Build Your Own Book Library

I’ve always wanted have my own book library. In the recent years I’ve read and bought more books than ever. If you enjoy learning new things, then consider building a book library in many areas besides programming. I think books about psychology, business, sales, marketing, productivity, project management, success etc. are must read for game producers and indie game developers.

Here are some books I’ve read and recommend:

Game production:

David Michael (Indie Game Development Survival Guide, excellent guide for any indie. Some information is bit old and would require an updated edition, but much of the information are still applicable today)
Dan Irish (The Game Producer’s Handbook, a must read for any producer)

Then some others in the fields of business, marketing, success and so on:

* Jay Abraham (Excellent marketing man. Immediately get his book Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got – it’s one of the best marketing books I’ve read).
* Napoleon Hill (Think And Grow Rich is a good one about success)
* Dale Carnegie (How To Win Friends and Influence People is a classic – must read for anyone wanting to be a leader)
* Anthony Robbins (While he has bit ‘strong’ opinions, I believe his motivational attitude and books are must read for anyone. I really enjoyed his Awaken the Giant Within.)
* T. Harv Eker (Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, I enjoyed this 200 pages long advertisement quite much. I say ‘ad’ because the book is like a sales pitch for their Millionaire Mind Intensive seminars. I did pick some useful pieces of advice that made it worth buying)
* Harvey Mackay (Good business books, I enjoyed the Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive)
* Brian Tracy (I’ve read some of his books, but I think he says the same as anyone else. Still, some of his books might be worth checking – but I won’t be naming any specific one here)
* Stephen Covey (“7 Habits of Highly Effective People – and other 7 Habits series – recommended)
* Robert T. Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Rich Dad, Poor Dad: Cashflow Quadrant. The stories are made up, but the business lessons in them are worth checking out.)
* Seth Godin (Marketing books, I especially enjoyed Purple Cow. Permission Marketing was pretty good as well)
* Jeffrey Gitomer (I’ve read only one book, and it is a very good one about sales: The Sales Bible)
* Paul Arden (It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be, inspiring book about common sense & success)
* Gandhi (Gandhi An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth, classic reading)

Here’s some authors that are on my ‘to be checked later’ list:

* Earl Nightingale (I’ve been recommended to read author’s book – haven’t done that yet, but will do hopefully soon)
* Denis Waitley (Haven’t read)
* Wayne Dyer (Haven’t read)
* Og Mandino (Sales book, haven’t read)
* James Redfield (Spiritual, haven’t read)

I’ve also got recommendations to read biographies (or autobiographies) of the following people:

* Andrew Carnegie
* Benjamin Franklin
* Abraham Lincoln

I haven’t read their biographies yet, but they are on my ‘check later’ list.

Where to get & buy books?
I’ve been getting books from several places (as most of the time they are not sold here in Finland)

  • Libraries – you don’t have to buy everything, you can read free copies in your local library. I recommend checking out this option – although I personally like to collect books and prefer buying them.
  • Play.com – fast & free delivery. I really recommend.
  • Amazon.com – really difficult to find out the final price, but as the rate of dollar is weak at the time of writing this makes a good choice for getting book. (The downside for Finnish deliveries is that it takes ages to get books here)
  • Amazon.co.uk – Faster delivery than in amazon.com, but requires a calculator to find out where to get best prices.

Tip for making reading faster
Some people highlight significant parts in the book (like, if you see an important message you would need to highlight it with green or red color), and then in the future you can check out the books fast and see the important points. I found that this practice has a good and a bad side:
– Good thing is: it strikes you as significant
– The bad thing is: it messes up the book.

At least for me. I like to keep my books clean & tidy. So I made another solution for highlighting: I use pencil. And I make small vertical lines in the margins of the book – I don’t highlight anything on pages. I think I get the most benefits: the book is still tidy (they way I want it to be) and I still can catch the important parts. I will use one thin line for “significant” points and two thin vertical lines for “very significant” points.

Tell us your book recommendations
Do you know books to recommend? Please, share your suggestions and put them here. Please, provide the name of the author and the book. It would be also nice to hear what topic the book is about (like, is it a programming book, success book, business book or what).

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. I would like to add, it would really take long to order from amazon. If you want to get a copy of “The 4-Hour Work Week in just 24 hours, order it here

    http://snipurl.com/1ilc1 (they have faster delivery.

    Thanks again.

  2. I’m happy to be here. I like the “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T.Harv Eker, it’s really a worth buying book, and worth reading too. I also like Paul Arden’s “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be”.

    I would like to recommend “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss. The book is business book to create an ideal lifestyle. It’s available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


  3. Masters of Doom is great! Read it. It’s a biography, but it’s written so nice that it goes down like a fictional story. But it still reminds you of it being reality whenever some games or persons are noted that you have already heard of.

    And of course it’s very inspiring and makes you dream about being part of the story :D

  4. Jean-claude: Slowly but steadily ;)

    Nikhil: That’s exactly what I’m doing as well. Last weekend I watched some anime cartoon and tried to pick ideas that could be used on our game… (or future games)

    Jake: “Ask and it is Given” is on some of my list, but didn’t bring it here.

    Joshya: Yeh, Purple Cow is different, and I’ve also heard people recommending Koster’s book. I suppose I should get that as well.

    Blueskied: I’ve enjoyed Guy’s blog, and perhaps now it’s the time when I actually get this book. Thanks for reminding.

    Shogan: I’ve heard about that book by Collins, but never bought it. I also have the Art of War in my bookshelf, very interesting reading.

    What is “Masters of Doom” like?

  5. I would recommend Jim Collins’ “Good To Great”, its a very good book. Other than that, I read lots of China history like “Romance of Three Kingdom” and “Art of War”.

  6. As a developer and user since the 8bit days I enjoyed (besides Masters of Doom) “The Commodore Book” and “iWoz” very much.,

  7. I liked The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki.
    No wishy-washy motivational you-can-make-it-if-you-really-want book (Pavlina readers will know what i mean) but down to earth information on how to start a business project. Only downside is that large parts of the book are for “real” businesses (team construction, raising capital, pitching a project) – not for a hobbyist 1-man shareware developer like me.

  8. I second Seth Godin, Purple Cow is a must read. I also enjoyed his book ‘All Marketers are liars’

    For Game Developers I’d recommend Ralph Kosters ‘Theory of Fun’

    “Masters of Doom” also comes recommended by me, if your into biographies but want something related to games.

  9. I’ve got a HUGE libray of books, over 1000, but most are sci-fi and fantasy – but good mind expanding stuff…bought many from second hand bookstalls and shops, but also many new when I was single and well off. More recently my library has been expanded with self-realisation books and the like, many of which are on your list ;-) Also ebooks too of course. I also recommend “Ask and it is Given” and “The soul of a New Machine”.

  10. I have a library of over a hundred books I believe (physical and virtual) so it’s kinda hard to recommend the best one.

    But then, I usually end up searching a lot (online) about small things just to make sure I get them right in-game. Like this zombie game I am working on. I actually am gathering information on the working of human body (videos, pics & literature), anything I can get my hands on. Like sitting through the ‘Dynamic Human Anatomy’ book watching closely the movements at the shoulder joints of human body.

    Anyways (on topic), how about ‘Character Development & Storytelling for Games’ by Lee Sheldon? (writer and producer of Start Trek: Next Generation, Charlie’s Angels, Quincy.. etc.). Must read.

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