7 Books Every Practitioner Should Read

On July 28, 2008, in books, by Dan

I credit much of our good fortune in practice (and other things) thus far to a voracious appetite for learning, especially via books.

Summer’s here for our part of the planet, and Tara and I both tend to increase our book consumption a little more than usual. Here are a few of the books that I think have had the most influence on our practice evolution so far – we thought you might enjoy them, too.

The Diamond Cutter
I love, love, LOVE this book. Geshe Michael Roach, a Westerner who became an ordained Buddhist Monk, weaves together spiritual business concepts, an ancient Buddhist text, and a cool story about the diamond industry. The best quote (and also how we began The Practitioner’s Journey):

“Never accept the idea that, because you are in business, you don’t have the opportunity or time or personal qualities which a true spiritual life demands, or that maintaining a deep inner life is somehow contradictory with leading a business career.

The wisdom of The Diamond Cutter says that the very people who are attracted to business are exactly the same ones who have the inner strength to grasp and carry out the deeper practices of the spirit.”

The E-Myth Revisited

Michael Gerber’s E-Myth should be required reading for anyone running a small business. The idea that the technical work of being a practitioner needs to be seen separately from the entrepreneurial role of running the business of your practice is something we should all internalize.

The big message? You need to work on your business, not just in it. Gerber shows you how, in an easily digestible semi-parable format.

Blue Ocean Strategy

This bestseller is a tiny bit more academic than some of these others, but it’s been hugely influential in how our business has evolved.

The authors’ premise – that “red oceans” are crowded, competitive marketplaces, while “blue oceans” are untapped market space – is directly relevant to CAM practices. There are some great case studies in this one, but I think it’s worth getting in print as opposed to audiobook for the “strategy canvas” diagrams.

Blue Ocean Strategy will change the way you look at competition and your marketplace.

Book Yourself Solid

Of all the books on this list, Michael Port’s is probably the one that’s closest to a “How to Grow Your Practice” book. It’s generalized to anyone in a service business, but most of the concepts in the book are directly applicable to alternative medical practice.

It’s well-structured, which gives you a leg up in applying what he has to say after you’re done reading, and it’s a seriously worthwhile read for anyone who feels a bit uncertain in the marketing area.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

What’s a personal finance book doing in this list? Despite its simplicity, I think the concepts in this book should be homework for every practitioner. We’ve seen far too many practitioners struggling in practice because their personal finances are in such rough shape.

If you’ve ever had the idea that “once my practice is successful, then I’ll get my personal finances in order,” then this is for you. Sometimes, things work the opposite of how you might expect…

The 4-Hour Workweek

I first read this book just as we were returning from our last sabbatical in Paraguay, SA, and finishing up the manuscript for Escape 101.

If you’ve ever had work-life balance issues, this is one you need to read. There’s a fair bit dedicated to the internet and outsourcing, but the real value of The 4-Hour Workweek is in challenging what you’ve been raised to believe about how you work, live, earn and spend.

Made to Stick

I loved this book, and mentioned it to Burton Kent, author of Never Market Again. Naturally, he’d already read it, and said it’s his second favorite marketing book of all time next to Influence. It is, indeed, a great read.

This is the most straightforward and practical book I’ve read on how to take an idea and present it in a way that people can grasp. Made to Stick is super-accessible, fun to read, and will teach you exactly how to deliver a message that’s powerful and “sticky”. A must-read marketing book.

I’ve intentionally filled this list with books that aren’t specific to alternative medical businesses, but the core concepts in these books can be applied to almost any practice. Have you got a favorite book (in any category) that’s helped you? Let us know in the comments!

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2 Responses to “7 Books Every Practitioner Should Read”

  1. […] like their attitude and ideas. There’s a great list that came out this past Monday called 7 Books Every Practitioner Should Read. It’s a good and varied list. None of the books are specific to CAM therapies, which is great […]

  2. […] time ago we listed 7 books we thought every practitioner should read. Of course, we read a lot of books, so we’ve discovered a lot of great new ones since […]

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