The best books to ignite an audaciously creative entrepreneurial spirit

Who am I?

Throughout my oddly circuitous career, my mission has always been to help clients grow their businesses. Along the way, I’ve come up with some pretty useful insights and innovations. I mixed cartoons (I’m also one of the WSJ cartoonists) with direct marketing and created a new genre that broke many response records. Then I wrote How to Get a Meeting with Anyone, which helped readers drastically improve their sales results (and was named one of the top 64 sales books of all time). And now, How to Grow Your Business Like a Weed adapts nature’s ultimate growth model for business use, to produce explosive, sustainable growth. 


I wrote...

How to Grow Your Business Like a Weed: A Complete Strategy for Unstoppable Growth

By Stu Heinecke,

Book cover of How to Grow Your Business Like a Weed: A Complete Strategy for Unstoppable Growth

What is my book about?

Everybody knows what it means to grow like a weed. Curiously, no one has ever examined weeds as a source of business growth strategy. To write this book, I interviewed botanists, billionaires, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, four-star generals, CIA operatives, countless business and financial experts, weed scientists, and more, to discover the secrets weeds use to grow, expand, dominate and defend their turf. The result is a stunningly effective model anyone can understand and immediately apply to their business, to create explosive growth. You know, just like a weed.

The books I picked & why

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Winning Through Intimidation: How to Be the Victor, Not the Victim, in Business and in Life

By Robert Ringer,

Book cover of Winning Through Intimidation: How to Be the Victor, Not the Victim, in Business and in Life

Why this book?

Robert J. Ringer is a genius at creating big impressions that impress prospects and win deals. In his book, he takes the reader through his early failures as a commercial real estate agent, when buyers routinely broke agreements and used their leverage to raid his commissions. His solution was to “intimidate” by overwhelmingly impressing buyers from the moment they met. As a result, buyers took a completely different impression of his importance—and never again asked to reduce his commissions. The psychological effect snowballed, leading to explosive growth of his business. A fascinating—and useful—study of how to harness human nature to prosper.


I Paint What I See

By Gahan Wilson,

Book cover of I Paint What I See

Why this book?

Early in my career, I found myself mentored by several of the world’s top cartoonists from Playboy and The New Yorker, including the amazing Gahan Wilson. His cartoons were works of wonder, with intricate cross-hatching, quirky details, and trademark macabre stylings. By sheer luck, I’d stumbled into a backstage pass with one of the greatest cartooning talents ever, so observing his process was a privilege. Humor is about revealing the truth with a twist, which is why I treasure this particular book by Gahan. It’s a collection of his work, but also a statement of entire purpose for all of cartooning—to capture truth.


The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

By Clayton M. Christensen,

Book cover of The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

Why this book?

Disruption is a celebrated essence in entrepreneurial circles. The disruptive technologies behind, say, Uber, that transformed society’s acceptance of ride-sharing, or Airbnb and short-term home rentals, changed the way we live, and created entirely new categories and great fortunes. In The Innovator’s Dilemma, Christensen exposes the full nature of disruptive technologies; where they come from, why they upend industry leaders, and what companies can do to recognize and harness significant new innovations. It is the owner’s manual for creating disruptive, entrepreneurial success.


Guerrilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business

By Jay Conrad Levinson,

Book cover of Guerrilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business

Why this book?

Jay Conrad Levinson is one of my heroes. His first book, Guerrella Marketing, released when he was in his 50s, and went on to sell more copies than any other marketing book in history. A legendary creative genius from the ad world, he was teaching a class on impromptu, clever marketing tactics when his students (which included Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison) begged Jay to write the book that became the bestseller. Jay’s amazing book shows what’s possible when you apply lots of creativity and audacity to any marketing challenge. If you’ve read my earlier book, you’ll see plenty of Jay’s influence, starting with his foreword.


Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional's Guide to Growing a Practice

By Alan Weiss,

Book cover of Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional's Guide to Growing a Practice

Why this book?

I enjoyed Alan Weiss’ book, Million Dollar Consulting, for its refreshingly hard-nosed look at dealing with clients. A business can’t exist without them, but contrary to conventional wisdom, the customer isn’t always right. They’re often difficult, stubborn, and think they know more about a given subject than the expert staring them in the face. Weiss’ book is a practical course on landing and working effectively with clients, especially getting paid what you’re worth. If your business model includes working with high-end clients, this book is a treasure map for growth.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in entrepreneurs, small business, and success in life?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about entrepreneurs, small business, and success in life.

Entrepreneurs Explore 85 books about entrepreneurs
Small Business Explore 10 books about small business
Success In Life Explore 131 books about success in life

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Trusted Advisor, Humble Inquiry, and How Clients Buy if you like this list.