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I’ve always been a fan of Mathias Meyer’s reading lists. They’re one of my go-to resources to discover interesting books to read. While I didn’t read nearly as many books as he did, I wanted to share the books read in 2014 in the same vein. So here it is: my reading list of 2014!

The Personal MBA

Josh Kaufman’s book gives an birds-eye view about all business related topics. He covers value creation, marketing, sales, value delivery, and finance. On top of that he also talks about the human mind, how to work with yourself and others, and how to understand/analyze and improve systems.

The book is split up into short sections about each aspect of the general topics. This makes it easy to quickly pick up the book and read a few sections, even when you only have a few minutes of time.

The Personal MBA is a great book if you want to get up to speed with the general ideas on running a business. Additionally it includes a huge list of books with more in-depth information.

Startup Growth Engines

Judging by the title of the book, this sounded like an interesting read. Unfortunately it was not. The book is merely a collection of blog posts featuring successful startups. The observations about each startup are shallow and I didn’t get any actionable advise from it.

Double Your Freelancing Rate

I’ve already read the first edition of Double Your Freelancing Rate in 2013. This year, Brennan Dunn released a new edition of the book in which he rewrote several parts of it. The book is packed with actionable advise on how to improve ones success as a freelancer. It helped me outline a process that allows me to position my services as a valuable investment towards my client’s goals.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who's freelancing. It comes with a great collection of useful worksheets and templates so you can start working on your business right away.

Mastering App Presentation

In this book, Jane Portman talks about how to properly present your application. Whether it is presenting the work you did for a client or designing the marketing website for one of your applications, the book has you covered. While the examples mostly talk about mobile applications, a lot of it is easily applicable to web and desktop applications as well.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

When I first came across this book, I was a bit put off by its title. However I kept seeing this classic (first published in 1936) recommended by a lot of people. Eventually my friend Christoph sent it to me as a gift.

After reading it, I realized the book is not about manipulating other people, but yourself. Dale Carnegie teaches a couple of valuable lessons that really changed how I perceive and interact with other people. In that regard, it’s the most valuable book I read this year.

Everything I Know

In “Everything I Know”, Paul Jarvis shares his experiences and lessons learned as a professional in the creative industry. It was a quick and interesting read, but I didn’t get much out of it.

The Knack

In “The Knack”, Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham write about lessons learned while running a business. Each lesson is backed by a real-life story. This makes it easy to understand the idea behind it, as well as to remember them later on.

The book is filled with experience you don’t yet have when you’re just starting out. Instead of learning everything the hard way, I highly recommend reading this book.

The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project is a primer on DevOps and Lean Manufacturing masked as a fiction book. It tells the story of Bill, an IT director who suddenly finds himself becoming the vice president of IT operations. The company he’s working at, has huge problems releasing new software for their internal processes. If you’re working in IT, you’ll most likely recognize some of the problems they are facing. In the course of the story, Bill learns how to fix these problems by applying principles of lean manufacturing.

It is a fun read, even if you're already familiar with the ideas behind DevOps and Lean.

Mastering Modern Payments

To my own surprise this is the only programming related book I’ve read this year. In August, I implemented payments into my product Stage and Pete Keen’s book was a helpful guide. His book goes beyond the resources Stripe provides on their website and covers everything from one-time payments to subscriptions and marketplaces.

The Swarm & Black Out

In addition to the non-fiction books, I read two more fiction books this year: The Swarm and Black Out. I enjoyed both a lot.