Dan Kennedy’s Recommended Books

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Personal Development

If there’s one thing we know about grumpy no B.S. marketing legend Dan Kennedy, it’s that he’s a prolific reader.

Throughout his resources – books, presentations, audio recordings, courses, and more – Kennedy will often drop the names of books he suggests reading.

Here we’ve compiled Dan’s many book recommendations. This list, however, should not be considered comprehensive.

So, keep reading to find out what books influenced the guru himself.

Classic Personal Development Books

Dan says if you’ve got a motivated employee or a child who is finally willing to listen to you, you should turn them on to books like:

As well as some books referenced below, like Think and Grow Rich and Psycho-Cybernetics.

Classic Marketing Books

Dan was and is obsessed with marketing. It’s no wonder he recommends classic marketing books, like the following:

Robert Collier

Dan doesn’t reference specific Collier titles, suggesting he recommends reading all his works. Here are some of his titles:

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

On the bookshelf of self-made millionaires, you will inevitably find a copy of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich.

In his work, Kennedy often harps on a principle least favored by readers, namely “accurate thinking.”

What’s interesting about this selection, though, is that Kennedy thinks of it as a cautionary tale as much as a guide to attaining wealth.

Why? Read on to find out…

The Success System That Never Fails by W. Clement Stone

The Success System That Never Fails by W. Clement Stone

Later in life, the impenetrable Napoleon Hill wound up penniless and was effectively rescued by W. Clement Stone who put him to work in sales.

Kennedy says Hill and Stone are philosophically aligned, with a few minor differences and one major one:

Namely, Stone had a system while Hill only had a philosophy (it’s right in the title – The Success System That Never Fails).

Meaning – if you want to succeed in business, you must choose a market where you have a reasonable opportunity to succeed and create a repeatable system.

If you want to succeed in business, you must choose a market where you have a reasonable opportunity to succeed and create a repeatable system. Share on X

Grow Rich!: With Peace of Mind by Napoleon Hill

Grow Rich!: With Peace of Mind by Napoleon Hill

Dan makes a rather bold claim, that Napoleon Hill’s Grow Rich!: With Peace of Mind is the best book Hill ever wrote.

If you’ve already made your way through Think and Grow Rich and Law of Success in 15 Lessons, Grow Rich!: With Peace of Mind is well worth a look.

Winning Through Intimidation by Robert Ringer

Winning Through Intimidation by Robert Ringer

Some people are perhaps put off by the title. But Dan says Robert Ringer’s Winning Through Intimidation can help us avoid “rich uncle syndrome,” the tendency to think that the harder we work, the richer we get.

While I do think Winning Through Intimidation does a great job of dispelling the grind, Ringer isn’t exactly forthcoming on how to transition from working hard to working smart.

The problem is articulated clearly. The solution is for the reader to figure out.

Anything by Stuart Wilde

Stuart Wilde

When referring to British spiritual writer Stuart Wilde, Dan usually doesn’t specify which books to read. He simply says, “read Stuart Wilde.”

While Dan is quick to discard some of the more outlandish woo-woo facets of Wilde’s drunken writing, he says his business practices are spot on and well worth observing.

(And Dan, by his admission, still does some of that “woo-woo stuff.”)

What follows is a semi-comprehensive list of books Wilde wrote:

Thick Face, Black Heart by Ching Ning Chu

Thick Face, Black Heart by Ching Ning Chu

Dan references Ching Ning Chu’s Thick Face, Black Heart as an essential read in cultivating the right mindset – specifically in becoming immune to criticism.

It is a great read, and I would happily add it to my list of best books to read in your 40s.

I only have one piece of criticism, namely that the author sometimes offers illustrations that are more theoretical or imagined than practical and concrete.

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

I’m not familiar with the entire story of how Dan ended up purchasing personal development legend Maxwell Maltz’s intellectual property.

But since he did, it should not come as any surprise that Dan promoted Psycho-Cybernetics, quite heavily, at least for a time.

Dan also ushered forth The New Psycho-Cybernetics, though opinions are split on whether it was a worthwhile update.

Since Dan was contemplating the acquisition of Nightingale Conant at one point, it should not come as a surprise that he ended up the owner of some self-help-oriented intellectual property.

Sex Money Kiss by Gene Simmons

Sex Money Kiss by Gene Simmons

Dan references Gene Simmons’ Sex Money Kiss (a book that, for some reason, has gotten a little harder to find) in his meandering Speak To Sell.

More than anything, Dan emphasizes his philosophical alignment with Simmons.

I ended up quite pleased with the book recommendation. You can read my review of Sex Money Kiss here.

Closing Thoughts

What other books has Dan recommended? Have you read any of them? Which books made the biggest difference for you?

Let us know in the comments below.