Skip to Main content
SEO Working Better

Must read books in 2020

I read a lot of non-fiction books last year and most of them were fantastic.

As this section of our website is for our client's who all run businesses and hold management roles, I thought I'd share these with everyone in case they can offer you some of the benefits I got from reading them.

Some of the things I learnt included:

  1. I need to sleep more. Lots more.
  2. I buy too much junk and it's cluttering up my brain.
  3. By managing my energy levels, I get much more done.
  4. Todo lists are great but not if they're stored in your head.
  5. I don't get more done by spending more time at work.

My Book List

A list of books which will help you work and live better

Credit: Amazon

The way we're working isn't working

By Tony Schwartz

Target market: Everyone
Work smarter by understanding what gives you energy and how to best manage it throughout your work day.

I'm not sure how it was I came across this random article on the American Express website but I know I was feeling wiped at the time and was keen to find an easy way to re-energise.

After reading the article, I immediately purchased the book and ended up reading it twice!

Perhaps the biggest benefit I took away from Schwartz's book was the understanding that everything I do, from how much I sleep through to what I eat, affects how I feel at the end of each day.

We know that successful athlete's care deeply about their rest, diet and state of mind. Without all these things in balance, they can't perform at their best.

However, for the rest of the world, we just bounce around between the late Tuesday night Netflix marathons and those post-lunch double-shot lattes you didn't really want but wouldn't survive without.

We act at the time like it doesn't effect us but the truth is, it has greater affects than we even know about.

Schwartz makes it clear that if you want to make your life easier and find greater levels of success, thinking like an athlete will help you achieve these goals.

Buy it online from Amazon

Borrow it from a local Adelaide library

Credit: Amazon

Take a nap! Change your life.

By Sara C. Mednick, Ph.D.

Target Market: Everyone
Understanding why sleep is like fuel for our bodies and all the benefits it can offer us.

For over a year, I started my day at 4:30am. It gave me access to a time of the day that I could use for anything; from exercise to catching up on work.

However, after reading Schwartz's book, the importance of sleep was on my mind. This led me to pick up Take A Nap. Change Your Life! This book made me realise that the advantages I was getting from my early starts also came with a lot of disadvantages that I was ignoring.

After reading Mednick's book, I cut my early starts and replaced it with a goal to achieve eight hours of sleep every night.

As the title aptly implies, the benefits of a second sleep during the day has additional benefits. I'm still working on how I can accommodate this  into my life but for now, a solid eight hours has been a game-changer for me on every level.

If you're looking for a way to start working at a higher capacity, feel better and maintain a greater level of focus throughout your workday, just get a good nights sleep. Mednick's book is only required to convince you why this is so important.

Buy it online from Amazon

Credit: Amazon

Zen Habits

By Leo Babauta

Target Market: Everyone
Offers perspectives on how to simplify work and life

Leo Babauta is a journalist and blogger who has developed a huge online following. The appeal of his work centre's around the idea of simplicity.

Part of his approach to simplicity is a system he calls Zen to Done (ZTD). Babauta covers this in detail within Zen Habits, explaining that it offers a relatively easy way to get on top of the "email overload" we all suffer from at work.

The amazing thing is that ZTD really works. I now have a clear desk, an empty inbox and feel more in control of each day I'm at work.

If you're drowning in email and need a simple way to deal with it, you won't regret giving ZTD a go.

Buy it on Amazon

Borrow it from a local Adelaide library

Credit: Amazon

Getting Things Done

By David Allen

Target Market: Everyone
Quieten your mind and allow yourself to focus on one thing at a time

After the success I had with Babauta's ZTD system, I wanted to know more about the basis for it; a system called GTD (Getting Things Done) by David Allen.

GTD has been around for a long time and a lot of software I've used in the past has claimed it follows the GTD methodologies.

Whilst I've stuck with ZTD to manage my work inbox, reading Allen's Getting Things Done made me realise how much we carry around in our heads and the burden this puts on each of us.

All this mental noise reduces our ability to focus on the things that really matter and can even leave us feeling ill at ease.

Allen explains that this mental noise comes from "open loops" which is basically our brain telling us over and over again that "we can't forget the milk".

Allen's solution is to "close the loops" by dumping this information into a "trusted source" (i.e a notebook or app on your phone). Only after you dump everything that's been buzzing around in your head will you be free to think clearly again without the mental distractions.

I remain amazed by how effective Allen's techniques have worked for me. If you're like me and regularly feel swamped by life's demands, GTD makes you feel like you have control again and allows you to get back to enjoying what you do.

