How To Be A Successful Businessman – 50 Rules Of Entrepreneurship Only The Rich And Ruthless Know
To the poor man, a rich man is lucky. To the rich man, a poor man is lazy. Yet, universally, every man shares on key thing in common: It’s called life. What you choose to do with it is entirely your own decision to make. If a man offered you one-hundred thousand dollars for you leg, would you take it?
For most men, the answer is: Probably, yeah, well… Why, who’s paying and when can we do this?!
Would you sell your arm for another one-thousand dollars? How about your eye, your other leg, or your other arm and so on…
Tally up your entire body, and you’ll reach a million dollars or more. Perhaps this is the first time you’ve realized you’re a millionaire without ever knowing it. Needless to say, life is valuable, yet, it is an unfortunate shame that so many men today, waste it all away. Things like luck or even intelligence play no role in success, though many gentlemen still believe into the fallacy wholeheartedly. You certainly don’t have to born with a silver spoon in your mouth, or have a lot of “connections” either, as they always like to say.
The truth is, if you want to know how to be a super successful businessman in this world, all that is required of you, is to be breathing!
After reading this guide you will know exactly why this is true. If you are in doubt, you haven’t done it. Many of these steps will make you sick to your stomach, perhaps you will sh-t your pants. With all the misinformation thrown at you over the years on business and success by doofuses, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit.
With that said, I would like to welcome you to uneasiness of being a super successful businessman and entrepreneur. Here’s to your success!
1. Face reality, there is no work – life2 – balance!
There’s only work – life – choices. All of which have consequences. Birthdays, holidays anniversaries, etc. are for poor people.
Men who refuse to believe that, are riddled with excuses. It starts with the younger gentlemen saying things like, “Yeah, I’ll get it done… If I don’t have a hangover, if I’m not loaded up on drugs, only if it’s between my tennis and golf lessons.”
Then it progresses to men with families, who have grown into their years. Their excuses shift to things like, “Unless I have to take my son to the dentist.” “Unless I have to take my family to counseling.”
But by far, the biggest excuse of them all: “I want to have a life”.
2. Eagles fly alone.
Do you want to have a life? Look at the high-performance businessmen of the world. I’m talking about the Bransons, Zuckerbergs, Gates, and Trumps. They don’t go the Super Bowl or World Cup. They are not going to all the college football bowl games. If they did end up going, you can be certain they wouldn’t go with a group of drunk assholes.
When it comes to entrepreneurship, loneliness is a topic no one wants to talk about. The truth is, it’s very lonely at the top. However, that doesn’t mean you have to feel depressed about it. Gentlemen who truly love what they’re doing, are always high on life. They don’t need friends or drugs to feel good.
In other words, show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future. You can’t be a high-performance business hanging around with a bunch of losers and bums. You ARE the result of the five people you spend the most time around with. For most men, that includes mom, dad, a brother or sister, and a close friend.
If you go to the bar every night to watch the game, belch, fart and down a pint of beer with friends, I guarantee you will be doing that for the rest of your life. Time is the MOST valuable thing a man can spend in his life. Why in the world are you wasting it? Most men think they have plenty of it, the reality is, and that’s just not true.
3. It’s bloody hard, regardless of what happens to you in life.
Any person who tells you anything different hasn’t been successful!
Regardless if you’re a high-performance person or a dipsh-t, life is difficult for every man out there. What separates successful men from the failures is one thing: How you end up reacting to and interrupting what happens to you in life.
Truthfully, we all have issues. However, high-performance businessmen accept the issues, learn how to deal with them, and move forward right past them.
4. There’s only one way to grow as an individual.
You must step out of your comfort zone, and keep swinging until you hit a home run, every single day. You’ve got to start sticking your head out like a turtle.
Theodore Roosevelt once wrote a book on how to become fearless and courageous. Summed up, the point entailed creating drills and lists. It starts by naming one thing you are deathly afraid of doing, and you repeat the process every day. At the end of the day, you must accomplish it!
Do things that are beyond your wildest expectations. Set goals in life which you cannot possibly obtain in two or even three lifetimes. 10x your goals! You must constantly grow more and more ambitious. For example, it’s like the Hunchback of Notre Dame asking Marlin Monroe out on a date. It certainly is a big stretch to make. Ideally, you want to get stuck in courage and continually sucker yourself into being successful. Start seeing possibilities where others only see limitations.
