Jonas Altman


3 Classic Books I Wish I’d Read Earlier

These easy reads will help you thrive in business, life, and beyond.

Timing is everything. Or so they say. Sometimes, a book comes into your life at the perfect time, or perhaps you justify it as such. Either way, here are three books I’m sure I would enjoy and benefit from reading earlier than I did.

They continue to have a profound effect on why I do what I do and how I go about doing it. They address motivation, adversity, and innovation — in an oh-so-easy fashion.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

I was fortunate to catch Daniel Pink speaking at a conference. Afterwards, I approached him and chimed, “You know, your book changed my life.” Doh, after the words left my mouth I realised how he probably gets that all the time. “I hope for the better,” he replied with a smirk. We both chuckled.

The crux of the book is that in work (as well in life) we are motivated by autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Drawing on the work of leading psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan when we have the freedom (or perception of it), competence (and capacity to improve), and relatedness (having our values aligned to what we are doing) — we are poised to optimally grow — and find meaning.

The E-Myth: Why Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It — by Michael Gerber

It’s amazing how many people reference this book as a classic, entrepreneurs or otherwise. My dad gave this to me and I recall feeling like, “Was Gerber writing this just for me?” His casual style, personal story, and anecdotes — make this a fascinating read. It’s also directly applicable to your business and work life no matter where you might be in your career.

It now has a revised edition and, at last count, 1,773 glowing reviews on Amazon. In fact, if you haven’t read it yet, stop reading this article and go cop yourself a copy.

On the Road — by Jack Kerouac

Yet another classic. I included this only because I think it’s more relevant now than ever before. In a world of fake news, smartphone addiction, and pseudo-public-figures, being authentic is the exception.

His biographer Ann Charters, wrote that Kerouac, “Had created a book that heralded a change of consciousness in the country.” Kerouac became the voice of a new generation that was not just musing about, but also living life a different way. An interesting sidebar is that Kerouac cultivated the myth that he effortlessly wrote the book in three weeks fueled by caffeine and Benzedrine. In reality, the ‘binge’ was much akin to six years (and arguably one of much agony).

Either way, Kerouac seduces you into his world and dazzles. When you finish the last page it’s infinitely worse than when the season of your current Netflix binge abruptly ends.

Join thousands and get my digest on the creativity and work simply by clicking here

More by Jonas Altman

Topics of interest

More Related Stories