy from taking the time to truly try to understand other people and cultures.

Get it on AmazonGoodreads Rating: 3.97 | Liz Rating: 5

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

I was introduced to this book on a recommendation from Tim Ferriss’ blog a few years back. This is another book that takes a different look at travel. Rolf Potts is a writer who lives a very simple life, in a trailer in the Kansas prairie, in order to allow him more time and flexibility to travel on extended trips around the world.

Pott’s book covers a life on the road, teaching you how to travel long term. He makes you realize that travel isn’t only for the rich and privileged, that with openness and the right mindset you can live a lifelong adventure.  The tips and advice are great even if, like me, you aren’t interested in round the world long term travel.

Get it on AmazonGoodreads Rating: 3.91 | Liz Rating: 4

Writing

One of the most important skills anyone can have is the ability to write. Having done pretty well in school I thought I’d be fine, yea that was a rude awakening. Writing essays in school is a world apart from being able to effectively communicate online through email, blog posts, sales pages, and even social media.

For an advanced lesson in how to be a better writer, read these books (and practice a lot of writing).

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

This was one of my favorite books from last year. I’d read a few other books about how to write but this one stood out to me as the best, even topping Stephen King’s On Writing. Lamott gives you practical advice on not only how to approach writing, but how to be a writer as well, all wrapped up in with stories of her life and experiences.

This book had me going with a range of emotions, there were some parts where I truly laughed out loud.It also helped to bust through some of blocks and fear so many writers face like having terrible first drafts or taking criticism from others. I took away a great appreciation of what it really takes to be a good writer.

Get it on AmazonGoodreads Rating: 4.22 | Liz Rating: 5

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

If you’re looking for one book to teach you how to become a better writer for the web, this is it. Ann Handley is the woman behind the very popular MarketingProfs site, and an expert content marketer, so she knows her stuff. This book gives you an in depth look at how to write excellent content that will drive people to your site or blog.

I picked Everybody Writes up on a whim, but really enjoyed it. It should go without saying, but Handley is a pro here. I found myself taking tons of notes on how to be a better writer. From simple tips like what words to use, to how to think more about the people who I’m looking to engage, and got plenty of inspiration on future content plans.

Get it on AmazonGoodreads Rating: 4.08 | Liz Rating: 5

Productivity

Ahhh productivity. It’s a magic word in the world of the online entrepreneur. Everyone wants it, will read endless blog posts about it, and search high and low for the secret sauce. Fortunately, you can cut through the noise and read a couple of very good books on how not only get better at being productivity but also the thought process behind it.

Both these books help you understand how you can better tap into your own productivity.

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller

Gary Keller is the guy behind the huge real estate firm Keller Williams, so we’ll say he knows a few things about building a successful business. So what’s the secret to his success? Finding the one thing in your work or life that makes everything else easier.

It’s a pretty simple formula, but oftentimes it’s the really simple things that we overcomplicate. At least I know I do. The book itself is a very quick and easy read. I found myself nodding yes at sections, and realizing that once again, a key to success is drilling down and focusing on the very few things that matter to drive you forward.

Get it on AmazonGoodreads Rating 4.17 | Liz Rating: 5

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

I went into this book without high expectations, and man was I wrong. I actually loved it. If you’re someone who struggles with building solid good habits, this could be for you. What Duhigg, a reporter for the New York Times, does here is offer you a look at the psychology and science behind building powerful habits.

What I liked about the book was it gives a deep dive into the why behind habits. As someone who generally has a hard time managing productivity and forming consistent good habits, this book from the scientific studies to the case studies really drive the points home and helped me move forward. A change to your approach could be all you need.

Get it on AmazonGoodreads Rating: 3.98 | Liz Rating: 5

Time to Start Reading

Well, there you have it.

One last thing.

Don’t fall into the trap of reading only business books, especially if you want to be a better writer. As someone who was on a strict business book only diet for a long time, I realize now I was stubbornly missing out on some truly awesome reading material.

I try to rotate a mix of books through a variety of genres throughout the year, and because I can’t resist, here are some all around non-business great reads to check out:

Now back to our regularly scheduled reading…

These twelve books will get you started on a full year of reading. You should be able to tackle one of these a month, and feel like you’ve learned a ton about growing your business and yourself.

I wanted to make this list a little bit different than others, trying to feature books that had a major impact on me but weren’t the ones on every list you see out there.

Hopefully, I’ve succeeded.

For similar sites that feature quality lists of epic books, check out some of these:

Now, I know there are probably some books you think I missed and some I haven’t read, I’d love to hear more about them, so share your thoughts in the comments.

You can find me on my website, tweeting (a lot about books) on Twitter, and check out what I’m reading right now on Goodreads.

SurDude March 1, 2016 at 10:48 am

Thanks for sharing the list. One comment about Warren Buffett, and anyone else that reads for six hours each day. If you’re worth billions and / or are at the later end of your career, you can do these things.
Reading for six hours each day pretty much goes against what most people will teach about starting a business. How do you make any progress while sticking your nose in a book (or online) for that much time?
One last thought about people like Buffett. Not to sound like I’m dwelling on the negative info. But people of Buffet’s age and level of business should be doing more “writing” compared to “reading”. Buffet, Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg (in the future) should be cranking out books every year if they really want people to learn and be inspired by their life.

