Essential Reading for Entrepreneurship and Professional Growth in 2021

I get excited about books. If you're anything like me, you have a pile of them on your nightstand a mile high that never seems to dwindle. This year, I have decided to take a new approach to my booklist: instead of acquiring more books and trying to stuff my brain with oodles of brand new knowledge, I am going back in time.

In 2021, I am rereading the books that have had the greatest impact on me professionally. Why add more to the queue, when I know for a fact how valuable this information is? I definitely haven't attained mastery of the principles in these books yet, so it is time to revisit them.

I will reread and reread until I have the content etched into my brain. Only then will I allow myself to move on to the rest of my massive book pile.

I am confident that if you ingest, internalize, and successfully apply the concepts in these books you will achieve unparalleled success in 2021 and beyond. Use my handy Amazon affiliate links below to grab these books at the best possible price.

The List:

  1. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

  2. Superfans by Pat Flynn

  3. Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

  4. One Million Followers by Brendan Kane

  5. Now Try Something Weirder by Michael Johnson

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

A couple years back, my boss made Ego is the Enemy required reading for our whole staff. Holy cow, it was nothing short of lifechanging.

Excerpt: "It’s wrecked the career of promising young geniuses. It’s evaporated great fortunes and run companies into the ground. It’s made adversity unbearable and turned struggle into shame. It derails ambition, turns success into poison, and makes failure the most bitter taste of all.

Its name? Ego. Ego is the enemy—of what you want to achieve, of what you have, and what you’re struggling to overcome. It’s an internal opponent warned against by every great philosopher, in our most lasting stories and countless works of art, in every culture, in every age.

In the pages of this book, we fight to destroy it before it destroys us."

Make Ego is the Enemy required reading for you and your employees. You won't regret it.

Superfans: The Easy Way to Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, and Build a Successful Business by Pat Flynn

I was fortunate to watch Pat Flynn speak at the 2019 Military Influencer Conference, shortly after this book was released. I was also lucky to walk away with a signed copy! Superfans outlines exactly how to guide potential followers and customers up the ladder from casual passersby to devoted fandom. Super fans are the ones that will buy your products and support your initiatives every time, so obviously, you want as many of them as is possible.

As I work to build my own personal brand and business, I have found myself referencing Superfans often.

Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

My older brother recommended this quick and impactful read last year. Rework is a collection of non-traditional business ideas by the founders of Basecamp.

Author Seth Godin's Amazon review of Rework: "This book will make you uncomfortable. Depending on what you do all day, it might make you extremely uncomfortable. That's a very good thing, because you deserve it. We all do. Jason and David have broken all the rules and won. Again and again they've demonstrated that the regular way isn't necessarily the right way. They just don't say it, they do it. And they do it better than just about anyone has any right to expect. This book is short, fast, sharp and ready to make a difference. It takes no prisoners, spares no quarter, and gives you no place to hide, all at the same time. There, my review is almost as long as the first chapter of the book. I can't imagine what possible excuse you can dream up for not buying this book for every single person you work with, right now. Stop reading the review. Buy the book."

He's right. Stop reading and buy Rework.

One Million Followers: How I Built a Massive Social Following in 30 Days by Brendan Kane

One MILLION followers? In a month? How is that even possible without a six-figure marketing budget?

Well, it IS possible. Brendan Kane has done it, and tells you exactly how in One Million Followers. This book is exceptionally dense: jam-packed with valuable information about how to approach content, organic reach, virality, paid social advertising, and more.

Despite being a successful author and entrepreneur with millions of followers, Brendan Kane is still a cool enough guy to genuinely interact with his fans. I tagged him in an Instagram story a couple months ago and he replied with a super nice audio message. Legit. Buy One Million Followers and read it twice.

Now Try Something Weirder by Michael Johnson

I picked up Now Try Something Weirder in a random New York City bookshop after the cover grabbed my attention. Author Michael Johnson put together this outstanding and visually-appealing compilation of over 200 vignettes and short-form insights about his experiences and lessons learned in the creative industry.

The concepts and ideas in Now Try Something Weirder apply to various areas of business, so don't shy away if you aren't a graphic designer or artist. Regardless of your industry, being able to produce and pitch new ideas regularly is a valuable skill.

In conclusion

Don't hesitate, folks; use the sponsored links above to give your professional library an epic boost. Each of these books provide valuable insights that will bring you closer to your dreams and ambitions!

Heck, buying the whole dang library will only cost you about $100. That's a small price to pay for a transformative professional experience, don't you think?

If you're looking for a deeper dive on these titles, I discuss them all (along with a bonus sixth book) in this video (don't forget to subscribe!):

Have you read any of the above selections? Which is your favorite? What would you add?

Continue the conversation in the comments section below, or scroll to the bottom of this page and connect via the big white social buttons.

Much love, all.

Adam Braatz