My Top 10 Books (Out of the 56 I Read) for 2017

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Happy new year! It’s 2018, and you know what that means? It’s time to reflect on the goals we set last year and make new ones for this upcoming year.

While reflecting on 2017, I looked back at my goals and atop the list was to read 60 books. Initially, my goal was to read 12, but after reading Grant Cardone’s 10X Rule, I decided to make it 60. (I know 12 x 10 = 120, but that’s a bit aggressive.)

I failed.

I only read 56.

Am I mad about it? Absolutely not. Despite having to take a two-month hiatus due to a real estate class and a four-week trip traversing South America, I still managed to read 4.7x more books than I expected.

I know many BiggerPocketeers are always looking for new books to read, so hopefully you can add a few books from this article to your list.

As you read, you will see that the article is broken up into 3 parts. The first part is my top 10 spit-balled at you. The second part is where I give a brief synopsis of each book in the top 10. Thirdly, I give you a list of the remaining 46 books I read.

Here it goes!

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My Top 10

10. The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho

9. Ben Franklin Biography: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

8. 10x Rule by Grant Cardone

7. The Book on Tax Strategies for the Savvy Real Estate Investor by Amanda Han

6. The Book on Managing Rental Properties by Brandon Turner

5. Set for Life by Scott Trench

4. Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley

3. Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill

2. Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

1. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

My Top 10 Explained

10. The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho, who famously wrote The Alchemist, tells an extremely entertaining story about a prophet who is forced to leave his home country of Israel. He seeks reprieve from a young widow and falls in love, but the romance is cut short as he fights for both his own and his new country’s existence.

This was a book I could not put down. It was super entertaining, and throughout the book were gems of wisdom that can easily be applied to life today.

If you’re looking to take a break from all of the real estate/self-help books, this is a good book to read since it disguises itself as a beautiful beautiful story.

9. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

This book is written by Walter Isaacson, the same guy who wrote Steve Job’s autobiography. Isaacson has an incredible talent for gleaning information from thousands of different resources and putting them together into an all-encompassing book. Ben Franklin’s story is a perfect example of that.

Isaacson paints a brilliant, easy-to-understand picture of Franklin’s life from birth to death. Not only that, but he is really good at intertwining bits of wisdom (mainly from Ben Franklin’s Autobiography) that still apply today throughout the book.

I have not yet read Ben Franklin’s autobiography, so that is atop my list for 2018.

8. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone

The 10x Rule was a game changer for me. It got me into the mindset of thinking big. In fact, 10x as big. Even if you fall short and complete 7x your original goal, I don’t think you’ll be upset about that. He takes the adage, “Shoot for the stars and you’ll land on the moon” and applies it to reality.

I highly recommend listening to the audiobook. Grant Cardone narrates it himself and is extremely motivating. He adds some stuff that the editors wanted him to take out. There is some swearing, though, so be mindful if you are listening around kids.

7. The Book on Tax Strategies for the Savvy Real Estate Investor by Amanda Han

I never thought a tax book would ever make it into my top 10 books read—until I read Amanda Han’s book. Finally! A book on real estate taxes that somehow does not bore you to death.

Amanda does a great job at articulating each tax rule such that an average Joe can understand. She reinforces her explanations with relatable examples so we can understand even more so. In terms of ROI, reading this $20 book can easily save investors thousands of dollars.

6. The Book on Managing Rental Properties by Brandon Turner

After obtaining my first rental property, I read through a half dozen books on how to manage rental properties. While there were nuggets in all of them, Brandon’s book was without a doubt the one that contained the most useful, up-to-date, and nicely illustrated information.

Given that, I still reference the book for various managing issues that come up. The least I could do is give the book a top spot in my top 10 for the year.

5. Set for Life by Scott Trench

Disclosure: Scott did not pay me or threaten me to mention his book. Set for Life is really the first book of its kind. In three phases, Scott describes how one can one go from zero net worth to financially free with hundreds of thousands of dollars of net worth in a 7-10 year span.

Without a doubt, Set for Life is targeted towards those in their 20s to early 30s who are willing to work hard to make more, spend less, and invest the difference wisely.

4. The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley

The Millionaire Next Door is an instant classic. In this book, Stanley compiles years of research and interviews of various millionaires in today’s society. What does he find? That the vast majority of millionaires do not have beautiful houses and super nice cars in upscale neighborhoods.

