RichardBy Richard
| 36 min read

What are the best passive income books on Amazon…apart from the Four Hour Work Week?

Best Passive Income BooksWell, after spending north of 1000 hours reading the classics from Four Hour Work Week to the lesser known, but also great, books like Entrepreneur to Infropreneur, I’m well placed to share the top reads with you.

But I don’t want this to transcend into some weak, boring ass book review article.

I want to show you what books on passive income have blown my mind and exactly what big takeaways I gleaned from them – and in many cases, how I applied these to my businesses.  This way you might be able to skip reading all of them, and instead just buy 2 or 3 of the classics.  Who knows?

Also if you want to save some time, here are my 3 favorite passive income ideas I’ve come up with from reading all of these books.

1. Four Hour Work Week

You know this was always going to make the list!  How could it not?!

This book started the search for passive income for 1000s of people around the world, including myself.  It opened people’s eyes to the possibilities.

I think though it may have fallen short in terms of really getting one super important idea into people’s minds…

You have to hustle like a mofo and do an insane amount of work upfront in order to create a recurring stream of revenue that doesn’t require much ongoing work.

The way Ferriss painted his story with QuickBrain (his supplements company), was that he basically tweaked a few things and he was golden on $40,000 a month revenue, or some equally delicious number.

But we cannot forget, he put 1000s of hours into setting up that business, learning the ropes, working out how to systematize it etc.  Even with his careful blueprint for creating your own version of his self-running QuickBrain you will have to invest a huge amount of work upfront.

But enough whining, this book is epic!

What I found most interesting were two things he stressed.

First up, that information products are the ultimate passive income stream.  Better than ecommerce*, directory sites, lead capture sites, affiliate marketing etc.

* This has since changed, as Amazon’s FBA program has arguably made selling physical products online the #1 passive income opportunity as I explain here.

Info products carry 50-98%+ profit margins (depending on where you use affiliates), you make them once and sell them forever, all delivered digitally, and thus meet the true definition of passive income.  You can literally do no ongoing work.  Screw the 4 Hour Work Week…now you can have a 0 Hour Work Week!

The second big takeaway for me, was to pick a niche you know, you find interesting AND where there is demand for your product – ie willingness to buy/pay.  A lot of people only remember the first part of this 2-part formula, and end up creating a blog on knitwear for kittens.  But it’s the overlap of passion and profit that Ferriss stressed so much.

I think this second takeaway for me – coming from the authority it does – settles the debate in the passive income niche of “do something you love or will make money?”.  ie it’s not an either or debate.

Also, I know from my personal experience that when you only do something because you think it’s a money-spinner you end up nearly killing yourself to get the idea over the line.  I remember creating a careers advice site that bored me to tears.  Every word I wrote, hurt a little.  All 200,000+ words!  Do not put yourself through this pain.  I know I won’t ever again.

I’m now focusing only on niches I love AND people need help with, including health, ecommerce, web design, online marketing and indeed, the MMO niche.

What else can we takeaway from 4HWW?

A lot of people got inspired by it to create their own product and sell it online – you know the whole design, prototype, China, online store model.

I think this is one of the biggest return, passive income business models you can pursue and if you look at the 4HWW case studies you’ll see what I mean.

The third biggest takeaway I got from the book…

Test, test, test! 

Seriously, this is probably the biggest concept I took from the book to be honest.  It completely reshaped the way I go about launching businesses.

Pre-4HWW I used to spend so much time with my business partner analyzing ideas.  I’m talking 40 page business plans here!  Mental, absolutely mental; because pontificating in your bedroom like this can only get you so far.  You can still launch an idea that absolutely bombs even after 100 hours of analysis.

The biggest problem we had with this analysis, was well, paralysis.  Never being sure enough to launch the idea.

Now thankfully most passive income ideas don’t cost a lot of money to launch.  I mean designing your own product, sure, that costs money, but writing your own information product, costs almost nothing.

Buuuuuuut, and this is a big but I can’t deny, what about your time?!

