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My 3 Most Impactful Reads

It’s 10:58 at night right now as I write this. Life has majorly gotten away from me this last couple of weeks, and definitely in a good way. I have a massive new video project coming up with a great client, I’ve been pouring out content for my growing audience, and I’ve been working on a new side hustle that’s been a fantastic change from the day-to-day grind.

But in all that activity, my reading habit has nearly ground to a halt.

Reading is a MASSIVE part of the reason why I’m not still making sandwiches for $9 an hour and living in my dad’s basement (yes, I lived in the basement, and my room was WAY cooler than yours. Deal with it).

Since I was 16, I’ve read around 200 books on business, wealth, sales, marketing, psychology, and other personal development topics. That’s nowhere near the 700+ quoted by other, uh… “personalities” in their late 20s and early 30s, but it’s definitely made a marked difference in my growth as a person and an entrepreneur.

Admittedly, some of these books got filed away in my brain’s round file immediately after reading them. Especially audiobooks. I have multiple titles in my Audible library that I don’t even remember listening to.

But there are a few books that not only have I read over and over again, but continue to draw more value from them with each read. I’ve got about 15 books of this quality, and these are my top 3 that I recommend absolutely everybody read, regardless of their life or career aspirations.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Robert Kiyosaki)

Obviously. I know my audience pretty well—I doubt there’s many of them that haven’t read this life-changing classic. But if you’re one of the ones that hasn’t, I need you to order a copy right now. Seriously, if you email me and ask, I will send you a copy myself.

This was the book that kicked off my obsession with business and entrepreneurship. I was 18 and read it during a (very) short experiment with a network marketing business.

I was hooked halfway through the first chapter, and read the entire book in two days.

The book told the story of the author’s two dads—his biological father, and the father of a friend. One was rich, one was poor, and each had personality traits and behaviors that made them what they were.

I saw so many Poor Dad personality traits in my parents (sorry mom and dad), and realized just how many of them I’d adopted myself. If I hadn’t caught those mistakes in the making, I would be a very different person today.

I’m not kidding. Buy this book right now, even if you’ve read it already. Read it again and again until you absorb its message.

The Four Hour Workweek (Timothy Ferriss)

Growing up trapped in the frigid wastes of Montana during the winter was NOT always fun. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of days I walked to and from school in the blistering cold, wishing that I could be anywhere else.

Freedom was, and still is, my fondest wish.

This book codified this desire and showed me just how achievable it really was. And now that the pandemic has made remote work a normal part of life, living a life tied not to a street address, but an IP address, has never been more achievable.

Using its lessons, I started a freelance business that allowed me to make great money and do my work from anywhere. I’ve lived and worked in 20+ states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Panama. All from my laptop and cell phone.

The Four Hour Workweek will show you the way.

The Richest Man In Babylon (George Clason)

This short read is a little tricky to sing praises for. I definitely don’t have the same emotional attachment to it that I do the other two items on the list, but nevertheless, it’s been one of the most impactful reads of my life.

It presents a very simple and reliable philosophy for the management of money, but it also provides a new perspective on it. A big part of your relationship to money is the way you see it, and this book helps you see it for what it is: a tool to be used to improve your life, rather than a drug that threatens to control it.

It’s a little dry (having been written in the 1920s), and the biblical tone isn’t the most fun to read, but I read this book first when I was 17 and have since read it 3 times… I mean “thrice” more. I even lent a copy to a friend, and I’m STILL mad at her for not returning it (just kidding Abby).

Buy the book, take half a day to read it, and internalize its lessons. Despite its aged appearance, it’s a fantastic read with a message that will never go out of date.


Read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki for a primer on thinking like an entrepreneur. The perspective it will give you is invaluable.

Read The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss for an absolute masterclass on living a life of absolute, uncompromising freedom. Life is too short to spend dealing with an uninspiring life.

Finally, read The Richest Man In Babylon for a bulletproof financial philosophy and a timeless perspective on money.

But mostly, just read something. Future You will be glad that you did.

I'm John Kakuk.

I’m a brand designer, web developer and marketer working with architects, engineers and construction companies. My purpose is to help others achieve the best versions of their businesses and themselves.

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