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The 5 Non-Stephen-King-Books You Should Read In 2020

GETTING TIPSY with JESS • January 2020

By Jessica Shepard

Whether you’re just starting out or 2020 is the year you’re sprinting past last year’s goals and taking things to the next level, there’s no doubt about it, books are your friends. 

And let’s face it: they make great friends. They ask so very little of you, they’re always there when you need ‘em, and there’s a book for every situation.

Want to skip the crowd for a glass of Four Virtues cab sav and an epsom salt soak? Grab a book. Want to look smarter while you’re waiting for your venti coconut milk latte? Grab a book. Want to put a stop to “Where the hell have I been and how long was I gone?” moments? Close Instagram and grab a book.

You get the idea. 

But seriously, reading is one of the best catalysts to growth. 

And I’m not talking about the growth my prepubescent waist experienced when I discovered the world’s greatest combination: pizza and books. (The Pizza Hut Book-It program was my greatest childhood joy).

I’m talking real personal and professional growth.

So, it being 2020 and all, and you wanting to live your best life…thought I’d put together a quick list of some must-read books for you to check out this year.


#1 They Ask, You Answer -- Marcus Sheridan

If you’re creating any content for your company -- think blog posts, videos, FB/Insta lives -- this book is a must-read. Marcus has this craaaaazy notion: that you should answer your customers questions in your content. 

He argues that with as much as 80% of consumers doing research before reaching out to a company, if you’re not giving them the answers they want and need before that first touch-point, there may not ever be one.

Oh, and he talks about how you can actually win customers and attract the right people to your business by directly addressing subjects others run from, like price. 

Scary, I know, but by the end of the book, you’ll be saying, “Yes Marcus, Yes! Yes!”


#2 The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business -- John Jantsch

Part quotes/writings, part meditation, part thought-bubble-blowing wisdom bomb? Yeah, kinda. 

The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur is a unique “devotional” type book that’s made to inspire entrepreneurs and spark new ways of thinking on the daily. Yup, there are even enough daily entries for leap year.

Whether you go in order or you jump around like some kind of sociopath, you’re sure to find this book valuable on your entrepreneurial journey. 

P.S. I just got it for my husband for Christmas, but let’s be real - I’m kinda hoping he’ll share it with me. 


#3 How to Win Friends & Influence People -- Dale Carnegie 

Yes, this book was written ages ago (I have the 80th anni edition), but people are people and wisdom is wisdom. I think Seneca said that, or something like it. ;)

What will you find in this book that makes it worth reading almost 100 years after it was originally published? Oh, I dunno…things like:

fundamental techniques for handling people

six ways to make people like you

how to win people over to your way of thinking

and how to be a leader

Basically everything the world is missing right now. 

Best part? None of it is sleazy or self-serving. It’s just good, solid advice that will completely change the way you think about relationships, arguments, and even criticism. 

Read it. Trust me. 


#4 Breakthrough Advertising -- Eugene M. Schwartz

Okay, if you write any copy for your business anywhere -- Facebook Ads, landing pages, emails, etc. -- you HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO get this book. I went through two highlighters before realizing that there’s no point in highlighting if you’re highlighting every. single. sentence. 

It’s kind of the Bible for conversion copywriters (AKA writers whose jobs it is to get people to say “Yes, God, please take my money.”), and it’s pure gold. 

Schwartz talks about writing for your audience’s particular stage of awareness and sophistication, breaking into and grabbing attention in new and stale markets, the dimensions of the human mind, persuasion techniques, how to write headlines, and so much more. 

To quote Schwartz, “In copy, 1+1 can often equal 10.” Not sure what the hell that means?  Grab your copy of Breakthrough Advertising and head to page 198.

P.S. On Amazon, this book is like $2039488402939. It’s good, but not that good. Thankfully, Brian Kurtz bought the rights and you can get it on his website (breakthroughadvertisingbook.com) for $125. Definitely worth every penny. 


#5 Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content -- Ann Handley

I know, I know: seems like a lot of these books are about writing. Well, I can’t help it! I’m a writer, for Chrissakes!

Plus, whether you’re writing an email to a vendor or responding to a customer’s review on Google, knowing how to communicate what you want to communicate in the way your customer wants and needs to hear it is helpful. #facts.

So, let’s dive into our final book on the list: Everybody Writes

Ann Handley is basically a best-dressed nymph goddess in glasses, and I had the pleasure of running into her at Content Marketing World in Cleveland this year. As if I weren’t already in love with her…

But enough about me. You’re going to be obsessed with her too, once you get through Everybody Writes, her Wall Street Journal best-selling book that literally everyone reads. 

The book is packed with so many writing tips, including:

Story rules

Grammar rules

Writing rules

And even tips on writing for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, and all the pages on your website that are begging for a rewrite. 

Yipee, skippy! This is one of those books you’ll be dog-earring the sh*t out of. 

Full disclosure: I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s going to be one of my first reads of 2020. The Table of Contents got me more excited than my first 5 boyfriends ever got me. 

Alright, enough writing. Time for us to hit the books! Hope you enjoy this list and that it helps make 2020 your best year yet!


#CantonGirlGang

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