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Forbes.com, June 4th, Cultivating new skills is a life-long process. Every time you sit down and say to yourself, “you know, I think I have this thing figured out,” you can expect to discover something new within a very short span of time. This is particularly true among entrepreneurs, marketing experts and business owners, all of whom tend to look ahead, and are rarely satisfied with the status quo.

While personal experiences are a powerful source for insight, they’re not the only way to gain a different perspective on the world. Listed below are eight works – books, articles, TED talks and podcasts – that have inspired Forbes Agency Council members, improving their approach to marketing or business, and broadening their horizons.

1. “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek’s TED talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” is easily one of the most influential things that I’ve personally consumed over the past few years. His reminder to “start with why” is so important for any business owner, or just any individual, looking to make a tangible impact. He provides some real-life examples (like Apple), which help his words resonate with his viewers.   – Vinny La BarberaimFORZA

2. Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success by Ken Segall

The book, Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success, by Ken Segall, has most recently influenced my work. In digital marketing, we have a way of overcomplicating things, focusing on what’s shiny and involving too many people in the decision. Simplify and attack it!   – Daniel B. Laws, JrDaBrian Marketing Group, LLC

3. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is not a book about zen nor is it a book about motorcycle maintenance, but rather the author, Robert M. Pirsig, contemplating one key question: “What is quality?” One of the greatest takeaways for me is the fact that when comes to solving complex problems, there can be many paths leading to the correct result, and there is never one single way to do anything worth doing.   – Chris CarterRep Interactive

4. “The Real Difference Between PR And Advertising” by Robert Wynne

I love Robert Wynne’s article “The Real Difference Between PR And Advertising.” Folks who don’t understand PR try to find metrics to measure it in the same manner they measure ads. However, PR is not about downloads and not about traffic. It’s about building brand recognition and credibility in the right circles, two values which are hard to measure in short-term metrics but are far more valuable in the long run   – Ayelet NoffBlonde 2.0

5. “The Tim Ferriss Show” Podcast

I have been an avid listener of Tim Ferriss’s podcast for a couple of years now, and it never fails to fill me with tons of ideas for improving my own effectiveness, the productivity and effectiveness of my team, and for taking my health to the next level. I can’t even begin to list all the great ideas I’ve heard from Tim that I’ve implemented and benefited from.   – Craig KleinSalesNexus

6. Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement by Tony Robbins

Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement by Tony Robbins is a must read for every entrepreneur. The book outlines the perfect strategy to master your personal and business life, showing you how to reprogram your mindset to eliminate fears and capitalize on everyday opportunities. The highlight of the book is how Robbins explains the importance of modeling other successes, which has had a sustaining impact on my success.   – Kristopher JonesLSEO.com

7. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

There have been several books that I would say have altered my thinking substantially in business but one that sticks out is The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. It teaches the incredible importance of processes and that is something we can always improve upon.   – Jon SimpsonCriterion.B

 

8. “Choice, Happiness And Spaghetti Sauce” by Malcolm Gladwell

I love all of Malcolm Gladwell’s work, but I’ve always been particularly partial to his TED talk, “Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce.” In it, he explores how marketers should be using data to discover true market needs. This talk has changed the way I think about modern marketing.   – Dvir DoronCedato