If you are looking for ways to stay motivated and push forward in business (specifically the music or entertainment industry), then this list comes highly recommended. These isn’t the end all-be all book list, but rather ones I have read recently that helped motivate and inspire me while finishing my album, getting it out to the people effectively, and then continue to press forward with my goals and aspirations. I figured someone else out there might need or could use some motivation and inspiration (especially with some of my students graduating and moving on to the next phase of their life). So here is my little list of 12. A smooth dozen. Just think of it as one book a month! Enough information to get you to a much better place this time, next year!
I’ll list the books (in no particular order) with a brief description of the content.
#1 – The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
The War of Art identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.
The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself.
#2 – From Zero To Sideman (in 5 Easy Steps) by Mel Brown
For years, millions of musicians have aspired to a career performing professionally as Sidemen. They’ve dreamed of going on the road, recording hit records, and playing sold-out shows. It seems like only a precious few get to live the dream, while the vast majority fail to solve the mystery of simply getting started in the music industry. From Zero To Sideman is a no-nonsense book that keeps it real and takes the mystery out of making it happen. Everything from deciding to go pro, buying gear, getting educated, making a demo, to self-promotion is covered here in easy to understand language.
#3 – Practice Perfect by Doug Lemov
In this book, the authors engage the dream of better, both in fields and endeavors where participants know they should practice and also in those where many do not yet recognize the transformative power of practice. And it’s not just whether you practice. How you practice may be a true competitive advantage. Deliberately engineered and designed practice can revolutionize our most important endeavors. The clear set of rules presented in Practice Perfect will make us better in virtually every performance of life. The “how-to” rules of practice cover such topics as rethinking practice, modeling excellent practice, using feedback, creating a culture of practice, making new skills stick, and hiring for practice.
#4 – The Indie Band Survival Guide by Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan
Newly revised and expanded, the acclaimed handbook for musicians looking to write, record, and promote without a label
More musicians are recording, distributing, marketing, and selling their own music now than ever before in history. The Indie Band Survival Guide is the critically-acclaimed, do-it-yourself modern classic that has been telling them how for years.
In this up-to-the-moment edition, musicians and web gurus, Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan, cover everything musicians need to know. Drawing on their in-the-trenches experiences, they tell musicians how to:
– Sell on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify
– Get played on radio, podcasts, and blogs
– Effectively market on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube
– Copyright, license, and make money- And much more
This information exists nowhere else. Chertkow and Feehan are pioneers in using the Internet to do what only labels could do in the past and will help your band go from garage to global.
#5 – The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout
As Al Ries and Jack Trout—the world-renowned marketing consultants and bestselling authors ofPositioning—note, you can build an impressive airplane, but it will never leave the ground if you ignore the laws of physics, especially gravity. Why then, they ask, shouldn’t there also be laws of marketing that must be followed to launch and maintain winning brands? In The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Ries and Trout offer a compendium of twenty-two innovative rules for understanding and succeeding in the international marketplace. From the Law of Leadership, to The Law of the Category, to The Law of the Mind, these valuable insights stand the test of time and present a clear path to successful products. Violate them at your own risk.
#6 – The Dynamic Studio by Philip Johnston
Practice Revolution author Philip Johnston looks at 93 different elements of traditional music teaching that are desperately in need of an update for today’s students.
From motivation systems to resourcing, repertoire selection to to the practice treadmill, unconventional scheduling to simply how to make a studio more fun, The Dynamic Studio is another explosion of ideas from the world’s best known writer on music teaching.
Brainfluence explains how to practically apply neuroscience and behavior technology and behavior research to better market to consumers by understanding their decision patterns. This application, called neuromarketing, studies the way the brain responds to various cognitive and sensory marketing stimuli. Analysts use this to measure a consumer’s preference, what a customer reacts to, and why consumers make certain decisions.
