Category: Reviews

Fourteen Books Every Entrepreneur (Affiliate Marketer) Needs to Read.

I thought it was time for a post about books that are beneficial to all entrepreneurs, which includes almost all of us in the Affiliate Marketing scene. I know this post isn’t a new idea and many people have done it before, but some of them fail to mention books that I love.

One thing to keep in mind is that self help books shouldn’t be taken literally. I think a lot of people read them looking for “the answer”, which of course they won’t find no matter how hard they look.

The key to these books is to take the information and anecdotes and form your own opinions and ideas from the book to be used in your own reality and business practices.

On to the list shall we?


Books you need to read, right now.

In Praise of Slow – Carl Honore

This book is all about how we live in fast paced times and we often need to slow down. Stop thinking about now, start thinking longer term, and for fucks sake enjoy the smell of the roses. We only have one life to live. Starts out with how people used to only wake up when the sun came up, go to bed when it was dark and then suddenly someone invited the clock and everything started going to hell. This is more of an inspirational book than learning anything business, but I think a lot of us have to step back and remember that we’re working to live, not living to work.

HEY! YOU! Slow down too.

Undercover Economist – Tim Harford

This book is pretty nuts. I’m not an economist and I’m the first to admit that I really know nothing about the subject. Tim has a great way of writing to people outside of the field and explains some intricate details about economics in plain language.

Go undercover yourself.

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man – John Perkins

Along the same lines as Undercover Economist but slightly different with its approach and subject. This is told from an insider’s point of view about how huge multinational corporations really control the world and how they do it. There’s a story about how they would plant microphones in baskets in tribal areas to gain their trust when people hurt themselves and shit. Some pretty eye opening tinfoil hat stuff in here, but it’s all been verified as truth, so it’s even crazier. This book will teach you all about what evil and greedy multinational corporations will do in the name of money.

Hit men are cool.

The Joy of Swearing – Mike Hunt

What. Yes, a swearing book. Why is this here? Because it’s great fun to pull out swear words from the 1700’s when you’re making fun of someone on the forums. Overall a great read and has some wicked funny stories about famous swearing episodes. Including the all too famous “Sir, you are Drunk” – “I may be drunk, but you madam are ugly, I will wake up sober tomorrow, you will still wake up Ugly”.

Fuck you, read it!

The Knack – Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlington

This book, by an Inc 500 company owner, explains subtle details about business and how things really work. He bases the book on his years of experience in various businesses. It tells stories about failures, triumphs and more. Some great ideas and tactics are explained in this book; I’ve even begun putting some of them to use for myself and modified for the various ventures I’m involved in.

Do you have the knack?

Sway – Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman

This book is very interesting. It’s all about why we make seemingly stupid decisions. They examine many incidents from current history, where it’s basically come down to cultural differences, people being scared or saying the wrong thing and that horrible things have happened. Some great tidbits of information and new ways of thinking come with this book. I would recommend this to anyone, even if they aren’t an entrepreneur.

Don’t Sway.

The Four Hour Work Week – Timothy Ferris

Okay. I know. We’ve probably all read this like 100 times or have heard of it. I don’t care, it needs to be mentioned. Tim’s story is incredible and if you are like many of us you have the “just fucking do it” attitude and this book really shows you where you can get when you apply this type of attitude to your business. Great ideas, extra downloads and everything. Comes highly recommended by just about anyone you talk to.

Work 4 Hours a Week Here

Freakonomics – Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J Dubner

Just like 4HWW most of you have probably heard of this book too. It’s a great read and they released a new expanded version with a bunch of blog posts and other stuff in it that makes it even better than the first edition. Learn why drug dealers usually live with their parents and other crazy information this economist has put together into nicely phrased text that make you truly understand how certain parts of the economy works. This is also translatable to other areas if you know how to apply it.

Find out what freakonomics is.

Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

One of the best books of all time; I shit you not. I think this is the only book I’ve ever read that literally made the hair on my neck stand up. Not because I was scared, well maybe, scared of how revolutionary some of the thinking in this book is. The way that Malcolm can explain things using examples and stories makes it incredibly easy to read and digest and you learn a lot about what factors contribute to a product cycle or life cycle through inception, to plateau (the tipping point) and what happens following that point.

You really need to read it.

Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

Following Blink and Tipping Point this is the latest book from Malcolm. This book isn’t so much about products and all that, but more-so some interesting statistics he was able to find out comparing things throughout history. Find out why star hockey players are stars, why Bill Gates is the richest man in the states (hint, it doesn’t have to do with Microsoft) and why families in the deep south have “turf wars” and have for years. All sorts of interesting information in these books and inspirational if you apply the same statistical analysis to your own lives and what you’ve been exposed to.

Fun reading awaits here.

Covert Persuasion – Kevin Hogan and James Speakman

This book is a bit of a newbie tutorial on persuasion. How to word things, lead conversations or writings to convince the reader to perform whatever action you want them to do. It’s not revolutionary stuff but I recommend this for anyone new to the industry or business in general as there are a few tidbits of information in here that will help. He also has some informative downloads and word lists that will help you with marketing and persuasion in day to day business activities.

You can persuade people too.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter

I just started reading this the other day and I’m about 90% done. It’s frigging awesome. The story is about two young men who had a “rich dad” and a “poor dad” to get advice from. I’ve learned a lot about money and how to manage it reading this book. The most valuable lesson that I think is talked about is to realize that you’re stupid and to hire smart people. It’s tough to admit and many can’t do it but it’s seriously one of the biggest things any business minded person can do. If you want to learn to be wealthy and avoid the traps of the middle and low class, then you should check it out too.

