Reading Lists

Here are a few books I recommend that you have on your book shelf, Kindle, or Audible account. When I look at many of my successful friends, especially entrepreneurs, I would say that the majority of them crush books.I make it a priority every single day to read a book for 1 hour.

Here are a few books I recommend that you have on your book shelf, Kindle, or Audible account. When I look at many of my successful friends, especially entrepreneurs, I would say that the majority of them crush books.I make it a priority every single day to read a book for 1 hour.

P.S. I love Ramit Sethi’s rule for books. If you are interested at all in any book, just buy it. If you implement just 1 thing from the book into your life, that is PRICELESS.

I also have another rule. If I start reading, and I don’t think it’s interesting - I don’t keep reading. Just find a different book.

I’ve split this list into a few different sections:

Business
Psychology
Biographies
Relationships
Philosophy
Technology
History
Evolutionary Psychology
Spirituality
Other Non-Fiction

Just check out anything that interests you.

Business

The 4-hour work week

Have you ever heard of the term “digital nomad?” Someone that can live and work anywhere in the world as long as they have a computer and internet connection. This is the book that started that movement.

This book changed my life and got me interested in online businesses. Yes, the title is cheesy, but it transformed my thinking on money, work, and lifestyle. I read this book when I was 21…oh shit over 10 years ago. I live this lifestyle right now and know many others that do as well.

I think a lot of people hate on this book because they look at the title and say that it is impossible. Dude, look past the title and understand the core part of the book - you must create a business with a system that can work without you. Tim Ferriss is the OG for out-of-the-box thinking for me.

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Start with why: how great leaders inspire everyone to take action

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy WHY you do it.” This idea is so simple but also powerful. When you are communicating ideas, always communicate your WHY. What is my why for creating this website? “To inspire, empower, and help the next generation of Asian dudes become happier, healthier, wealthier, and succeed in ALL aspects of life.”

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Tribes

This book is what inspired me to start the Badass Asian Dudes podcast and community. Seth Godin, marketing baller, talks about how it is easier than ever to mobilize a group towards a cause or change.

Is it easy? Hell no - easier is different than easy. It’s just easier than ever because of the internet.

I am scared as fuck, but he talks about how you cannot wait and be passive. Be the change you want to see. So here I am - I want to build a community of Badass Asian Dudes. I’m taking action. Let’s go.

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The e-myth revisited

E-Myth stands for Entrepreneur Myth. 80% of businesses fail. Sad but true. The central theme of this book is that just because you have a technical skill or are good at something does not mean you know how to run a business. For example, if you bake some bomb ass cakes, that doesn’t mean you’re going to have a successful bakery.  You love coffee? Doesn’t mean you know how to run a cafe.

Having a successful business depends on your SYSTEMS. If your systems are shit, your business is shit.

Your business must be able to run WITHOUT you so you can do more important things. How do you do that? You must have systems and processes in place. Think about McDonald’s. Their systems and processes are legendary. Anyone with half-a-brain can step in and learn what needs to be done.

If you always have to be there, you don’t have a business - you have a job. Congrats.Read this book if you want to be an entrepreneur. It’s a classic.

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The score takes care of itself

Wow, this book is gold for businesses and leadership. This book is written by Bill Walsh, an American football coach who took one of the worst football teams to multiple championships. My key takeaway from this book - DON’T focus on results, DO focus on the process.

When Bill Walsh came to be the head coach of his shit football team, he wasn’t worried about winning. He was focused on the systems, processes, and culture of his organization. He created a “Standard of Performance” throughout ALL levels of the organization. The guy was detail oriented as hell and controlled EVERY little thing. Wide receiver routes were planned to the very inch all the way down to how secretaries should answer the phone.

If you are a leader that needs to create change, don’t worry about the results - focus on your process, systems, culture, and standards - and in the future, the results will come. Read if you want to be a leader.

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The millionaire fastlane

Another super-cheesy title but packed with value.