With quick and easy takeaways offered in 60 short chapters, this book contains key strategies for targeting consumers through in-person sales, online and print ads, and other marketing mediums. This scientific approach to marketing has helped many well-known brands and companies determine how to best market their products to different demographics and consumer groups.
#8 – Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk
Do you have a hobby you wish you could indulge in all day? An obsession that keeps you up at night? Now is the perfect time to take that passion and make a living doing what you love. In Crush It! Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, Gary Vaynerchuk shows you how to use the power of the Internet to turn your real interests into real businesses. Gary spent years building his family business from a local wine shop into a national industry leader. Then one day he turned on a video camera, and by using the secrets revealed here, transformed his entire life and earning potential by building his personal brand. By the end of this book, readers will have learned how to harness the power of the Internet to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Step by step, Crush It! is the ultimate driver’s manual for modern business.
#9 – Love Is The Killer App by Tim Sanders
Are you wondering what the next killer app will be? Do you want to know how you can maintain and add to your value during these rapidly changing times? Are you wondering how the word love can even be used in the context of business?
Instead of wondering, read this book and find out how to become a lovecat—a nice, smart person who succeeds in business and in life.
How do you become a lovecat? By sharing your intangibles. By that I mean:
Your knowledge: everything that comes from all the books that I’ll encourage you to devour.
Your network: the collection of friends and contacts you now have, which I’ll teach you how to grow and nurture.
Your compassion: that human warmth you already possess—in these pages I’ll convince you that you can show it freely at the office.
What happens when you do all this?
* You become a rich source of information to all around you.
* You are seen as a person with valuable insight.
* You are perceived as generous to a fault, producing surprise and delight.
* You double your business intelligence in one year.
* You triple your network of personal relationships in two years.
* You quadruple the number of colleagues in your life who love you like family.
In short, you become one of those amazing, outstanding people to whom everyone turns, who leads rather than follows, who never runs out of ideas, contacts, or friendship.
Here’s the real scoop: Nice guys don’t finish last. They rule!
#10 – Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
Whether it is the TV commercial that breaks into our favorite program, or the telemarketing phone call that disrupts a family dinner, traditional advertising is based on the hope of snatching our attention away from whatever we are doing. Seth Godin calls this Interruption Marketing, and, as companies are discovering, it no longer works.
Instead of annoying potential customers by interrupting their most coveted commodity—time—Permission Marketing offers consumers incentives to accept advertising voluntarily. Now this Internet pioneer introduces a fundamentally different way of thinking about advertising products and services. By reaching out only to those individuals who have signaled an interest in learning more about a product,Permission Marketing enables companies to develop long-term relationships with customers, create trust, build brand awareness — and greatly improve the chances of making a sale.
#11 – Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
In Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh – the hip, iconoclastic, and widely-admired CEO of Zappos, the online shoe retailer – explains how he created a corporate culture with a commitment to service that aims to improve the lives of its employees, customers, vendors, and backers. Using anecdotes and stories from his own life experiences, and from other companies, Hsieh provides concrete ways that companies can achieve unprecedented success. He details many of the unique practices at Zappos, such as their philosophy of allocating marketing money into the customer experience, the importance of Zappos’s Core Values (“Deliver WOW through Service”), and the reason why Zappos’s number one priority is company culture and his belief that once you get the culture right, everything else – great customer service, long-term branding – will happen on its own. Finally, Delivering Happiness explains how Zappos employees actually apply the Core Values to improving their lives outside of work, proving that creating happiness and record results go hand-in-hand.
#12 – Welcome to the Music Business (You’re Fu*ked) by Martin Atkins
Unlike most music-industry books, this guide is a gritty, punky, and irreverent real-life look at what goes into being a musician. Removing the rose-colored glasses, Martin Atkins—a lifelong music-industry professional—delivers the truth about the music business and its struggles with razor-sharp wit. Potential pitfalls are laid bare among illustrations and humor, sweeping niceties away to show readers how to keep from being derailed by band mates, record labels, managers, booking agents, and most importantly—themselves.
Enjoy this list! See you in a year as a better version of you!