Remember, that customers too, will continually raise the bar when it comes to their level of expectation. Keep up!
4. Burn your ships.
As surprising as it is, thousands of men, every single fu-king day, try to get back with their ex. They don’t know how to make a clean break. Instead, they give them ties in which to get back into their life. Why is that?
They aren’t just desperate, they are relying on sh-t like backup plans, fail safes, plan B’s, etc. (They are afraid of being alone.) It doesn’t matter if you’re in the business world or the dating game, those things will destroy you! As Alexander the Great once said, equipping your mind to deal with ultimately overcome fear is the difference in battle.
Consider Caesar’s failed first invasion of Britain back in 54BC. Sure, he was disastrously defeated, however, his second invasion in 55BC would forever change the story. His plan the second time included burning the ships of his men. By doing so, he forced them to either succeed or ultimately die. There was no backup plan, there could be no retreat!
If you have things like a plan b in place, you’ve already built that kind of thinking into your subconscious. You will fail! You’re essentially telling yourself, “It’s okay to fail”. Failure must NEVER be an option. Remember, FEAR is false expectations appearing real. You must never be afraid of fear, nor the idea of embarrassing yourself. Neither of two ever stopped Caesar from claiming victory he believed to be rightfully his.
5. You can accomplish anything with sacrifice.
Every man knows how to lose weight, yet, 60% of the United States is obese. Shocking right? How to lose weight is well-advertised, there are an endless number of writings on the subject. However, it’s still not enough, and in reality, it will never be enough. Because most men are not willing to pay the price of action or make the sacrifices! You know how to eat healthily and go to the gym goddammit.
There’s a reason the rich men of this world have more choices in life. It’s because they were willing to make MORE sacrifices EARLY on. In comparison, most guys today proclaim the same old sh-t, “I want to have a life”. Too many gentlemen have their priorities ass backwards.
6. Your emotional bank account is what forces you to quit.
Not your financial bank account. Seeking investment costs you nothing! Hell, most of the time bankers will end up buying you a free lunch. You must admit to yourself why you’re so f-cked up in the first place. In 99% of all cases for most men, it begins with their parents. Most men starting out in the business world only know one thing: What their parents taught them.
Let’s face it, parents procreate, and it’s one of the last things they’re actually prepared to do. Most of them don’t have a clue about how to churn out a high-performance kid. Of course, the exception being that you were raised by say, world-class Olympian athletes at the top of their food chain for example.
In the first seven to eight years of your life, your self-esteem is built. It’s the time in which you spend around your parents. Remember again, you are the result or average of the five people you spend most of your time with. That’s normally mom, dad, an older brother/sister, etc. Out of all of these people, none have any idea nor recipe nor knowledge for success.
Consider Babe Ruth’s quote, “It’s very tough to beat someone who never gives up.” Also remember, if you don’t love yourself, nobody is going to love you! You must be able to deal with the emotional unsteadiness of success.
7. Smell the leather.
Get a good whiff of luxury. Go to the Rolls Royce and Lamborghini dealers and window shop. Tour million dollar homes. Visit country clubs, even if you can only afford a single dinner once a month. Give yourself a reason to set your goals higher and higher. See your dreams come to life before they actually happen. Focus on the goal line, not the rocky road ahead standing in your way. Every businessman out there knows one thing to be true: The road the success is always under construction.
Even lawyers and accountants you cannot afford will see you. More than often, the first few meetings are free.
Dress presidential. Wear what successful businessmen wear, a suit. Ditch the jeans and t-shirt. It doesn’t matter if you wear a suit to the grocery store or banking office. Either you act your most successful all the time or you don’t! Remember, these small habits can dramatically change the way you mentally think about, and ultimately perceive yourself. Of course, first impressions are everything. You never really know who you’ll run into while out on the town either.
Dream now and in the future, these things will come true. It’s not some feel good motto, it’s real life and perhaps one of man’s greatest secrets. If you don’t believe it, you haven’t done it! I think Earl Nightingale said it best, “We are what we think about.” It’s as simple as that.
8. Be Selfish!
Whoever said having too much money was a bad thing, doesn’t know where to shop. Period.
Let’s face it, you can’t fix things in life with Zen, it takes money. It’s time to stop worrying about things like global warming when you can’t even afford the monthly payments on your Toyota Yaris. If you really want to change those things, you can, but it requires wealth and money first.
