5 Books That Will Make You Smarter


“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” – Albert Einstein

Life is a learning process. And when you stop learning… you start dying. You don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a degree in order to make something of yourself – you just need to be curious and continuously learn new things.

In a recent article, I wrote:

“Remember, School is bullshit, Learning is good.” (Tweet this)

I meant that.

sleepinginclassI never liked having someone tell me to learn something. I skipped or slept through a lot of classes in school because I had no interest in the subjects at the time.

But I love to learn on my own. So I read a lot (on and offline).

Several readers commented last week with specific questions about my books. What books do I read? How do I find them? How do I know if they’re going to be good or not?

This is my response to your questions

Today I’m giving you 5 books that I have read in the last few years that have made me a smarter person. I am going to tell you how I found the books as well as all of the other information you asked for last week.

I’m going to tell you:

  • The name of the book
  • How I found it
  • What it’s about
  • Why I love it
  • What you will learn

If you read them you will learn:

  1. How to Create a Better Daily Routine / Schedule
  2. How to Write Better Copy
  3. How to Accomplish Your Dreams
  4. How to Learn New Skills Fast
  5. How to Meditate In Every Day Life

These are 5 topics that I consider to be important to my own personal growth. I hope they help you in some way as well.

And don’t be that person that only reads books on a Kindle or an iPad. Buy a real book, hold it in your hands, kick back somewhere other than your computer chair and go for a ride. I find this way much more enjoyable and a great way to give myself a break from this glowing screen.

That being said – here we go.

5 Books That Will Make You Smarter

1. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

How I Found It:

I came across this book as a recommendation on a blog. To be honest I can’t remember what blog it was at this time. I bought it on Amazon.

What It’s About:

Daily Rituals is a compilation of the daily schedules and rituals of the world’s greatest artists- musicians, painters, writers, philosophers and scientists.

Wanna know what time Einstein woke up each morning? What Picasso ate for breakfast? How many hours Beethoven worked per day?  It’s all documented here.

Why I Love It:

The stories in this book are short (which I love) and they’re insane. As it turns out, a lot of the world’s greatest artists, writers and thinkers were all quite mad.

Stravinsky (composer)He was never able to compose unless he was sure no one could hear him and, when blocked, stood on his head to “clear the brain”.

Seeing how intensely The Greats worked changed my outlook on my own work/life balance. I no longer consider myself a “workaholic”. I work like a Master.

What You Will Learn:

[How to Create a Better Daily Routine / Schedule] – Most of these great artists had strict daily schedules. When you read these schedules you begin to see patterns. Things like waking up early, taking naps and going for long walks. (and taking amphetamines)

Steal the habits of these great men and women and add them to your own daily schedule. If Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso both went for a 1 hour walk every day at 4:15pm. Maybe you should too.

2. CA$HVERTISING: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone


CA$HVERTISING was recommended to me during my first year as an affiliate by one of the biggest media buyers in history. When he said to check it out – I bought it immediately on Amazon.

What It’s About:

CA$HVERTISING teaches you to use scientific advertising techniques that make people click your ads and buy your stuff. Advertising has been controlling our minds for decades – now you can see the other side of it.

Example: Did you know? Captions under photos get read 200% more than regular body copy.

Why I Love It:

This book gave me some killer techniques that I have use to make my ads perform better for years. Sometimes when I start a new campaign I will just open CA$HVERTISING to the chapters about writing ad titles and try 3-4 of them verbatim. You’d be surprised how often it works.

What You Will Learn:

[How to Write Better Copy] – If you are an affiliate marketer or a writer of any kind this will make your work better. It’s also cool to see how companies have been using these tactics on us for years. As far as marketing goes – this book is a must have.

3. Think and Grow Rich: The Original 1937 Unedited Edition

Think and Grow RichHow I Found It:

Tony Robbins. It was either during an audio course or in a Youtube video. He mentioned it and I looked it up and it blew my mind. Purchased on Amazon.

What It’s About:

Think and Grow Rich is a 1937 personal development book by Napoleon Hill. Hill spent 20 years interviewing all of the richest and most powerful men in the country. He looked for any kind of pattern or system to their success that could be written down and taught.

He came up with 13 steps that each of these successful men had gone through. These steps make up the book.

Why I Love It:

This is the original blueprint. It showed me how to go from a day dreamer to a man with a plan. A lot of self-help books are stupid but this one is awesome. I also have it as an audio book and I listen to is regularly during hikes.

What You Will Learn:

[How to Accomplish Your Dreams] – Choosing a dream or a goal for your life is not enough. You have to outline the steps and then create a system for making each step happen. This book teaches you how to do that. It’s been used by successful people for decades. (Bruce Lee wrote this note before he was famous – an assignment taken straight out of this book)

P.S. Don’t get an updated version – go for the original.

