5 People I follow & Why

The Book Responsible for Where I am Now

“I owe everything to this book and if I can learn its contents in a week, in a caravan with no computer, you can too.

I’m going to share with you the book that is solely responsible for where I am today and it just might have the same effect for you too. However before I spill-the-beans on the name of the actual book, I’d like to share the events that happened after reading the book.

After reading this book, I ended up going back to college, now this wasn’t “I’ll do a course on…” this was “I’ll do EVERY course that interests me” and I promptly did. I did a dozen or more short courses at Bristol College, from HTML to Visual Basic, from graphic design to Java, I even did two courses on ASP and three courses on C++.

At one point I was spending four nights a week on these and still found room to start the revision needed to set myself on the way of studying for a MCSE through self revision. I still remember punching the air and that thrill of passing all those exams. They weren’t cheap and I failed a few but I got through a fair amount of them in a relatively short time. One set of books cost me over a £130 and contained 12 or so books and I still have a romance with Windows 2000.

This book also provoked me to make a computer, I wasn’t going to buy a computer I was going to make a computer, by pure fluke the latest copy of PC Advisor was covering this and over the next two issues I built my first computer. I still have it in my roof!

With the new computer, the first thing I wanted to do was get on the “Internet”, I had spent so much time at Uni covering the fundamentals (a HND in Electrical & Electronic Communications Engineering apparently) but had spent so little time actually working out how this[the Internet] could help me.

With the combination of the book that promoted me to go on a education bender, I ended up finding eBay, starting a business on eBay, quitting my (what was well paid) job, burning myself out, working for two SaaS companies and now starting a new business, that encompasses everything I’ve learned along the way.

So what was the book?

Learn HTML in a weekend. Ironically I did not learn it in a weekend with a computer, no I learnt it in a CARAVAN in a week with no computer. I can still write HTML without editors and enjoying playing with it today.

Of course, there are other distractions, such as PHP, Pyhon, CSS and so on that follow similar structures, but they all end up back at HTML and I sincerely do not believe for one moment that I’d be where I am without this book.

I checked this morning and you can pick this book up on Amazon for 1p, well 1p plus £2.80 postage (make sure you pick a UK seller if possible, the delivery time sucks from the US). Seems somewhat a bargain now considering the changes it made to me.

Have you had a similar experience with a single book before? If so what was it?

11 replies
  1. Gareth Powell
    Gareth Powell says:

    Great comment there!

    I undertake our digital marketing activities at work and would say I am pretty average, i.e., I can write posts but never get commercial results. But your point on having technical knowledge is very true – the best people, like Matt, seem to be able to knock things up so quickly and then market it; I would have thought this skill-set is better than just marketing unless you have huge budgets and teams of course.

    I will add these books to my list and keep trying to learn code to hopefully master the digital marketing game!

  2. Matthew Ogborne
    Matthew Ogborne says:

    Howdy Sarah,

    Thanks for the comment.

    OMG you’ve gotta put the 4hr work week on the reading list, flick a few pages on Amazon and you’ll get the jist very quickly. I preferred the audio version, as it added extra tone & emotion to the contents. As you can tell, myself, Dave & Rob are avid fans :)

    I’ll take a look at “Time Management for Entrepreneurs” in a few minutes.


  3. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I love your blog post – it just goes to show how important constant learning/reading is – I thought I was strange because I’m addicted to both – I also read “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and it changed my life. “The 4hr work week” has just shot up my reading list after the comments on your post! – 2 little PHP books – (PHP cheatsheet for beginners by Riwanto Megosinarso & teach yourself PHP with MySQL by Nat Macbride) finally managed to get me on the road to understanding PHP. No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy taught me how to take control of my own time/life :-)

  4. Matthew Ogborne
    Matthew Ogborne says:

    I’m already on one, I’m Sat on the lawn reading another book called predicably irrational by Dan Ariely. One point I realised that long term vacations while fantastically sensational, were not for me and instead smaller, acute ones would work just as well.

    The sun is shining, I have a now coffee and a great book to read, the girls are two minutes walk away. This is my interpretation of NR.

    However meeting up, sounds to me like an outstanding idea.


    • Dave Furness
      Dave Furness says:

      To be honest Matt, im exactly the same, when i was away a couple of weeks ago, i couldn’t turn off, i had to do some work stuff after a few days. Im with you being able to have the day off here and there doing what you want to do sounds bloody good to me.

      As does meeting up, definitley sounds like something we should do :D


  5. Rob Cubbon
    Rob Cubbon says:

    Interesting. On the technical side I remember learning a lot from Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way Using HTML & CSS a Sitepoint book by Ian Lloyd. It’s funny you say this as all the marketing “gurus” say that technical knowledge is unnecessary for success online. And yet many of the best internet entrepreneurs do have great technical knowledge.

    Another book that has affected me and what I do now is The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.

  6. Dave Furness
    Dave Furness says:

    Nice article Matt,

    For me I can think of two books which changed me as a person and how I looked at things that happen in my life. The first I have read 2 times and have recently downloaded for the Kindle to have a third read. It is “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I read this first when I was about 15 through the recommendation of my dad as he told me that book was such a large part for his success in what he did. Its a fantastic book which doesn’t tell you much you don’t already know, but has a brilliant way of making you remember what he writes and trying to use it in everyday life.

    The second for those who know me will not be surprised to hear is “The 4 Hour Work Week” By Tim Ferriss. This book largely changed how I look at how I spend my time and what I value as important not only in work but outside of it too. This book definitely needs more than 1 read/listen to get the most out of it, i’m part way through my second time now.

    The first book is partly responsible for the type of person I am and how i communicate with people, the second responsible for becoming much more productive is what I work on and giving me the motivation to ‘Do’ new things which perhaps I wouldn’t of dared to before.

    Dave Furness

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Dave,

      I’ve read that book! Its here on my shelf, I’ll pop it in the re-reading pile as you’re right its very good! As for the 4hr work week, I’m on my firth or so re-read/listen to, there is sooo much to be gleamed from it, its unreal.

      Oh and the video should be stuttery now, I uploaded it at the correct dimensions, although the title image makes me look like a hamster :)



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