The 147 Best Books, Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, and Courses of the Year — as Voted by You!

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A few weeks ago, I asked Side Hustle Nation subscribers to share the books, podcasts, videos, articles, or resources that had the biggest impact on their business over the last 12 months.

This post is a collection of those responses.

And while The Side Hustle Show and related resources were certainly popular choices, I definitely don’t have a monopoly on good content!

This was a lot of fun to compile. I loved to see the diversity of suggestions.

If you’re looking for gifts for entrepreneurs, be sure to add some of these to your list.

Get ready to fill up your Kindle and podcast queue!

Side Hustle Nation Resources

How to Become a Loan Signing Agent and Earn $100 an Hour Part-Time, with Mark Wills and Brian Schooley – This inspiring episode was the most-frequently mentioned piece of content. (Here’s our full Loan Signing System review.)

“The Rosemarie Series” – This is a collection of conversations over 3 years with blogging superstar Rosemarie Groner. We cover driving traffic, “dating your list” and promoting affiliate products, and creating and selling your own products.

The 15 Income Streams I’m Working on Right Now – A behind-the-scenes look on what’s driving revenue for me these days.

6 Rules to Scale any Side Hustle: Get Out Of Your Own Way and Free Up Your Time, with Sean Marshall – How to stop working IN your business and start working ON it.

Building a Location Independent Business of Freedom and Travel — Even With a Family, with Sean Marshall – Sean’s earlier appearance about how he built his marketing agency also earned a mention.

How to Start a Subscription Box Service: From Spare Bedroom to $15k in Monthly Recurring Revenue, with Sam Gonzalez – How a full-time police officer built his subscription side hustle.

How to Build a 6-Figure Blog in Under a Year, with Jon Dykstra – Jon is another league when it comes to building, marketing, and monetizing blogs. I don’t know if this episode does him justice.

The Simple Way to Finally Set up and Sell Your Online Course (And Scale to $40k a Month and Beyond) with Nate Dodson – Super-inspiring show about turning what you already know into a serious income stream.

How to Create Your Own Niche—and Your Own Income, with April Whitney – What to do if nobody is searching for what you have to offer.

The “Offline Business” Series – A high-earning side hustle doesn’t have to be high tech. These simpler business model examples prove it!

My Books

The Progress Journal: A Simple Daily Planner to Make Meaningful Progress on Your Most Important Work. Several readers were excited with their early returns from using my latest productivity tool. More info on what’s inside here.

Buy Buttons: The Fast-Track Strategy to Make Extra Money and Start a Business in Your Spare TimeI’m happy to see this one still making an impact a couple years after its release.

Other Side Hustle Nation Resources

250+ Ways to Make Extra Money – My updated mega list of ideas, apps, and marketplaces to pad your wallet.

The SH Nation FB Group – Our free community of entrepreneurs and side hustlers that’s now more than 10,000 members strong.

The Best Books of the Year

In this list, the ones that got the most votes are at the top.

3 Ways to Get These for Free

The links below go to Amazon, but they’re not the only game in town. In fact, you can get free books — or book summaries — from several places.

  1. Your library – duh!
  2. Audible – Start a free Audible trial and (for a limited time) get 5 free audiobooks!
  3. Blinkist – This cool service summarizes tons of the best non-fiction books. Start a free trial today.

And Now, the List…

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson.

Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller. One of my top reads of the year! In fact, this book made me re-do my homepage.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear. James’ book is excellent and easy to understand and implement. Among my biggest takeaways is to stop playing defense with willpower and set up better systems and environments to cultivate the habits you want.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown. I liked this one too, and am probably due to revisit it. Here are some thoughts on my first reading of it.

Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau. Remember that time I met Chris in real life?

High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard. This was one of my top reads of the year.

Brendon Burchard found 6 common characteristics of high performers:

  1. Seek Clarity
  2. Generate Energy
  3. Raise Necessity
  4. Increase Productivity
  5. Develop Influence
  6. Demonstrate Courage

Among my Kindle highlights:

  • “Did I live fully today? Did I matter?”
  • “If you leave your growth to randomness, you’ll always live in the land of mediocrity.”
  • Passion + Growth + Contribution = Personal Satisfaction
  • “Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds to be.” –Abraham Lincoln
  • “Stress is self-created, so I decided to stop manufacturing it.”
  • If you can’t discern from your weekly or monthly calendar what major moves you’re working toward, you’re not optimizing your time.
  • “The competency that matters is the ability to become competent.” (The most important skill is the skill of learning new skills.)

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. This is must-read for all marketers.

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

The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime by MJ DeMarco. One of my faves.