Imagine wasting 3 months on an info product – or developing a drop shipping online store – only to learn the market doesn’t need or want what you’re selling.  Three months of anyone’s time has got to be worth at last $10,000, minimum.  So test!

Let me give you an example of testing.

I’ve created this resource-centric site you’re reading right now on passive income ideas, only because I wrote 1-2 articles on the topic, which almost overnight gained search traffic.  The time on site stat was also epiiiic.

I could see clearly that people were searching for help with this topic AND they liked what I had to say on the matter.  Boom!  Concept validated.

Without this validation, I wouldn’t spend 100s of hours on this site now – or even the 7 hours it will take me to finish writing this article on best passive income books.

Anyways, that’s enough Ferriss humping!

If you haven’t read his book yet, do yourself a favor and grab it now on Amazon – get the Kindle edition, as it’s dirt-cheap and you can start reading his biggest lessons right now!

PS bonus fourth biggest takeaway?  Parkinson’s Law.

This is massive.  When you work for yourself – or even worse, when you try to launch a passive income business in your after work hours – you can so often find yourself taking an eternity to achieve outcomes.  Especially if you’re a perfectionist like myself.

Parkinson’s Law changes everything.

All of the sudden you force yourself into limiting the amount of time you have to achieve something.  Once you reach the time limit you stop.  Whatever you have produced is the final product.  It may not be perfect, but it’s good enough.  This generates massive results.

With this very article I have given myself till this evening to finish it, and whatever I have by then is going up on the site for all the world to see.  No more adding, no more editing, it’s done!

If you apply this to your passive income business you’ll actually launch your product this year or put up your first affiliate link or whatever…you’ll actually start earning passive income within weeks!

PPS oh you thought I was done did you?!  The other parts of the book, although not truly passive income generation focused, are amazing too.  I know things like the low information diet and killing interruptions have made a huge difference to my success – and if I can try and get a little more consistency in my adherence to them, then happy freaking days!

PPPS this is getting ridiculous I know, but there is one more thing I have to add, and it’s huge.  Outsourcing.  It allowed my business partner and I to create a passive income business in a traditionally active business; web design and online marketing.

When Ferriss opened this idea up as a possibility for any small business owner, it changed the way so many of us imagined, ideated and worked.  And look, I’m not – and no one else is – saying Ferriss came up with this stuff, it’s just he was the first one to bring a lot of this info to the masses through his smart marketing.  Great stuff!

2. $100 Startup

I bought this a couple years ago when I was in Amsterdam visiting family.  Yeah, that’s right.  I mixed quality family time with a lil Chris Guillebauejhdfe love in (can never spell Chris’s surname, but out of respect I took a minute to get the right spelling, it’s Guillebeau).

How could I not?

You pick up this book and you dive straight into case study after case study of other entrepreneurs successfully executing on their dreams to start businesses that matter!  The book is almost as good as my 15,000+ word Case Studies article (joking).

Now I first want to say that not all the case studies in this book are of passive income businesses (eg you have people starting yoga studios, consulting businesses etc).

But the principles we can gather from the numerous case studies can all be applied to our own online (and hopefully passive) businesses.

And hey there are some absolute whopping examples of passive income businesses we can get hugely inspired by, like the guy who created an instructional snowboarding DVD course, which now rakes in $250,000+ a year!

First up, I loved the fishing idea in this book.

It’s an idea you’ll find in so many other places, but it was this book that really drove me to take action on it.  I am of course talking about the idea that if you teach a man to fish, you kill a good business model!

Haha, what we’re saying is recurring revenue gets killed when you teach people how to do something themselves, so instead you should create a product or online service that delivers a benefit people use month after month; you basically give yourself a license to print money.

The coverage of creating high converting offers is also worth the book’s price alone, whilst for those of you selling your expertise then the parts on self promotion will prove hugely useful since this is a skill most of us are waaaaay to shy to excel at naturally.

