Archives for posts with tag: steve siebold

To start and run a successful business requires a lot of knowledge, support and resources. Most of us don’t have all of those right out of the gate. Luckily, many who have gone before (and built successful businesses) have opened up about their experiences. Some great CEOs and entrepreneurs have put pen to paper to share how they’ve grown, how they’ve failed and what they’ve learned, and those of us who are just getting started can get a head start on our own successes by standing on the shoulders of these giants.

Over the years, we at Popular Thoughts have read a lot of business books, and we’ve compiled this list (in no particular order) of the ones that were the most helpful, informative, entertaining, inspiring and thought-provoking for us. Some of them offer concrete advice about running a business; others are more about making big-picture improvements in time management, outlook, attitude and perception, all of which contribute to business success. Our CEO recommended these books personally, so the next time you browse the business section of the book store or library, check them out and let them help you lay the groundwork for the business and personal life you want!

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, CEO of – Zappos is well-known for its exceptional customer service and commitment to quality, and it’s also known as one of the best companies to work for. This book shares the corporate philosophies and attitudes that make such success with both employees and customers possible.

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss – This wildly-popular book is at the top for a reason! This latest version has been expanded and updated from the original. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to live with more leisure, drop out of the 9-to-5 rat race and maximize the time spent working to achieve the ideal lifestyle design.

Play to Win! by Larry Wilson and Hersch Wilson – This book is excellent at getting the reader to think about what’s possible, rather than what’s impossible. Simply put, you can thrive if you learn to think in terms of winning instead of thinking in terms of not losing (it sounds like a difference of semantics, but really, it’s a huge change in outlook that means much greater success).

177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class by Steve Siebold – The philosophy here is aimed at helping readers go from middle class (how most people think and act) to world class (how the truly successful think and act). Being mentally tough can make all the difference in life and success, and this book makes mental toughness attainable.

Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by Ted Kinni – Taking the best care of your customers can mean the difference between struggling in your business and achieving real success. This book explores the customer service principles developed and used at Walt Disney World and uses them as a model for how to make customers keep coming back, time after time. Use this book to ensure that every aspect of your company is consistently delivering for your customers!

These five are just the beginning – there are many other great books out there for entrepreneurs, small business owners and anyone else looking to achieve success in work and life.

Got other suggestions for great business books? Post them in the comments and we’ll try to check them out!


Keith Harrell, renowned motivational speaker and former top sales and training instructor at IBM, passed away on Monday, October 18, 2010 after a battle with spinal cancer. He was 52.

Keith was a Seattle native who played high school and college basketball. He led his high school to an undefeated season in 1973-74 and helped them with the state title, gaining all-state and all-city accolades. At Seattle University, he captained the basketball team and played with future NBA draft picks, including Clint Richardson, Jawann Oldham and Carl Ervin. Keith, nicknamed “Silk,” averaged 16 points per game in a season.

Despite being a basketball star in his youth, Keith’s life took him in new directions as he grew, and he earned his Bachelors degree in Community Service. He spent 14 years in sales at IBM, eventually distinguishing himself as one of their best trainers. From there, he went into the world of motivational speaking, where he excelled right until the end. He worked with clients such as McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Merrill-Lynch and Boeing, speaking at more than 120 events annually and earning the nickname “Dr. Attitude.”

The nickname fit him; if you ask those who knew him, you’d hear that Keith’s attitude was what really made him special, in motivational speaking and in life. The Wall Street Journal noted, “What sets Keith apart is his driving ambition and an attitude that refuses to flag.” Keith’s website notes that “attitude is everything,” and his enthusiasm and positive spirit were contagious. His catch-phrase was one that those who spent time with him heard often: “Have a super-fantastic day!”

Fellow speaker Steve Siebold made this comment about Keith: “Keith Harrell wasn’t just a motivational speaker, he was THE motivational speaker in corporate America. We spoke on stages all over the country together, and he was the best of the best. The world has lost one of the great ones.”

There really isn’t enough room to talk about how great a speaker, motivator and person Keith was, so this will have to suffice: He will be missed. He was an energetic personality who lit up rooms with his smile and his attitude, and the motivational speaking world is the poorer to have lost him.

If you never knew Keith personally, I hope this paints a small picture of the great guy he was, and why his lessons still matter, even though he’s passed on. Here’s what Keith really wanted people to know, in his own words:

“I believe attitude is the cornerstone, the foundation of everything you do with your life and everything I do. It all starts with what you believe. Your attitude determines your altitude. I help people and business and in life choose the right attitude for the situation to accomplish their goals and their dreams.”

Rest in peace, Keith Harrell. We’ll all keep trying to have a super-fantastic day!

Sources:, Garfield Messenger, Seattle Examiner