First lane is the sidewalk: you don’t save, you just spend, you live paycheck to paycheck. You look at wealth as “getting lucky” - maybe you’re into buying lottery tickets and hope you’ll get rich with that. Bro, if you’re on the sidewalk, you’re not going anywhere in life and you’re on the road to being poor.

Next is the slowlane and most people are in the slowlane - absolutely nothing wrong with that. Go to a good-school, work a 9-5, invest into your 401K and investment account with index funds, retire after 40-50 years (hopefully). Slowlaners sacrifice decades of their time and youth for money. I think most of our Asian parents want this.

I’m going to guess if you’re on this site, you want more out of your life and want to be in the last lane - the fastlane. You don’t want to retire at 70. You want to retire in your 20s, 30s while you’re still young.

How do you get on the fastlane? Your income CANNOT depend on your time. You need to own your business or your assets. You need to create systems that scale. You must CONTROL the variables in life. You must change your mindset from being a consumer to a producer. Don’t buy a franchise - be the guy selling the franchise. Don’t be the guy buying products from infomercials - be the guy on the informercial selling.

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Cashvertising

If you have a business selling products, you need to read this book. If you want to sell something in the future, you need to read this book. This is a quick and easy read on how to use your words to get people to buy.

It’s a classic and probably the first book I recommend to anyone interested in “copywriting.” Copywriting is using your words to sell. All the advertising legends were boss copywriters and this is a quick and easy read to learn the basics.

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I will teach you to be rich

If you have a business selling products, you need to read this book. If you want to sell something in the future, you need to read this book. This is a quick and easy read on how to use your words to get people to buy.

It’s a classic and probably the first book I recommend to anyone interested in “copywriting.” Copywriting is using your words to sell. All the advertising legends were boss copywriters and this is a quick and easy read to learn the basics.

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Psychology

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

If you’ve never read this book or heard of it…what are you doing with your life? You need to read everything by Robert Cialdini, and you should have read it yesterday.

This is one of the best books on psychology that you need to read. Don’t you think understanding your brain and how you think is important? Read psychology books, dude. Our boy, Bobby Cialdini, explains in a clear and easy way how to persuade people.

This is a MUST read for anyone who has a business or is in sales. Honestly, it’s a must read for anyone. Everyone is persuading and selling everyday - even if they don’t know it. It will also make you a better consumer. Once you read this book, you will see the tactics that businesses use on you EVERYWHERE.

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Mindset: The new psychology of success

Fixed mindset vs growth mindset. Which one do you have? Fixed mindset people are scared of being judged. They think about their reputation and don’t take risks. Growth mindset people actively seek out challenges and look at failures as growth and improvement. They LOVE failure. It’s another chance to learn.

Newsflash - you want a growth mindset if you want to be successful in life. There’s also a little section on parenting that I think will be important for my future little babies. If your kids get an A on a test, don’t praise them for being “smart.” Praise them for the hard work and studying they did. Read this book on how to cultivate that mindset.

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Power of habit

Habits and routines are the cornerstone of successful people. If you have shit habits, you’re going to have a shit life. I guarantee it. If you’re okay with where you are in life, keep doing what you do. If you want to be better, you HAVE to use habits to get you where you want to be.

Don’t you feel gross if you don’t brush your teeth at night? That’s a habit. Want to know how some people go to the gym so effortlessly everyday? That’s a habit. Read this book to learn the importance of habits and how you can get them to work for you.

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Atomic habits

Did I tell you that habits are important? They are important AF. I can’t stress that enough. What I got from this book was that good habits compounded over time help you create a great life. Bad habits compounded over time - you’re screwed. Get 1% better everyday with good habits and see where you end up in 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years.

Second, make habits you want part of your identity. Who you are. For example if you want to read more: don’t tell yourself “I’m going to try to read a book.” Make reading a part of your identity. Tell yourself “I am a reader.” Trying to eat healthier? Don’t say “I will try to eat a salad sometimes.” Tell yourself “I am a healthy person.” Holy shit - total game changer for me. Just read this book.