Some other parts of the book echo advice found in other bestsellers, with the section on how to create a lean startup being reminiscent of Eric Ries’ advice in Lean Startup – this by the way is one of the biggest lessons I think people new to the world of passive income need to realize…you can get started this week, with just $50, and still be on a level playing field with people who have a ton of money behind them (well, almost).

In that sense this book is like startup Viagra…it will get you going!

I have to finish with one important point; this book is not a step-by-step how to book like others in this list, as much as it is an inspirational collection of case studies on entrepreneurs creating freedom businesses (many of which are passive income businesses).

Use this book for inspiration…use this book to help you find your perfect passive income idea!

3. The Six-Figure Second Income

First of all, I know what you’re thinking.  That title is BS!  And yeah, I agree.  But hey pretty much every good passive income book out there comes with some dreamy slightly exaggerated title.  Dreams sell in this field.

A lot of people who come to me complaining they don’t know enough about a topic to launch a business, or they feel it’s all already been done, or say they don’t have a million idea, need to read this book just for the section on “Assumptions and the Truth” – I’m paraphrasing the chapter title here.

David & Jonathan do a good job of showing readers that anything is possible and that there “I can’t” assumptions are based in myth.  Nice!

This is the type of confidence boosting, and truthful, information that people need when they’re just starting out on the passive income path, so I’m glad these two respected dudes have gone there.

Their coverage of picking the right product to sell online is also top shelf.  It centers on the whole problem-solution dynamic, this being the main thing you need to show/answer when dreaming up your ideas.  ie does your product (info, physical, blog etc) actually solve a problem real people are having?

The book spends a nice chunk of time looking at content creation and distribution – a theme covered by so many other books out there, but not as fully and concisely as this I’d say (I remember something like 30 or so different distribution methods being listed, I think!).

I often find myself flicking over this book just to rejig my memory and stimulate new ideas (eg repackaging some existing info I have into a different distribution vehicle).

Oh yeah, and two of the content creation methods they mention convinced me to incorporate expert interviews and screenshot tutorials into my last course, which turned out to be two of the most praised resources in the whole course.  So thanks guys!

The holy, the nirvana, of passive income is also covered in the book…being how to earn recurring revenue from a customer.  A couple methods are mentioned, but membership sites remain the big one here.

Of course the book being an all-in-one style manual to passive income spends a lot of time looking at online marketing and conversion.

Admittedly, there are 100s of books out there covering the exact same stuff, but what I like about this – and in a similar vein to Get Rich Click – it’s the comprehensive listing and side-by-side comparison of all the different techniques and tips that I freaking love.  Once again, I know all the stuff in this book pretty well now, but I still run over it frequently to jog my memory and use it to work out whether I’ve covered all my bases – kind of like a checklist in that sense.

The book wraps up on the subject of autoresponders and is a favorite of mine, because the whole ‘build trust, then sell’ idea has worked wonders for me.  Just like with dating…you can’t try to make the ‘sale’ when you just meet, you need to first go on a few dates.

If it ain’t entirely clear with the above review, go get this puppy!

4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad

When I was 15 I was devouring Kiyosaki books.  I was a freaking geek for business building ideas.  Completely messed up if you ask me, since life is about so much more, especially at that age.

But hey, to me Kiyosaki’s paperbacks were far more fascinating than anything my literature class at school dished up…I mean, Catch 22, Great Gatsby, yeah whatever.  Hahah, I’m kind of kidding.  Just.

So what was the attraction with Kiyosaki?

Quite simply it was the first time I ever read – or maybe, ever fully grasped – the idea that money could make more money.  ie it could make it’s own babies, and those babies could make babies, as Kiyosaki frames it.

Since up until this age I made most of my money toiling away at the local golf course over summer collecting balls in snake-infested forests, the idea of not getting killed for $10, in fact the idea of not having to continuously work altogether that hard for $10, blew my mind.

