The 5 Books You MUST Read as Musician

Books are essential for your self development and I’m a big fan of books that help me grow. In my opinion, books are a little piece of knowledge from the writers that we can get for $10 to $20 USD that would normally take us a lot longer to understand if we tried learning by ourselves

Since 2016, I’ve read/listened to more than 100 books, and some books had a major impact in my music career and here are the top 5 books that influenced me as a musician. To anticipate you the five books, here are the books we’ll talk about:

  1. Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur, Derek Sivers
  2. The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp
  3. Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday
  4. Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker
  5. The War of Art, Steven Pressfield
The Power Of Books

Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur, Derek Sivers

Derek Sivers - Anything You Want

This is one of my favorite books, if not the one, and although it’s mainly for businesses, there are a lot of takeaways for musicians in this one. It’s about 40 lessons Derek Sivers, at the moment a musician in New York, learned from creating and selling the company CDBaby, one of the major online distributors.

  • You don’t really know what people want until you start doing it
  • When you make a business, you get to make a little universe where you control all the laws
  • If you’re not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, say “no”
  • The most brilliant idea is worthless with no execution
  • Learning how to do things yourself can take longer, but will make you more self sufficient
  • You don’t sign up for a marathon to get to the finish line, you want to enjoy the run.
  • Delegate, but don’t abdicate

These lessons, and many others, had such an impact in my music career that I make sure to listen to this 1h30 book every year.

In addition, Derek is super open and I’m always exchanging emails with him. I even helped him review the Portuguese translation of his recent book about marketing and the music industry, which has AMAZING tips as well. You can view more from Derek on his website.

The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp - The Creative Habit

Packed with creative ideas and insights, this book helped me see creativity differently. Before I first read it, in 2014, I remember googling books about creativity and this one caught my attention. Back then, I wanted to find alternative ways to expand my creativity repertoire, still believing creativity was a spark.

After reading the book, my view on creativity has shifted from seeing it as a spark to a habit. Something you have to “cultivate”, like a muscle, or otherwise it will fade away.

In addition, the book is full of concepts on how to help you get ready for your next project, lessons on a “just do it” mentality and on setting a proper environment for your creativity to flow, and also the importance of knowing your craft upside down before innovating.

It’s an amazing book and I definitely recommend it if you want to check out new ways to expand your creativity!

Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle Is The Way

At the time I read this book, which was something around 2016, I was in a position that I wanted to take the easy route for music and it was a slap in my face. I wanted to create something fast, that would put me in the spotlight and then I’d tour the world. As music was that easy, right?

Ryan makes some interesting points and tells stories about how obstacles guide you towards success instead of slowing you down. Stories from Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Margaret Thatcher and how obstacles paved the way to their successful careers, preparing them to be stronger to what came next. If you look at any successful entrepreneur, I highly doubt you’ll find someone who doesn’t believe failing is part of success in your life.

Back in 2015, this made me go on hiatus to just study music and the foundation of what I do today. Looking back, if it wasn’t for this book changing my concept on how I should deal with things, I don’t know if I’d be where I am now. This is why this is another must read for you.

Spiderman Reading Books

Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker

Matthew Walkter - Why We Sleep

I read Why We Sleep in 2019 wanting to understand more about sleep, and that’s all. However, this book made me change my sleeping schedule completely, going from 5/6h daily to at least 7h, no excuses.

It’s a long book and Matthew walks you through a series of studies explaining what happens when we sleep, why it’s important for our development as beings and the consequences of under sleeping on creativity, mental health, problem solving, decision-making, brain health, cognitive functions, etc.

Definitely among my top 3 and I recommend the read! The book is so great that it has put Bill Gates to sleep, as Bill says in his review of the book.

The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

Steven Pressfield - The War Of Art

The War of Art is a short 192 page book (2h29m audiobook) about the war we face against our enemy, “Resistance”, when we’re about to create something. Basically speaking, it villainizes our procrastination, and it’s a wake up call to how it can affect our art.

It was something I normally dealt pretty well with, but it was good to listen to it since, at that time, I was procrastinating a lot. Therefore, this book was a slap in the face to help me get back on track and stop the procrastination.


What are your favorite books?

I love books and I’m always looking for a good book recommendation. I don’t normally read fiction books, but sometimes I read something here and there about.

If you had to recommend me one book, which one would it be? Write in comments below:

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Leo Lauretti

Leo Lauretti

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Leo Lauretti has been producing since 2013. With releases on SONY Music, Armada, Enhanced Music, Leo Lauretti accumulates multiple supports from artists like Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate, Nicky Romero, and many others all over the world.

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