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Deep Work

If you want to get anywhere in life, you have to learn how to Get Shit Done. Whether you’re in school or the office or hustling on your business, if you’re not doing Deep Work, you’re not being productive. Deep Work is the ability to take out all the distractions in your life and focus 110% at the task at hand.

I’m sure you’ve gotten into “Deep Work” mode before. Some other people call it a “flow state.” Whether you were studying for a test, working on some project, or maybe practicing some hobby, think about the time when you were “in the zone.”

That is the “Deep Work” mode that this author talks about. How do you get there faster? How do you get there everyday? These are the types of questions that are answered in this book. If you are into productivity (and you should be), read this book. Learn the psychology and lessons on how to Get Shit Done.

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Digital Minimalism

Same author as Deep Work - Cal Newport. I only read this recently but I am trying to apply these lessons to my life right now. We are all little lab rats addicted to dopamine hits from our phones with these tech companies as our puppet masters. Our phones are distraction machines, and we can’t stop ourselves. We are addicted to every “Like,” every notification and it is preventing us from doing “Deep Work.”

This book is a guide on why we need to fight back against this addiction and recommendations on how to do it. The book Deep Work and Digital Minimalism go pretty hand-in-hand. If you want to create something meaningful, you have to get into Deep Work mode and your phone/tech/social media is fighting against you.

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Thinking Fast and Slow

Written by a Nobel prize winning psychologist known for his work on your brain’s judgement and decision-making. I think he may know his shit.

The human brain has two modes of thinking: fast and slow. System 1 is fast, automatic, instinctive. Good for when we were animals back in the day and saw a predator out in the forest. System 2 is slow, rational, pensive, and aware. Much more useful for thinking through big decisions. Be aware of how your brain works and read this book.

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Man’s Search for Meaning

What is the meaning of life? This book was quite eye-opening. You experience the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp through the author’s eyes.

Written by a Jewish psychologist who lived and survived through a Nazi concentration camp, this book explores what he learned. When you are stripped away from all of your freedoms, your comforts, your family, your everything - what is the difference between those who survive and those that don’t? Key quote for me: “We had to learn it did not matter what we expected from life but what life expected from us.”

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Biographies

Elon Musk

Elon Musk - absolute stud. Not much to be said about this guy. The guy is the modern day Tony Stark of Iron Man. If you want to get to know someone who thinks big - there is no one with bigger balls than Elon. Read his story if you’re interested.

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The Everything Store

Jeff Bezos and the Amazon story. Amazon is taking over the ecommerce world, and you will have much more respect for Bezos and his accomplishments after reading this book. Actually, I didn’t know how ruthless Bezos was until reading this. The dude is a scary business man.

One thing I like about reading biographies like this is you realize the ups and downs of someone’s success. In hindsight, everyone looks back and thinks things were obvious, but when you read the real story - there are tons of highs and lows. Lots of points where things go wrong and shit is hitting the fan.

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Shoe dog: A memoir by the creator of nike

Damn this book is inspiring. The book is by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. You get the full story of how he created this juggernaut of a company.

I LOVE biographies. You get to learn the behind-the-scenes of someone’s life. How cool is that? This one is super easy and fun to read. I couldn’t put it down.

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Can-t Hurt Me - David Goggins

If you want to feel like a little-sissy-boy-underachiever-in-life then read this book. David Goggins is one crazy MFer and his story will inspire you - guaranteed. He came from poverty, abuse, and obesity to becoming a Navy Seal and top ultra-endurance athlete.

I would say that he is in the top 1% of the toughest, badass dudes in the world.

Lessons learned: be brutally honest with where you are and where you want to be, be in love with pain/hard work and getting out of your comfort zone everyday, you have WAY more in you than you think you do.

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When Breath Becomes Air

Get ready for some tears after reading this. A memoir by a neurosurgeon who gets diagnosed with cancer in his mid-thirties. I think this is a must-read. It will make you appreciate your life much much more.

