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Bestselling author, entrepreneur, and marketing expert Seth Godin recently told author Tim Ferriss on Ferriss’ podcast that the best books “cause something to flip in your head” and prepare you to take your life in a new direction.
He’s found that for him, there are some books that work best as audiobooks because repeated listens allow the material to seep into your subconscious.
Here are six that profoundly influenced him, along with one of his own that he thinks captures his general philosophy.
‘Secrets of Closing the Sale’ by Zig Ziglar
Godin said he listened to the late author and marketing expert Zig Ziglar’s audiobooks so many times when he was younger that he wore out the cassettes and had to order a new set.
Ziglar’s lessons focus on goal-setting, motivation, and closing a deal.
“He’s your grandfather,” he told Ferriss, “and my grandfather; he’s Tony Robbins’ grandfather – none of us would be here if it weren’t for Zig.”
Godin finds some of Ziglar’s beliefs to be outdated, “but the fundamental principles … just kept me going.”
‘The Pema Chodron Audio Collection’ by Pema Chodron
Pema Chodron is an American-born Buddhist nun who runs a monastery in Nova Scotia.
She learned from the late Tibetan monk Chogyam Trungpa, whose teachings Godin said can be summarized by the following: “We are falling, falling, with nothing to hold onto and nothing to slow us down. The good news is there is no ground to land on.”
‘Leap First’ by Seth Godin
Godin couldn’t help including one of his own audiobooks.
“Leap First” is a two-hour recording of one of his recent presentations he gave, and it serves as a nice introduction to the main themes of his work on career success.
‘The Art of Possibility’ by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
“The Art of Possibility” is the product of the husband-and-wife team of Benjamin Zander, a conductor with the Boston Philharmonic, and Rosamund Zander, a psychotherapist.
Godin said he finds their meditations on lessons from their lives so engaging that he listens to the audiobook at least once a month in his car.
‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield
Godin said he wishes he had found Steven Pressfield’s 2002 book “The War of Art” even sooner than he did because it had such a profound effect on him.
In it, Pressfield uses his career as a fiction writer to explore the ways he learned to overcome creative roadblocks and keep himself pushing forward when he felt he had nothing left to say.
‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith
Legendary musician Patti Smith’s 2010 book “Just Kids” won the National Book Award, and Godin told Ferriss he considers the audiobook version, which she narrates, to be the best one he’s ever listened to.
It tells the story of her and her best friend, the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, as they made their way through New York City in the 1960s and ’70s.
“It is not going to change the way you do business, but it might change the way you live,” Godin said. “It’s about love and loss and art. It’s about non-confidence and confidence. And it’s mostly about having a best friend. It’s magic.”
‘Debt’ by David Graeber
David Graeber, an academic and activist who was one of the early leaders of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, has an unorthodox theory that debt was the catalyst for the creation of currency, and Godin found it “mind-blowing.”
Godin likes the audio version because he found repeated listens helped him digest the material.
He’s not about to join the Occupy movement, he said, but he “found it completely rewired the way [he] thought the world worked.”