10 Books for Massive Success in Your Firm Next Year


I used to read ALL THE TIME.  I legitimately would read for hours as a kid.  At one point I got into the habit of reading in the bathtub (no idea why).  

But then I dropped a copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle in there and I’ve since dropped that habit (or at least I switched to reading in the tub on my phone once the phone became waterproof).

And I’ll be honest, I didn’t really think reading was terribly cool.  But every time I post about the books I’ve read, I get a TON of replies from people asking for recommendations and such.

So here we go…Jordan O’s Top Ten Books of 2023.  These books did NOT (necessarily) come OUT in 2023.  I just happened to read them in 2023.  At the time of me writing this I have read 155 books for the year.

Here’s the full list 

I will do my best to give you context on why I liked the book, what problem it focuses on and who should read it.

Also, while it’s a top 10 list, it’s not ranked…the order is just the order I read it in.

Before the Top 10

I am ONLY going to reference the books I read this year for the first time.  So I want to make a sort of honorable mention.

James Clear’s Atomic Habits

Context: I read Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, and BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits first (which fits the chronological order of the books coming out).

Why I like it:  It’s really the foundation of ANY change in your life.  I love his quote that every system is perfectly designed to get the outcomes it currently gets.  And then the book goes into how to make things easier or more difficult to get the results you want.

Problem it solves: EVERYTHING.  Literally ANY change you want to see in life can be covered by the foundations of habit formation in this book.  Eat better, work out more, be more grateful, still romance your spouse with dates, etc.  It’s all in here in some form or another.

Who should read it?  Anyone who isn’t 100% happy with their current life.  And as much of a time/life junkie that I am…I still have things to learn from this book.

Now to the Top 10 (sort of)

The End of the World is Just the Beginning

Context:  Victor Medina told me to read it and I had NO idea what I was getting myself into.

Why I like it:  It’s a really well argued view of the future.  Long story short (read the book), but the whole world peaked in the 1990s and it’s now a slow descent into worse and worse situations.  That being said, the USA has the BEST future (and then France/Australia and New Zealand) and then everyone else is extra screwed basically.

Problem it solves:  Overly pessimistic or optimistic views on the future.

Who should read it?  Anyone who wants a good idea of what to look forward to (or not).  And immigration lawyers (this is a HUGE thing the USA has going for us on a few levels that are explained in the book).

To Sell is Human, Drive, When

Context:  Dan Pink is awesome, I read them in this order (but not back-to-back).  He went to law school and holds a “special” place in his heart for lawyers.

Why I like it:  To Sell is Human is THE book on how to sell as a lawyer.  Seriously, every other one misses the fact that we cannot solicit (because everyone else can).  Drive helped me learn how to motivate people to do things (good things…like my coaching clients).  And When made me reconsider EVERY meeting I have and what TIME of day we have it set for.

Problem it solves:  Sales as a lawyer.  Motivation as a person, business owner, coach, mentor, husband, father, etc.  And when to do things to maximize their results based upon the time of day and your brain at that time (also people who like coffee and naps).

Who should read it?  EVERY lawyer should read To Sell is Human.  It should be MANDATORY.  Drive is great for anyone who is a manager or wants to have more influence.  When is for crazy people like me who are trying to hack time.

Yes! 50 Proven Ways to be Persuasive

Context:  I read Influence and Presuasion (yes, the wrong spelling is correct) last year (I liked Presuasion more for what it’s worth.  And I have read a LOT of similar books on the science of influence and such many of them before this one.

Why I like it:  Here is where I would start, as it cuts RIGHT to it with the studies and their takeaways.

Problem it solves:  How to influence people

Who should read it?  Anyone who wants to influence anyone else (which should be all of us).  Also, it’s WAY more helpful the more control you have…so a business owner or CMO would benefit from this more than a younger lawyer.

Mindless Eating, Predictably Irrational and Stumbling on Happiness

Context:  These books are sort of on the same topic as Yes! (see above), but Mindless Eating is about how the large food corporations keep us fat and unhealthy (through the science of influence), Predictably Irrational is about how we don’t really know what we want and do things that seem irrational but really aren’t, and Stumbling on Happiness is about how we don’t know what makes us happy, but can still be happy.

Why I like it:  I LOVE learning about how the human mind works in a way that can be influenced.  I love this just as much for myself and my own brain/life/etc as I do for anyone else and how I can (hopefully) help them be better and better.

Problem it solves:  how to influence yourself and others to achieve the outcomes you/they want

Who should read it?  If you’ve ever struggled with weight (like I have for almost my whole life) Mindless Eating should be your bible.  It’s AMAZING the stuff I learned and have used from that book (like putting my larger plates on a higher shelf and my smaller ones on an easier to reach shelf).  If you want to realize why you (and others) do STUPID shit…you want Predictably Irrational and if you want to be happy/happier and aren’t sure how to get there (or why that promotion to partner didn’t actually help you feel better) you NEED Stumbling on Happiness.

