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27 Books Every Contractor Should Read

27 Books Every Contractor Should Read

Motivational speaker, Mark Matteson likes to say that a year from now you will be the same person you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.  Matt Michel singles out 27 essential books that should be in every contractor’s library.    

Motivational speaker, Mark Matteson likes to say that a year from now you will be the same person you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.  The best place to meet people in our industry is Comfortech, which leaves books. Here are 27 essential books that should be in every contractor’s library.

  1. HVAC Spells Wealth by Ron Smith

If there was a Bible for service contracting, this would be it.  Contracting Business Hall of Fame member, Ron Smith wrote the definitive book on running an HVAC company from start to finish.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  Order it from or

  1. Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch

Residential service and replacement contracting is a marketing game. Few people have written small business marketing books that fit contractors as well as John Jantsch.  Read his book.  Read his blog.  Listen to his podcast.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. The Power of Positive Pricing by Matt Michel

It’s self-serving to put my own book up here, but that’s not why I did it.  I wrote this to address one of the most common mistakes contractors make, which is pricing poorly.  Until you figure out pricing, nothing else will work right.  Pricing is more than just determining a billing rate.  It’s strategy.  It’s presentation.  It’s discounting.  It’s learning to price like a retailer.  Order it from

  1. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

Gerber’s book should be required reading before you sit for a contractor’s license exam.  If it were, we would have more contractors who owned businesses and few contractors who owned jobs masquerading as businesses.  You will recognize yourself.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson

I think you should read the entire Guerilla Marketing series.  It’s filled with the practical application of marketing tactics to further the growth of a small business.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. Freedom From Fear by Mark Matteson

This is Mark’s first book.  It’s written in story form, is easy to read, and jam packed with life lessons.  Apply the lessons in this book and you will be a better person as well as a better contractor.  Order it from or

  1. For What It’s Worth by Brandon Jacob

No one in the HVAC industry knows more about business valuation than Brandon Jacob.  If you ever want to sell your business or are interested in buying one, read this book.  Order it from or

  1. Selling With T.R.U.S.T. by Tom Piscitelli

Tom is one of the industry’s most renowned sales trainers.  His book lays out his consultative sales approach that results in more closes for more money.  If you sell replacements read the book.  If you employ retail salespeople, buy copies for them.  Order it from or

  1. Six Dimensions of C.H.A.N.G.E. by Kenny Chapman

Tom McCart Consultant of the Year, Kenny Chapman lays out a framework for implementing positive changes in your life.  Learn how to be improve your effectiveness and break bad habits.  Order it from

  1. Just Add H2Oh! by Dan Holohan

Dan writes specifically for hydronics contractors, but teach lessons about marketing application to any service contractor.  You will relate to it.  Buy it from or

  1. The Psychology of Winning by Dr. Denis Waitley

Dr. Waitley was the psychologist for the U.S. Olympic Team and NASA’s Apollo program.  He’s studied success and shows you how to program yourself to win.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. Influence by Robert Cialdini

Cialdini explains why people say yes, based on empirical research.  This book can help you be a better marketer, better salesperson, and better business leader.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. Positioning by Jack Trout and Al Ries

This is one of the most influential and practical marketing books ever written.  It will help you craft an unassailable position for your business, create your unique selling proposition, and understand why some marketing fails.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar

Ziglar is the master.   This often the first sales book many sales professional read.  It may be the best.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. The Cluetrain Manifesto

During the early days of the world wide web, a group of writers for Wired Magazine created a series of theses to explain how the world had changed in the Internet age.  These led to the book, which is still applicable today.  In fact, it may be more applicable than ever.  Cluetrain was written long before social media and review sites, but explains them better than any other book.  Read it online for free at

  1. The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack

This is the book that started open book management.  Jack Stack applies the principles of a successful athletic team to business.  Keep score.  Have fun.  Play by the rules.  Include everyone.  Create choices.  Read it.  It will help you run your company better.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer

This is a great book for ADHD contractors (i.e., all contractors).  Pick it up, read for five minutes, grab two or three nuggets of wisdom that will help you sell better.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy is one of the country’s most renowned sales trainers.  Any sales professional owes it to him or herself to read this book about the inside game, or mental game in sales.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

This book started the motivational book category and since it is based on timeless truths, is as appropriate today as the day it was written.  The book is based on Napoleon Hill’s interviews with the wealthiest men in America, where he learned what set these ultra-successful men apart.  You can order this from Amazon, though there are plenty of free versions available online from the edition where the copyright has expired.

  1. How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins

You may wonder why there are so many books on sales.  It’s because nothing happens in business until someone makes a sale.  Tom Hopkins is another sales legend turned legendary sales trainer.  This book is one of the most detailed books on sales tactics you will find.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard

You can read this in an afternoon.  The lessons are simple, but effective about the way to coach employees and correct bad behavior while making the employees feel good about the correction.  It works for kids too.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray

Yes, this is a relationship book.  Don’t read it as one.  Read it as the best book you’ll find for understanding the opposite sex.  For men selling or marketing to women, this book is invaluable.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey

Mr. Debt-Free himself offers some pretty sound principles for operating and leading a business, based on his own experience.  Since the lack of cash kills more contracting companies than any other factor, this is a good book for your library.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Lots of similar books have been written, but none have ever exceeded the original.  Maybe that’s why it’s still taught in private courses all over the country.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton

This is simply an easy to read book on personal finance.  It can help you become financially independent, which means free.  Order it from Amazon.

  1. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason

Learn about money and finance by reading parables.  If a lot of it is common sense, why isn’t wealth more common?  Order it from Amazon.

  1. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino

Today you will begin a new life.  At least you will if you apply the principles in this classic book with a twist to the ending.  Order it from Amazon.

None of these are theoretical.  All are practical.  Read one every two weeks and you will be a different person a year from now than you are today.  Get cracking.

Learn how to earn rebates on these books through the Service Roundtable.  Call 877.262.3341 or visit

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