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Liz March 2, 2016 at 12:47 pm

What works for Buffett doesn’t work for all. The best approach is to find what works for you.

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Steve Cunningham March 7, 2016 at 2:36 pm

Buffet/Munger/Every Other Really Successful Person spends a lot more time reading than the average person. It’s not that they have time to do it now they are successful, they are successful because they found the time to do it before they were.

Jacki March 1, 2016 at 11:24 am

Great list, Sean. Thanks for sharing these additional sources of inspiration.

For your Work category at the top, what about Scott Fox’s Click Millionaires?

The sub-title shows it’s a great fit for anybody that likes 4HWW: “Work Less, Live More with an Internet Lifestyle Business You Love”.

Many of the reviews on Amazon.com say it’s like the sequel to 4HWW that Tim Ferris never wrote.

Looking forward to checking out some of your other recs I’ve never heard of, too.

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Liz March 2, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Thanks for the recommendation, Jacki. Hadn’t heard of Click Millionaires, will have to check it out.

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Alex Swallow March 1, 2016 at 11:27 am

Love the list, Sean!

A few I would add:

The Spirit Level http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Spirit-Level-Equality-Everyone/dp/0241954290

Basically anything by Alain De Botton http://alaindebotton.com/ plus, love his narration on this amazing channel https://www.youtube.com/user/schooloflifechannel

Anything in the Oxford ‘Very Short Introductions’ series

Plus, perhaps my favourite ever book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sophies-World-Novel-History-Philosophy/dp/1857992911

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Liz March 2, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Thanks for the rec, Alex, will be sure to check them out!

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Alex March 2, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Thanks Liz and my apologies that I didn’t read the first bit properly and didn’t see the list was from you!

Elaine Hutchison March 1, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Hi Sean and Liz,

Thanks so much for this list. I read a few of them but will add some of these to my “to read” pile.

Others that I would recommend are:

The Well Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman–a how-to for setting up a small writing business. A great reference that can almost be considered a classic.

Overcoming Under-earning by Barbara Stanny- This book is primarily for women because we have a tendency to undercharge. The exercises in this book are stellar for creating a new mindset around your professional worth.

Dragon Spirit: How to Self-Market Your Dream by Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gould. This book, c0-authored by the zentrepreneurs for the Republic of Tea, is a great woo-woo approach to the practical world of marketing your dream business. A really enjoyable read that re-ignites my enthusiasm each time I read it.

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Liz March 2, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Thanks Elaine, for sure will check out what you’ve listed above. I’ve heard of the Well Fed Writer but not the other two, sounds great!

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Lise Cartwright March 1, 2016 at 10:54 pm

Sean, thanks for bringing in Liz again!

Liz, as usual, your work is awesome 🙂

I just went ahead and bought that Bird by Bird book, as I think this is like the third time I’ve heard you mention it, so I figured I’d better get it so I don’t fall behind ya!

I also caved and grabbed Everybody Writes! And I bought physical books this time, which I haven’t done in so long. I find they tend to ‘stick’ better in my head.

FHWW was the first book I ever read and it definitely inspired me to pursue a different life.

A couple of books I’d also recommend are:

– Rejection Reset: A strategic step-by-step program for restoring self-confidence, reshaping an inferior mindset and thriving in a shame-free lifestyle by Scott Allan

– 2,000 to 10,000: How to write faster, write better and write more of what you love by Rachel Aaron

– The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

I read these three in 2015 and they had a massive impact on my outlook and learning!

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Liz March 2, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Thanks Lise! Let me know what you think of both Bird by Bird and Everybody Writes. Will for sure take a look at the three you recommended.

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Chas March 2, 2016 at 5:55 am

I am currently reading ‘The Art of Non-Conformity’ by Chris Guillebeau and would also recommend ‘The Art of Possibility’ by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. Just for the subject of writing, I would recommend ‘Zen in the Art of Writing’ by Ray Bradbury.

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Liz March 2, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Thanks Chas, you’re in an “the art of…” kick, but usually those types of books offer some great advice.

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Chas March 6, 2016 at 7:11 pm

Well, I am a visual artist, Liz-go figure, but, yes, they are full of useful advice. 😉

Jeremy March 3, 2016 at 6:21 pm

Okay, I’ve just gotta say, how the heck can Warren Buffet read 500 pages a day? If I tried to do that, I would be reading pretty much all day. Am I just a really slow reader? How can I read faster? I’d love to be able to read all the books I want to read more quickly, but I want to actually comprehend and absorb what I’m reading too, which I don’t feel like I can do when I try to read too fast.

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Liz March 16, 2016 at 2:06 pm

Totally hear you on that, Jeremy. You want the right mix of being able to consume a lot but also learn. I think honestly, from what I’ve read about him is it’s just practice. No one can start out with 500 pages a day, but maybe its 25 a day, then up to 50, then up to 100 over the course of time. If you read a lot on Kindle, check out Clippings.io it helps you create and organize book notes.

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latish March 8, 2016 at 7:27 am

Great list of books. Added a bunch to my to-read list.
If you are looking for more stuff to read, you can see my recommendations and booknotes at the link in the profile.

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Liz March 16, 2016 at 2:06 pm

Thanks Latish, I’m always looking!

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Troy S March 30, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Not sure that Julia Child was actually a WWII spy.
Otherwise a seamingly nice list including several I have not read so looking forward to some new / good reads. Thanks.

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