Business Books I’ve read 5 Times

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Yesterday I said I’ve got 1000 books; I’ve skimmed most, read 200 in full and read a few 5+ times. Someone asked – which ones have you read 5 times?

1. The Proverbs of Solomon. Also recommended: Wisdom of Solomon, which in the Catholic Bible. (Napoleon Hill is shallow. Solomon is deep.)

2. 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch. There’s far more to 80/20 than most people know.

"So many options for growing my business, but what should I do NOW?" Tell me your most pressing business problems and I'll show you your BEST next step.

3. Dan Kennedy’s original Magnetic Marketing System. Also: his Brass Balls seminar from 1999

4. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

5. The True Believer by Eric Hoffer

6. Unlimited Wealth by Paul Zane Pilzer

7. Winning Through Intimidation by Robert Ringer

What are your faves? Post a comment below:

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

59 Comments on “Business Books I’ve read 5 Times”

  1. Perry, these books are killer!

    I’m currently reading How To Win Friends and Influence People for the second time and your book 80/20 is currently changing my whole world, which I would like to discuss another time.

    I have a quick question though, I’m a Christian as well and have actually been trying to read a chapter of Proverbs every morning. However, I find that I have trouble getting the most out of it that I can. After a few lines, I feel like the topics are repeating themselves and I lose focus. Any resources or other help you would recommend?

    P.S. I’ve been listening to a lot of interviews with you recently and find that we have similar views on a lot of topics. I love your theory of lateral thinking where seemingly different topics in life can relate. I’ve just graduated college as an engineer but am trying to learn marketing on the side, your content is helping greatly!

  2. René Guénon–The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times
    Titus Burckhardt–The MIrror of Intellect
    –Sacred Art: East and West
    –Chartres and the Birth of a Cathedral
    Martin Lings–The Eleventh Hour
    Whitlall Perry–Treasury of Traditional Wisdom
    –The Widening Breach
    Frithjof Schuon–The Fullness of God

  3. IMPORTANT!! Positive Life changer
    #1 Dr. Robert Anthony, how to make me a possible possible.
    #2 Dr. Robert Anthony, Advanced Formula for total success.
    #3,Dr. Robert Anthony, The secrets of deliberate creation
    #4 By far the most important, Beyond positive thinking.
    #5 Joe Vitals, Attractor Factor.

  4. The best 80/20 book I’ve ever read (actually much better than Koch’s – which Is VERY good) are the first half dozen chapters on speed learning from the book “The 4-Hour Chef”

    Yes, I know this seems like THE oddest title given the topic, but trust me on this one. If you want to see 80/20 APPLIED (as opposed to Koch which does an excellent job in describing it conceptually) to learning, it is excellent. Just ignore all the stuff on recipes if that’s not your thing.


  5. 1) Bible – Proverbs and James (NT equivalent Proverbs)
    2) SuperSelf: Doubling Your Personal Effectiveness – Charles Givens
    3) How To Win Friends and Influence People – Carnegie
    4) See You At The Top – Zig Ziglar
    5) Top Performance: How to develop excellence in yourself and others – Zig Ziglar

  6. Thanks! Some great suggestions for my Christmas wish list.

    4 out of my 5 favorites have been mentioned before:

    80/20, Richard Koch
    Winning Through Intimidation, Robert Ringer (cause Mister Marshall recommended it a few months ago)
    Scientific Advertising, Claude Hopkins
    Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    Guerilla Marketing, Conrad levison
    and lots of biographies (Saatschi brothers, Tapie, Heineken, Brandson etc)

    No Kennedy on my reading list. I tried several times but I always give up after 50 pages or so. It’s the tone of voice that annoys me. Looks like I am the only one. maybe I should give it another try.


  7. This is a bit off topic, but my question is, how would you go about offering Adwords account management services to someone when you’ve never done it for someone before?

    Since reading your book I feel I know just enough to offer basic services, but stuck on the first stage.