Now admittedly, Kiyosaki’s money-making principles rely on hard work and expertise whether it’s to do with property investing or cash flow management, and have almost nothing to do with making money online (today’s preferred route to passive income).

But his real world passive income system is still very learnable and attractive to people.

The thing is though, I don’t think Kiyosaki’s passive income strategies – namely property investment – are the main thing for us to take from his many books, including Rich Dad poor Dad.  After all, property investment is a fairly active business if you plan to actually do well in it.

And hey, how many of us can get the initial capital now to start, and then successfully leverage each property into another, whilst never falling prey to changing property markets, borrowing rules, credit availability and whatnot.  It’s a very specific real world strategy in my opinion, and one less attractive post 2008.

What I feel is the main takeaway for the majority of us is that we should always spend our money – returns from our businesses – on income generating expenses/investments/assets.

Let me apply that specifically to us in the passive income world…

Similar to what Chris Guthrie did with his Amazon niche sites back in 2008-09, you should take every dollar you earn and reinvest it into your passive income business…pay for more content to be created, for better (and quality) backlinks to be built, to buy new niche sites etc.  At least for the first few years.  Chris did this, and it allowed him to go from $0 to $100,000 in just over 12 months.

ie don’t think of your passive income business as funding your lifestyle – at least not in the first few years.

Instead, you should concentrate on growing it, and growing it until it can create revenue streams that can fund us for many years to come.  And to do this we need to keep reinvesting in them until they go from mere trickles to flooding rivers!

The alternative strategy is to take your returns and invest them in other (lower risk, lower return) passive income generating assets such as bonds, CDs, stocks etc.  But if you are a true entrepreneur I prefer the former strategy.

So overall, you can go spend a few days reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, but if you get the basic above lessons and understand how to apply them to your own passive income business, you can skip it.

That said, the sheer number of mind-bending (yet simple) principles in this book on personal finance, could make it worth the read.

5. KaChing

Joel’s written a fantastic primer in KaChing and it’s one of the better books out there for people just dipping their feet into the pools of the passive income world.

For starters, I love how his main focus is on three business models that I love; info products, membership sites and affiliate marketing.  And how well they can all tie in together too!  I mean hello ebook, online course for members and affiliate links up the wazoo.  Perfect.

As with any good passive income book, there’s a nice section on how to pick your niche.  Not so much filled with example ideas, as it is with advice on how to niche down and find your micro niche.

Once again, you can see that this advice appears in many books on the topic, but this book is arguably one of the better purveyors of such tidbits.

I think the niche selection writing kind of echoes the writing of Corbett Barr on the topic.  ie pick something specific and unique.  You want to be different, not a ‘me too’.

I have seen Pat Flynn write something a little different though; don’t necessarily be more unique, but rather be better!

I think both approaches can work, but when you go for the latter you are setting yourself up for a much bigger battle.

This book is a definite must read, and in the top 5 out of this list.  My favorite use for this book is to help people decide what business model to pursue – for a start anyway.  ie info product v membership site v affiliate marketing.  Since Joel compares them all and shows you the major challenges for each (along with how-to guides), the task becomes a lot easier.

Also, I like the inspirational case studies you’ll find towards the back of the book – hello derivational ideas.

Get this book, and sit down over a few coffees to just devour it.  I think I put this away in about 6 hours (whilst taking voice notes), so get your Kindle cranking!

PS Joel also throws up the whole coaching idea in this book, and whilst it’s not at all passive I just wanted to mention it, because this is one of the ways to create a six-figure business for yourself if you are a true expert in an arena.  ie you can use passive income info products (that generate say $30,000 a year) to pull in the customers for your 1-1 or mastermind style coaching service (that brings in say $100,000+ a year).

6. ProBlogger’s Book

Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett are obviously macdaddies in the blogging world.

I don’t read ProBlogger as much as I perhaps should, because I think this book contains the 80-20 lessons all in one.  And if any of you have read my rants before about 500 word blog posts versus all-in-one authoritative guides, you’ll know why I prefer to concentrate on the latter (books, courses, 10,000+ word posts etc).

