Have you ever walked into someone’s office and glanced at what’s on their shelves? Of course you have. We all have. It’s part of our nature to look around our environment. Prehistoric man needed to do it out of necessity to ensure there was no danger when they went hunting.  Today, we do it out of curiosity.

We are looking for clues. Are they married? Do they have children? Do they do sports? What clothes do they wear? The photos they have on their desks give us a glimpse into their lives. It’s by no means a science, but salespeople are taught to do this to get ideas of who the person is and possible talking points. The better you understand your prospect, the better you can shape your sales pitch.

Another way to get a good idea of who they are is to look at the books they have on their bookshelf. Every entrepreneur should invest in a good collection of books because they tell a story.

Here are some of the books that I have clients pick up before I start working with them.

#1 Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins

Considered by many as the finest book on marketing ever written. That certainly qualifies it for this list.

#2 Black Heart, Thick Face by Chin-Ning Chu

Any book that marketing legend Dan Kennedy recommends deserves a place on your shelf. It takes some of the best of Chinese philosophy and shows how it is relevant in the business world as well as in our personal lives.

#3 The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey

An absolute must for any entrepreneur, manager or CEO. This has been a best-seller for years and has helped spawn a billion-dollar empire. Critical reading.

#4 Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

This is the book that Clement Stone said was the key to him becoming the world’s first billionaire. Many speakers and entrepreneurs say this is the book that transformed their lives. Good enough for me.

#5 The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

A super easy, super powerful book that looks at the power of compounding with regard to achievement. Don’t overlook the power of this concept in business and in life.

#6 #AskGaryVee by Gary Vaynerchuk 

Social media is the big kid on the block these days. For people trying to make heads or tails of it, this book is a great place to start. It’s a light read and full of great insights into what Gary Vee calls “the new economy.”

#7 Body and Soul by Anita Roddick

The Body Shop is one of the great business stories of the late 20th Century, and this book explains the troubles she had and how was able to build it up to a billion-dollar empire.

#8 Grinding It Out by Ray Kroc

McDonald’s is by no means fine dining, but how it came into being is something that every entrepreneur should take the time to study.

#9 The Starbucks Experience by Joseph Michelli

What McDonald’s did to the burger, Starbucks did to coffee, on steroids. If you’re looking for ways to take your business to the next level, might as well learn from a company that prides itself on service.

#10 Tool of Titans by Timothy Ferriss

This is the newest book on the list but it deserves to be on this list simply because of the wealth of knowledge contained within it.

#11 Influence by Robert Cialdini

Nearly every personal development speaker these days mentions this book as a must-read. That’s good enough for me.

#12 The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

A fabulous breakdown of the fundamentals of success. This is an easy book to get through despite being one of the longer books on this list.

#13 See You At The Top by Zig Ziglar

When it comes to sales, there are a few books that stand out. Zig’s is certainly one of them and is very enjoyable.

#14 Leading An Inspired Life by Jim Rohn

While Jim has a few good books, it’s in his audio programs where he excels. This book is a compilation of excerpts from both his speeches and other books as well.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Adrian Shepherd

Adrian Shepherd started his career as an ESL teacher in Japan, but today focuses on consulting with individuals and companies on productivity. His background in education helped him develop The One-Bite Time Management System (TMS), a revolutionary new system based entirely around simplicity: small bites that people can digest easily. He is also a contributor for the Huffington Post, Thrive Global and The Good Men Project. He is based in Osaka, Japan.