  8. 1) Bible (it seems this is not a business book, in fact, it is)

    2) Dale Carnegie – How to win friends and influence people

    3) Napoeleon Hill – Think and Grow Rich

    4) Robert Kiyosaki – Rich Dad Poor Dad

    5) Stephen Covey – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

  9. I read parts of the Bible over and over again. Also books by David R Hawkins, with the first Power vs Force and the last Letting Go being the best to start with if you’ve never read his books.

    I read Psalms, Proverbs, and the new testament (minus revelations)probably 2-3 times per year and I read aprox. 2 to 3 of Hawkins books per year. I go from Psalms to Proverbs to the book of Mathew and read to end of the epistles.

    Same with Hawkins books. I’ll start at the first, read them in order to the last and start all over again. I have no idea how often I’ve completed all these books. My Bible is always on the coffee table in the living room along with one of Hawkins books.

  10. I’d like to suggest Thick Face, Black Heart.

    Much along the lines of Ringer’s Winning Through Intimidation (excellent, by the way. An absolute must read).

    It’s not as easy of a read as Ringer’s book but it has the added bonus of being written by a woman who succeeded despite her ‘shortcomings’.

  11. Would anyone recommend anything by Zig Ziglar? Since his very recent death I’ve been reading more about him…but never any of his books.

    1. Oh yes absolutely. His book Secrets of Closing the Sale is a great primer for sales people. But more importantly his attitude stuff (audios like “See you at the top” are GREAT GREAT stuff. I bet I listened to that 5 times.

  12. Tested advertising methods by John Caples who started writing ads in the 1930’s and is considered by many to be the greatest ad copywriter of all time (apart from Perry Marshall of course ;-)

    Making ads pay by John Caples

    How to make your ads make money by John Caples

  13. Proverbs is awesome! I’ve read through them daily for a number of years. You can’t help but grow wiser if you are feasting on Proverbs.

    The Bible (all books)

    Boundaries – Henry Cloud and John Townsend

    Telling Yourself the Truth – William Backus and Marie Chapian

    Getting Things Done – David Allen

    The Checklist Manifesto (first time reading – I’m sure there will be more)

    Differentiate or Die (also first time – see above)

    1. For those who’ve never read the Bible or studied theology, I want to strongly encourage you to do that and Proverbs is one of the best places you could start. I simply know of no better way to discern the deep from the shallow, the right from the wrong, the temporary vs. the permanent, than to study the Bible. The deeper the better.

      In fact I’ll go so far as to say the process of taking in the huge amount of information, the cultures, the world views that you find there, then sift and sort it to develop your own comprehensive worldview and your own theology – THAT is the bedrock of western civilization. It’s how modern man learned to think (having given birth to western science, law and philosophy) and it is how and it is where I myself learned how to THINK.

      Notice how many people here have mentioned the Bible. In all my surveys of 4-Man Intensive and Roundtable members, it’s the #1 book that comes up. Everyone owes themselves the courtesy of finding out what the fuss is all about.

  14. There is one book, I feel needs to be mentioned.

    If by luck, you stumble across this web page and you are looking for a sign, you have found it.

    The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle. Even better is the audio book in Echart’s own voice. It’s like a trance, so pleasant, soft and well spoken, yet clear. (plus you can be lazy with an audio book & listen while driving, or going to sleep)

    Don’t let my horrible english discourage you. Anything I type here will not do this book justice. You would thank me if you could. If we could set up a system where I would PAY YOU, if you didn’t love this book, I would do so. That is how strongly I feel.

    I feel the top 4 or 5 business books have been mentioned and of-course the bible. I feel this one needs to be mentioned, as start of the next level.

    Thanks for reading and good luck.

  15. Two of your books shaped my life.

    Dive Bell and the Butterfly & A mans search for meaning, especially the first half as its, kind of a two part book, IMHO.