Before I get into this I have to mention the book is a good 10 years old now.

A lot of things have changed in the meantime (eg effectiveness of different monetization strategies, eg which blogging platform to choose…duh, WordPress!), but I guess the fundamentals remain (eg good content).

Anyways, this book really focuses on turning blogs into moneymaking machines.

Obviously related revenue streams are discussed such as ads, ebooks, affiliate marketing, selling products etc, but it’s the more blog-specific revenue streams that are interesting since they are not touted as much in other books; eg sponsored posts, paid reviews, in-article text links etc.

There’s also quite a lot of mention of leveraging your blog into non-passive income, eg as a speaker, consultant, etc.

There’s a lot of focus on interesting topics not covered so well in other books.  I found the buying and selling blogs discussion particularly interesting – this was probably the first time I started looking at websites just like we all look at real world businesses…ie as assets to buy and sell.

The topic of buying and selling blogs deserves it’s own book though and is a very difficult skill to master I must say.  I rant about the greatness and simultaneous pitfalls of marketplaces like Flippa elsewhere on this site, but needless to say I think this is it’s own expertise; worth learning more about for a lot of us who know that starting a business (getting momentum) is a lot tougher than fixing up and steering an existing business to greater profits (maintaining and directing momentum).

Anyways, back to the book.

The coverage of ‘going for greatness’ in this book resonates with me greatly, ie the idea that you need to create something epic if you are to succeed, since the Internet is not short of mediocre info on pretty much every topic around.

And this gets back to the idea everyone wants to unfortunately forget about…to achieve success in this world you need to invest the hard yards and have a ton of patience.  This is not 2005 anymore.

There’s also some good info in this book about picking your blog topic.

7. Official Get Rich Guide to Information Marketing

This book is a lot less scammy than it’s title suggests and it’s actually filled with quality info for those of you interested in launching an information product.

Since I’m such a case study addict, I did love the case studies mentioned in this book.

Even though you know you’ll probably never create a million dollar info product business – but rather 4-5 $20,000-40,000 info businesses – you can still take massive inspiration from these stories.

So in that sense this book can sometimes feel similar to Chris’s $100 Startup, but with a true focus on info products.

The big takeaways for me from this book are to do with ideation.

Robert Skrob does a good job hammering in the idea that – as with any niche – you should identify products that people are hungry for…the type that solve headaches, and that people are thus willing to buy.

He also lays down vital lessons for would-be info product creators such as you need to deliver insane quality, because if you fall short you can say hello to that money back guarantee being triggered every time (oh yeah, did you realize it’s almost impossible to sell an info product without a 30 or 60 day no question money back guarantee?).

I know this lesson alone drove me to over deliver by a factor of 10 on my first info product.  Sure at the time it added an extra 5-6 weeks onto the project, but the end result is a money back rate of only a couple percent!

He also reveals his favorite topics/markets for creating information products on – something I do throughout this site myself – and I think you can find big value in his identification and analysis.  I’m not going to give away his favorites, as I think this is one of the books in this list that you should be putting your hands on.

You’ll also find his favorite 41 types of information products in this book.  So what are you still doing here, jump over to Amazon now!

PS Until I read this book I never really understood the power of affiliates – that they could mean the difference between a $1,000 and $50,000 launch; and that you should give away half your revenue, if not more, to encourage them to promote your product.  With the second half of this book you’ll get a master class in executing this JV strategy.

PPS One chapter of this book that I will be revisiting soon is the pricing chapter.  I really think this is huge!

Almost everyone I’ve ever seen ideating on pricing underprices.  They don’t have the confidence in their knowledge/expertise to price properly.  This book will help you grow a pair, and make the sort of decision that can mean the difference between you earning $5,000 a year from an e-course versus earning $50,000!

