Books Help You Grow

Below is a growing list of books I find truly inspiring and helpful in any business endeavors one may have.

“Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went From Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur”

By Ryan Blair with Don Yaeger

Now this is an autobiography about a true badass. In this book, Ryan Blair recounts his childhood, young adolescent life as a gang member, and life as a businessman growing companies, tying it into a great manual on business that all entrepreneurs have to read. He covers hiring the right people, creating the right business plan, how to create a good exit strategy when selling your company, a founder’s responsibility to shareholders and much more. His story is inspiring and humbling, showing that anyone, with any background, can become a successful entrepreneur so long as they use their past to strengthen themselves and not deter them from greatness. If you are looking for a good read to learn the basics of entrepreneurship and to gain firsthand accounts on the challenges that entrepreneurs face, please read this book! You won’t regret it.

Unthinking: The Surprising Forces Behind What We Buy

By Harry Beckwith
Harry Beckwith’s amazing book brings light to several of the strategies marketers use to affect our buying habits and our culture. From how our childhood will always influence our buying habits, how stories drive us to engagement, and how reputations alter the experience with our products such as Coca Cola vs Pepsi. Harry allows us to see behind the scenes how history unfolded in the media, pop, culture and much more (for example: how the Beatles should have never been underestimated and why they were and much more). The main purpose for reading this is to understand how marketers influence our daily decisions and why understanding how adds work on social media affect how we interact with the world and other humans as a whole. “In every conversation, someone is selling and someone is being sold to, ” -paraphrasing a dear friend.

Unthinking book review

The Lean StartUp  

By Eric Reis

Through my journey as a budding entrepreneur, I have encountered many successful business owners. What I have realized is that a lot of them rely luck or personal intuition that can lead them to success. Although many of them will continue to be successful in the future, I have found that none of them provided me with adequate advice that would in turn help me achieve the level of success I desired for my business and my team. I then came upon The Lean StartUp by Eric Reis. Eric’s pragmatic approach to building a successful and sustainable business has helped me tremendously. It has helped me understand how to approach testing an idea and how to learn from customers. The biggest takeaway that this book provided me with was that all entrepreneurs must prioritize learning goals over performance goals. Time and time again I have seen people use data gained each quarter to allude to the fact that their business is growing and moving in the right direction, while in reality they are just using vanity metrics (a term coined in the book) (I would even give a small summary of vanity metrics, quick and concise to the point for people that have not read the book). If you are an aspiring entrepreneur or just someone who has a good idea but does not know how to implement it, I extremely recommend reading this book. This should be the essential employee manual for all startups who want to survive the uncertainty of the entrepreneur uni verse.

Leanstartup book cover

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

By Patrick Lencioni

As a member of a fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon, I had to read a book called The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. The way that Lencioni uses storytelling in order to drive home the lessons of this book is amazing. He perfectly defines the reasons why so many teams fail to reach success together. From lack of trust to inattention to details, Lencioni clearly describes all the issues any team in any setting could face if they are not all working towards the same goal and are aware of what is holding them back. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone who is currently working with a team (which is the majority of the workforce). As a leader, you will gain insightful information on how to tackle any challenges you may be encountering working with a new team. If there is anything you should read in this book, are the team building exercises that are in the end. You won’t regret practicing one in at least one of them in your next team meeting.

Kenny Soto


How Google Works

By Eric Schmidt

Executive Chairman and ex-CEO Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg show in this book the power of a new style of leadership. When a company’s employees are entirely comprised of smart creatives (term coined by the author) one must approach the challenge of leading them to success in new and innovative ways. This book has taught me a lot about entrepreneurship and how the future will be quite different than what any of us could expect. From how to hold a proper meeting, to the importance of interviewing, and how to create the perfect career plan, this book helps shine light to anyone interested in learning more about the internet search company that has become the center of innovation for the entire world.

How Google Works Review by Kenny Soto



On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft

By Stephen King 

Stephen King surpasses all expectations in this memoir of his childhood, college life, and ultimately his insights on writing. Never writing in the passive voice, using as little adverbs as possible (he hates them), and the second draft is always: the 1st draft - 10%. I endeavored in reading this book expecting to be a simple guide on the do’s and don’t’s of writing but, got much more. This book has shown the importance books have in our lives as humans and I truly appreciate everything I gained from reading his memoir.

On Writing book review Kenny Soto

Zero to One

By Peter Theil 

This book has truly made me rethink starting a business at least fourteen times. Before anyone endeavors into creating a startup, consider reading this book. Peter covers topics such as “The Founders Paradox”, seven essential questions you need to be able to answer for your business to be successful, the difference between a monopoly and competition, and much more. The part that had the biggest impact to me is about product distribution. His insights on how to create a successful business are unparalleled and his experience creating PayPal certainly help. If you want to see a new perspective on startups definitely read this book.

Zero to one Kenny Soto book list


The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference

By Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell has forever changed how I view marketing and how ideas are spread. His in-depth analysis on social epidemics are second to none as he shows a new perspective on how they are started and how they can be stopped. From teenage smoking throughout the years, to the New York crime sprees in the 20th century, his revolutionary ideas from 2000 still have profound relevance today. He enlightens his reader on how social groups can be used to spread ideas through the rule of 150, the law of the few, the power of context, and much more. If you are interested in merely understanding how humans influence each other on a mass scale I highly suggest this book.

The Tipping Point: Kenny Soto Recommended


The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership

By Richard Branson

This is a very inspiring book on how Richard Branson rose to build his empire and his advice that any leader should heed. Whether you are building a business or looking to advance it, this book has a vast amount of advice every business professional should have. From building a fun and productive company culture to how to capitalize on opportunities; Richard Branson shows his audience what it truly means to be a leader. He displays his knowledge through the four L’s of success: Listen, Learn, Laugh, and Lead. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wishes to expand their mind and potential.



The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)

By Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements is a wonderful book on self-discovery and self-love. Another essential book any leader should read and ponder on. Don Miguel expresses his ideas on self-confidence and how to share it with others in your team. A spiritual book that will at least, if nothing else, show you another perspective on life.

The four agreements


How to Win Friends & Influence People

By Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie shows his audience how to properly engage with others in any situation. For business etiquette and negotiations this book is a great resource in making sure your points come across clearly and without argument. I have obtained a vast amount of social skills from this book and I highly recommend a purchase when possible. This is a great addition to anyone’s leadership collection.