Almost all of things we worry about in life are simply inconsequential, meaning there’s no consequence. In the cosmos of time in this big world, nobody is nothing more than a fart in the wind. Even Thomas Edison is a fart in the wind! While most men live lives of quiet desperation, the truth is, if they were never born it wouldn’t have changed sh-t!
Instead of being a worrier all your life, be a warrior.
Though you should always remember, cash doesn’t avoid death, it only prolongs it. Rich businessmen simply have more choices in life.
9. Don’t read about taking action.
Truthfully, the businessmen best at selling their deals are simply the ones who practice. I know a lot of men equate shooting hoops or tossing a football as practice for being an all-star. Yet, when it comes to practicing for success, well that slips their minds entirely. Before a meeting practice the way you stand, your handshake and so on. Do it for years to come.
Now, most men today think buying books and listening to podcasts are steps towards success. In reality, these aren’t! High-performance businessmen take action, they pull the trigger, do the deals, make mistakes and step on their own dick.
I don’t care if you’ve read a thousand books, the steps have always been the same: Fail fast, take lots of risks, and fall forward. Bottom line, without risk there’s no glory. Some of the greatest battles would be merely fairy tales had there not been someone willing to take action first.
Remember, the bigger the risks you take the greatest the success you see. Ask yourself, is buying books and podcasts risky? No, it’s often stupid is what it is! Don’t get me wrong, even I enjoy a good read now and then. But I don’t let them get in the way of taking action, ever.
Understand, if you aren’t experiencing any discomfort or anxiety, the risks you are taking are more than likely not worthy of you. If a risk doesn’t scare you to death, it’s one you’ve outgrown! Super success doesn’t get accomplished by playing it safe and taking risks with a high comfort level. You must always be testing your limits!
10. Make yourself accountable.
As I mentioned the drills and lists above, I want you to consider the process. It requires you to be accountable. These things force you to ultimately do what you really don’t want to do, and be what you don’t want to be. As every day passes on, you come to a realization: Either you did them or you didn’t.
If you didn’t do them was someone holding a knife to your throat? Was asking out a woman, or pitching a bank for a loan really a life and death situation? Would it have killed you? No. No. No. STOP Blaming your failures on anything or anyone but YOURSELF!
Here’s where peer pressure works wonders, especially a mentor because it shames and guilts you into doing things on your list. Think of it like an AA meeting you know. When you’re successful you can’t wait to brag and talk about it.
It’s not just YOU that needs to be accountable. Make your children accountable. In fact, make everything in your life accountable!
Understand that EVERY minute matters. Time is not something you can simply buy back; it doesn’t work like that! How much time do you waste on Facebook, Twitter, television, etc. every day? If you kept a log for a week, or even a day, I’d bet the number would scare the hell out of you. If it has no part in reaching your goals, it has NO part in your life! Period.
Not to mention, all the negative people in your life. Cut them out, make clean breaks. Never give them a hook in which to get back in!
11. You don’t have to be an
The movies have done a great job at making the super successes of this world look like alpha males on the big screen. In reality, the real world isn’t always like that. You have the George Pattons and Donald Trumps on one end, and the Henry Kissingers on the other. Most high-performance businessmen today fall on the second end of the spectrum.
12. Do whatever it takes!
Focus. That one word captures everything that defines how to be successful in business.
What is truly your definition of commitment? In the real world, dreams aren’t commitments. Any man can envision his future, few follow through with it. Success requires a different level of commitment; aka going the extra mile. It’s either coma or death. It’s what separates the boys from the men, and the billionaires from the millionaires.
The successful businessmen of this world are all at the top because they have one thing in common: They are committed.
You must be all that you can be, all the time! Period. Good has always been the enemy of great! Remember, what gets measured gets accomplished. Unless you’re dead or in a coma you must perform. Perhaps, it’s better you’re dead if you’re not going to do it. Always act as if you have no limits to your abilities.
13. Develop a system for things that work.
It’s okay, as long as it’s honest, ethical, moral, and legal and you’re not hurting anybody.
Understand, there are four steps of the action plan you must follow. For short it’s OCMM. The outcome, your desired completion. Commitment, your pay price to action and how much you are willing to sacrifice. Measure, periodically. Modify, change the plan as necessary (Go back and measure the modified plan.)
Great companies know how to change operating practices, culture and technologies as needed. Yet, they still are able to retain their purpose and core values. In other words, they adapt. Speaking of which, the number of brick and mortar businesses in this country that still refuse to have a website or give a price quote over the phone is shocking. They’ve essentially given up; they’ve become a bunch of fat cats. However, that doesn’t mean their competition will sit idle waiting for them to catch up.