Oh and my personal favorite pricing strategy – and one you will continue to see more of all over the net – is the 3 tiered pricing strategy.

ie you have an entry level version of the product (eg ebook), then a step up (eg ebook plus audio) and then the macdaddy super expensive product combo (eg ebook, audio, video, forum, 1-1 consult).  You can boost your profits by anything from 50% to 500% with this approach.

8. Click Millionaires: Work Less, Live More with an Internet Business You Love

Scott Fox has two decent enough – for beginners at least – books on how to make money from the Internet.  I think I prefer this one, because I’ve always seen it as the practical version of the Four Hour Work Week.

ie less jibber jabber about lifestyle design and more concrete lessons for getting started earning passive income.

Fox really tried to cover everything in this book, from the popular “Should I choose a niche I love versus one that can definitely make money?” to content generation strategies.

But let me sum up my main takeaways from this book.

First of all, become THE expert on something.  Become the leading voice.

This is difficult advice to swallow at first, because few people believe that they can become an authority on anything.  But the key to realize is that you only need to know more than your readers to be seen as an expert, and if you niche down far enough it becomes so much easier to stand out as the leading voice.

I’ll give you the crazy example of dog breeding.  Don’t become the expert in dog breeding, but rather niche down and become the expert in English Setters breeding.  Boom!  You are the expert.

Tied into this point, I like how Scott discourages big dreaming from the point of view that when you try to solve too big a problem, you’ll normally fail since you don’t have the resources to tackle it – eg don’t reinvent say ecommerce platforms with complex software, instead create an online video-driven course on how to build online stores using WordPress (as an example!).

I love that Fox drives this point home early in the book, and I’ve read some other great people talk about the importance of it.

Okay back to it.

It shouldn’t surprise you that Fox backs up Ferriss’s idea that information products, or digital publishing as he calls it, are one of the best (or easiest) ways to get started making passive income online.  But I like that Fox presents the alternatives too, because ebooks and membership sites etc, are not for everyone.

Fox’s book is a little outdated now, but the alternative passive income streams he mentions includes straight up blogging (with the advertising and affiliate marketing as the natural monetization strategy), but also podcasting (don’t agree with this so much as a direct revenue stream) and vlogging (video blogging / web TV, whatever you want to call it).

But once again, what draws me to this book – and most books on passive income – are the sections devoted to finding your idea.  Because as you know the whole reason I started this site is because I think the biggest problem people have is not “What steps do I take?”, but “What do I actually start?”.

Deciding on a passive income idea is thus thankfully the focus of a couple chapters and worth getting the book for alone.

Oh yeah, and a pointer that crops up and I’ve heard the greats like Richard Branson mention too, is that you should always be writing down any and all ideas that come to you whilst you’re out and about – although as a good online entrepreneur I hope you write them down on your iPhone, and not a notepad like Scott suggests!

PS Stop reading your blogs now, and grab this book so you can enjoy a systematized way of learning about setting up your own passive income business.

9. How to Write & Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit

This is probably the most focused book on making money from information products around.

It is a great book for opening your mind to the different ways you can go about selling information.

Instead of just thinking ebook or online course, you all of the sudden start thinking about reports, webinars, audio programs, video courses, software, newsletters, membership sites etc…ie similar, but more niched up delivery vehicles, or publishing channels (the term the book uses).

What I particularly like is the way it makes readers realize how much customers value the same information so differently based on the way it is being delivered.

For example, you could sell an ebook for $10, but an audio or better yet, video version, could sell for 5 to 10 times as much, if not more!

This lesson of repackaging, proved transformational for my second information product all those years ago.  I took a treasure trove of writing and turned it into several multimedia forms, including audio and video.  I was then able to sell the course as a multimedia driven training program.  It allowed me to charge 4 times the price (of an already expensive ebook), and dramatically boost conversions.

If you look at all the big boys and gals online, you’ll see them doing the same, eg Leo Babauta.  And you’ll see the associated pricing strategy, whereby there are multiple pricing points with different delivery vehicle mixes.

But beyond being a business book, this is also a book about writing, for people who want to pump out content.

