When 2014 started, I vowed to read more books than I had the previous year. 8 months down the line, my little house is filled with books -besides my school work books- and I’m enjoying every bit of it. I never understood why some people never understood what seemed obvious, but with a little help, I’ve come to appreciate our diversity in the way we see things. The gems hidden in some of these books you can’t learn in school or from interacting with other people, you have to source for yourself. To grow yourself.    

Here are my top 20 books so far. Some that I have read, and others I plan to read.

1. First Things First by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill, Rebecca R. Merrill
First Things First can help you understand why so often our first things aren’t first. Rather than offering you another clock, First Things First provides you with a compass, because where you’re headed is more important than how fast you’re going.


2. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Even though this book was written in 1937, it is still relevant for understanding what outstanding business people do differently from the rest of us. The author interviews hundreds of successful individuals and identifies common behaviors and traits amongst them.


3. How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Every day you will have to excel at working with people. Not only will you need to work as a team, you will also need to convince others to believe in your business. This is a mandatory guide for anyone that needs to influence people to advance in their career


4. The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
This particular book is all about breaking through limiting beliefs that hold you back from truly having the freedom you want and deserve.


5. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
The need for more vulnerability is huge. We put on armors and never take them off to let people in or to be the person we want to be.
But if you’re vulnerable you can experience love, joy, empathy, creativity, and gratitude. We need to get naked again.


6. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
   There is a blur between how we live our lives and how we run our businesses, and if we want to achieve our ideal lifestyle, we need to be cognizant of how to build good habits in both.
7. Growing a Business by Paul Hawken
Brian Hamilton, the co-founder of leading financial analysis company Sageworks, says that he still refers to Growing a Business. Like growing a plant, the book shows founders how to develop businesses steadily. He advises against growing a business too quickly or borrowing a lot of money in the beginning.
8. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
For anyone wanting to figure out how to make something go viral, this pillar of marketing is a must-read.


9. Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon
New entrepreneurs are often creative individuals. This book literally helps you “steal like an artist.” It shows you how to find ideas you want to implement and re-appropriate them as your own.


10. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
This classic touts the principles of spending little, being comfortable with uncertainty, and pivoting quickly when direction must inevitably change course.


11. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Rather than give you a how-to guide for starting a new business, Rework asks entrepreneurs to answer the most pivotal question first: why is what you’re doing so important? It helps you find that niche and develop a service or product that will serve this niche.


12. The Business of Belief by Tom Asacker
What makes someone want to buy your product? What motivates them to click and follow through with the ‘Add to Cart’ action?
Tom Asacker tackles the question of belief and motivation in a book full of inspiration and a-ha moments that make you want you to read it slowly to savor the wisdom. Read it when you need to be re-inspired or when you need to see an old problem with new eyes.


13. The Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns
How would you like to be the obvious choice among your competition and land new clients sans slaving over impressively time-consuming proposals?
Deemed as a go-to book for creatives by Karley Cunningham, the Win Without Pitching Manifesto will show you how to run your business to be more lucrative and gratifying.
Read this if you’re feeling stuck in a rut with client work and want to see your business with new eyes.


14. Resonate By Nancy Duarte
After seeing Nancy Duarte speak at WDS, it was obvious to everyone in the room that she had discovered a genius formula for crafting everything from blog posts to keynote speeches that create movements and incite passion.
Read this book, if you’re looking to start or refine your remarkable speaking career.
15. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman
This literary piece explains the propaganda model of the media which critiques the relationship between the mass media, corporations and the government. It’s a good read since the power of mass media these days influences all factors of the society.


16. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
Some points of this popular novel is a somewhat related to the previous item since it also talks about popular culture and the influences of the media. This epic encounter between a dying sociology professor and an erstwhile student had such a strong positive influence on readers that it was turned into a TV movie.


17. Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
To put in simple terms, this Malcolm Gladwell book emphasizes how spontaneous decisions which are made in a blink of an eye can sometimes be better than the ones which were carefully planned and thought about a million times. It also mentions about how people have an instinctive ability to mind read. If that doesn’t intrigue you, then what could?
18. Half of a yellow sun By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda has achieved several noble things with one stroke. She has furnished literature with simple, elegant and sharp sentences and a (albeit horror) story beautifully woven together in paragraph after paragraph. She has also written a history of the Igbos during a certain period of time. Finally she has presented a literary monument to love and relationships and hope and human dignity. Her characters – – their lives, their triumphs, and their failures – speak to the enduringness of love and truth and the dominance of the human spirit.
19. The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
Like most self help books, this one helps you simplify your life by targeting on the habits that are keeping you from moving forward. Leo Babauta’s principles maybe a little difficult to follow but with an open mind and a drive to declutter, a simple lifestyle is not impossible.
20. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
The Road Less Traveled centers on the role of discipline as the main ingredient for a holistic disposition which he describes as “the means of spiritual evolution”.



Cynthia Mwangi


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