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Marketers Stranded on a Deserted Island – NO Technology

It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>

This week I asked our expert friends something a little different …

Let's say that you're being paid a million dollars to be stranded on a deserted island for one month. You'll have a nice bungalow and will have food and water delivered as well as necessities like soap and sunscreen – but NO technology.

You can, however, pack up to 10 books.
Which books would you bring? Why?

So, let's have a look at what everyone is packing for their island trip this week…

Mark Mason from says:

Well, if there was no technology, I simply would not go. LOL But, if you forced me to go, books would be critical. I'd think in terms of what my goals were for my stay.

With all that time on my hands, my goals would be:

1. Spiritual health

Book 1: Bible with annotations (probably an NIV edition)
Book 2: 1 year Bible study guide (would have to research which one)

2. Fitness.

I have always wanted to learn Taekwondo

Book 3: Learn Taekwondo

3. Entrepenuer/Finance Plan for when I return

With a million Dollars to spend, I would want to have some books to motivate/stimulate my business mind

Book 4: Tribes by Seth Godin
Book 5: Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk

4. Betterment of self

I would want to read the following classics (or read them again)…

Book 6: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Book 7: Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
Book 8: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
Book 9: Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales
Book 10: Tolkien, Lord of the Rings Trilogy

So, the point would be that with these 10 books I would return from the island better than when I arrived, with $1M in my pocket.

Dr. Mani of says:

Mmmm… LOVE this question.

I read, on average, one book a week (though I try to do more) – and this gives me a chance to go back through memory lane and browse through my bookshelf to come up with some picks.

I'll split my answer into two parts.

A. If I *knew* for sure that I will be rescued from that desert island in one month to return to my business and professional work, here's what I'd take with me:

1. E-Myth Mastery by Michael Gerber – because it is the most solid grounding course in the essentials of entrepreneurship and business building.

2. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini – because even though I've read it five times through, each reading adds value in a new way about the core elements of influencing behavior.

3. The Robert Collier Letter Book by Robert Collier (recently republished by his estate) – because it is the best collection of sample copy and brilliant analysis of the mindset behind writing explosive copy that sells.

4. Secrets of Successful Direct Mail by Dick Beson – because, let's face it, direct mail is back with a bang, and no one teaches the principles behind it better than Mr.Benson. It's one book in my collection I would never give away!

5. Cardiac Surgery by Kirklin and Barratt-Boyes – because I'd want to review and revise some sections of it before getting back to work a month later!

B. If I had no idea when (or even IF) I was going to get off that desert island, my choices would be VERY different. No point getting ‘business building' books then, right? So this is what I'd pick up:

6. Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl – because I simply love the philosophy shared by this holocaust survivor that puts everything else into proper perspective.

7. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle – because I can read it over and over, and find peace and calm even on that remote desert island, knowing that's what matters most at that point in time!

8. The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil – because I haven't finished reading it yet, and believe it worth doing.

9. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Ablom – because it will help me see just how simple and uncomplicated our existences are when you get right down to what matters most.

10. Aladdin Factor by Jack Canfield – because he teaches the power of ASKING with total confidence and belief that you'll get what you ask for… and I'll be asking to be let off the desert island soon! 🙂

Looking forward to read the recommendations of other experts, thanks for letting me be a part of this one, Nicole.

Shannon Cherry of List Building Promotion Secrets says:

You know, I love reading, but since I do so much of it for work, it's hard for me to want to read at all!

So please, pay me to be stranded… please! And here are the books I'd bring:

1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. This is one of my all-time favorites and I do try to read this every couple of years.

2. Contact by Carl Sagan. Unlike the movie of the same title, this is a love story… about a daughter's love for her father.

3. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. My daughter is named after the heroine of this trilogy. She gives up love to save the world.

4. Birdsong: A novel of Love and War by Sebastian Faulks. My husband bought this for me when we first met… and I never got to finish it. But he swears it's the most beautiful story.

5. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I know the movie by heart but not the book… yet.

6. Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 8 comics. I am a Buffy addict. And this anthology leaves off where the series ended so I can still get my Buffy fix.

7. Chases Calendar of Events. With this book, I can plan all my marketing around other holidays and events when I get back!

8. Autobiography of Mark Twain. This man is brilliant. Enough said.

9. Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss. A classic to read before bed every night.

10. How to Weave Hawaiian Coconut Fronds by Jim Widess. Hey I need to do something more than read!

NicoleNicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

Again, I actually asked this question because I need some good book recommendations. I always strive to make myself a better person so I read as much as I can.

However, I know already what 5 of the books I'd bring even before I asked the question.