    I may read some more of yours : )


  16. Think and grow rich. – Napolean Hill – Read twice.

    The magic of thinking BIG – Forgot the author – Read twice – 20 years ago

    As a man thinketh (read twice.) 25 years ago

    The Bible. Whole-thing. read once. favotite stories of determination in the book of Samuel I & Samuel II -of King david. Genesis 37 about Joseph.

    The millionare next door

    Winning by intimidation – Robert Ringer – recommended by Perry Marshall.

    Google Adwords – Perry Marshall (not through reading)

    The 7 habits of highly Successful people – Steven Covey – did not get through reading it since 20 years ago.

    Guerilla Marketing – J. Conrad levison. (pertains to the old way of marketing, from business cards to radio to telivision to billboards & direct mail.

    Interesting in comparison to today’s – google adwords.)

    Guerilla Marketing Attack – J. Conrad levison.
    (Update of guerrilla marketing).

  17. Actually the book that I have read the most times is the Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords (Various additions)

    The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle is another one I always end up coming back to

  18. I don’t understand #1.

    Where can I find Proverbs of Solomon and Wisdom of Solomon?

    Is Proverbs of Solomon the book Proverbs in the bible?

    What about Wisdom of Solomon?

  19. Tribes by Seth Godin – It gave me the courage to start writing and ACT on Perry’s great autoresponder series training.

  20. I’m amazed that the Proverbs Of Solomon is at the top of your list, Perry.

    Coincidentally, my wife and I are in the middle of reading the proverbs right now. I agree that Solomon is deep. The verses seem so simple on the surface, but doing further research reveals the true wisdom in what Solomon is saying.

    More people should read the proverbs and take them seriously. After all, Solomon is the wisest man in history.

    George Krahn

  21. the power of your subconscious mind, by Joseph Murphy

    the checklist manifesto, by Atul Gawande

    Better, by Atul Gawande

    Screw Business as Usual, Richard Branson

  22. Hey Perry. Thanks so much for posting this. I’m ordering the ones on your list that I don’t have already. Here are the ones that I just naturally keep referring to people:

    1. The Dip by Seth Godin
    2. Failing Forward by John Maxwell
    3. Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords (seriously)
    4. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath
    5. Advertising Secrets of the Written Word by Joe Sugarman
    6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
    7. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

  23. The Hobbit. A story about a timid fellow who is pushed by a wise and powerful mentor and learns to work with a mastermind group to accomplish goals never possible alone.

  24. 1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
    2. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
    3. Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins
    4. System Secrets by Ken McCarthy
    5. NO BS Sales Success in the New Economy (covers many principles also covered in Magnetic Marketing)
    6. The Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords by Perry Marshall and Bryan Todd (really!)
    7. Making them Believe – Dan Kennedy and Chip Kessler
    8. Change Your Thinking Change Your Life – Brian Tracy
    9. The New Psycho Cybernetics – Maxwell Maltz
    10. Maximum Achievement – Brian Tracy

  25. For me it’s not a book, it’s a genre. Cheap cowboy novels, reprints of stories printed in cowboy magazines in the early 1900s fascinate me more than a hidden can of Pringles. The wind-blown freedom and courage and occasional big word that sends me straight to my big dictionary, it’s all good.

  26. I suggest Running Lean. A book focused on startups but applicable to any business. Their approach to laying out your business using the Lean Canvas matrix is very, very useful.

    You can get the Lean Canvas template (just search for lean canvas template) for free and it is pretty self explanatory.

    It helps develop your USP too, so I am sure Perry will like it!

  27. Think and Grow Rich I have read at least three times, I am on my third reading of 80/20 right nonw. Think and Grow Rich is my favorite and 80/20 I am working through now because of Perry’s 8 step marketing plan. I was reading one of his articles and thought to myself I know that book, turned and looked on my bookshelf and there it was. Really nice to have something I had already thought worthwhile validated by someone else.


