What’s The #1 Book Every Garden Designer Should Read This Year?

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Ever wonder why some designers seem to do so well while so many struggle?

You know them.  They make it look easy.  Their businesses attract clients with what looks like minimal effort.  Their garden designs are beautiful, almost magical at times.  They are happy.  They are making money and growing their landscape design business in spite of the economy, the competition and the ever changing game.

What do they know?

I’ll tell you.  It’s all in what they read.

America’s foremost business philosopher James Rohn constantly repeated his message from the stage that “leaders are readers”.  If you want your business to flourish and grow you must read what the market leaders are reading.  Yes, you already know that your competency in design must be evolving.  Yes, the horticulture world is shifting and changing.  Tastes, movements and popularity contests over elements and plants will be in flux for the rest of our lives.  But what about your personal operating system?

Listen to this.  It’s time to think hard about your personal operating system.  It’s the stuff that you BELIEVE about yourself, your designs, your clients, your staff, and your potential.  When was the last time you looked at that?

Your personal operating system determines how you react when a client is 65 days late paying the final installment for a job.  It clicks and whirs like a mental machine when supplies keep disappearing and an employee denies knowing anything about it.  It’s like a mental software program that makes you react when a customer, red in the face and speaking way too loudly gives you their opinion about how disappointed they are in your work.  It’s the background noise you hear in your brain when a potential client tells you that your price is too high and they know someone cheaper.  Are they trying to grind you down or are they simply the wrong prospect?

How do you develop a strong personal operating system?  You read old books.  Books written before iPhones and computers existed, heck even before cars and planes if you can.  

America was built by entrepreneurs like you and me that caught a tiny spark of inspiration in their imaginations, fanned the flame of enthusiasm, and built something out of nothing.   The airplanes we take for granted in the sky overhead were just dreams a century ago, realized by a pair of brothers that repaired bicycles for a living.

I recommend you start with The Master Key System by Charles Haanel.  You can download it to any device from Amazon by clicking the link.  The Kindle app works on any smartphone, tablet or computer.  That’s why Amazon is winning.   Their visionary leader dreamt of a way for books to be nearly instant, for everyone, everywhere.

What’s so great about this book?  It’s the foundation to the entire 20th century personal development movement.  Everything from Think and Grow Rich to The Secret can be traced back to this book.  America’s third richest man read this book in university before he started the most profitable software company in history.

The book doesn’t look like much.  But it’s no ordinary book.  It was once upon a time a mail order course for future millionaires back when a million dollars could buy you more than half a house in Toronto, Vancouver, New York or Palo Alto.

You read this  book exactly like a curriculum in school.  One module per week for 6 months.  Yes, you must do the exercises in there to get the maximum benefit.  And it’s the type of book that you can go back to every January and reap more benefits from year after year.

What makes this book so special?  Because it goes to work on the part of the brain that runs your life in the background while you go about your day.  Think about the hundreds or thousands of tiny decisions that we make about our businesses and lives that barely register in our consciousness.

  • What did you have for breakfast?  
  • Is it the optimal food for a super productive day?  
  • What did you do yesterday to stimulate your creativity muscles?  
  • What are you going to do this weekend to eliminate toxins from our over-stimulated nervous system and recover?  
  • What route did you take to work?  
  • What are the 3 most important things to do today to move the business forward?  
  • Who won the baseball game last night?


The constant bombardment of seemingly insignificant choices is the stimulus that drives our very existence.  When an entrepreneur develops a personal rule book for their life, a set of choices and success routines that minimizes decision fatigue, then the business building begins to become effortless.

This book will make you think.  A lot.  It will get you to remember your high school science.  Remember when they talked about the tiny pieces that make up the human body?  Atoms are made up of protons, and neutrons and electrons all whizzing and spinning.  Those atoms bind in different patterns to make molecules like carbon and oxygen and hydrogen.  And those various atoms combine to form billions of cells in our body. That pile of billions of cells replicate, divide, live and die while you and I stand on a giant rock spinning at nearly 1000 miles per hour on it’s axis.  While the rock spins it also rotates around the sun at 18 miles per second.  And the entire solar system is blasting through empty space at 45,000 miles per hour.  All while we worry about weather, taxes, Kardashians,  local sports franchises and political figures.

red pill or blue pill

Red Pill or Blue Pill?

After reading The Master Key you’ll begin to understand what they heck they were mumbling about in the movie The Matrix.  The red pill versus the blue pill will take on significant importance in your life.  You’ll hear people speak differently.  You’ll begin to understand what’s going on with a client when they unload their opinions on you.  You’ll get the ability to see the world through other people’s eyes and then help them to see what’s possible through yours.

Here’s what’s astounding about what you just read.  Once upon a time very few people on Earth could read.  And books were extremely rare and expensive.  In the times of the ancient Greeks if you were fortunate to learn to read you might only have access to 2 or 3 books in your entire lifetime.  You would memorize them, write treatises and papers about critical parts of the book, and you would lead discussions with other learned men in the town square to analyze every concept of that book.  

But what about today?  Today over 1.59 million blog posts are published every single day around the world.  The volume is immense!

The fact that you read —> THIS SINGLE WORD  < —–  puts you in rare company.  I know as a blog writer that 9 out of 10 garden designers who want to improve their businesses and land on this page will never make it to the bottom and see it.  The 1 out of 10 who skims this post and clicks through to Amazon probably won’t buy the book.  Out of 1000 readers, 100 will click through and 14 will buy the book.  And only 2 of those 14 will read it and do anything with it to improve their life.

That ‘s just the mathematics of life.  To argue with it or try to change it is an exercise in futility, like shouting at the wind or drinking the ocean.  I take comfort in knowing the outcome.  The book will radically change the life of any entrepreneur who reads it and applies it.  And just 1 in 500 will do it.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I.  To learn more about The Master Key System click here.


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