3 Notebooks.
I'd bring 3 empty notebooks and I would spend the month writing. I can't even imagine how much I'd accomplish in that time. Just think how creative you'd be without the distraction of technology.  I could take those notebooks home at the end, and hire a Virtual Assistant to type them all in and, voila!, I'd finally have all of my next infoproducts done!

One Journal.
A place to write my thoughts that weren't related to business. I'd write notes to my kids, jot down my personal reflections during the long, quiet days, and any “ah-ha” moments related to becoming a better person.

I think this qualifies.
A photo album of my family. I'd miss my kids too much if I couldn't see their little smiley faces.

For my last 5 books, it's more of a struggle.
On the one hand, I'm thinking I should bring LONG books because I read really fast. Like maybe I could finally read War and Peace or re-read Gone With the Wind.

Decisions, decisions…

CONFESSION: There are books that I'd like to bring vs. the books that I would actually bring.

I'd like to think I'd bring something to make myself a better person, but probably, I'd just bring some steamy sexy vampire novels. A month is a long time to be alone, if you know what I'm sayin'.  😉

However, if  I were to list the books that I'd hope I'd bring (and not the steamy ones), I can only think of one, and probably not for the reason you're thinking.

The Bible. Yeah, I know. It's a standard answer. But, I've never read it, and I think it would be interesting because it's something I know very little about. I'd want a version that put things into historical context and included annotations to explain the differences in perspective of each chapter, preferably in a scholarly manner.

Then, what I'd do, is to ask some people who I admire what they'd recommend and then bring those books.

Oh wait. That's what I just did.  😀 (Pretty smart, eh?)

As for genres, for my last four books, I'd like to bring..

  1. A time-management book. I love them and could read one every day. (Yes, I get the irony there.)
  2. A classic novel that I haven't read.
  3. A biography or autobiography of someone I admire from history. I like to see how people actually handle situations, not just what they “say” they'd do. Actions speak louder than words.
  4. A financial investment book. I'd want to know how to best handle the million dollars that I'll be handed.

Now,  let's hear from you …

Your Turn.

Which 10 books would you bring?

Loretta gave me a great idea. She wanted to post a list on her blog and link to this blog post.

So, let's all do it. If you'd like to answer this question, please post your list on your blog (with a link to this post if you wouldn't mind) and then comment here to let us know where you posted your book list so we can go see!

Nicole Dean

PS. I have created brandable reports from several of the previous Expert Brief columns that you can use to earn commissions by giving them away.

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I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • JW Ginn

    I love these posts. They are always insightful and fun. I’m not sure 10 books are enough though!

    1.Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd – Youngme Herd / In an age where we are bombarded with cookie cutter department stores, and microwave mindsets it really pays to be different.

    2.Fascinate: Your 7 triggers to Persuasion & Captivation – Sally Hogshead / One of the areas where I plan to start a ‘hobby’ blog (not sure how i’d moneitze it) is in the area of customer service and understanding why we react and respond to stimuli in the way we do. ie: why we buy when we buy, etc…This book as well as a couple others on list are helping me understand the phenomena.

    3.Treat Me Like a Customer: Using Lessons from Work to Succeed in Life – Louis Upkins Jr / Same as listed in #2.

    4.Why we Buy: The Science of Shopping – Paco Underhill / Same as listed in #2.

    5.How we Decide – Jonah Lehrer / Same as listed in #2

    6.Brand Sense: Sensory Secrets Behind the Stuff we Buy – Martin Lindstrom; Philip Kotler / Notice a pattern??? Same as listed in #2

    7.Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles between vision and reality – Scott Belsky / I believe that every person is created with a purpose and a plan. However some get boggled down in the circumstances of life and never get beyond it. Some rise to the challenge, and some blow the doors of any obstacle that gets in their way. One of the reasons I want to check out this book is to gain some insight as to why some are able.

    8.The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth and Purpose – Robert Pagliarini / Schedules are crazy. Work, 3 kids, a wife, church responsibilites, hobbies, im stuff all vying for a piece of the pie that is my time! I need boundaries and balance. This book is going to help.

    9.The Reason for God – Tim Keller / Tim Keller is one of my favorite pastoral authors. I really enjoy his work.

    10.ESV Study Bible / This book as it all: murder, betrayal, sex, betrayal, and some more betrayal, followed by yet a bit more betrayal…but it weaves the story of One who is able to make it right and to give more than we ask or imagine!