Unscripted: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Entrepreneurship by MJ Demarco. With over 400 5-star reviews, it seems like MJ’s struck a chord with this one.

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight.

MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins. According to one reader, this book “contained the best information to change my financial mindset as well as take action!”

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. “What’s the ONE Thing I can do right now such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness by Jeff Olson. This is a really powerful book about the compound effect of committing to getting 1% better each day. Here’s my podcast episode on it.

The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday.

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff. Jon was a guest on the podcast back in the day.

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

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek.

Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny by Tony Robbins.

Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz.

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. Per one reader, this was “the most profound source of newly gained knowledge that has helped completely shape my outlook as a whole.”

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams.

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

The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last by Tom Peters.

Dollars Flow to Me Easily by Richard Dotts.

The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn.

Live It, Love It, Sell It: How to win at sales with the art of human conversation by Jules White.

The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway: Dynamic Techniques for Turning Fear, Indecision and Anger into Power, Action and Love by Susan Jeffers.

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks.

Book of Job. Someone had a rough year!

The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfold. One reader said “this book gave me a platform to dive off of into my own psyche and tear apart on a human conceptual/mental level my motivations and fears and aspirations. It gave me a lens to dissect my behavior without the judgmental bias inherent in most religious texts.”

Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.

The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles.

Your Oxygen Mask First: 17 Habits to Help High Achievers Survive & Thrive in Leadership & Life by Kevin N. Lawrence.

Go Getter: The Timeless Classic That Tells You How To Be One by Peter Kyne.

They Ask, You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer by Marcus Sheridan

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth.

Vlog Like A Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Blogging by Amy Schmittauer.

Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity by Garrett Gunderson.

Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It by Gabriel Wyner.


Again, those with the most votes are at the top.

ChooseFI – Check out my interview on ChooseFI and my chat with Jonathan on how he and Brad grew their audience so quickly.

The Gary Vee Audio Experience

Afford Anything – Paula does an awesome job. She even interviewed me :)

Hustle & Flowchart – Hosted by Joe Fier and Matt Wolfe, these guys go deep on some real ninja marketing and business tactics.

Jocko Podcast – Lessons in leadership and discipline from a former Navy Seal officer.

The Joe Rogan Experience

Business Wars – The first story of Blockbuster vs. Netflix was specifically recommended.

Stacking Benjamins – I love Joe and his crew!

Just Keep Blogging – Host Kim Anderson and her husband share how they made “early retirement” a reality in this episode of The Side Hustle Show.

Simple Pin Podcast – Kate Ahl is the go-to for all things Pinterest marketing. Stay tuned to The Side Hustle Show to hear everything I was doing wrong with Pinterest!

Listen Money Matters – “An uncensored personal finance podcast. Not your father’s boring money show.”

Money Lab – Experiments in online business, hosted by 2-time Side Hustle Show guest Matt Giovanisci.

Entrepreneur on Fire – After 2000 daily episodes, host John Lee Dumas switched to a format with a bit more breathing room.

Under the Influence – A marketing and advertising show hosted by Terry O’Reilly.

The Marketing Trends Podcast – “The #1 Podcast for Marketing Leaders.”

The Marketing Book Podcast – Weekly interviews with best-selling authors to help you keep up with what’s working in the quickly changing field of modern marketing (and sales).

The Jason Stapleton Program

Russel Brand’s Podcast

Marketing School Podcast – Hosted by Neil Patel and Eric Sui.

The Minimalists – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus discuss living a meaningful life with less.

Actionable Marketing Podcast – “Weekly interviews, strategy, and advice for the marketing pro ready to make sh*t happen.”

The Ken Coleman Show – “Life is too short for a boring job.”

The Dave Ramsey Show – Baby steps, people.


The Jordan Harbinger Show – “Upgrade your mind with wisdom from the most brilliant people.”

Voices of Search – An SEO and content marketing podcast.

Search Engine Nerds

Believed – by Michigan Radio and NPR.

Start Over Coder – “A weekly podcast about taking up a new career as a professional developer and pursuing financial independence.”

The Epic Success Podcast – Hosted by Dr. Shannon Irvine, this show focuses on “proven, integrated methods for building a business, setting goals, changing habits, and crafting a life you love — all through tapping into the power of your brain.”

The Best Blogs

Blogs – Book summaries and plenty of distilled wisdom from research on how to live your best life. There’s a reason Brian’s app is on my homescreen.

Option Alpha – Tons of great content on building an income trading options, with several free courses to get started. Podcast and YouTube as well.

Mr. Money Mustache – The OG of the FIRE movement.

Fat Stacks Blog – In-depth content on how to build income-generating websites.

Backlinko – The definitive SEO blog by Brian Dean.