I say that, because I remember really taking the lessons on research and how-to writing style to heart.  Implementing them saved me 100s of hours of wasted time…you know the kind of time where you spend 10 hours aimlessly searching the net for some nuggets of gold to inspire your writing on a certain topic and then 5 hours trying to write the first 2 paragraphs!

Some of the publishing channels are a little outdated now, but the majority remain pretty damn effective.

And you know, there are surprises in them pages…reading about DVDs for example blew my mind.  Even though to me this is such outdated technology, for many people DVDs are still preferred and carry a huge perceived value, since they’re all boxed up, real products that get mailed out to you.

Different delivery vehicles work for different people, and you should really think about what your target audience would want and what they would value the most.

A business coach in Austin for example, sells a DVD collection with a few workbooks for $2000+!  (DVDs?!! Yeah his target audience is that old).

And one of the Four Hour Work Week case studies you’ll see over at Tim’s blog is about a 20-something guy who clears over a million a year selling a DVD course on how to pass the GMAT (it surely must be delivered as an online course now!).  I don’t know much, but I know he wouldn’t be clearing that selling an ebook!

To extend that point, even things like newsletters can work a treat.

For example, if you were a trusted private wealth advisor or stockbroker, then I’d even argue this is the best way to earn passive income from your knowledge, since it’s recurring revenue and suits your target market, who want constantly up-to-date information.  PS I admit this is becoming a lot less passive given the ongoing report writing you would be doing.

My final advice is get this book if you are thinking about launching an info product as few people have done a better job of compiling all the different ways you can deliver your gems of wisdom.  It’s a no brainer.

And hey, you’ll not only learn what form to package it as, but also how to choose the idea in the first place and how to create the valuable content in as little time as possible.


10. Minimalist Business

Everett Bogue wrote this ebook after successfully creating a passive income business in the minimalist niche.

He was pretty early on the minimalism scene, and I’d say quickly became one of the top 10 bloggers in this niche.  He made his money through an ebook he wrote on living the minimalist life and through promoting all the other ebooks in that niche, such as Leo Babauta’s many ebooks.

So if you couldn’t guess, this book is basically all about how he did that.

I think the lessons in here are pretty valuable – I know I bought this ebook years ago and applied many of the ideas to my early passive income businesses.

Being a minimalist fan myself, I love how he always tries to show you the easiest way – or cheapest way – of getting started.

And I can’t stress this point enough…you can’t quit your job in the next 12 months by creating a passive income business, unless you can also cut your expenses dramatically.

You see the harsh truth is that only 1% of people will earn enough in their first year to maintain their old lifestyle.  The rest will earn $0 to $20,000.  It gets better if you keep going, but in the beginning it’s pretty tough.

Use the minimalist lessons in this book to make it all a helluva lot easier, and you’ll be able to quit your job earlier than you ever thought possible.

11. Get Rich Click

A book on making money online with a foreword by Steve Wozniak…who’s not buying that?!

Although this is a book about business online in general, 80% of it applies to all of us creating passive income businesses, eg SEO, info products etc.

Before I tell you what I liked about it, I have to say that the author is not the best source of inspiration for people like us.  Marc made a large chunk of his money by securing premium domains like or back in the early days and then selling them later on.

It’s a success story so far removed from our world of making passive income online by say launching an ebook, that it can be a bit disheartening to read him say something like “Just do this and that…”.

Who cares though?  The reason you should read this book is because of the lessons it teaches about different revenue streams online (info product to ecommerce) and how well it sums up complicated topics like SEO.

In fact, I must admit I probably bought this book purely for the chapter or two on SEO, since it contains a 50+ point SEO checklist on things you need to do with your blog/website to get it ranking in Google.  A great summation of a topic that has always confused far too many of us thanks to the plethora of articles available online.

That said, for those of you embarking on the passive income journey now I have an important sidenote on SEO post Panda-Penguin-Piglet

All that matters now is that you create quality content, guest post on every other blog in your niche (quality backlinks) and do the basic SEO work on your site such as SEO titles driven by keyword research.

