Being a CEO can be very lonely. There’s often a feeling that the weight of the world is on your shoulders, and you alone are responsible for an ever-increasing list of concerns and responsibilities. 

Asking for help from anyone, whether it’s a coach, colleague, family member, or just a book works for me and is the perfect action I can take to better myself and my future. We should explore insights from others and learn from them. Here is a list of books that helped me through my journey of finding what it is that I truly want to do.

From Good to Great

1. Good to Great

Author: Business Researcher Jim Collins

In his study, Collins found that to go from good to great requires leaders to go beyond the curse of competence – a finding referred to The Hedgehog Concept. Additionally, he refers to the Stockdale Paradox as a concept that teaches you to “retain faith that you will prevail in the end” despite the brutal facts of your current reality. Our lives can’t change until we accept our circumstances, learn from them, and continue moving forward. 

How this book can help you:

This book asks you to reflect on your current situation and how you can prevail. It encourages you to take action and look for a solution instead of staying stuck in the mud.

Rethinking Positive Thinking

2. Rethinking Positive Thinking

Author: Psychologist Gabrielle Oettingen

Oettingen rebuffs simple optimism and acknowledges that changing your mindset is not as easy as flipping a switch. She believes that people can follow “the wise pursuit of [their] dreams” through her program of WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan).

How this book can help you:

WOOP is an excellent exercise you and your team can go through when thinking about your business plan and what you want to achieve. It keeps your feet on the ground and leaves little time for you to get lost in the clouds.

Willing to Fail

3. WTF? (Willing to Fail): How Failure Can Be Your Key to Success

Author: Business Leader Brian Scudamore

Scudamore forces the reader to see failure in a new light: a temporary condition that soon becomes a lesson learned and a central ingredient for success. This book emphasizes the imperative that we learn from our mistakes so we can be better students, workers, and citizens. 

How this book can help you:

By approaching failure authentically, transparently, and vulnerably you’ll be better prepared to overcome it and achieve success.

Start with Why

4. Start with Why

Author: Motivational Speaker Simon Sinek 

Sinek discusses how intentions focus on our why and how that’s connected to our passion and purpose. It frees us from focusing on the end result and instead on the journey.

How this book can help you:

As entrepreneurs, we are so results-driven that we sometimes forget to focus on the journey. Sinek provides the support needed to begin switching from expectations to intentions.

Branding is Sex

5. Branding is Sex 

Author: Brand Expert Deb Gabor 

From the first page to the last, you’ll learn how Deb Gabor creates Irrational Loyalty between her clients and their customers. Her approach to branding and marketing is designed to aim your brand at your Ideal Customer – the customer most predictive of your success. 

How this book can help you:

Gabor’s tips for better branding will help you understand how proper brand positioning and messaging can “get your customers laid.”

How to fail at almost everything

6. How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life

Author: Creator Scott Adams

Adams examines what failure really is – a loop, a crooked line, or a series of missteps. His advice teaches you to stop dwelling on the cost of failure, and transform it into profit.

How this book can help you:

By inviting you to survive and appreciate failure, Adams shows you the value of embracing it. I’ve found that extraordinary entrepreneurship comes only from embracing that looping string of failures.

Podcast Guest Profits

7. Podcast Guest Profits

Author: Founder of Interview Valet Tom Schwab

Schwab reminds us that relationships are the richness of life and should not be transactional. He explains how his ability to work with people and accept conflict in relationships is the key to his success. 

How this book can help you:

You’ll understand how treating every person you encounter with a relationship mindset is critical to creating extraordinary entrepreneurialism. Investing in people is crucial for success.

Start Ugly

8. Start Ugly

Author: Founder of PodFest Chris Krimitzos

Krimitzos reinforces the idea that success rarely happens overnight. Failure forces you to get unstuck through innovation – the ultimate learning experience.

How this book can help you:

Get a sense of relief knowing that every new venture has a rocky start. That’s okay, because starting ugly will discover what works best.

9. Designing Your Life

Author: Educators Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Burnett and Evans introduce the concept of design thinking – how designers build their way forward. Applying this technology process to your career and your life can help you be successful. 

How this book can help you:

You’ll be motivated to ask questions and peel back your many layers, and those of your business and relationships, in order to start living life by design.

Learning Well From Within

10. Leading Well from Within: A Neuroscience and Mindfulness-Based Framework for Conscious Leadership

Author: CEO of SuperSmartHealth Daniel Friedland 

Friedland explains the importance of pushing yourself beyond your limits, allowing you to make incredible breakthroughs. He refers to eustress, a kind of beneficial stress, as necessary to a healthy professional and personal life.  

How this book can help you:

Learn to leverage your stress as an asset and thrive from within. Successful people are at their best when they’re under pressure, and that pressure serves as the engine that drives them forward.


From Suck to Success

From Suck to Success

Author: Entrepreneur Coach Todd Palmer (Hey, that’s me!)

Seven chapters of amazing, invaluable, and timeless lessons I learned on my journey to entrepreneurial success (clearly, I’m biased). I overcame every obstacle by changing my mindset, setting intentions not expectations, creating a strategy, and learning from feedback.

How my book can help you:

This is a playbook toward your path to extraordinary entrepreneurship. Learn to make a life, and not just a living by approaching setbacks and failures in a new way with my Four-Step Process.