  28. *Well*

    I’m almost afraid to post this because I’m quite sure that no one will get it. The book is called A Spell For Chameleon by Piers Anthony. It is in the fantasy genre, not business, but the lesson is in the allegory. The hero is called Bink and he lives in world where everyone has a magic ability-except for himself. The truth is that his magical talent is that he cannot be harmed by magic. This book is about him learning what his talent is and how to use it effectively to become King of the land. No matter how many times I recommend this book, no one gets it, and everyone always dismisses it-and by extension me-as silly fluff.

      1. Along the same vein, I would like to write down The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov. I have read the entire series, like oh, about 10 times now.

        Something tells me that you’d be able to appreciate that Perry. ;)

    1. Too exhausted right now to make any deep contribution here, but Quantella, that was the first Piers Anthony book I ever read when I was about 12, and I loved it.

      I liked the whole Xanth series very much, but I think I liked that one the best. Haven’t read it since I was probably 14 or 15, but was just thinking a couple weeks ago about getting it for my 10-year old daughter.

      Funny how the universe works ;)


      1. Dear Mr. Harvey,

        Along with that book, may I suggest 2 more for when you feel the time is right? 1)Seducing The Boys’ Club by Nina DeSesa -and be careful with this’s quite racy and 2) Know Your Power: A Message To America’s Daughters. Political parties and swear words aside…both these books are essential weapons in any woman’s arsenal. All the bright women who have been bounced from Wall Street and other high profile jobs should have read them both twice.

  29. How To Win Friends & Influence People – By Dale Carnegie

    I read this book every few years and have read it a total of 10 times. It never gets old…

  30. I don’t think I’m up to 5 on any yet. But my faves are

    Scientific Advertising by Uncle Claude
    The Ultimate Sales Letter by DK
    Made to Stick by the Heath boys
    Reality in Advertising by Rosser Reeves

  31. Tom Peters – in Search of Excellence (Actually, anything by Tom Peters)
    Joe Sugarman – Triggers
    Oren Klaff – Pitch Anything

    I actually had the opportunity to meet Joe Sugarman at a sales conference. He’s one colourful character.

  32. Perry, I would have expected you to have applied the 80/20 rule when reading about the 80/20 rule :-)

    Some of my favourite books are:

    – Good to Great by Jim Collins
    – The Micro Script Rules by Bill Schley
    – How will you Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen
    – Chasing Daylight by Eugene O’Kelly
    – The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Ries and Trout
    – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
    – Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl
    – Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther (very inspiring)
    – Anything by Richard Feynman

    I could go on, but I’ll stop there!

  33. Malcolm Gladwell – Outliers
    Reminds us that hard work is important but also knowing that we are blessed by circumstances and need to keep our eyes open for opportunities within our time.

  34. 1. The Bible

    2. Think and Grow Rich

    3. The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz

    4. Dan Kennedy’s extended version of his current Magnetic Marketing (I’m not even half way through and already know I will hear it multiple times)

    5. No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy

  35. There are two books I keep on my desk at all times. A Manual For Living – Epictetus and As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. Both books can be read in an hour or so and should be read often to keep the ideas fresh and to gain deeper understanding.

    Another book I love is The Nine Things Successful People Do Differently by Heidi Grant. This is a very short digital book but gives some great guidance on mastering your behavior.

    The Millionaire Fastlane by M. J. DeMarco is a great read for any entrepreneur.

  36. Great list Perry. At least I can say the same about one on your list! (How to Win Friends & Influence People – keep it in my car and read it whenever I’ve got downtime). And while I read the Bible every week, I can’t say I’ve read Proverbs 5 times, but maybe I should start.

    I’ve read several Kennedy books, but not multiple times. Ringer’s book I’ve heard so much about, guess it’s time to buy it. The 80/20 book sounds excellent too, as do they all.

    Thanks Perry,


  37. 1. I’m Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 by Douglas Edwards (especially the audible version)

    2. Lean Startup by Eric Ries

    3. Proverbs

    4. Great by Choice by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen

    5. Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins

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