I love good business books. I love good self-help books. I own hundreds of them. I spend a lot of time and money on these beauties and each has impacted my business and life in it’s own way. Often, I’ll get into a book and stop after just reading a few sentences because it gets my mind going and I immediately have to start jotting down ideas for implementation.
I thought it would be fun to share the first sentences of some of my favorite business / self-help books (listed below in no particular order). It’s an interesting study because as an author myself, I know that an absurd and disproportionate amount of time goes into the first sentence. I have fun trying to think what the author was thinking when the first sentence was crafted and the impact they hoped it would have on the reader.
Would you keep reading these books based on only the first sentence?
FIRST LINES FROM 10 OF MY FAVORITE BUSINESS / SELF-HELP BOOKS
1. As a Man Thinketh
“The aphorism, ‘As a man thinketh in his heart so is he,’ not only embraces the whole of a man’s being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life.” – James Allen (First published 1902)
2. It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be
“Nearly all rich and powerful people are not notably talented, educated, charming or good looking.” – Paul Arden (First published 2003)
3. Banker to the Poor
“In the year 1974 Bangladesh fell into the grip of famine.” – Muhammad Yunas (First published 1999)
“The world has changed (again) and the stakes are higher than ever.” – Seth Godin (First published 2010)
“Roseto Valfortore lies one hundred miles southeast of Rome in the Apennine foothills of the Italian province of Foggia.” – Malcolm Gladwell (First published 2008)
6. Good to Great
“Good is the enemy of great.” – Jim Collins (First published 2001)
7. The Speed of Trust
“There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy, and civilization throughout the world–one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love.” – Stephen M. R. Covey (First published 2006)
“We have something new to say about building, running, and growing (or not growing) a business.” – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson (First published 2010)
“Ego is the invisible line item on every company’s profit and loss statement.” – David Marcum & Steven Smith
10. The Art of the Start
“There are many ways to describe the ebb and flow, yin and yang, bubble-blowing and bubble-bursting phases of business cycles.” – Guy Kawasaki (First published 2004)
Hat tip to my editor Lisa Mangum for the idea.