Turn money into a game.

Vagabonding – Rolf Potts

Lots of people in this industry travel a lot; some have even turned it into a full time thing. Rolf writes an excellent book on the subject of vagabonding. Or, travelling for life and just doing your own thing. There are some great stories in here, useful information and website lists and all sorts of other essays and letters from readers about their experience travelling for a lifetime of fun and adventure. Super informative and the information is applicable to anybody who wants to get out of the house and work on their campaigns from a beach, quite literally.

Unchain yourself from your desk too.

And one to read during downtime.

The Men who Stare at Goats – Jon Ronson

Okay, this isn’t related to business at all. Well, maybe a little bit on the psychology front, but it’s more of just a crazy read about a crazy time in the American Military. The hardest thing to wrap your head around is that this book isn’t fiction – its real life. The American government really did pay for people to sit in rooms and try and make goats drop dead using only their minds. Hardcore interviews with former military personnel, people close to the paranormal and psychic tests conducted by the military and all sorts of information. Make sure you bring a big roll of tinfoil when you read this one. There’s also a fictionalized movie being made about this too. Cool.

Go stare at some goats.

This list is by far not complete, I’ve got another 10 books or so on the go right now but this is a good start. If you have any books you really love, I’d love to see them in the comments section so I can check them out.
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WFReview 2.0.3 released – bug fixes, 2.8 support and more!

If you’re a long time follower, you probably remember my review of WFReview on my old site, Optimizing Advertising. I’ve since got rid of that god awful domain and have moved on to this wicked cool one. I’ve been using WFReview since pretty much the minute it came out. I’m running a bunch of local directory sites using it, and while I haven’t seen a million dollars in profit yet, I’ve been steadily ranking higher and higher for my niches and getting lots of legit comments to the sites and traffic is steadily increasing.

All of this from installing a simple plugin, that really, besides finding CSV lists of stores or businesses to import took all of 1 hour to launch each site, and then “set it and forget it”. Can’t really get much better than that kids, even if you’re a complete newb and don’t even know how to setup WordPress, you can probably get this plugin to work for you with minimal time investment.

As you probably know, WFReview saw great success and was even sold to another owner. All was quiet for a few months until it was bought back by the original owners and most of the bugs that we reported were fixed. The last update was amazing, Google maps support is a wonderful thing for these types of sites and we’re really happy they listened to all of us users and our desire for that feature.

With this latest upgrade, now many of the bugs you were seeing with WordPress 2.8 are fixed, and the rating system itself has gone through a number of changes ensuring maximum compatibility with your custom review themes for WordPress.

If you’re planning on setting up a review site for pretty much anything you can dream of – organic coffees, wallets, whatever – the WordPress Review Plugin is all you need to get your site up and running in only a few minutes, then just sit back and start your next site. Another great thing is the license is unlimited so you can setup 100 sites off the same license. Pretty great if you ask us in this day and age of products tied to one domain only.

Check out WFReview here and buy your own copy and start banking!

ASE 2009 NYC – Summary as seen through a newbie Canadian affiliate marketers eyes.

So, as you can see from my diary entry, a lot was accomplished at Affiliate Summit 2009 in New York City. While it may look like all we did was drink, which is probably pretty true, there was a lot of business conducted at the same time. And not to mention a helluva lot of networking opportunities. I met with a number of people from Wicked Fire, and a bunch of other network owners, affiliates, other people in related industries and a whole tonne of affiliate managers. I think I came home with nearly 200 business cards, some of the best networking I’ve done in years. I only wish I would have brought more cards with me because I ran out on the third day.

Overall I would recommend Affiliate Summit for any affiliate marketer, whether you are just starting out, or are a veteran in the scene there’s nothing better than putting faces to names, and discussing business ideas, opportunities or whatever in person rather than via email or telephone. Sorry to say it kids, but sometimes looking someone in the eye is better than any contract or agreement you can set in place. It’s been done this way for thousands of years and I don’t see it changing very soon.

The summit itself was spectacular, the location was right in the center of town and easily accessible to anyone, plus the name badges they handed out were huge so it was very easy to see who else was attending the conference and go up to say hi to them without fear that you were introducing yourself to someone who wasn’t involved in the show in some form.

The exhibit floors were packed with all sorts of interesting companies and service offerings for people marketing products, services or pretty much anything else they can think of. The networking opportunities seen here are rivaled by pretty much nobody else in the industry. I didn’t attend many of the sessions as I was out mingling with other internet marketing nerds, but I hear most of them were pretty well done as well. Hopefully in Vegas I will have a chance to attend a couple of these and report back on them to you, my readers.

Now, to the parties. Yes, there were parties, drinking, and more partying done at Affiliate Summit and I wouldn’t turn anyone away from these parties. They are crucial to expand your personal network of friends, business partners and other cool things. Plus everyone is a little tipsy so it’s mega easy to get introduced to people regardless of how shy of a computer nerd you are. All done at some of the top clubs in New York, this was great and thanks again to all the networks for throwing these parties.

Overall, besides the heat in New York, this trip was amazing and I would do it again in a heartbeat. See you all in Vegas in January for more fun.