I love books. My wife and I have enough for a small library I am sure. Every room of our home has books in it. And a good quantity of them as well.

We read avariciously. Marian prefers fiction, while I spend a lot of time with non-fiction and poetry. It gives us a wide diversity on the bookshelves.

I am doing something a bit differently this year. I plan on focusing in on four books that I believe will help me stay creative and motivatated.

While it is great to read about photographers and how to do stuff with photography gear and how exciting it is to be a photographer and check out these photographs, there are times when we need to focus on ideas, concepts and the stuff that will expand our way of seeing our work, and how we view what we do. These books do that for me.

Chris Brogan had an idea to ONLY read three books this year… concentrating all of ones efforts on fully understanding the books, and re-reading them again and again to instill the information deep into the brain.

I cannot do that. I know myself, and the double dose of ADD that keeps me going would never allow me to study only, hey a bird is right outside my window and I was wondering if you like cheese, and how far is it to Des Moines?

So my plan is to keep four books with me and refer to them again and again to help me stay motivated, and to take the information that is there and deeply ingrain it into my ways of working. I want these books to ‘steep’ into my very core. I will do my own edits and changes along the way… we all should. However, I feel these books will help me become sharper and more competitive in the coming months.

Do you need to be a little sharper and more competitive? Just asking.

(EDIT – Note: for reasons similar to my own, Chris has just abandoned his three book diet as well. More.)

I have purchased hard copies and Kindle copies so they live on my iPad and on my small shelf near the desk. I have read each of them once, but now I will be turning to them again and again all year. I will still consume various other books as we go along, but these will be the go-to’s and distraction guardians. I can only assume the hard copies will be marked up and dog-eared as the year ends 12 months from now.

These books are readily available, and I recommend them to everyone who asks.

1. Tim Ferris: “The Four Hour Chef”
The book combines power learning with cooking and self improvement strategies. It is a myriad of ideas woven through a cookbook that will help me drop a bunch of weight and get in shape while also finding ways to exercise my mind. The book is a big one in analog form. I may need a second set of pens to cover this one.

It is illustrated, but not images are there to support the text. The processes are clearly written and the book is quite a read.

2. Chris Guillebeau writes one of my favorite blogs over at “The Art of Non-Conformity” and has a wonderful book with that same name if you need another idea.

The book I am reading in my ‘Focused Four’ is “The $100 Startup” and it is a great, information filled book on entrepreneurship and creating a business that enables a ‘freedom’ lifestyle.

Examples, ideas, concepts and a strong ideal for my way of living comes through, and I have already begun marking this thing up. Lots of stuff for the brain.

3. Erika Napoletano writes a blog at ‘Redhead Writing’ that is intriguing and fun. Her quirky ways of looking at the world, and the refreshing reality based marketing information she gives is spot on in my book.

Her book, “The Power of Unpopular: A guide to building your brand for the audience who will love you (and why no one else matters)” has been one of my faves since it came out. I read it once, now it goes on my ‘focused four’ bookshelf for inspiration, ideas and buttkicking reality.

If you think you must be loved by everyone, you should think again. Focus on those who will follow you anywhere and to hell with distraction-based people and PIA’s.

4. Chris Brogan teamed with Julien Smith on a book titled “The Impact Equation” and I love it.

The book is filled with forward looking material that fosters ideas for your own ‘platform’ from which to grow a business, or perform better at anything you wish to do.

I am only three chapters in and have 6 pages of notes… yeah, I think it is that good. Chris is a no-nonsense marketer and one I recommend for all photographers to get to know. Other than his affection for G+, I find a great deal of inspiration and real world marketing info from him.

So there ya go. Four books I recommend to every photographer, and the ones that now inhabit that special place next to my computer. I am glad to hear that Chris abandoned his 3 book diet. I could never do that as I am a content creator, and that means I consume content as well. Chris has adopted my ‘special go-to books’ approach even before he knew about it… hey, great minds and all.

What books are you looking to focus on this year?

Next Time: Is it time to consider that digital photography has become something different than traditional photography?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email