4. The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life

4-hour-chefHow I Found It:

I read the 4-Hour Workweek (same author) back in the day and decided to give his new book a shot. Purchased on Amazon.

What It’s About:

The 4-Hour Chef teaches you how to cook. But it’s also a choose-your-own-adventure guide to learn to rapidly learn anything.

The author uses a single system to learn to cook, dance the Salsa, become a power-lifter and become a long distance swimmer.

Why I Love It:

I love to learn. I also don’t have a lot of time. So I love shortcuts. And this book breaks down how to use shortcuts to learn any skill in the world as fast as possible.

For example – 90% of all recipes recommend cooking at 350 degrees, so instead of trying to remember the exact temperatures for thousands of  recipes – always cook at 350. You’ll almost always be fine.

What You Will Learn:

[How to Learn New Skills Fast] – If you want to learn to cook this book will teach you. But it will also teach you a learning system that will allow you to learn any skill you want. Whether you want to learn to play guitar, design your first website  or become a power-lifter, you’ll get a shortcut system that can be used to learn them all.

5. Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Peace Is Every StepHow I Found It:

A Vietnamese friend of  mine gave it to me. I was just starting to experiment with Meditation and she gave me the book to help me on my way.

What It’s About:

How to use meditation and mindfulness in every day life. You will learn how to meditate while washing the dishes, sweeping the floor or while stuck in traffic. Written in one of the most beautiful writing styles I have ever seen. It’s awesome.

Why I Love It:

The simple approach. Meditation can be intimidating at first. This book fixes that. No sitting for hours and chanting. No secret languages. All I had to do was be aware that I was breathing. I could do that so it worked.

After reading it – I gave a copy to everyone in my family. I have now read it from start to finish 4 or 5 times. It’s broken up so that you only read a few pages a day, which is my favorite way to read non-fiction.

What You Will Learn:

[How to Meditate In Every Day Life] – This book teaches you a simple and practical way to mediate. You’ll learn how to meditate while you cook, while you walk and while watching TV. If your brain is like mine and runs 24/7 this book could be the key to you finally getting some peace.

In Conclusion

I’ve just given you an inside look at 5 Books that have made me a smarter person. I gave you the the names of the books, how I found them, what they’re all about and how they can help you. Now it’s up to you to take some action.

Grab a book and start reading.

Here’s my secret – When someone I respect recommends a book to me, I order it on Amazon immediately. By the time it arrives I’ve normally forgotten I ordered it. If I hadn’t ordered it right away – I probably would have forgotten about it entirely.

I’ve discovered a lot of my favorite books this way.

Now it’s your turn: Are you a reader? Which of these books interests you the most?


  • Victor Manuel Mejia

    Great recommendations, havent read the first one, gonna get to it. The others are great books, highly valueable.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Awesome – Daily Rituals is one of my favorites. Probably the single most fascinating book I read last year.

  • fooder

    Loved Daily Rituals and Cashvertising. Will have to read the other 3 books too. I think I’ll start with the meditation one.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Cool fooder. Peace is Every Step is an easy read, written in small sections. Small leaf icons appear in book that show you where to stop reading and contemplate what you’ve read.

      Really cool way to go through a book.

      • Mack

        That is a “Really Cool” way to go through a book, I totally agree. Thank you again for your suggestions and as well as everyone within the comment feed.

  • Rick M

    Ordered the ones I haven’t read (first and last). Daily Rituals should be fun. Thanks!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Cool Rick – come back and let me know what you think after you’ve read them.

  • Mary W.

    I would also recommend The Art of Achievement: Mastering the 7 C’s of Success in Business and Life and Who Switched Off My Brain?: Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions. Neither book is very big, but both contain a lot of great information and really make you think.

  • Edgar

    Very nice. Thanks for the recommendations! I ordered Daily Rituals and I’m loving it… I also have Cashvertising and yes, it’s a great book. Do you recommend any others on copywriting? To write better ads and landing pages?

    All the best to you man. Great blog!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      hey Edgar, I’m just finishing one. I’ll post about it when I’m done. It’s a good one.

      • Edgar

        Great, thanks Malan!

  • Denis Collage

    Recently started the 4-hour work week, eye opening to say the least. Using it as my bible as I ramp up my affiliate marketing business, and revamp my life. Malan, have you read the 4-hour body? and if so, thoughts? Will order these. Read Think and Grow Rich years ago, need to dust that one off, audiobook is a good idea. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      haven’t read 4-hour body, no. but have heard good things. his slow carb diet is posted on his website with a lot of success stories. if you’re interested in losing weight – google that.

  • mfmaxpower

    Hey Malan, considering this list is a little old, is ca$hvertising still relevant or has it been surpassed by another you’d recommend?

  • Harim

    Awesome thank you