Reading is Candy for the Mind

To inspire and to be inspired, to learn and to teach, to surprise and to be surprised, to broaden one’s mind and to gain that sparkling new energy for our upcoming adventures in the Business LaLa Wonderland.

Based on the most photographed slide of my keynotes: the inspirational booklist, frequently asked and even more often shared. Alternating between business and inspirational motivational titles.

Books appear in random order.

  • ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek
  • ‘Get Your Sh*t Together’ by Sarah Knight
  • ‘How not to Plan: 66 ways to screw it up’ by Les Binet and Sarah Carter
  • ‘Copywriting Secrets’ by Alan Sharpe
  • ‘Eat your Greens’ by Wiemer Snijders
  • ‘Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day’ by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky
  • “The ONE Thing” by Gary Kelly and Jay Papasan
  • ‘Let my people go surfing’ by Yvon Chouinard
  • ‘Chasing Excellence: A Story About Building the World’s Fittest Athletes’ by Ben Bergeron
  • ‘Life Scale’ by Brian Solis
  • ‘Thrive’ by Arianna Huffington
  • ‘TED Talks Storytelling: 23 Storytelling Techniques from the Best TED Talks’ by Akash Karia 
  • ‘Good Strategy, bad strategy’ by Richard P. Rumelt
  • ‘Everybody writes’ by Ann Handley
  • ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie
  • ‘Epic Content Marketing’ by Joe Pulizzi
  • ‘If I Could Tell You Just One Thing…: Encounters with Remarkable People and Their Most Valuable Advice’ by Richard Reed
  • ‘Daily Reflections for Highly Effective People: Living the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Every Day’ by Stephen R. Covey
  • ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ by Richard Carlson
  • ‘The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues’ by Patrick M. Lencioni 
  • ‘Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs’ by John Doerr

In addition to the books, check out my list of best apps



‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek

This is a classic. ‘No brainer, just read it. Even better than his TED talk. “Is a customer who buys your product for a second time a loyal customer of just plain lazy?” and more of this ‘food for thought’. Simon Sinek is straight to the point and inspiring.

“Some in management positions operate as if they are in a tree of monkeys. The make sure that everyone at the top of the tree looking down sees only smiles. But all too often, those at the bottom looking up see only asses.” (page 113)

Get the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1591846447/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_T8wACbP6MGFTH


‘Get Your Sh*t Together’ by Sarah Knight

“But the mental clutter was slowly taking up residence in my brain the way my extra luggage was taking up space in my friend’s basement” (page 264)

Ever felt like being ‘stuck’ and not moving forward in work and or life? Then this is the book for you, read her hands-on tips and tricks how to get your mental sh*t together and do get those things done. Rereading this every few months when I start procrastinating ;)

Get the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0316505072/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_Q.wACbJKD1XJJ


‘How not to Plan: 66 ways to screw it up’ by Les Binet and Sarah Carter

f*ckin’ brilliant… No brainer. Just read. “Digital data is often daily of hourly, making it easier to measure short-term marketing effect. But much hard to measure long-term effects. They get lost in the noise.” “Get it right, and you an move from Big Data to Big Insights, Big brands and Big Profits” (in the chapter ‘How not to see the wood for the trees’.)

Mandatory for every one who works in advertisiting, marketing and or communications: client and agency. The reviews speak for themselves.

Get the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FF3DY4B/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_YjxACbZF6EA99


‘Copywriting Secrets’ by Alan Sharpe

Absolutely love this. The proven copy rules: old school advertising print craft by DDB for Volkswagen, can also be applied for social, content, digital and more in these days. Please, read and learn.

“Before you can write great copy, you need to have a big idea, and before you can have a big idea, you need to have a great insight, and before you can have a great insight, you need to do lots of research.” (chapter 1)

“One of your main jobs as a copywriter is to translate product features into benefits. People buy benefits, not features. Just so we’re clear: a feature is what a product does, a benefit is what that feature does for me. How do you communicate that benefit in an original way? With a headline that states the feature and a photo that communicates the benefit.” (secret 10)

Get the book:
https://www.amazon.com/Copywriting-Secrets-Best-Campaign-Time-ebook/dp/B07LCSL5PW

Or take the video class:
https://www.skillshare.com/classes/30-Copywriting-Secrets-from-the-Best-Ad-Campaign-of-All-Time/1238746914/reviews


‘Eat your Greens’ by Wiemer Snijders

‘Razor-sharp overview of the marketing myths, misconceptions, dubious metrics and tactics that bear little relation to our actual buying behavior’.

Again… absolutely love this book: crap-cutting nonsense eliminating inspiration, no-brainers, and opening doors at the same excellent level as the ‘How not to plan’ by Les Binet.

Cherry pick the chapters that are relevant for you and your job, industry, profession. To be honest and speaking for me, myself and I: not every page of this book was equally interesting … and I skipped a few of them due to the subject or the way the chapter was written.

