10 Books Competitive App Entrepreneurs Need To Read Before 2017

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been helping our top students with some new app marketing strategies.
While these are “new” to the app business, they’ve been around for as long for over 100 years – market research, creating customer avatars and over-delivering on great products.
10 Books To Read
This exercise has started to shift a lot of mindsets. What once seemed like an “impossible” feat (to find keyword volume in the app store) now looks like a huge opportunity. The massive ocean of traffic that lies outside of the app store is now becoming a real, viable path to success.
I’ve also realized that many of you have never read some of the great marketing books of the last 70 years. Why would you? Apps have been on their own “island” for 6 years now, seemingly in a different league than any other type of online business.
That changes today.
Below is a list of the top 10 books I’ve read in the last 2 years that have had the greatest impact on my marketing success. Some of them you may know, others you may not.
I cannot stress enough how much these books have helped me get richer, smarter and happier.
I wish the same for you.

1. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen

If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you’ve heard me mention this book dozens of times. It has changed my life more than any other and I continue to re-read chapters whenever I find myself in a period of stagnation.
TLDR: Small efforts done consistently will get you to your goals faster than any other path. Do one thing 15 minutes every day for a year and you can achieve virtually any goal.
I cannot recommend this enough. Please read it. Amazon Link

2. Scale by Jeff Hoffman

When I first read this book, I was completely blown away. Page by page you see how ANY business – app, car dealership, Fortune 500 company – is built on the same fundamentals. Those fundamentals are then executed by well oiled processes that lead to positive results.
For anyone who has ever felt a moment of “this business would stop if I didn’t show up every day” you need to read this.
TLDR: Scale is built on monitoring (not managing) systems that you meticulously create and refine. All parts of your business can be broken down into an operating procedure…anyone who thinks otherwise is not truly running a business. Amazon Link

3. Work the System by Sam Carpenter

Along the same line, I received this book in the mail from Perry Belcher after having a call with him. I spent about 20 minutes telling him how the app business was different than every other business, that my problems were unique and that my monetization strategy was “as good as it could get.”
Man, was I wrong. I’ll spare you the details but suffice it to say, this was a turning point in my life.
TLDR: Building systems is the fastest and easiest path to making more money than you dreamed of while working equal or less hours. Start small, measure and expand your systems building. Amazon Link

4. Great Leads by Michael Masterson

I heard Justin Brooke mention this on a webinar a few years ago and I decided to check it out. Justin is one of the world’s leading media buyers, specializing in record setting front end campaigns (FB Ads, Google Ads, etc) and he said this was the best book he ever read.
It’s definitely up there. If you ever wondered how people seem to “magically” write headlines, ads and customer avatars that print huge amounts of money, read this book.
TLDR: Follow one of 6 proven formulas to get anyone to do virtually anything related to advertising. His examples use less than 10 words and tell a story more engaging the most movies. Remarkable work. Amazon Link

5. Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

At our Bluecloud Europe Event in Amsterdam this past September, I asked everyone who has read this book to raise their hand. Approximately 50% of people did.
To me, being in business and NOT reading this is like being in the Vatican clergy and never reading the Bible.
It’s more than a playbook on how to make millions, it’s a spiritual guide that shows you how to harness the energy of the universe.
TLDR: The keys to success boil down to a few key principles including desire, faith and turning your subconscious mind into your biggest fuel source. Amazon Link

6. What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars by Jim Paul

You may have seen Tim Ferriss talk about this book a while back. I’m glad he did. This book impacted me so deeply I wrote a long blog post about it (read that here).
Most people in business are ashamed to admit when they’ve lost money. In an online world where ego is king, where your brand is your value, vulnerability seems weak. It’s only until they’re back on top do they open up about what really happened.
For anyone who made a pile of money in the app business…then lost a lot, take time to read this book. It will open your eyes to why you are just like those lottery winners who can’t hold their winnings.
TLDR: Making money done on the short term is very different than making money over the long term. The people who win year after year have a clear psychological profile that many entrepreneurs never adapt. Amazon Link

7. Buyer Legends by Bryan Eisenberg

This book will take you about 30 minutes to read and could have the biggest ROI of anything you do this week. When I was at my first Mastermind conference (2015), I was asked what my business did and who my customers were.
I waffled back and forth, unable to really crystalize an answer. One guy asked me what I’m selling. Not products, what dream am I selling. More money? Killer lifestyle? What story am I all about and what story is my brand all about?
Everyone unanimously told me to read this as if I wasn’t part of some secret circle. Once I read it, I understood what they were talking about.
TLDR: You are telling a story with your product and brand. You must believe in that story and your customers must also believe in that story. Powerful stories lead to powerful companies. Amazon Link

8. Trust Based Marketing by Dan Kennedy

When I kept hearing people talk about Dan Kennedy like he was some sort of God, I figured I had to read one of his books. Wow.
It was like getting a slap in the face by your surly old uncle who, deep down, you know is 100% right. Kennedy’s abrasive, in your face style explains in plain English why certain companies consistently deliver amazing results.
It doesn’t matter what business or industry you’re in, being able to have a formidable relationship with customers is everything.
TLDR: Over-deliver to people who really want what you have. Period. Amazon Link
NOTE: These guys are pretty heavy on the self-promotion in the book which at times can feel a bit gimmicky. Once you get past that, there is gold in these pages.

9. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith

The first time I read this, I dismissed it as some corporate BS that they pass out at SalesForce meetings.
Then I saw someone on FB post about how they were going through a very hard time in their life and this book helped them realize how much they were responsible for what got them to the point they were at.
I re-read it with a new lens of “how can the current Carter use this book to change the future Carter” and my mind was blown.
TLDR: Your habits, the stories you tell yourself, the excuses you make, your decisions…all created the person you are today. Unless you change something, that person will never become who you dream of being. Amazon Link

10. The Wizard of Ads by Roy H. Williams

I saw Roy Williams speak last year and it was one of the few times I ever thought about going back to school for something. He taught us about “Character Diamonds” which are pre-made profiles that we can apply to brands, customers and ourselves in order to build a business.
His book is equally mind blowing, offering 1-2 page nuggets of wisdom about advertising, marketing and the human experience. A magician, in every sense of the word.
TLDR: Boring ads suck. Great ads make people’s lives better. Enrich the world through mesmerizing experiences, marketing and products….and collect checks bigger than you ever thought possible. Amazon Link
NOTE: Roy also has a non-profit in Austin, TX called The Wizard Academy (link). Check it out – they’re doing amazing things.

Anything Else?

How about you? What business books have you read that have led to more money, happiness and contribution?
Boo ya,


  1. Nicole DeCarlo
  2. Bob Henry
  3. Mike

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