Rather, the most likely millionaire is the more modest individual you would never expect. For example, a car mechanic or janitor who owns their own business is more likely to be a millionaire than the person in the Ferrari next to you at the red light.

This book really struck home for me because I think of myself as frugal, and it reinforces the point that I am doing the right things now to get to where I want to be. I do not like to spend money on things I do not value. Material objects absolutely fall into that category.

Truthfully, in my head, I now make fun of people with really nice cars, unreasonably large houses, etc.

3. Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success by Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill’s most famous book is undoubtedly Think and Grow Rich. However, I don’t think there is a book that instills more wisdom than Outwitting the Devil.

Written in 1938 and published in 2011—41 years after Hill’s death. It took 63 years for this book to get published. Why?

In this book Hill recounts his interview with the devil. The devil is a metaphor for all of the bad things in life—from junk food to cigarettes, etc. It feels so real—so real that Hill was afraid to publish it, as the devil promised to smite him and his family if he did.

2. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod

WAIT! Before you skip this book because you are a “night person” read it! In this book, Hal describes six activities called SAVERS that many very successful people do daily. While it is typically performed in the morning, it does not have to be. Try performing these at night if you’re a night person.

Hal Elrod completely changed my life with this book. I am a morning person, and I have created a 3.5-hour regimen every morning where I complete all of the SAVERS, and my life has changed dramatically.

1. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss

Never Split the Difference is indisputably THE best book on negotiating of all time. Chad was the lead FBI negotiator for 30+ years, and he goes through all of the negotiating tactics he used. His stories are wildly suspenseful, and he does a fantastic job of relating these tactics to everyday situations that you and I may run into (i.e. negotiating a salary, buying a car, etc.).

The tactics in this $15 book have helped me save over $20,000 in the first year. These strategies helped me negotiate the amount of my salary, my first property, and my car.

The Rest

There you have it: my top 10 books for 2017. See below for the list of other books I read for the year, in no particular order. If you have any questions on any of these books, feel free to leave a comment below, and I’d be happy to share.

1.     Building Wealth One House at a Time by John W. Schaub
2.     The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
3.     The Richest Man in Babylon by Charles Conrad
4.    Investing in Duplexes, Triplexes, and Quads: The Fastest and Safest Way to Real Estate Wealth by Larry Loftis
5.     The Advanced Guide to Real Estate Investing: How to Identify the Hottest Markets and Secure the Best Deals by Ken, McElroy
6.     The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs by J Scott
7.     The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump
8.     How I Turned $1k into $5M of Real Estate by William Nickerson
9.     The Unofficial Guide to Real Estate Investing by Martin Stone
10.  Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom by Robert Kiyosaki
11.  The Art Of War by Sun Tzu
12.  The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz
13.  The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller
14.  The Millionaire Real Estate Agent: It’s Not About the Money…It’s About Being the Best You Can Be! by Gary Keller
15.  Marketopoly – The Definitive Guide to Beating The Real Estate Recession and Winning at The Game of Investment Real Estate by Mark Mackenzie
16.  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey
17.  Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff
18.  The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime. by MJ DeMarco
19.  Landlording on Autopilot: A Simple, No-Brainer System for Higher Profits and Fewer Headaches by Mike Butler
20.  Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth by T. Harv Eker
21.  What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith
22.  Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
23.  The Unofficial Guide to Managing Rental Property (Unofficial Guides) by Melissa Prandi
24.  How to Create Lifetime Cash Flow Through Multifamily Properties by Rod Khleif
25.  HOLD: How to Find, Buy, and Rent Houses for Wealth by Steve Chader
26.  The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian Moran
27.  Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
28.  Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
29.  Finding & Funding Great Deals by Anson Young
30.  Maximum Achievement: Strategies and Skills That Will Unlock Your Hidden Powers to Succeed by Brian Tracy
31.  80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More by Perry Marshall
32.  Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone
33.  The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
34.  How to Sell Your Home by Mindy Jensen
35.  The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss
36.  Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki
37.  The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
38.  The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World (Perigee Book.) by Chris Guillebeau
39.  Retire Rich with Rentals: How to Enjoy Ongoing Cash Flow From Real Estate…So You Don’t Have to Work Forever by Kathy Fettke
40.  The Riches Within: Your Seven Secret Treasures by John Demartini
41.  Mastering The Art Of Success by Jack Canfield
42.  The Psychology of Selling: Increase Your Sales Faster and Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible by Brian Tracy
43.  Make It BIG!: 49 Secrets for Building a Life of Extreme Success by Frank E. McKinney
44.  Real Estate Tax Secrets of the Rich: Big-Time Tax Advantages of Buying, Selling, and Owning Real Estate by Sandy Botkin
45.  Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography by Richard Branson
46.  Wealth Can’t Wait: Avoid the 7 Wealth Traps, Implement the 7 Business Pillars, and Complete a Life Audit Today! by David Osborn