“First, we diagnose the situation of the brand via consumer research and understand just what is going on. Secondly, we use that diagnosis to build a clear and simple marketing strategy. Finally, with that strategy in place, we select the appropriate tactics to deliver the strategy and win the day. Strategy is a very complicated thing to work out, but should be a very simple thing to eventually explain.”

“Who am I targeting? What is my position to that target? What are my strategic objectives for that target market? My current estimate is that around 20% of brands could adequately or semi-adequately pass this test, and the rest have not the faintest clue how to even approach these questions.”

“Talk to agencies about the quality of the briefs they currently receive from clients and you will get the kind of hard stare usually reserved for the most outrageous agency gossip.” (all three quotes in Chapter 3 Mortification, Tactification, Communification and digitization by Mark Ritson)

Get this brilliant collection by Wiemer Snijders with great minds like Mark Ritson, Peter Field, Eaon Pritchard, Robert van Osnabruggen, Phil Barden, Bob Hoffman, Tom Goodwin and many many more:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eat-Your-Greens-Wiemer-Snijders/dp/1789016754

Thanks to the recommendation by Budi Gonzalez de Chaves, he made me finally pick it up and open the digital book on my kindle.


‘Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day’ by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky

How not to crush and squeeze that to-do list, but how to ‘Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day’ by Jake Knapp  (Author), John Zeratsky  (Author). Brilliant easy hack, tried and proven by myself ;)

Try that daily highlight for a few days and you will be hooked and get those things finally done.

“Yes, we know this sounds obvious, but there’s a special, almost magical power to writing down your plans: The things you write down are more likely to happen. If you want to make time for your Highlight, start by writing it down. (p. 43)

Read more: https://jakeknapp.com/make-time and get the first 26 pages for free on https://maketime.blog/

Get the complete book: https://www.amazon.com/Make-Time-Focus-Matters-Every/dp/0525572422

Visual credits: from the book itself


“The ONE Thing” by Gary Kelly and Jay Papasan

Ever felt being #stuck and #procrastinating? Get that sh*t done by “creating your own #strategy is to #focus and to make a choice. You simply cannot do everything simultaneously.”

“… the quality of the answer is directly determined by the quality of the question.

  • Ask the wrong question, get the wrong answer.
  • Ask the right question, get the right answer.
  • Ask the most powerful question possible, and the answer can be life alternating.” (chapter 10 The Focusing Question)

Get the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1885167776/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_xnxACbSBAJWYC


‘Let my people go surfing’ by Yvon Chouinard

How to apply your purpose to your brand, explained by Patagonia and do some storytelling along the way. Amazing example in the book ‘Let my people go surfing’ by Yvon Chouinard. 

N=1, first part, grab a bottle of wine and just read it, the second part gets really interesting how their (initial) mission statement “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” is applied to all aspects of their business: from marketing to HR and finance. 

Be inspired and get that book: https://www.amazon.com/Let-People-Surfing-Education-Businessman-ebook/dp/B000SEGEVC


Chasing Excellence: A Story About Building the World’s Fittest Athletes by Ben Bergeron

Honestly admitting, this blew my mind and re-reading the book every few months. For inspiration, for kick-in-the-ass, for positive vibe and for my big smile. Every.single.f*cking.time

What do sports got to do with business? It is all about the mindset.

“…there’s an unbreakable threefold policy: Never whine. Never complain. Never make excuses. (p65)”

“The idea is to hope for the best but plan for the worst. If you are prepared for adversity, when it strikes (and it’s going to strike), you can be confident in your preparation and ability to execute, regardless of circumstance. (p86)”

“Think like a bumblebee, train like a racehorse. (p98)”

“Control the think you can control, and ignore everything else (p139)”

Get that book: https://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Excellence-Building-Fittest-Athletes-ebook/dp/B0743MP21F

Visit https://benbergeron.com/


Life Scale by Brian Solis

Just.Read: all about creativity, productivity and getting your focus. Loved (almost) every page of “Life Scale” by @BrianSolis.

“Being creative isn’t as much a talent or gift as it is a choice.”

“Without creativity, we would dwell in comfort zones, mediocrity, and complacency. Without creativity, there would bee no innovation. Creativity pushes us to take risks, which can open new doors.” (Chapter4 Believe)

Get the book: https://www.amazon.com/Lifescale-Establish-Rituals-Routines-Achieve/dp/1119535867

Or visit https://lifescaling.me/


Thrive by Arianna Huffington

Redefining success and adding the third metric to ‘money’ and ‘power’. Fell in luv with especially the first half of the book. Could feel a bit feminine for some of the men, shuffle your ego dudes and get to her point on success and how to thrive in life.

“Lacking a line of royalty in America, (..) one gains today’s throne not by fortune of birth but by visible markers of success, money and power.”

“… over the long term, money and power are like a two-legged stool – you can balance on them for a while, but eventually you’re going to topple over.’

Get that book: https://www.amazon.com/Thrive-Redefining-Success-Creating-Well-Being/dp/0804140863

Thnx Marieke Smits for the tip.