14. Find something you can’t live without.
Don’t start a company selling foot fungus cream, if you hate the subject. Within a few months or a year, you’ll get bored and lose focus. The high-performance businessmen of this world cannot be stopped because they love what they work on so much. They could fail a million times, but their so addicted to the subject, they will always refuse to fail or give up.
It’s like dating a woman in the honeymoon phase, you’re hooked! All you can think about is getting her back into your bed, as fast as possible. You can’t get enough of her. The moment you find that in business, go all in!
Understand that the super successful men in this world wholeheartedly believe they are genetically encoded for their specific field of endeavor. They don’t need anything else, they are high on life!
15. If someone says no.
It’s because you have failed to present to them enough information to make a yes answer. Remember, when the customer says “No”, that’s when the sales process truly starts. The psychology behind the car dealership industry teaches you a lot of tricks, some manipulative and others not. Yet, I’ve learned thousands over the years.
However, here’s my personal favorite: You ask the customer if they are ready to make a purchase on a new vehicle. They say no and provide an excuse. “We don’t like how it drives.” You then proceed to ask them, “Is there anything else in addition to that?” This time, they mention “No, that’s it.”
At this point, you might assume you’d look foolish asking the same question twice. However, you ignore their response and you ask it again, “Is there anything else in addition to that?”
They stare back at you confused, wondering why you just asked the same question. Only, this time, they respond with, “We really can’t afford it, the down payment is too high.” Now, you know the real reason behind what’s holding them back from making a purchase. Now, you have the opportunity to present new information. It could be an incentive program that lowers the price of the car, another bank with lower interest rates, or a dealer demo that’s the same model with a significant discount. ALL of the things you failed to mention beforehand! The customer could have never, once mentioned their finance issues in the sales process.
Remember, there are a lot of different ways to read people. Most importantly, just know that when someone says “No”, it doesn’t mean the deal is trash! It means you must present new information. There’s no sleaziness about it, it’s simply the art of being a good salesman, and helping your customer discover want meets their means.
16. Be wise and careful about the mentor you pick.
Napoleon Hill, the American author on self-success once said, “A human being is like a river, it travels to the path of least resistance.”
When it comes to finding a mentor these words ring true. Most businessmen starting out seek out mentorship from people like their uncle or brother, instead of actually searching for the right person. It’s the path of least resistance, it’s straightforward, and it’s less of a knock to your ego and self-esteem. Remember, there’s a higher probability of someone you already know saying “yes”, which is easily tempting.
Understand, your mentor must have already obtained the level of success you wish to reach or acquire. If they haven’t, you’re only wasting your time. Remember when I pointed out that you were the average of the five people you spend the most time around with. If your brother has never worked outside of a low-paying 9-5 his entire life, that’s exactly where you’ll end up, and that’s the kind of advice you’ll get!
In reality, I know you will be met with gatekeepers. They’ll ask what you want to talk about if you suggest eliminating 25% of all employees. Who’s ever going to let you in? Instead of asking for an appointment, ask their secretary when they’re going to be in town. Honestly gentlemen, you can meet your next mentor outside of their office, at a conference, a restaurant, or even in their own driveway if you park outside of their house overnight. Remember, whatever it takes!
When you start looking for a mentor, find one that’s geographically desirable. Think about it as if you were back in high school. Would you rather a date girl who lives in the same city and goes to the same high school as you, or one that lives three hours away, where you can only see her twice a year?
You want to make it as EASY as possible to get plenty of face time, as often as possible. Never let the person lose face.
17. Maintain a rock solid relationship with your mentor from the start.
Don’t be a “Yes” person when you first see them. Just be YOURSELF. Nine out of ten times, mentors will ask you something totally outrageous and off the wall in order to see how YOU respond and comment. If you really want to endear them, start by being completely honest.
Try to find something non-business in common with them, build rapport. If you can’t do that with your hobbies, just remember, you can always share a common love of business, success and work ethic to get things done with them.
Understand, even the old dogs want recognition. Sure, they don’t have as much energy as the younger guys, yet, they still want to be a part of a successful team. Everyone wants that, old and young, regardless of age. Remember, humans are teachers by nature.