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Philosophy

Meditations

Super hot book in the streets right now. Maybe it’s just me, and I hang out with too many entrepreneurs that are into stoicism. These are the notes of Marcus Aurelius - a Roman Emperor from 161 - 180 AD. Yes, this book is hundreds of years old and was written when the Roman Empire was at its peak.

The guy controlled THE biggest, baddest empire in the world at the time and probably had unlimited power to do whatever he wanted. I’m going to guess if you were in his Emperor shoes at that time, you would have been having unlimited orgies with your concubines and partying all night.  Not Marcus Aurelius. The guy was a legendary emperor and you can read his thoughts on how he wanted to act everyday.

This book has changed my thinking on life and how to live. This book made me want to be a man of character and honesty. Treat all people fairly. Only worry about what I can control in my life. Realize that life is finite.

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A guide to the good life: the ancient art of stoic joy

Another stoicism book. Philosophy is a practice. It’s not like you realize something, come to an epiphany, and then you are enlightened for life. You practice it everyday in your life. Ideas such as: learning to want what you already have (be grateful!!) and  focus on what you can control (DGAF about anything you can’t).

This is an easy read and I should read it again.

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Relationship

MODELS

I think this is the best dating/relationship strategy book I’ve ever read. I also love this author’s blog post Fuck Yes or No which I think is also a mandatory read.

This book talks about being honest and authentic to your true self and not in a cheesy, pickup-y way. Read this book, and it will help you with your insecurities for approaching and dating women.

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The Game

This book was an eye-opener for me. The author infiltrates the world of “pick-up artists” and learns about picking up and dating women. A lot has changed in the seduction, pick-up world but this is a fantastic story.

“You can learn how to attract and date women?” was the thought that came into my head as I read this book.

It makes sense. If you can learn things like public-speaking, sales, or marketing, why would you not be able to learn something like dating? Dating is a skill.

Many entrepreneurs/successful people that I know are familiar with this world. I think it’s because we all take a very calculated and strategic approach to everything in our lives. “Just be yourself” is not a strategy that many entrepreneurs/successful people take to heart. Most of us are always striving to be better and get that edge in everything in life.

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Way Of The Superior Man

This book got a little too spiritual and woo-woo for me towards the end, but I enjoyed the first part.

1) A man must find his purpose and be on his path - easier said than done but I think it’s true.

2) A man must polarize to create passion in the relationship - think of the yin and yang, they are two opposites. So is the masculine and feminine. In a relationship between a man and woman, the man must provide the masculine energy in order for the women to relax and provide the feminine energy.

Two neutral people that are both neither masculine or feminine can work but this type of relationship will often lack passion and be more “friendly.” There are also relationships where the man lacks the masculine energy and so the female provides more of it. According to the author this is when women complain that they have “to be the man of the relationship.”

It is the man’s responsibility to bring the masculine energy - this means leading (even something small like the restaurant to eat at), challenging oneself, facing your fears, living with integrity.

Some good shit in here but can get spiritual.

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5 love Languages

Good book if you are in a relationship or plan to be. Everyone has different ways they express love and feel love. Read to find out the different “love languages” and incorporate that into your relationship.

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When Breath Becomes Air

Get ready for some tears after reading this. A memoir by a neurosurgeon who gets diagnosed with cancer in his mid-thirties. I think this is a must-read. It will make you appreciate your life much much more.

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Technology

Digital Gold

The story of Bitcoin. Are digital currencies the future? I’m sorry I’m not a fortune teller so I don’t know, but I find digital currencies and blockchain technology fascinating. This is the story of Bitcoin - the OG digital currency. It’s fun and easy to read.

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How the internet happened

Fun look back at history on the beginnings of the internet to the modern-day tech world. If you can remember the time when you were signing into AOL with all the weird noises, you will enjoy this.

Main takeaway for me: everything in the world is a work in progress. Things get better with time. Maybe something is shit right now or is tiny, but in the future, it could be huge. As Paul Graham says, “The future is not hard to see. You've already seen it. You just didn't realize it, because you dismissed it as a toy.”

