My 30+ Book & Course Recommendations - for High Performance, Marketing, Finance and More

​Originally published for my exclusive Monthly Email List.

Hey,

Greetings from Copenhagen!

It’s been the nicest, sunniest, and warmest spring over here I can remember–like, we’d probably more days over 25 degrees (~75-80 F) so far this spring than the rest of my almost eight years in Denmark combined. It’s good times.

It’s so nice that I even don’t feel like traveling. Since the last email, I spent a few days in Cape Verde, and was in Charlotte (USA) and in Southern Spain for a few days each. But, moving forward, I’ve zero trips in scheduled. (Some people don’t believe me).

Travel Book Writing – Update 🙀

If things go up to plan, I should launch my second book in around three weeks. Metaurus Day (June 22)  is drawing near, every day.

Thing is, of course, things are not going according to plan. I had forgotten that writing a book is hard.

I also have more work than expected now. But worst, I got a Nintendo Switch – and Zelda: Breath of the Wild  is incredibly addictive.

Still, no excuses here. I’m trying hard. I’ve activated “panic mode” the last couple of weeks, which means waking up earlier, writing every morning. Things are getting on track.

By the look of things, the book should be finished by Metaurus Day. I’m confident. I’m less certain, though, that I’ve enough time to go through the important drill of: last proofread of physical copies, triple editing (if needed), and preparing a book launch worth its salt.

So it could be that I do a “soft launch” – small, simple, Kindle-only launch in end June, and a more powerful, in-depth launch in August.

(By then, I could add two more countries to my list – so I’m at #120 instead of #118, which makes it more exciting).

In any case, the book is coming soon, and it’s getting better every day. I’m packing every single thing I’ve learned about how to travel longer, cheaper and better in that book. I’ll make it worth its salt.

Let’s Talk About Books That Already Exist

In this email, I want to share with you my all-time favorite books, courses and learning materials.

I’ve been reading 50 to 100 books a year since 2009. Then, there are podcasts, courses and seminars all on top of that. In here, I outline what are the very best materials I’ve come across to.

Two Notes:

–  The list is short. But it’s all top-grade material. While the average book might have a few gold nuggets of insights, all the below have a full mountain of valuable material.

– You should go through them all. There’s no finance opt-out if you don’t like numbers. It’s the same with marketing – even if you hate marketing, that’s not going to change how strong and positive impact it can have in your life if you know the main strategies and techniques of persuasion.

So let’s go through the list.

a) High Performance – The Very Best 🥇

Why Study This – I define a high performer as someone who succeeds in his or her goals, no matter what they are. I see high performance as the enabler for that success – and the way to embrace high performance is to study and then diligently apply the right habits and routines over the long term.

  • Wake Up Productive, by Eben Pagan. This is the best and most powerful course I’ve ever taken. It changed my life. It’s hard – it’s a lot about action, action, and action, but if you get all the way to the end, you’ll become a much, much better person. It’s best for newbies, but also a solid pick in case you’re more advanced in all this. I took Eben’s course in 2010 and re-visit it every year.
  • The 21 Laws of High Performance, by Mario Scian. This one is my first book – it’s jam packed with strategies, tactics and actions to make yourself stronger, healthier and happier. Again, it’s a hard book – a simple read, but one that it includes a mountain of actions you’ll need to take. If you get all the way to end, I promise you it can change your life.

Also Solid:

  • How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, by Scott Adams. Scott’s book has a ton of powerful advise. His “Talent Stack” concept is brilliant – and is just one among a multitude of solid recommendations. Again, a very strong and action-focused book.
  • The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber. If you’re an entrepreneur, this book graduates you to a business-owner level. It explains that everything needs to be a system, and that your business – whatever it is, should be as a franchise prototype, structured in a way that someone else can run the show as good as you.

b) Sales, Marketing & Negotiation 🙌

Why Study This – There’s no one skill that is more powerful and important than persuasion. It is the great lever – knowing how to sell yourself and preach your ideas is the jumping-board skill to upgrade your life and business.

  • Marketing & Sales Courses by Dan Kennedy & Jay Abraham. Dan and Jay are the top, premier marketing minds in the world – anything the modern gurus produce is a re-hash and rebundling of what Dan and Jay have been teaching for twenty years. The two of them have a ton of courses and materials, but a good place to start is Renegade Millionaire Course for Dan Kennedy and Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got for Jay Abraham.
  • Get Altitude – Top Gun Entrepreneurial Training, by Eben Pagan. I studied business in school for over six years – but nothing I learned is as useful, actionable and real as the material that Eben teaches in this course. In case you prefer another ‘guru’, the business building material from Brendon Burchard and Ramit Sethi are also fantastic.
  • Influence, by Robert Cialdini. The classic book on persuasion. It identifies the six scientific principles of persuasion, which can be weapons-grade if you need to convince or encourage an audience.
  • Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It, by Chris Voss. I’ve read a ton of books on negotiation, and this one is my favorite. It’s realistic and super practical, and goes beyond the well-know theory and practice outlined in all other books.

c) Money & Lifestyle 💰

Why Study This – Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure helps. You must know how to handle money – to make it work for you, instead of having it making you its slave.

