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THE INC. LIFE

The 12 Most Impactful Books to Read in 2018

Growth is a result of combining your experience with what you learn. Reading these books will help you do it better and faster.

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BY Mareo McCracken - 14 Dec 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

I read, some might say a little too much. I read 103 books last year. This year, I'm proud to say I only read 98. Quality over quantity.

Science says just being surrounded by books can help you improve: You admit how much you don't know, which leads to continual learning. Still, it helps to apply what you learn.

Below are 12 books that had the most impact on me in 2017. Some aren't out yet--I read the early release versions. Others are classics.

They'll help you understand others--and yourself--to improve your business, relationships, and peace of mind throughout all of 2018. In alphabetical order:

1. Brave Leadership by Kimberly Davis

Through relatable stories and poignant questions, this book helped me uncover the truth behind authentic leadership: That becoming vulnerable will help you lead others with your own, authentic voice.

2. The Choice by The Arbinger Institute

This book has guided me to understand my own motivations behind my actions, so I can be better for others. It'll help you help you create a mindset focused on others rather than yourself, so you can develop stronger relationships.

3. The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier

This book taught me to coach through questions. It's dramatically increased my ability to help others maximize their potential. It'll help you coach others to become top performers by developing your own questioning and listening skills.

4. Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson

Brunson grew his startup's revenue from $0 ARR to $100 million ARR in only three years, without VC or Angel funding. I learned more actionable information in this book on sales and marketing than anything else I read in 2017.

It'll teach you to sell yourself--so you can lead others the way they want to be led.

5. The Greatest Gift by Victor Antonio

This is a short, impactful story about a rising professional and seasoned business owner that caused me to reflect on my vision and purpose. This book will help you align your priorities with your values and actions. When you are in alignment you then know the actions you take will be the right course of action for your business.

6. High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard

As I work to develop the habits defined in this book, it became much easier to deliver on my most important daily tasks such as meeting preparation and training development.

By outlining step-by-step habits and how to create them, this book will help you develop the clarity, courage, and passion needed for a successful career.

7. The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha

This book provided me with a new way to define happiness that improved every aspect of my life, including my personal and professional relationships, along with my relationship to work and success.

We all have different a definition of what peace and fulfillment mean. Yet, when you apply the paradigm shift of wanting nothing and working for everything presented in this book, you'll create your own version of peace and find individual fulfillment along your entrepreneurial journey.

8. The Lost Art of Closing by Anthony Iannarino

Closing a sale isn't a single action--it's a series of commitments that build off each other. When our team followed the 12 commitments outlined in this book , we created better client relationships that resulted in increased partnerships with our company.

By learning the most important commitments that every buyer needs to make, this book will help you create impact and value as you sell.

9. The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden

If everyone would apply the ideas found in this misconception-breaking book by my fellow Inc.com columnist Jeff Haden, most motivational speakers would go out of business. As I focused on doing and accomplishing as taught in this book, I began to create the life I wanted with motivation to spare.

This book will help you accomplish what you know you are capable of, without any of the fluff.

10. Radical Candor by Kim Scott

In a start-up, everyone needs to lead, everyone needs to take on new roles. Many of our talented team-members were thrust into first-time leadership positions. I was able to help develop new leaders as I coached our team by applying the principles found in this book.

It'll teach you how and when to give the right type of feedback so you can truly coach your team.

11. Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter

This book taught me to control my responses to various triggers so I could create better habits. By learning to focus on changing your environment and responses to every-day situations, you'll develop lasting habits that lead to reliable performance.

12. Willpower Doesn't Work by Benjamin Hardy

If you only read one book in 2018, make it this one. In groundbreaking fashion, my fellow Inc.com columnist Benjamin Hardy helped me understand that the true power needed to accomplish anything doesn't come from willpower, from rather from making a decision and a commitment.

This book will help you accomplish more in less time than any other book--by changing your entire approach to confidence and personal commitment.

Honorable mentions. These are great books that I couldn't fit into the top 12:

13. The Book of Joy -- Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton Abram

14. A Forger's Life -- Sarah Kaminsky

15. The Effective Executive -- Peter Drucker

16. The Gift of Anger -- Arun Gandhi

17. The Messenger is The Message -- Mark Organ, Deena Zenyk

18. The Power of Meaning -- Emily Esfahani Smith

19. Real Artists Don't Starve -- Jeff Goins

20. Sales Manager Survival Guide -- David Brock

21. Sell With a Story -- Paul Smith

22. Talent Unleashed -- Todd Davis, Shawn Moon, A. Roger Merrill, Michael Simpson

If you don't read, you can still succeed. Reading just helps you get there faster.

If you want a curated list of books recommendations by specific topic, just ask. Read more, ponder what you read, and then take action. As you do, you will achieve more.

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