Photo of some of Quentin Pain's books

Books I’ve Read, Reading, And About To Read

A long time ago I worked in an antiquarian bookshop. It was my final job. By the time I reached 23, I decided I no longer wanted to work for anyone but myself.

However, what it taught me was priceless. Books have the power to change worlds (as well as individual human beings – they certainly changed me).

Note for Kindle readers: I highlight constantly on the Kindle version of books I’m reading. If you also do this, here’s where to view your Kindle highlights online:

I run a private Facebook group for copywriters (and anyone in business who’s struggling or who wants new ideas). If that’s you, please do join me here:

Books I’m Currently Reading:

I’m back into programming, and flying through everything Laravel 8 (a high level PHP wrapper) along with the TALL stack (Tailwind, Alpine, Laravel, and Livewire).

I’m also reading Gustave Le Bon’s “The Crowd”, a study on crowd behaviour (and how to use it). This is a notorious book used by a few major criminals (Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini to name three) but if we don’t know what the villains are doing, how can we ever be heroes?

Books I’ve Read That I Found Useful

(in no particular order – also includes some I wouldn’t recommend to anyone – but were useful in coming to that conclusion)

Becca Puglisi, Angela Ackerman: The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression

Janice Hardy: Show, Don’t Tell (the best book I’ve found on this important topic)

James Scott Bell: The Mental Game of Writing

Nicholas Epley: Mindwise – How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want

Ronald Tobias: 20 Master Plots

Richard Buckminster Fuller: Critical Path

Ray Dalio: Principles

Seth Godin: This is Marketing

Alan Weiss: Managing for Peak Performance

Robert Saltzman: The Ten Thousand Things

James Webb Young: A Technique for Producing Ideas

Dave Gray: Liminal Thinking

Steven Frayne: Nothing is Impossible

Dick Richards: Is Your Genius At Work?

Oren Klaff: Pitch Anything

Baltasar Gracian: How To Use Your Enemies (slipperyness defined)

Phil M Jones: Toolbox

Alan Weiss: Million Dollar Speaking

Hyde and Kopp: Speaking Being (Werner Erhard transcripts)

Shawn Coyne: The Story Grid

Carmine Gallo: Talk Like TED (top 9 TED talks analysed)

Mark Forsyth: The Elements of Eloquence

Sam Leith: You Talkin’ To Me?

Derren Brown: Happy

Victor Frankl: Man’s Search For Meaning

Chris Voss: Never Split The Difference

Ash Maurya: Scaling Lean

Gene M Landrum: Eight Keys To Greatness

Ryan Levesque: Ask

Jonah Berger: Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age

George Leonard: Mastery

Rosser Reeves: Reality in Advertising

Richard Rumelt: Good Strategy, Bad Strategy

Brendan Moynihan: What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars

George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller : Phishing for Phools

Thomas Lewis et al: A General Theory of Love

J George Frederick: Masters of Advertising Copy

Christopher Hadnagy: Social Engineering

Richard Bandler: The Ultimate Introduction to NLP

Pete Barry: The Advertising Concept Book

Stephen King: On Writing

Roy Peter Clark: The Art of XRay Reading (and everything else by him)

Seth Godin: Linchpin, What To Do When It’s Your Turn.

Seth Godin: All Marketers Are Liars

Paul Ekman: Emotions Revealed

John Warrillow: The Automatic Customer

Chris Niebauer: No Self, No Problem: How Neuropsychology Is Catching Up to Buddhism

Robert Pirsig: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Ryan Holiday: The Obstacle Is The Way

James Altucher: Choose Yourself

Alan Weiss: Million Dollar Consulting

Jeff Walker: Launch

Dan Ariely: Irrationally Predictable

Dan Ariely: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty

Daniel Priestley: Oversubscribed

Peter Thiel: Zero to One

Keller and Papasan: The One Thing

Ries and Trout: Positioning

Neil Martin: Habit

Richard Bandler: Trance-formation

Benjamin and Rosamund Zander: The Art of Possibility

Steven Pressfield: The War of Art

Steven Pressfield: Do The Work

Ray and Myers: Creativity in Business

Bella Merlin: The Complete Stanislavsky Toolkit

Tony Robbins: Awaken The Giant Within

Zig Ziglar: Secrets of Closing the Sale

Andy Maslen: Write to Sell

Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice

John Caples: Tested Advertising Methods

Bill Bryson: Troublesome Words

Oren Klaff: Pitch Anything

Joe Navarro: What Everybody Is Saying

Christopher Hadnagy: Social Engineering

Chris Anderson: Free

George Classon: The Richest Man In Babylon

Malcolm Gladwell: The Tipping Point

James Surowiecki: The Wisdom of Crowds

Paul Arden: Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite

Ries and Trout: The 22 Imutable Laws of Marketing

Ries and Ries: The 22 Imutable Laws of Branding

Ken Segall: Insanely Simple

Osterwalder and Pigneur: Business Model Generation

Steve Krug: Don’t Make Me Think!

Gary Halbert: The Boron Letters

William Strunk: Elements of Style

Joe Girard: How to Sell Anything to Anybody

Claude Hopkins: Scientific Advertising

Simon Sinek: Start with Why

Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi: The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws

Robert Greene: Mastery (pick your passion, get a mentor and practice, practice, practice!)

Michael Masterson: Great Leads

Luke Rhinehart: The Book of Est

Carl Fredericks: Est (playing the game)

Jim Rohn: The Jim Rohn Guides

David Ogilvy: Ogilvy on Advertising

Joseph Sugarman: The Adweek Copywriting Handbook

Ayn Rand: Atlas Shrugged

Tetlock and Gardner: Superforecasting

Tim Ferris: The 4 Hour Work Week

Lester Wunderman: Being Direct – Making Advertising Pay

Gary Vaynerchuck: Crushing it!

Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace

Programming Books

Gang of Four: Design Patterns (if you’re into OO, this is a must)

Edsger W Dijkstra: A Discipline of Programming

Bill Keck: Laravel 5.4 For Beginners

Stroustrup: The C++ Programming Language