An Entrepreneur asked me just a couple of days ago: “What are some personal growth/business /books/activities that you would recommend?” He sent the question through a Twitter direct message.

Rory actually just took the leap of leaving his job to focus 100% on growing his food-based online business…he’s found a need and a niche that connects the cravings of the Jamaica Diaspora with some authentic made in Jamaica products. I love it and wish him stunning success.

When Rory asked me the question, off the top of my head I shot back the following
1. Purple Cow by Seth Godin
2. Linchpin by SethGodin.
3. The Dip by Seth Godin
4. The Website — The Art of nonconformity by Chris Guillebeau.
5. Entrepreneur on Fire Podcasts by John Lee Dumas

Then as I was writing this post I added Rework by Jason Fried as my number six.

It wasn’t until after, that I began wondering why those books, that site and that podcast came to me so automatically. This post is as a result of that thought process and I decided to share with you why I recommended them.

1. Purple Cow — Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin.

Well, I read Seth’s blog almost daily and listen to as many of this talks and interviews I can find online. He is clear, stunningly insightful and provocative in the subtlest of ways. He is a master at connecting the dots in fresh ways and you are never disappointed for having listened to him even for a few minutes.

So Purple Cow is one of those books everyone should read. Yeah, it’s a classic and I got it in 2010. It’s the book that showed us that the traditional Ps that marketers has used for decades — just weren’t working any more. They were missing the new P — The Purple Cow.

It was a call for companies to create products, services and customer experiences that were remarkable — in short, worthy of us talking about. And the timing of this book and me reading it was on point. The rise of the Digital Age and social media where consumers now had unprecedented access to a lot of information, were more connected and exposed to marketing messages and what their friends where liking or not. A time, where standing out became imperative and that’s even more relevant now in 2016.

2. Linchpin — Are you Indispensable? by Seth Godin

This book speaks to how you to stand out inside of a company and to do things that others are unwilling to do. We have a corporate culture in Jamaica where we say that no one ever got fired for doing the same ole, same ole. We see it especially in the marketing field, yet it’s not what is called for and not what will help the company win with customers, or be ahead of its competitors. Often things are left to grow stale until a bad quarterly report or a competitor gets more of something in the marketplace. Many Jamaican and Caribbean companies tend to be reactive, when now more than ever, the Region’s businesses are called to become more Digital, Social, human, communicative and proactive.

Seth, in Linchpin, speaks to what makes a company great and speak to the individuals inside companies who understand that, “the hard work is being brave enough to make a difference.” and can take the risk of being wrong. He describes the linchpin as “ an individual who can walk into chaos and create order, someone who can invent, connect, create and make things happen.”

This is the kind of book that makes you ask “ What Do I want?” What do I want to see in the world ? and challenges us to go create that.

3. The Dip by Seth Godin

It’s only 80 pages but it packs a solid gut punch and I believe is best read by Entrepreneurs who are trying to decide whether to stay the course, pivot, or quit. This book makes you  question everything about what you are doing and why you are doing it ? It makes you think about whether it’s best for you to persevere and power through the Dip to the sweetspot on the other side…or not. He also pokes holes in long held quotes and definitions on quitting, winning and what and who defines best in the world. Just read it.

4. The Website — Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau

I got wind of this site and this dude because of this book The $100 Startup, which now that I think about it, you can add to your list of books to read. I became a disciple of this site, Chris’s blog because it resonated with me. As a self-professed rebel, non-conformist who in 2007 decided to go virtual with my business when it wasn’t sexy, reading this blog from a successful and happy digital nomad was encouragement and validation for me.

Now even though I’ve had literally only half of myself in the digital nomad pool in the past 8 years, as I write this, I’m in the middle of making this happen on a much grander scale. I’m going all in. Yep. I’m shaking up my life again. I am in the process of selling all of my home office furniture. I am literally kicking myself out of that comfort zone once again to spend more time in cafes, co-working spaces and travelling while growing my boutique digital agency getConnectid and also SiliconCaribe the leading Caribbean Tech blog and Tech Events. And yes too, while being Chairman of the Board of Startup Jamaica Accelerator. And I’m going to have lots of fun living it.

The Art of Non-Conformity is the blog and community for all stripes of entrepreneurs and creatives, who want to live and do business, very differently. It is a recognition that technology and this Digital age has really opened up so many fresh ways for us to live and do business and we would be foolish not to jump at the chance before the window closes.

It is a calling to us to fuck off with the familiar and to embrace the pull of seeking new business models, new adventures, new places to conquer, fresh faces to meet and get close to. I’ve never been an in office all day kinda girl…I feel at home in cafes, in airports, at events, being on the move and always learning. I love the feeling of being both anonymous and also seemingly easily connected to the people around me.

If you are a free spirit,  who loves the idea of building and running location-independent businesses and are open to the integration of digital into your life — this website is just for you.

5. The Podcast — Entrepreneur on Fire by John Lee Dumas
This is the number one podcast that every entrepreneur should listen to. Every. Single. One of them. As John would say there are so many value bombs in his typically 30–40 min interviews. The Entrepreneurs he speaks to and the stories they share will inevitably shift something inside you.

You will gain clarity and solve something that’s been bugging you. Want to know about “old” business models that still make bank in this Digital Age? Want to know how people run two businesses at once and successfully? Want to know how to dance with doubt and win? Want to know hear the stories of the men, women, teams, small businesses, big kahunas and how they did it — just download and listen. EonFire itself is a multi-million dollar podcast business and he publishes his income report monthly and shares how he did it in a free podcast course. What’s not to love really and clearly, I am a super fan.

6. ReWork by Jason Fried — Co-founder of 37signals now called BaseCamp

I couldn’t write this blog and not include Rework by a dude who co-founded a company that has a blog (Signal vs Noise) I’ve been reading for about 8 years. If you want to be inspired to trust yourself as an entrepreneur and flip the birdie to the status quo — then buy, download and read this book right now. Even Seth Godin blurbed the book by saying, “Ignore this Book at Your Own Peril,” I agree with him.

The opening line of the book says, “We have something new to say about building, running and growing ( or not growing) a business.” That sets the stage for a 271 page ride of straight-shooting kinda talk.

In the age where a certain kind of Entrepreneurship is a fetish, this book which I got in 2010 is even more relevant now. Yes, I said fetish. Entrepreneurship is a global trend now, where a certain message is being market that I believe is all shades of wrong. You’ve heard the stories before — young kid, gets a great idea in his basement, gets VC funding, goes public and becomes rich AF. So of course this means everyone can be an Entrepreneur, should be an Entrepreneur and follow this singular path. Horseshit!

Now while this of course is an outlier kind of story it’s used to market the myth that there is only one flavour of Entrepreneurship that’s cool, fulfilling and represents success. When they are many, many other ways of being an entrepreneur. 37signals now rebranded Basecamp is a study, a glaring success actually of how to build, run and grow a company outside of the status quo. It’s a showcase that maps to how the entrepreneur can choose to live and work — on their own terms. It’s the story that encourages you to find out what matters to you most, how you want to live your life and then create a business around that.

It’s weird how this single Twitter DM from Rory came at the same time that I had also restarted reading really old posts from Fried’s company’s Signal Vs Noise blog again. I needed it, as I’ve become even more fortified in my digital agency remaining small and significant in what, how and with whom we do. In case just after me re-reading the Dip too and that made me even more confident in what we are doing with SiliconCaribe as a media site and the Caribbean Tech events we’ve done and are to come.

I love these 3 books, site and podcasts and I believe you will find a tonne of value in them too.

Thanks Rory for inspiring this post.