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History

The lessons of history

Super short book but very powerful. The authors look back at the history of humans and devote one lesson from history per chapter.

I’ll spotlight one lesson from the book: war is constant within our history. Humans are a competitive species and we are always competing against each other. Nations are competing for limited resources in our world - land, food, mastery, materials. World order will come to be through a decisive victory of one party that can enforce this order.  

We live in the most peaceful time in the history of humans right now. Our nations are intertwined through culture and commerce. Will this time of peace continue forever? The lessons of history say no.

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48 laws of power

Robert Greene is one of my favorite authors. I read ALL of his books. I think it’s because I love psychology, strategy, and history - and his books are a mix of all of those.

48 Laws of Power are 48 timeless lessons of “power” with examples from famous historical figures and leaders like Napoleon or Leonardo da Vinci.

Hey dude, I think power is an important part of our society. Might be a good idea to read a little about it.

His books are dense and you should probably take notes.

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Mastery

Another Robert Greene book. How do you become a master at your craft?

Let’s be honest. Humans have differing values to society.

Maybe it’s nice to say that humans are all equal and that a McDonald’s burger flipper has the same value as Lebron James - but if you’re honest, you know that’s not true.

If you’re making a lot of money, you are probably a master at something. Whether it is a certain craft or have a certain knowledge where other people will pay for your goods or services.

This book looks back on history to see how masters attained mastery.

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Guns, Germs, and Steel

This is the first book that got me into reading about history. I love reading history because you learn so much about the world. To me, the past can teach you a lot about the future. Especially that cities, governments, ideas are finite - they’re all temporary. Things that are in our present right now might not be in our future 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 1000 years from now.

You don’t really think about that because your life is so short and your lens on life is quite narrow.

Guns, Germs, and Steel looks into the question how did  European societies rise up to power and conquer other nations. Why were Europeans so dominant and how did they take over North and South America and not the other way around?

The Europeans had a great environment that allowed them to domesticate animals and plants at scale which lead to rapid population growth which lead to ideas and better technology.

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Sapiens

Another history book similar to Guns, Germs, And Steel but this one takes a broader look. I loved this book.

My main takeaway: the superpower of humans is being able to create and believe in stories.

What does this mean? Think about a corporation or a nation’s government. These things are not “real.” They are something that humans just made up. They are stories that humans have told each other that have become ingrained into our culture. Because of these stories we are able to organize ourselves into these huge concentrated forces to do things no other species can do.

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Evolutionary Psychology

The Moral Animal

Read books on evolutionary psychology to understand your biology and why we do what we do - especially for love and relationships. Most of what we do is rooted in our biology. Why do we care about status? Why do humans gossip? Why do humans feel different emotions like shame or guilt?

Mandatory read to learn more about our human nature.

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Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters

Another intro evolutionary psychology book. Evolutionary psychology is quite eye-opening for a lot of people and hard for people to swallow, but I think it is better to read and understand yourself rather than be ignorant.

Many people think that the actions and decisions we make are based on “free will,” but the authors are saying that are actions are ingrained within us since birth.

Also in this book - why do men like big breasts

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Spirituality and Getting Woowoo

Power of Now

Live in the present moment and the now. Don’t dwell in the past and don’t worry about the future. Live right here in the present moment. That is where you will find inner peace.

If you think about all your worries, struggles, or problems in your life they are either 1 of 2 things: worrying about the past or worrying about the future. This is something that I struggle with and try to practice everyday.

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Untethered Soul

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind - you are the one who hears it.”

We all have this little voice in our head telling us what to do, worrying about this or that, always constantly talking in our ear. This voice causes us stress/anxiety/problems.

If you don’t think you have this voice, try meditating - sitting down with your eyes closed in a quiet place for 10-15 minutes and try to clear your mind. Try not to  think of anything. The voice will be chatting all up in your head.

This is a good intro book for spirituality and a path to inner peace.

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Other Non-Fiction

Black Swan

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Anti-Fragile

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Skin in The Game

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