  • The Basic Personal Finance Books. Specifically, the “get rich slowly” types – my picks being The Richest Man in Babylon and Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The basic “get rich over the long term” formula is not complicated, and you don’t need complicated books or programs to learn it: high savings, high investment, repeat over many years.
  • The Millionaire Fast Lane, by MJ DeMarco. This is an incredible book, which preaches a “fast lane” style to personal finance that aims to capture the millions of the “slow lane” in five years instead of thirty. It’s a non-BS, all-action must read, and, in my eyes, a complement and companion to the basic books from above.
  • The Four Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss. Tim’s book it’s another one that changed my life. It’s a premier on “lifestyle design” – the idea that you should separate income generation from your time, and, as a consequence, have freedom to spend your days and weeks doing what you want.
  • The Breaking Into Wall Street Financial Modeling Courses. These trainings are spectacular. They’re a better finance training than anything I studied in Argentina, Austria, Denmark and even Harvard. The courses teach you to build complex financial models in Excel, even if you know nothing about finance nor Excel. You’re not financially literate until you can model like this. Knowing numbers is incredibly useful, both at work and in your personal life.

d) History – To Learn Strategy and Resilience 📚

Why Study This – There’s so much in history. It fascinates me. History is colorful and full of drama, teeming with great and unique individuals. You can find more insights and strategies in history and/or in old books that you will find in all the newer books combined.

  • The History of Rome, by Titus Livius (Livy). Livy wrote a monumental History of Rome approx. 2.000 years ago. We’re lucky that a good chunk of it has come to us – and The War With Hannibal – corresponding to Livy’s “Books” XXI to XXX is my single most favorite book. Rome’s history is nothing short of spectacular – and there has not been any civilization that, over the long term, has been as successful, as badass, as tough and outright invincible as the Romans. They’re fu***ing amazing, and the Second Punic War – the segment The War With Hannibal focuses on – was Rome’s all-time finest hour.
  • More Roman History. From the Classics, I recommend Polybius’ Histories to clear Livy’s gaps, and, most especially, Plutarch’s Parallel Lives for the biographies of the most interesting people from the Greco-Roman past. For more modern takes on Rome, you should check Tom Holland’s Rubicon and the three series on Rome from Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History and Mike Duncan’s History of Rome for context.
  • Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and the Stoics. These are all must-reads. But, to really profit from this, read the narratives first. In Livy, Polybius and Plutarch you’ll see countless examples of stoicism in action – from the heroics of Camillus, to the great Scipio Africanus and on to the incredible resilience of the Roman people in the face of adversity.

  • (Yet More) Roman History – the Eastern Roman Empire. In 476, Rome itself fell to the Goths – but the Roman Empire, based now in Constantinople (now Istanbul), in the East, lasted a thousand years longer. Rome in the East – more Greek than Italian, and usually called the Byzantine Empire – is fascinating as well, if not for its unparalleled longevity in the face of a very, very hostile world. Good modern resources into Eastern Roman history are Edward Luttwaks’ Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire, and the History of Byzantium Podcast.
  • The History of the Peloponnesian War, by Thucydides. This one is another classic – written 2.500 years ago, chronicling the epic and multi-decade war between Athens and Sparta. The Athenians are, after the Romans, the most exciting people to study in the Ancient World – and, in this book, you’ll go through fascinating stories of politics, maneuvering, ups and downs, comebacks and plain luck.
  • Study Great People. It doesn’t matter which resource you use. I’m fascinated by the great Romans and Greeks (a lot of them – most covered by Plutarch), Napoleon, Cleopatra, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and many more.

e) Other Recommendations 🚣

  • The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert GreeneI love this book. It has hundreds of historical examples of power being used – in its good form, and also its ugly side. It’s a must-read, even if you’re a peace-loving mom – it will, at least, help you identify when people are trying to manipulate you.
  • Incerto, by Nassim Taleb. This includes multiple of Taleb’s books – including The Black Swan and Antifragile. Taleb is a goldmine – his writing has impacted my view on myself, on “experts” and on the world as a whole. He is – in my eyes, at least – the most valuable and interesting author of our generation. (I don’t recommend, though, his last book Skin in the Game)
  • The Tail End, by Tim Urban. This is a short, simple blog post on the website Wait But Why. It’s powerful – it illustrates how little time you’ve left to do the things you like and to spend with the people you love. It’s another piece I re-read a few times a year.

That’s it. In case someone else comes up, I’ll update the list. If you’ve any questions and or suggestions for me to check out, do write me. I would love to hear your recommendations too!

If I’m slow replying emails, bear with me – I naively believed I could finish writing a new book on top Zelda and a busy day job 🤦‍♂️

All the best,

Mario

 


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