The highest ROI comes from investing in yourself.
Your education shouldn’t stop on graduation day. Professional development never ends. I can very honestly say that I’ve learned more on my own after college than I did from the university. You should also be able to say the same when you’ve been out of school longer than you were in college.
Part of the struggle now is figuring out what to read and who is actually an expert. It’s so easy to start a blog and claim to be a guru in any field, when that person could just be recycling information they just read on someone else’s blog. My first bit of advice is to avoid anyone who calls themselves and expert or guru. The real industry leaders don’t have to say that about themselves.
Publishing content has never been easier. You can self-publish a book, start a blog, a podcast, and write for other journals without ever having to find a publisher. Thanks to this low barrier to entry, there is a lot of really good content out there for us to soak up and apply. I’ve put together a list of some of the best ones I’ve found. And I’m always looking for more, so don’t hesitate to share if you have a favorite I didn’t list.
- Think and Grow Rich – This was the first self-development book I read. It focuses on mindset and the smart choices several folks made to become millionaires in the early 1900s. The founds of Ford, Coca Cola, Carnegie Steel, and Thomas Edison are just a few of the stories in here.
- The Trusted Advisor – This book is all about building relationships. This is one of the early foundations of content marketing. It’s all about serving your customer and not putting yourself first. Doing this will guarantee success for you both.
- The One Minute Manager – This book is not just for managers. It’s a really quick read, but it will teach you how to effectively communicate with anyone when a problem arises.
- Purple Cow – You should probably read all of Seth Godin’s books. He is undeniably one of the smartest people on the planet. This book is all about differentiation and how to stand out. Today’s job market and digital-marketplace makes this even more valuable than ever before.
- Everybody Writes – This might be the only fun book written about writing. It doesn’t matter how much you know and how much you can contribute, if you can’t effectively communicate that knowledge, it’s all for nought.
- The Art of Charm – Jordan Harbinger has really hit it out of the park. This podcast focuses on teaching us how to be better humans, socially, professionally, and everywhere in between. His interviews flow seamlessly and cover things like discipline, communication, fitness, social etiquette, and so much more. Do not skip out on this one.
- Unstoppable Success Radio – Kelly Roach is a business development specialist who has helped thousands of people grow their business or their teams. Wether you are an entrepreneur or a team leader working inside another company, she teaches invaluable skills, and gives very actionable steps to help you implement what you learn.
- The Marketing Book Podcast – Named by LinkedIn as one of “10 Podcasts That Will Make You A Better Marketer.” While this podcast focuses on marketing, there are writers, entrepreneurs, sales leaders, and many other professionals who will teach more than you can handle. You’ll get so much out of the interviews, and even more if you pick up the books.
- EOFIRE – John Lee Dumas is the master of mindset. This is THE podcast for changing the way you work and live. JLD is a serial optimizer and will teach you how to make the most of your time so you can have the time to actually enjoy your life.
- The Tim Ferriss Show – The Best Of on iTunes for 2014, 2015, and 2016. It is the first business podcast to reach 100,000,000 downloads. Yes. One hundred million. If there’s something to be learned about business, it’s here.
- Seth Godin – Yep. He’s in this article twice. For good reason. He blogs every day. Every. Single. Day. He shares daily nuggets of wisdom we can all take to heart. Every post is a new way of looking at something you’ve seen 10,000 times, or maybe you’ve never thought about before at all.
- Quora – While it’s not a blog in the traditional sense, it’s a Q&A site frequented by the most successful business minds in the world. You can follow specific topics or just browse recent posts to find out what some of the wealthiest people alive have to say about business. And the answers are ranked, you only read the best of the best.
- Social Media Examiner – Do you use social media for business? I thought so. This is your go-to source for all things social media. Tips, tricks, and tools. It’s all here.
- Convince and Convert – I’ve been studying content marketing for the last year and one of the most important things I’ve learned is that it applies to all aspects of our lives. It’s about giving value, not taking. Giving value is a plan for long term success and taking is a short term plan. Jay Baer is one of the masters.
- Harvard Business Review – This is one of the most prestigious collection of thought leaders around. It is well organized and the information is top tier. If you want to get down and dirty and read through some solid articles about the world of business, here’s your new home.
How do I make the time for all of this?
I know what you’re thinking. How will you ever find time to really explore any of these? Do it in small increments. Read an article with breakfast. Listen to a podcast on your commute or at the gym. Designate 30-40 minutes at the end of the day for reading before bed. You don’t have to read a new book each week to get something out of it. The important thing is to just keep learning. Every day.