You could even skip that third part if your content and guests posts are good enough!

12. The E-Code: 33 Internet Superstars Reveal 43 Ways to Make Money Online

Oh wow, this book is a lil dirty for sure!

There are shameless cross promotions and passages littered with self-praise.  But hey, these are the same authors of books such as hypnotic writing for sales, so what can we really expect.

But I’m still including this book in here, because I have read it and it was indeed one of the first books I read on making passive income online – and in particular through the awesome combination of information product and autoresponder.

Joe Vitale and the other authors in this book, may not share too many in-depth lessons, but they do share some cool ideas and tricks for converting people from autoresponder readers into ebook buyers.

They also share some nice lists of ideas for info products that fit in well with this site, since we’re all about inspiring smart passive income ideas.

And yeah, it’s also littered with classic lessons in making passive income online, such as niching down or being on-trend etc.

So I’ll say it can be worth a very fast flip read at your local Barnes & Noble if you are a total beginner.  With smartphone in hand you can extract the major lessons pretty fast (10 minutes?).

But if you want my honest opinion, just takeaway the lesson above…use an autoresponder to increase conversions for your information product, ecommerce store or whatever.  And you’ve finished the book!

PS it is funny to reflect on this book and realize that it is an example of a popular passive income stream itself…compile guest interviews and release as an info product.  ie this is basically the cheap and paperback version of something like a Mixergy, hahaha.

13. Start a Paid Membership Site

I have to admit, unlike the other books here, I haven’t read this book myself, so this little spiel is based on what my friend told me a while ago and since it’s second hand information I’m not vouching for any of it, but listing it because I want this best passive income books list to be somewhat complete.

Okay, so first of all this book is a bit like Hubspot’s books, insofar that it’s written by a company that sells a product related to the information itself; in this case the person sells membership site advisory and software I believe.  So there is a tie in and definite conflict of interest you have to get past.

But given how little literature there is on the specific topic of membership sites, this book could well be worth the read.  Since I haven’t read it I’m just giving you my friends 3 favorite things about it.

First, it has some lists of membership site ideas.  Alwaaaaays a good thing, since ideation is not everyone’s strong point, and because one idea can beget another (derivative) idea.

Secondly, the book has at least half a dozen good case studies of people who have launched successful membership sites and are making a ton of money.  Always helpful and inspiring.

Thirdly, there are little smart ideas spread throughout, such as pricing strategy notes.  Great.

Not much more to say here, since I can’t lay down my usual rant given a lack of familiarity with this book.

14. From Entrepreneur to Infropreneur

Another good read, this book is specifically dedicated to making money selling information products.

A lot of similar ground is covered in this as you’ll find in How to Write & Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit, but there are some additional points you’ll find interesting in this book, such as the coverage of achieving expert status – or as the book says, celebrity status.

Plus there is a lot of coverage – too much if you ask me – of getting published the traditional way, ie for print.

Let me sidestep for a minute here and say that traditional publishing is something I have to say sucks money wise.  You earn almost nothing unless you sell a shiteload.

But I will temper that opinion, by saying getting your name in print can be great for achieving expert status for use in later ebooks/membership site promotions (your really money spinner), and for gaining new fans that your own distribution efforts can’t get.  For example, Ferriss pulled this off pretty well, using a book to drastically grow his online following / blog readership.

There’s also significant coverage on how to go about setting up your own self-publishing system, which includes your store (website) and distribution system (your online and offline marketing efforts).  This part of the book is for true beginners only, as it’s all fairly basic.

I will say that as with the author of How to Write & Sell Simple Information for Fun & Profit, this author seems to make most of her money writing about how to sell your writing…

Enough said.

UPDATE: I recently cut the 15th and 16th book recommendations as I didn’t feel the ideas were still very helpful in today’s market. 

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Want to know my 3 favorite passive income ideas in 2022?

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