Radical Candor

Context:  I had no idea what to expect out of this book, and thought it was going to be way more about personality than it turned out to be.  It’s really more about being a great manager.

Why I like it:  Kim Scott’s background is insanely cool and her rundowns of the differences between Facebook and Google should be must reads for anyone trying to build a firm culture or even just overseeing a team.

Problem it solves:  How to be a better manager, but in a REALLY 21st century way

Who should read it?  Every business owner or manager who cares about the people under them.

Getting Things Done

Context:  I have achieved a lot in my life.  But I’ve also been really upset by the things I could not achieve (at least yet) and the vast amount of ideas and things I’ve done that are lost somewhere never to be seen from again.

Why I like it:  This book gives you a very specific way to make sure that never happens.

Problem it solves:  Not getting enough done, not getting the right things done, not being able to find the stuff you did get done.

Who should read it?  Everyone, and your dedicated assistant should read it twice AND hold you accountable to it.

The Ultimate Sales Machine

Context:  I don’t read a TON about sales in the traditional sense. So, when I saw a book called the ULTIMATE sales machine, I figured I might as well start there.

Why I like it:  Because it’s really the most amazingly succinct but still in depth run down of what a business actually needs to sell ANYTHING.

Problem it solves:  How to sell, but also how market, brand, and otherwise run the business in a way that is consistent with and cohesive to what you actually do (or want to do).

Who should read it?  Anyone who has an entrepreneurial interest.

Psychology of Money

Context:  I read a lot about finance and find that most of it goes back to Warren Buffet who says we should really only be allowed 20 trades in our life.  Even he knows that most of his financial success is based upon how LONG he’s been in the game and making 5-10 really good decisions.

Why I like it:  This is the ONLY book on money and finance that I have read which puts ANY stock into human beings and our role in “the system.”  It’s really about people first just through the lens of money.

Problem it solves:  Not understanding how the stock market, credit cards, banks, or economy works.

Who should read it?  Anyone who doesn’t want to just throw some $$$ into an index fund and never worry about it until you retire (or realize you can’t yet).  And after reading the book, you might STILL throw all your extra $$$ into an index fund and not worry about it until you can retire, but you’ll understand WHY you’re doing it.

168 Hours

Context:  I read a LOT about time management, living a good life, self-development.

Why I like it:  This was the BEST book on it I have EVER read.  It’s a little bit of Getting Things Done, a little bit of Buy Back Your Time, a little bit of Fair Play, a little bit of 4,000 Weeks.  Honestly, I cannot say enough about this book.  I destroyed it in 1 day, have loved the other books by the same author I have read AND “forced” my wife to read this book as well.

To be fair, she’s read about 130 books for the year, but I think we only have about 10 overlaps and some we listened to together in the car or she gives me as many to read as I give her.

Problem it solves:  How to be a great spouse/parent/boss/employee/kid/friend/etc in the time that we all have

Who should read it?  People who care about how they spend their life.  I cannot stress enough how important this book could be to you.  If you read ONLY 1 book next year I would say it should be either Atomic Habits (if you REALLY need the nitty gritty on life change) or this one (if you get the nitty gritty already and want a bit more big picture view on life and living a great one).


Context:  Someone told me to read this book and when I went to thank anyone I thought did it, no one took the credit.  So thank you random person who mentioned this book.

Why I like it:  It’s a great way to view the future through the lens of Gen Z without just calling them snowflakes (although most boomers still think that’s millennials) and getting an idea of some of the good things that might be coming our way as Gen Z gets more and more power.  It’s kind of like the opposite of the End of the World is Just Beginning even if they agree a lot of things.

Problem it solves:  Not sure if your firm is designed to thrive in the future?  Start here.  Whether it’s external with sales and marketing or internal with hiring Gen Z and building a team, you WILL learn from this book and put stuff into practice asap.

Who should read it?  As a pretty strong millennial…I am not sure if people who ARE Gen Z would be interested in a book about them.  But I was FASCINATED.  There are somethings I completely see eye to eye with Gen Z on (like not wanting to do anything that is overly complicated and the difference between that and things that are fun because they're hard)...other things I can’t say I really disagree with, but more that I didn’t understand why they were this way and this is helpful (like Gretchen Thunberg and Wendy’s Twitter Profile being sort of the same thing…if you spent your entire life online speaking with a ton of people you think you can change the world at 16 and speak to the UN about climate change just as much as you think you should be able to get into a funny twitter war with a billion dollar company over their french fries).

And yes, I left out some REALLY great books.  I cannot stress enough how much I have LOVED to be reading more.  I feel like I am smarter, I feel like I UNDERSTAND (people and things) more, and I feel like I have empowered myself to just say no to a bunch of things (drugs and bad marketing options).  So if…wait…so WHEN you read these and want MORE books, let me know and I have you covered.

Until then, have a wonderful weekend, I hope you’re okay with me dropping the schtick a bit for this newsletter, I promise you next week we will talk about the 250 ways to grow your firm.

I’ll see you then with our next chapter of this newsletter!

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