5 Books and 55 minute of your time will provide you with Insight, Improvement, Inspiration, Influence, and Intelligence!

Prior to joining SEP, I traveled a great deal and always found time to read while on the road. I enjoy reading books on history, politics and autobiographies however the ones having had the greatest impact on me were short, simple and to the point. Each book had either been given to me by a Senior Executive or recommended by a mentor.

This weekend I went looking for a new business book to read, but took the time to reflect on 5 that have made a big impact on my career. Each are around 200 pages and pack a punch! Most importantly, by investing @ 55 minutes in each book, you'll be taught real life lessons that will make you more intelligent, insightful and improve, inspire and influence you the same day.

Here are my top 5 business books that will make an immediate difference to your business and personal life:

212 - The Extra Degree: S.L.Parker. 84 Pages

This fantastic book was given to me by an incoming Vice-President of Sales as he was introducing himself to the senior management team. What I learned simple, yet very effective. At 211 degrees water is hot. At 212 degrees it boils. With boiling water comes steam. Steam can power a locomotive. One extra degree makes all the difference. And the one extra degree of effort in business and in life separates the good from the great. Simple enough, but it put into perspective how hard work can make all the difference that you've ever needed. Another great stat from the book; The average margin of victory for the last 25 years in all major golf tournaments combined was less than three strokes. Think of this next time you're ready to give up on finding that next killer keyword for your client!

Who Moved My Cheese?: Spencer Johnson. 96 pages
One day an old Director of mine walked into our staff meeting and handed this book out to all the Managers. Our company was going through massive changes, being prepped for what turned out to be a sale. This was their way to prep us for the change that was to come. Two pages into the book I thought it was a big joke. It read like a Dick and Jane book. It features 4 characters - 2 mice and 2 little people - and was written from the point of view of the person experiencing change in their life. Change can be a blessing or a curse, depending on your perspective. In SEO it's a constant, but not everyone enjoys it. The principles on which the book is built are timeless and of extraordinary significance to individuals personal success in life or work. So, how do you take a 90-page book that talks about cheese and mice seriously? Don't prejudge, many fairy tales and myths contain some of the most powerful truths about human life.

You Can Work Your Own Miracles: Napoleon Hill. 202 pages

Before Oprah Winfrey discovered the book 'The Secret' there was Napoleon Hill. Born in the late 1800's, he is one of America's best selling authors. He was an associate of famous people from Andrew Carnegie to Franklin D. Roosevelt and a lifelong teacher of what he coined "The Philosophy of Achievement". My Godfather handed me this book at the age of 17. I proceeded to thank him and put it away for more than 10 years before reading it. I wish I hadn't! Hill coined "What you think, so you will become."! Every modern motivation, leadership and self-motivation/help book or course you've taken has been influenced by Napolean Hill. If you need the inspiration to sign a big brand or motivation to crack a social media algorithm, I recommend you read this book.

Blink: The power of thinking without really thinking: Malcom Gladwell 288 pages.
I was in Vancouver in early 2006 on a month long project when I came across the New York Time best seller list. Blink, number 1 at the time, caught my attention. It's about rapid cognition and how snap decision-making, performed without thinking about how one is thinking, is faster and more accurate than the logical part of the brain can handle! Gladwell convinced me of three things; one; my snap judgments, or gut feelings, can be as good or better than my intellectual conclusions, two; how to determine when and where rapid cognition proves to be a poor strategy and three; to examine how the rapid cognition's results can be improved. So the next time the thought of Universal Search results has you feeling down...don't Blink, read the book instead!

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable: Seth Godin. 169 pages
I was handed this book within a few days of starting at SEP. What can I say about Seth Godin that hasn't been said before? He is a Marketing genius! In the Purple Cow, he preaches for each of us to do something remarkable and not just settle with being very good. This book is a light read, offering guidelines and examples which make you realize what you should do to improve your business and make it "remarkable" by taking risks and going all out, particularly when playing in a competitive space! I'll never forget the quote: "Do the things that are just arent done in your industry. Dont play it safe. Safe leads to boring. Boring leads to failure." This book will help push the internet marketer to become proactive SEO, pushing the envelope with each client!

A mentor of mine always would say "Tom, common sense isn't so common" and he's so right.
Each of these books have the same common sense approach most welcome. They're full of powerful truths told simply. If you haven't read them, you should! I think it's worth while.