When I think about my Dream House, it’s not a big glistening kitchen, high-tech family room or backyard swimming pool that catches my fancy. 

No, my perfect home has a library, a real library, with  floor-to-ceiling books, and aladder on wheels for exploring the top shelves. There’s a fireplace with a cozy reading chair and a good light.

I’m am not alone in thinking that would be exquisite. “When I have a house of my own,” said a character in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, “I shall be quite miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

Eda LaShan once said that middle age begins when you realize you won’t live long enough to read all the books you want to explore. According to that definition, I was born middle-aged.

Fortunately, I landed in a family that assumed reading was an important part of a well-lived life and we were always surrounded by books. As much as I love the library, I can’t imagine living without books of my own at my fingertips.

Libraries are as unique as the people who assemble them, of course. When I scan my own shelves, I see a record of my life as telling as a photo album. 

Creating a wonderful personal collection can be both haphazard and intentional. If you are serious about success, your library will reflect this. 

What kinds of books show up in libraries of the Joyfully Jobless?

Inspirational. We quickly learn the truth of the adage that you can’t outperform your own self-image. 

While we all have our own favorites, I know that on the days I feel stuck or frustrated or conflicted, I can get back on track more quickly if I spend time with an old friend like The War of Art. 

The books that inspire us the most are often those that stand up to repeated visits. They help us reconnect with our own best selves and nudge us to move past pettiness. 

Informational. Of course, we require different kinds of information all along the way as we build and grow. How-to books are hugely popular, although not everyone is keen about putting what they’ve read into action.

With the avalanche of  information which abounds today, there’s really no excuse for saying, “I don’t know how.”  You can fill in the gaps easily.

 Whether you need help with marketing or how to start a profitable petsitting business or how to write a killer book proposal, a book written by a reliable source can get you pointed in the right direction.

Heroes and heroines. A well-rounded library for an entrepreneur would also include some great biographies and autobiographies from successful self-bossers. 

I’ve just finished reading an advance copy of Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness, the upcoming story of the entrepreneurial evolution of Zappos founder. It will be taking its place alongside numerous stories of inspiring entrepreneurs in my library. 

If you’d like to see some other biographies that I’ve loved, check out my list, First the Business, Then the Book over at Flashlight Worthy Books.

And speaking of Flashlight Worthy, pay them a visit for hundreds of great book recommendations compiled by all sorts of experts and aficionados

“We are all pilgrims on the same journey,” said Nelson DeMille, “but some pilgrims have better road maps.” 

Fill your library with the best maps you can find and consult them regularly. Going places may just start in the quietest room of the house.


Did you know that May is Get Caught Reading Month? Participate.





The biggest surprise of my life is how many beds I’ve slept in. It just didn’t enter my mind that satisfying my wanderlust would mean staying in hundreds of hotel rooms. While I’m hardly an expert on hotels, I do know that most of them are so similar that I don’t remember much about them. 

That all changed when I had a hotel experience that was so extraordinary, that I couldn’t wait to return. I was doing a seminar series in Sacramento and learned that the hotel I’d stayed at in the past was under new ownership and had a new name, Larkspur Landing. I assumed the name change was the only difference. I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

Even though major construction was taking place, there were  little signs of change all around. A table in the entryway had perpetual coffee, tea and other hot drinks plus a heaping bowl of fresh fruit. Hot-from-the-oven cookies were added every evening. In the rooms, which all had a small kitchen, I found Starbucks coffee, bottled water and a packet of microwave popcorn—all without the exorbitant charges attached that you find in most hotels.  What really captivated me, however, was the Larkspur Library where you could borrow books, DVDs, CDs, and (my favorite) board games.

There were plenty of other amenities, too, including  an exercise room, a laundry, vending machines with foods that were not junky, and free wireless service. Since they were still remodeling, they hadn’t gotten to  the fabulous mattresses and pillows that are part of the Larkspur furnishings. 


On a return visit, after the remodeling crew was long gone, I was charmed by their lobby which looked nothing like those in other hotels. Instead, the space adjacent to the front desk looked like a living room in a lovely  Arts and Crafts home. The centerpiece was a fireplace with bookshelves on either side. Seating was arranged for conversation—or daydreaming. 

This was all accomplished without charging any more than an ordinary hotel. I loved being there and noticed the staff and the guests were all smiling alot. 

I’ve been musing about how this hotel came to be so memorable and I’ve come up with a theory. Instead of simply copying how other hotels do things, I suspect that someone decided to create a hotel where they’d actually enjoy staying at themselves. As a result this attention to small details makes something ordinary into an extraordinary experience for Larkspur’s guests. 


The Pleasure of Their Company


Ever since I connected with them on Twitter, I’ve been a big fan of Flashlight Worthy Books, a Web site that makes recommendations on all sorts of books both old and new. Since they also invite experts to create reading lists, I submitted a list of books with the title The Art of Being an Entrepreneur.


It finally posted today and here’s how FLW announced it on Twitter: Stop laboring for someone else this Labor Day Weekend. Use these books to become an entrepreneur


Check it out. You’re bound to find a title or two worth adding to your personal library.