If you have any recommendations, please let me know! I always like adding to the list.

What are your top recommendations from 2017?


About Author

Craig Curelop

Craig Curelop, aka thefiguy is an aggressive pursuer of financial independence. Starting with a net worth of negative $30K in 2016, he has aggressively saved and invested to become financially independent in 2019. From sleeping on the couch and renting out his car, he was able to invest in two house hacks in Denver and a BRRRR in Jacksonville. He plans to continue to investing in both Denver and Jacksonville for the years to come. Craig's story has caught the attention of several media outlets, including the Denver Post, BBC, and many other real estate/personal finance podcasts. He hopes to inspire the masses to grab hold of their finances and achieve financial independence. Follow his story on Instagram @thefiguy!


  1. Christi Hawkins

    Great List, thank you for sharing! I’ve read a few of these and a few more are on my list for 2018. Congratulations on reading 56 books a year, that’s amazing to me. How did you find, I mean make, the time? Do you block time during your day and how much time per day do you spend. My goal this year is 10, which is pitiful compared to you but it’s a huge step for me.

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Christi!

      You are exactly right. I just block out time every day to read. I made it part of my morning routine which I adopted from Hal Elrod’s, “Miracle Morning” (listed above). I spend about an hour in the morning every week day. Weekends I sometimes slack off a bit. I also don’t watch much TV or movies so I read during those times as well.

      10 books is a great start! One step at a time! 🙂

  2. Marcia barr

    I am considering renting my home and moving into my partners home. I could sell but my home is right across the street from a great school and is currently growing in value. Are there any books (in addition to articles here) on establishung my first rental?

    • Craig Curelop

      Yes! That one was a good one too. So hard putting together the top 10. I feel as though when I read that book it was hyped up a little too much so it just met my expectations (which were high) rather than totally blowing it out of the water like some of these other ones.

  3. Jeffrey Holst

    Great list, Looks like we have similar taste in books. I was able to finish 62 books this year an all time record for me crushing my previous total of 44 in 2016. I have a complete list for all to see on my library thing profile ( this year my stated goal is to reduce my audible time and replace it with BP podcasts. See my recent forum post for details.

    Any rate great work keep it up.

  4. Martin Carstens

    Bravo! Great article and great reading list! Good reading list with many different interest covered. As a sea going captain that spends eight months a year at sea, you are one of the few, who reads the same volume as my self. Thank you for sharing some titles, and reinforcing other authors. Always good to read your articles.

    Happy New Year to you!

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Chris!

      Don’t worry… you’re not “that guy.” I appreciate anyone that calls me out on my mistakes, how else are we going to get better? Thanks for pointing that out! We are going to change it as soon as we can.

      Hopefully Chris doesn’t get too angry with me.

  5. Lucy Tschappler

    Thank you so much for sharing your list! Much of my inspiration comes from book lists like yours, and, of course, from Bigger Pockets–I could spend all day here! After listening to the Chris Voss podcast, I’m reading Never Split the Difference and it is both fascinating and helpful; I’m looking forward to implementing some of his techniques–really good stuff. I’m also finishing up The One Thing and it too is a great resource and encouragement to me, because some days it feels like I only get one thing done in the day, and it sure helps if I’ve picked the right thing! I check out many of my reads from the library, so I can practice being the frugal Millionaire Next Door at the same time 🙂 as well as letling the library organize and store them for me. I just take copious notes to remind me of my learning.

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Lucy! This is great! I’m glad the list can help. I am very much on board with the library too. In many cases, you can download online from your library to your kindle. This was a game changer for me! Being able to get free books without leaving my house haha.

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