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

Photo of some of Quentin Pain's books

September 9, 2021 in 

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

About the author 

Quentin Pain

Quentin Pain started his first business, a courier company aged 23. He sold it 4 years later and used the profits to start a recording studio. A couple of albums later, he started two software companies, the last one being Accountz, which he grew from zero to 36,000 customers and retired from in January 2013. His current company is ProofMEDIA, a specialist digital consulting business. He's also a published author (including a Dummies title), and has won many awards including the IAB Small Business Mentor of the Year. Copywriting is his speciality and he runs 3 groups on Facebook under the Science of Copywriting brand, which combined has nearly 90,000 members. Quentin is also Founder of the International Copywriters Association.

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