Recommended Reading Material and Study Guides


Successful people appreciate the power of learning long after their school years are over. Walk into a wealthy person's home and one of the first things you'll see is an extensive library of books they've used to educate themselves on how to become more successful. Here's a list of books I found interesting and worth sharing. Some are classics (Napoleon Hill) and some are more modern. I've included comments for some of the titles.   

Books on Productivity

Atomic Habits by James Clear. Pulled this one off the WSJ Book List. I'm currently reading this book, and it's interesting so far. Will evaluate once complete.

Measuring What Matters by John Doerr and Larry Page. Just finished the book and it was very good. I was amazed how many organizations have achieved success using OKRs. Should be mandatory reading for many organizations.

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. I just started this book. I started my third year of Bullet Journaling in September It has proven useful in both my personal and professional lives. It's a good companion with the "Getting Things Done" method. Those books are listed further below. This book is informative so far, and I'll update you once finished. 

The One Thing by Jay Papasan and Gary Keller. Has been on the WSJ The Book Review list forever. Good, easy read.

Getting Things Done by David Allen. The first of three books. David introduces the Getting Things Done (GTD) concepts. Great read. great concept. I use GTD to a strong degree in my personal life and quite a bit in my professional life. Terrific book.

Ready for Anything by David Allen. Second book in series. Amplifies concepts in first book.

Making It All Work by David Allen. Third book in series. Great read. The title says it all.

The One Thing by Jay Papasan/Gary Keller. Very good book on keeping focused and not multitasking. Another book on the best sellers list forever.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown. The title tells the story. Sound advice on not multitasking.

Unlimited by Jillian Michaels. I picked it up and read it after reading the newspaper review.

The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill. Another classic. 

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss.

Books on Business and Leadership

Eccentric Orbits - The Iridium Story by John Bloom. Amazing how this very expensive and problematic venture by hosted by Motorola combated some very tough obstacles. Just finished the book. Informative read, but it does go on and on when describing the events leading to the refinancing. Some good tech stuff too.

Business Adventures by John Brooks. Warren Buffet's favorite book. He gave his copy to Bill Gates to read. Many short stories of businesses that did not think things through.

Good to Great by Jim Collins. How some companies when from average to stellar.

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. Given to me by an attorney that my daughter worked for. Very good book that will allow you to create much better and useful checklists.

Scrum by JJ Sutherland and Jeff Sutherland. Good 30K foot overview of Scrum and Agile.

Essential Scrum - A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Processes by Kenneth s. Ruben. Good overall Scrum desk reference.

The Real Life MBA by Jack and Suzy Welch. Read this as I have a MBA. Good refresher on some topics and new, more modern concepts.

What the Best MBAs Know edited by Peter Navarro. This was required reading for my Contract Management class.

The Ten Day MBA by Steven Silbiger.

The Start Up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha. Co-founders of LinkedIn. Good for your adults and those wanting to start a new career.

Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon: Describes one of the magnificent events in history. Boy, I would have loved to be part of this program. Including it in business, as it describes how an entity can succeed despite any obstacle, if they really want to. 

Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet. Just finished this audio book after someone recommended it to me. I heard the author visited my place a work a couple years ago. I may have met the author as I worked on a repair ship that serviced the submarine in Guam! 

The Art of War by Sun Tzu. I'm told this is required reading for many going to war colleges.

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leff Babin. Not a bad read. Stories from US SEAL leaders in tough circumstances. 

Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris. Just started this book. Listen to Tim's interviews on shows like Career Talk on Business Radio on Sirus/XM Radio. Just started the book, but the Podcasts are really good..

Books on Finance and Technology

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I first read this in the late 1990s or so. Made my daughter read it and recommend it to everyone fluent and not fluent on finance. Very good concept of balance sheets, income statements, and just plain old investing.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. A classic.

The Snowball by Alice Schroeder. The story of Warren Buffet. The audio book was easier to comprehend, it left out a lot of useful information.

Harvard Business Review: I have read many publications released by HBR to include "On Managing Yourself" and "Management Tips".

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Arthur Goldhammer, Thomas Piketty.

Get Rich Carefully by James J. Crammer: CNBC commentator. Long book. Good points.

The Millionaire Next Door: The surprising Secrets of America's Rich: Classic book. Some people become very rich just by living within their means.

Markets Never Forget (But People Do): How your Memory is Costing You Money and Why This Time its Different by Ken Fisher. Title says it all.

The Darkening Web by Alexander Klimburg: The War for Cyberspace: Stories of the evolution of cyberspace. Currently reading this title.

Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War by Fred Kaplan. Good history read of the cyber world. 

Future Crimes: Everything is Connected, Everyone is Vulnerable and What We Can do About It by Marc Goodman. Just finished this book. Good book, but went on a bit too long.

First Man - The Life of Neil Al Armstrong by James Hansen. I saw the movie and I have read many Space Race books and seen all those movies including Apollo 13. Watch the movie and then read the book. A lot of things will make sense. All those terms will make sense.