  • Kaye Swain - SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation

    Great article – very thought provoking plus some really interesting items to follow up on. As a Sandwich Generation caregiver, I’d never do this BUT if I was forced to, hmmmm…

    For me, the Bible is definitely first. It’s the most important book in the world and the most important to me. Because of my aging baby boomer eyes, I’d take my NIV large print life application study Bible, and I’d also pack my New American Standard/The Message Parallel Bible. I’d pack 2 of the marketing books in my room I still haven’t had time to read -Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples and Web Marketing For Dummies, and I’d follow your great advice, Nicole, and take a book full of our photos of sweet family memories with kids, grandkids, and friends as well as 5 really thick notebooks for writing, writing, writing. Last, I’d take one good book full of fun activities for grandparents and their grandchildren, like Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars by Sharon Lovejoy, so I can also spend some time planning out my next set of fun and educational activities for grandparents and their grandchildren. Then I’d be all ready to create new adventures with them when I get back to seeing my cute grandkids! 🙂

    And now, I’m off to check out some of the books you and others have recommended! Thanks again!

  • Loretta

    I blogged a whole response on keeping my sanity and enjoying some good reading time at

    But for those compiling a book list here are my 10 books as well….

    I’m going to cheat a little bit and take the entire Harry Potter book set, so that’s books 1 through 7 for me.

    Book Number 8 is one of my favorite books that I carry around with me, Too Deep to Fall, Poetry by Brian S. Oliver. Yes, I’m admittedly a little biased in my opinion that it’s completely awesome.

    Book Number 9 off my bookshelf is The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas, a classic favorite that I read again and again. (By the way, have you met my oldest son, Dylan Thomas Oliver?)

    Book Number 10 from the shelf is The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe, which has all the poetry and short stories in it. I could read it a million times over and over again (and I assure you that my copy is quite worn) but I figure that’s a good thing for being on a desert island with nothing but my thoughts.

  • Lisa Marie Mary

    My initial thoughts are ALL books by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, ALL books by Dr. Judith Orloff, and ALL books by Monty Roberts. And I think I just went WAY over 10. LOL!!!

  • Marya Miller

    Fascinating lists. I must say, however, if I was stranded on a desert island I wouldn’t take internet marketing books: I’d take “How to Survive on a Desert Island”, “Poisonous Plants and How to Spot Them”, “Bugs and Men: The Protein Myth”, “1001 Things to Do with Coconuts”, “Monkey Mastery – the Secret of Getting Chimps to Do Your Bidding (and Like It!)”, “How to Build a Coconut Leaf Raft”, “Crafting with Sand, Shells and Armadillo”, “Poisonous Darts and How to Make Them Without Dying”, “The Southern Stars: A Practical Guide to Navigation” and, because it’s nice and lonnnnng, Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”.

  • JW Ginn

    You could also check out this ‘inspiring and encouraging’ piece of work – Isolation: Effects of Restricted Sensory and Social Environments on Human Beings -Charles Brownfield. It’s under $20 on Amazon. This would tell you how things might end up!!! 🙂

  • The Mom

    Hey Nicole, when are you going to get me stranded on that desert island so I can start reading my books?

    Yeah, this got me digging around in my bookshelves. And, I uncovered some books I’ve been wanting to read for the longest time. Thanks!

    This did turn out to be a great resource, too. I see lots of books that I’d like to read in your experts and commenters lists.

    Very fun… thanks Nicole! I hope you enjoy my blog post!

  • Sheila Atwood

    Oh my gosh! That would be a hard one for me. I am an avid reader.

    Life has gotten so busy that I have started picking up short stories. That way I can finish a story in short order.

    So on a desert island I would choose some of the longer novels I love and some I would love to read.

    I would have to say that #1 Would be “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. (one of my favs

    #2 Tolkens – The Hobbit

    #3 Tolkiens Lord Of The Rings Trilogy

    #4 Welcome To The Monkey House – Vonegut

    #5 Of Human Bondage – Maugham

    #6 Sons and Lovers – D. H. Lawrence

    #7 The Count of Monti Cristo – Dumas

    #8 Cold Mounain – Charles Frazier

    #9 The Poisonwood Bible – Kingsolver

    #10 Dandelion Wine – Bradbury

    Then after that I would be sneaking a few boxes of books….maybe just 5 or 6 big ones.

    Loved the list. Buying Colliers book today.

  • Linda

    Hm…only 10 books what a challenge!!!

    1. My Bible (NIV version)
    2. A book on plants and herbs (as this is a fascinating topic to this gardening hobbyist).
    3. On Walden’s Pond (Henry David Thoreau – I love his profound quotes)
    4. The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas)
    5. Some sort of craft book with natural things (so I could make some crafts with what’s surrounding me)
    6. A basket weaving book so I could weave vines into baskets to sell at craft fairs upon my “enriched” return.
    7. A financial book (probably from Dave Ramsey) to help me with my money upon my return.
    8. A Tree grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
    9. Tom Sawyer
    10. Mark Twain’s autobiography or the like.

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