The Busy Budgeter – Get your money and your home under control with the help of Side Hustle Nation fave Rosemarie Groner.

I Will Teach You to be Rich – The homebase of Ramit Sethi.

Neil Patel’s blog – This post of marketing hacks was specifically recommended.

Gaps – In-depth marketing case studies and small business examples by Glen Allsopp. This rabbit hole goes deep!

Ben Settle – Copywriting advice and an entertaining newsettler.

RJ Martinez – Merch by Amazon YouTube Channel

Hard to Find Seminars – Audio interviews mostly on copywriting and business strategy.

Clark Howard – Money saving ideas we can all use.

Specific Helpful Posts

3 Ways to Turn Consulting Into a Product

How to Get a Promotion as a Freelancer

The Amazing Power of Systems in Life Coaching

The Best YouTube Channels and Videos

Simon Sinek – “An unshakable optimist who believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together.”

Dan Lok – “The King of High-Ticket Sales.”

SEAL Fit – SEAL Fit was developed by former Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine for the unique and specialized needs of SEAL trainees to develop mental toughness — but is effective for any professional serious about their fitness and performance, as well as all “industrial athletes” who must rely on their bodies and minds to be at their peak for their daily jobs.

Big Think – Big Think is the leading source of expert-driven, actionable, educational content — with thousands of videos, featuring experts ranging from Bill Clinton to Bill Nye, we help you get smarter, faster.

The Kurzgesagt – “Videos explaining things with optimistic nihilism.”

Hubspot Academy – Marketing, Sales, and Customer Support training online.

Specific Helpful Videos

Steve Harvey: You Have Not Because You Ask Not

Matthew McConaughey: This Is Why You’re Not Happy

Casey Neistat: Do What You Can’t (some language)

Tony Robbins: Tips to Transform Your Life

Tim Tamashiro: How to Ikigai | TEDxYYC

Related: What is Ikigai “reason for being”


Premium Courses

And while there’s a ton of free or inexpensive information out there, sometimes it makes sense to invest more into your entrepreneurial education.

These were the paid products and courses Side Hustle Nation members found most helpful over the last year.

Loan Signing System – Mark Wills’ guide to becoming a paid loan signing agent was the most frequently-cited premium course of the year. Signing agents can make up to $100 an hour walking new home buyers through their big stack of mortgage documents. Rules vary by state so make sure you’re eligible before diving in. Use my affiliate link and promo code sidehustle for a special offer.

One Funnel Away – A 30-Day Challenge from ClickFunnels to finally take action and build your first (or next) sales funnel.

The Wholesale Formula – Creator Dan Meadors was a guest on The Side Hustle Show a couple years ago sharing how he took his part-time Amazon selling hobby to $13 million in sales. – Great copywriting training for all types of copy along with helping you in the business side of copywriting.

Elite Blog Academy – The popular blogging course by Ruth Soukup. I enrolled a couple years ago based on Rosemarie’s insistence and I’m a little embarrassed to say I haven’t finished it yet. It’s hard!

Python for Everybody – Learn to program in Python.

Video Creators – Tactics and strategies for growing a YouTube audience, by Tim Schmoyer.

The Merch Brainstorming Boot Camp – A Merch by Amazon course by Lisa Irby.

Sentence Diagramming – “Grammar Revolution has really helped me with my proofreading.”

Alison Armstrong’s Extreme Freedom (Emotional Freedom)

James Altucher’s Side Hustle Bible

Apps and Tools

Over – Coach Dom Costa sold 100+ t-shirts on Merch by Amazon with simple text designs made with Over.

Zenkit – Project Management tool. – “Double your productivity.”

PDFescape – For signing, editing and filling PDFs. I use this all the time!

Online2PDF – For compressing, merging, rotating PDFs, etc.

Hangout Parser – makes it much easier to search your hangout text history

Google Photos – Google Photos has free unlimited storage (if you don’t care about saving the full original image quality).

Movies / Documentaries / TV Shows

Made for More by Rachel Hollis

Won’t You Be My Neighbor – The Mr. Rogers movie.

The Power of Myth with Joseph Campbell on Netflix

Game of Thrones – Still haven’t seen a single episode of this!

A Quiet Place – I just miss Jim from The Office.

The Wolf of Wall Street – “Although Jordan was a scumbag there was still a lot to be learned from that movie about people, life and sales. ”

Your Turn

What did we miss? What was the most impactful thing you read/watched/listened to over the last year?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

3 thoughts on “The 147 Best Books, Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, and Courses of the Year — as Voted by You!”

  1. I’m an avid fan of the Josh Rogan podcast. I also love Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Podcast (which was not on your list) – topics related to both business and biohacking!


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