Kingdom of Lies - Unnerving Adventures in the World of Cybercrime by Kate Fazzini. Decent book on the interconnected cultures of the hacker. I opted for the audio book.


Tribe of Hackers Cybersecurity Advice from the Best Hackers in the World by Maarcus J. Carey & Jennifer Jin. I've had this book on my coffee table and finally got serious and read it while flying back and forth on a couple back to back business trips. Great short stories about successful security experts in different disciplines and stages of their career. Easy to read one or two chapters at a time for 10 - 15 minutes each. Great read if you're considering cyber security. The authors provided an inventory of questions for the contributes to answer, like what got them into cyber security, advice on getting into the industry, and good books to name a few. Same theme as "Tribe of Mentors." 

The Fifth Dimension. Defending Our Country - Our Companies - In The Age of Cyber Threats

Data Breaches: Crisis and Opportunity. by Sherri Davidoff - I listened to a Podcast whcih interviewed Sherri and talked about data breaches. The book went into good detail data breaches in the past and ways to confront them. Suggest getting the old fashoned book version as this book could become a reference..

Books - Miscellaneous

The Tao of Twitter by Mark Schaefer. The book started off good with good tips about branding, personal or business. But got a bit overboard. Don't get me wrong, the book did have a lot of takeaways, but the first half was twice as good as the second. Good read if you are interested in increasing your viability on Twitter.

Known: The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age by Mark W. Schaefer. This book somehow found it's way in my digital library. It turned out to be a decent book. Like the title says, it about personal branding. It focuses on personal success stories of many. Good examples of what to do on Instagram and Twitter and personal websites. The first half of the book was really good. Sort of dragged on a bit in the latter chapters.  

Career Confusion by Tracey Wilen-Daugenti: I bought this Kindle book after listening to Tracey's interview on Career Talk. Very good, but expensive book and it's not easily available in paper. 

Strategic Connections: The New Face of Networking in a Collaborative World by Anne Baber, Him Wylde, and Andre Alphonso. Different ways to expand your professional and business network. 

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Good facts and case studies. Makes you think about how we turn into who we are.

StrengthFinder 2.0 by Tom Roth. Not really a book, it is a self-assessment tool to know your strengths.

Winning by Jack and Suzy Welch: Professional development book.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. A classic.

Fate of the States: The New Geography of American Prosperity by Meredith Whitney: This was a good interesting ready a couple years ago. The concepts have changed dramatically since the US has significantly increased its own drilling.

The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live them and Reach your Potential by John Maxwell. Old classic worth reading, pre-internet concepts of course. 

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio. Found this on the WSJ Top 10 business books. Was an OK read.

Switchers  How Smart Professionals Change Careers - and Seize Success by Dawn Graham. I have listened to Dawn's show "Career Talk" for several years on SiriusXM Radio. This is a good read no matter what your professional goals are. 

Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships in a Hyper-Connected World by Kelly Hoey. This was a very good book on networking. Easy listen on Audible for those on the move.

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio. WSJ recommended read. Rather long.

Flow: Living at the Peak of Your Abilities: by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. This book was highly recommended, but was rather drawn out. It did bring out some good concepts in your ability to work efficiently.

Study Material for Professional Certifications

For those who are visiting this site after asking me "How did you study for X", I provide the following list of study material I used to pass my certifications. I never took a Bootcamp.

Project Management Institute (PMI) / Project Manager Professional (PMP)

  • Guide to Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK)
  • Rita's PMP Study Guide
  • Villanova University Project Management On Line Course (Six Months)
  • Practice Standards for Scheduling (PMI)
  • Earned Value Project Management (PMI)

  • Used many books off PMI's Website Bookshelf

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

  • CISSP Exam Guide by Shon Harris
  • 11th Hour Study Guide by Eric Conrad
  • (ISC)2 Official Study Guide
  • CISSP Official (ISC)2 Practice Tests

ITIL Foundation

  • Passing your ITIL Foundation Exam by Axelos
  • ITIL Foundation Exam Study Guide by Liz Gallacher

Professional Scrum Master (PSM)

  • The Scrum Guide from
  • Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Processes by Kenneth Rubin

National Contract Management Association (NCMA)/Certified Federal Contract Manager (CFCM)

  • Villanova University Contract Management On Line Course
  • Contract Management Book of Knowledge (CMBOK)
  • World Class Contracting by Gregory A. Garrett

  • TestSoup's Guide for the CFCM Exam by Brian Reese

CompTIA Security+ (Sec+)

  • CompTIA Security+; Get Certified Get Ahead SYO-401 Study Guide by Darril Gibson

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

  • All in One CISM Certified Information Security Manager Exam Guide by Peter H. Gregory 

Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA)

  • All in One CISA Certified Information Security Auditor Exam Guide Third Edition by Peter H. Gregory

  • CISA Study Guide by Hemang Doshi