‘TED Talks Storytelling: 23 Storytelling Techniques from the Best TED Talks’ by Akash Karia 

Checklist for every speaker, steal those cherries with pride to refine your own non-TED deck.

“The word “you” is regarded as one of the most powerful words in the English language. Why? Because people are interested in themselves!” (p. 47)

Get that book: https://www.amazon.com/TED-Talks-Storytelling-Techniques-Best-ebook/dp/B00EP0AAE2


‘Good Strategy, bad strategy’ by Richard P. Rumelt

Good strategy is creating focus and making choices.

“A good strategy does more than urge us forward toward a goal or vision. A good strategy honestly acknowledges the challenges being faced and provides an approach to overcoming them.”

“The core of strategy work is always the same: discovering the critical factors in a situation and designing a way of coordinating and focusing actions to deal with those factors.”

Get it: https://www.amazon.com/Good-Strategy-Bad-Difference-Matters/dp/0307886239


‘Everbody writes’ by Ann Handley

Stuck in writing? or producing content? Just read this book to get started. With 11 hands-on #tips and tricks. One of the very few books I have in paper and do not loan without a significant deposit ;)

“Giving your audience a gift, how can you best serve them, with a mindset of generosity?” (p29)

“Produce The Ugly First Draft: that’s basically where you show up and throw up. Write badly. Write as if never one will ever read it.” (p30)

“Start with ‘dear mom’ and keep a real person in mind. Someone you like, because you want to help this person.’ (p55)

Get it: https://www.amazon.de/Everybody-Writes-Go-Creating-Ridiculously/dp/1118905555


‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie

Written in 1938 and still amazingly relevant. The best-kept secret in people and expectations management. Just read this #book:  https://www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/0671027034


‘Epic Content Marketing’ by Joe Pulizzi

One of the best books on content, 7 years old and still relevant in this fast-paced industry. 

‘You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership’ quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower (p3)

‘Remember, customers don’t care about you; they care about themselves and their problems. We often forget that point when we describe how wonderful our widget is (that no one cares about).’ (p75)

The ***** reviews on Amazon speak for themselves. 

Get it: https://www.amazon.com/Epic-Content-Marketing-Different-Customers-ebook/dp/B00EHIEHDC


‘If I Could Tell You Just One Thing…: Encounters with Remarkable People and Their Most Valuable Advice’ by Richard Reed

“If I could tell you just one thing”… it is to read this #book.

Great for #inspiration and #insights. The * reviews on Amazon speak for themselves. Get it: https://www.amazon.com/Could-Tell-You-Just-Thing-ebook/dp/B01F5D2XS8


‘Daily Reflections for Highly Effective People: Living the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Every Day’ by Stephen R. Covey

Love Stephen Coveys’ daily no-brainers’ advice.

“Most people say their main fault is a lack of discipline. On deeper thought, I believe that the basic problem is that their priorities have not become deeply planted in their hearts and minds. They attempt to give priority to important but not urgent activities and integrate them into their lives through self-discipline along.” Long story short: it is not the lack of discipline, it is a matter of choice.

Get the paper only book: https://www.amazon.com/Daily-Reflections-Highly-Effective-People/dp/067188717

Shout out to Chris Alders for this #book recommendation


‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ by Richard Carlson

‘There are two rules for living in harmony. 1) Don’t sweat the small stuff and 2) It’s all small stuff. (p. 3)’

Great quote for that often much needed realitycheck :) in ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ by Richard Carlson.

‘Turn Your Melodrama into a Mellow-Drama, (…) we blow things out of proportion, and make a big deal out of little things. (…) When I get too worked up or start taking myself too seriously (which happens more than I like to admit), I say to myself something like, “Here I go again. My soap opera is starting.” (p. 147)’

Get the book: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Sweat-Small-Stuff-Its-ebook/dp/B000FC1VX8


‘The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues’ by Patrick M. Lencioni 

Not often that I am blown away by a book, inhaling the words cover to cover in less than 24h. Complicated stuff explained in a simple way. How to find the ideal team player: humble hungry and smart,

Get the book: https://www.amazon.com/Ideal-Team-Player-Recognize-Cultivate-ebook/dp/B01B6AEJJ0

Shout out to @Erik Hensel for this tip.

Image credits: https://readingraphics.com/book-summary-the-ideal-team-player/


‘Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs’ by John Doerr

Mind-blowing easy to keep track of why and what you do. Measure what matters. Love this, from KPI to OKR: ‘the Objective is simply what is to be achieved’, Key Results’ benchmark and monitor how we get to the objective. Effective KRs are specific and time-bound, aggressive yet realistic. Most of all, they are measurable and verifiable.’

A tangible example by Intel. Objective: ‘Demonstrate the 8080’s superior performance as compared to the Motorola 6800.’ Key Results: 1. Deliver five benchmarks. 2. Develop a demo. 3. Develop sales training materials for the field force. 4. Call on three customers to prove the material works.’ (p27)

https://www.whatmatters.com/ or get the book: https://www.amazon.com/Measure-What-Matters-Google-Foundation-ebook/dp/B078FZ9SYB

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