Buy it on Amazon

Borrow it from a local Adelaide library

Credit: Amazon

The 80/20 Principle and 92 other powerful laws of nature

By Richard Koch

Target Market: Business owners, managers and entrepreneurs
Provides perspectives on doing a business in a world which is constantly changing

I'm pretty sure Koch's 80/20 Principle is the largest book I've ever read. It's also the most mentally taxing book on this list.

However, it's well worthwhile for those who are prepared to put in the effort.

The heart of this book is focused on connecting the laws of nature with the effects we see play out every day in the business world. It does so by first explaining a principle you probably remember learning about in physics but the details of which may have now slipped your mind. Koch then brings examples which have occurred in the business world and demonstrates how these governing principles play out in exactly the same way.

A simple example is Darwin's theory of evolution and the survival of the fittest. He discusses that there are baby birds which, when they hatch, try to ensure none of the other eggs survive; reducing competition for food. Businesses can also behave like this to which is why we see so many monopolies.

For me, it was Koch's insights into how businesses need to learn to survive in a constantly changing environment which made the biggest impact.

Just like in nature, the world we do business in is constantly changing and we need to build nimble businesses which can evolve and thrive as each change hits us.

This book is epic on every level and if you can take the time to read it, you'll be glad you did.

Buy it on Amazon

Borrow it from your local Adelaide library

Credit: Amazon

Simply Said

By Jay Sullivan

Target Market: Everyone
Ways to improve how clearly people under you

Simply Said helps you write emails people want to read and deliver presentations people want to listen to.

It does this by teaching us to do exactly what I did in the last sentence:

  1. Get straight to the point
  2. Tell people about what they're going to care about most

I know I'm going to have to read this book a dozen more times before I've mastered its teachings but only because it asks us to think and write differently to what comes naturally.

Surely improving how effectively you deliver your message is something that all of us would like to do better. For this reason alone, Simply Said is worth a read.

Buy it on Amazon

Credit: Amazon

Essential: Essays by The Minimalists

by Ryan Nicodemus & Joshua Fields Millburn

Target Market: Everyone
Living a life which is filled with more value and less junk

The Minimalists are two guys from the USA who found themselves in fairly successful careers but were constantly dissatisfied with their lives. The gave up these jobs in the search for a simpler life and found it through adopting Minimalism.

As a co-owner of a design company, I have a strong appreciation for minimalism and it's principles. However, the concept that some of these principles could be applied to my life hadn't occurred to me.

Nicodemus & Fields Millburn go to town on the idea of becoming a minimalist. Right down to boxing up everything you own and only keeping the things you end up pulling out of your boxes. Everything else gets the flick.

Whilst concepts like this weren't right for me, their ethos made me realise that a lot of the "stuff" I was buying wasn't adding any value to my life. Furthermore, I was holding onto a lot of "stuff" because I didn't know how to say "goodbye" to it.

The value in this book came from this idea of working out what things were most important to me.

Did I really need two surfboards? Why am I still holding on to that vintage Mac? And what is even in those boxes I haven't opened since we moved?

Clearing out the clutter from your life is rejuvenating. There's less "stuff" in the way, less "stuff" to worry about, less "visual noise" around each day.

Essential: Essays by The Minimalists allows you to ask these questions and think about the benefits of living with less, buying less and wanting less. In a world where we're all being sold to all the time, thinking about these things can be beneficial for everyone.

Buy it on Amazon - if you think it will add value to your life :)

Borrow it from your local Adelaide library

Credit: Amazon

SEO 2019 Learn Search Engine Optimization With Smart Internet Marketing Strategies

By Adam Clarke

Target Market: Hands on business owners, web marketing admins & junior website developers
A handy foundation toward understand what Google cares about

When it comes to websites, ranking well in Google is something a lot of people expect will "just happen" without really understanding how it can be achieved.

Given this, I picked up a copy of SEO 2019 in an effort to find a book I could recommend to clients who have come to recognise that instant success in Google isn't easily achieved and want to know more about what they can do to improve their own rankings.

Ultimately, Clarke covers this topic pretty well. The nature of the material and the voice he uses to deliver it is very much for people starting out in SEO and this makes it a good point of reference for any business owner who is trying to get their head around this topic.

I know however that staying on top of something that evolves as much as Google does isn't easy. For this reason, it's still hard not to recommend just using a professional but for anyone who is keen to "have a go at SEO", Clarke's book is a good place to start.

Buy it on Amazon

About the Author

Sam Lomax is a director at Blis Web Agency and a father of two very active boys. He has a background in programming and UX design but these days his job description tends to be more about chatting on the phone with clients and keeping his brilliant team buzzing with caffeine.