As some of you may know, I love to read. While we all have different learning styles, I do believe it is tremendously difficult to substitute the immense knowledge base books provide simply by reading articles, listening to podcasts, or watching documentaries.

Since I was a child, my dad always preached practically anything I want to do in this life has already been done by somebody before me – many of these experts have been kind enough to share their stories in books, which are always available for under $20. The way he phrased it, if we don’t read them, it’s our loss. This mentality has always motivated me to read books – I always wanted to know how the experts did it so I always make time for it. Books have been the single biggest asset to my growth as a leader and entrepreneur.

In 2016, I read 18 books. In 2017, I read 21 books and am halfway through three others I aspire to finish (for reference, I usually read one book at a time). My goal was 26 so I fell six short and in 2018, I look forward to reaching it!

There is nothing like good biographies or how-it-was-built style books, like Shoe Dog (Nike), the Everything Store (Amazon), or Powerhouse (CAA), which I powered through this year (pun intended). Powerhouse specifically stuck with me because the story of CAA is so unique. So many of the music moguls I’ve read about started or ran businesses that imploded upon their retirement – Sure, they may have signed some of the biggest acts of all time, but the company operations ended when they left and or the culture couldn’t survive without them. These leaders were not building empires or well managed organizations to stand the test of time. CAA was different, and it’s leaders (similar to Jeff Bezos) thought long-term from the very beginning. There were also five of them that led the company (twice!), which made for a unique set-up and thrilling storyline. It’s a long read (702 pages to be exact) so it is a big commitment, but one that is well worth it.

While I love a great story, the book that stuck with me the most this year was the most practical one, the 10X Rule. There is always another level, and it’s our job as entrepreneurs to find it, which usually means stretching ourselves further than we are willing to go, or previously thought possible. A quick Google search on the book returns a great one line summary –

The 10X Rule is the amount of effort and thought that’s needed to get anything done successfully, while adjusting your thinking to dream big dreams. The secret to extraordinary success is to put in 10 times the effort than most people.

In this book, the author Grant Cardone, preaches anything we put our minds to will take 10x more effort than we anticipate it will. When I think of everything great I have accomplished, it always has taken at least ten times more energy, time, and actionables than I originally thought it would.

It’s important we as leaders are aware of this rule so we do not overcommit ourselves, especially to an artist or important project. Our artists depend on us. If we recognize the 10X rule from the beginning of a commitment, we can be both more patient and diligent in our planning and preparations for the journey ahead.


Here is a full list of all the books I read this year. Thank you to everybody who made these recommendations. For my full recommended reading list, just respond to this email and I will shoot it over to you!

    1. The Alchemist
    2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
    3. Becoming Steve Jobs
    4. The 10X Rule
    5. Powerhouse (CAA)
    6. Perennial Seller – This is all about how to create art that stands the test of time and building a platform in the modern age – Great quick read! It’s also the first I have a quote in the beginning of the book 😉 thanks to my good friend Ryan Holiday!
    7. Shoe Dog
    8. The Autobiography of Quincy Jones
    9. Superfandom
    10. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
    11. The Everything Store
    12. Deep Work
    13. The Art of Possibility
    14. How to Win at the Sport of Business (Mark Cuban)
    15. Senaca on the Shortness of Life
    16. Mastermind Dinners
    17. Healing Back Pain
    18. The Way of the Superior Man
    19. Love Yourself
    20. Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group
    21. Relentless

The three I started were – Principles by Ray Dalio (I’m ⅔ of the way through and it’s one of the best books I have ever read on success), Art of Acknowledgement by Margo Magdi (I practice this everyday thanks to Margo’s training course I took two years ago), and An Everyone Culture. I look forward to finishing them to start the new year!

I’d love to know what your favorite book was of 2017 that I should pick up in 2018 is, so if you feel compelled, please send your suggestions my way 🙂

Happy reading in 2018!

NOT PICTURED: Relentless, and Healing Back Pain as my fiancé is currently reading my copy.


January 2, 2018 2:35 pm

Some great reads for my 2018 list- thanks for sharing-

January 2, 2018 3:05 pm

Thanks for Sharing Jake, I think the book that made the biggest impact on me in 2017 was How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. So many little exercises you can implement right away which change everything. Also although not a book, but something I’ve purchased for my friends was a journal called the 5 Minute Journal. Great way to get the day started with focus and intention.

January 2, 2018 6:10 pm

Great list! I agree fully on subtle art and 10x. On my list were The Power of Broke, Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, Howling At The Moon, The Social Organism, 48 Laws of Power, Outwitting the Devil l, The Millionaire Messenger

January 3, 2018 5:16 am

Great selection Mr. Udell. I’ve seen Grant Cardone’s ads all over Facebook, but he never really caught my attention in those videos. The 10X rule sounds like a great read; I’ll give it a shot.

Loved Mark Cuban’s book. 👌

A great, great bio/book that I really enoyed is “Empire State of Mind” by Zach O’Malley Greenburg. It’s the story of Jay Z and how he went “from street corners to corner office”. O’Malley is a Forbes editor and does a great job digging in Mr. Carters bright businessman mind in the book.

Thanks for sharing!


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