Always pick up the tab, I don’t care if it’s his club or you’re dead broke! Call the club beforehand, ask if they allow guests to pay. If yes, leave your credit card with the waiter. When it comes to money, never accept your mentor’s money! Don’t just go to see them when you need something. Everyone does that! When you really need them the most, they will respond.
18. You can never have too much feedback from your mentor.
Both ways. Produce a weekly report, comprised of three sections. 1. Your accomplishments for the week. 2. Your accomplishments for the next week. 3. The problems and challenges you face.
Never get frustrated if you don’t get the answers you want. Continue to follow their advice and share your progress often.
19. Focus on the few, not the many.
You must never let sentimental attachments determine your path of business. Being ruthless is what separates the average business owner and the super successful all-stars.
When your goals grow, so do your decisions; both become harder and harder. It’s a fact of life. In reality, you cannot please everyone and take care of everything all at the same time. You must know how to delegate duties and double down on what works. When you are shown terrible ideas, you must never be afraid to say no! Without a response you are giving consent to run with things you know will never work. You are validating a future of continually shooting yourself in the foot.
There is no harm in being honest, however, there can be a great deal of pain when you let others decide things for you. Remember, if you want to be successful in business, it requires a team with a crystal clear sense of vision and impact.
20. Stop seeking constant approval from others.
Do what you want, because you want to be the best. Disregard what others think.
Don’t seek approval from your parents like most men do when it comes to their life decisions. You don’t need a nod of approval from your father to start a business or make a financial deal. Your mother shouldn’t be giving you the okay to sign off a paper contract when it comes to selling your company. Your parents don’t need to hear about your first sale. You’d be amazed at how many small things men bring up while secretly seeking the approval from others.
Remember, approval doesn’t mean advice. Building your dream team, hire the best lawyers, accountants, etc. is critically important! If you truly want to know if you’re business is worthy of lasting ask yourself one simple question, “Does my company stand for something great to someone?”
21. Never miss a meeting.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your birthday, a holiday, your anniversary, or a day before your wedding. If you were in a car accident and broke your leg, drag it to the board room. If a meeting is requested or scheduled, you make it. Period!
Never complain about the date or time, or how inconvenient it was for you. Get the idea of being polite of out your head, it’s all about having mental discipline. It goes right back to being accountable and being committed.
22. Time matters more than money.
Most businessmen today drastically underestimate the value of time. Instead of thinking in terms of ROI, return on investment, start thinking in terms of ROM, and return on minutes.
23. Be a strong leader and a constant student.
Great leaders make sense of change in the world, and proceed to share that insight with their team.
You are paid in life for what you can get others to do for you. You don’t have to be the smartest individual in the room, in fact, you could start a business in a field you know absolutely nothing about. Your job as a leader is to attract smart employees to work for you! Remember, the brainpower of the group will always trump that of just one individual. Though, you should never stop trying to become qualified for the job.
Be a macro manager, where less control equals more control.
24. Get great people on your bus.
It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, all that matters is who you do it with.
Most businesses end up morphing into other industries while starting out. Sure, they hadn’t planned on being in them in the first place, however, their success all starts with one thing: They all picked great people to do it with. When you build your dream team, the people on your bus shouldn’t be focused on where you’re going. In reality, they should be on your bus because they like who’s riding along with them!
Put them all through a doofus test. Stress them and judge their reaction to pressure when being a high-performance person is demanded of them. When you have big problems, put your best people on them; you will be confident in doing so.
25. Choose your battles.
Don’t sue over every small matter of wrongdoing. Large lawsuits are better than the minor ones.
When warranted, choose your venue and choose to be the plaintiff. In some cases, this won’t be possible however, you should still play the part. That means to prepare for trial, don’t fear it or be intimidated by the process. Use mock trials to your advantage. Bring your wife to the front row every day, children as well, if allowed, and other members of your family in the second row. You want them to know what you’re going through.
Hire the best representation, it goes back to building your dream team; don’t worry about the cost. If you have a better strategy in mind, it’s time to find a new lawyer. If you find a team that consistently wins, stay with them. It’s hard trying to get new lawyers on your team up to speed; avoid changes when possible. Remember to keep in close contact with your lawyer, preferably once a month. Don’t let them disappear to handle everything.
Elect for jury trials rather than a judge only. You shouldn’t be afraid to trust your fellow citizens. To show respect for the judge and jury, dress conservatively. That means a white shirt, simple tie, dark suit and no jewelry other than your wedding band. When it comes to recorded videos in court and in depositions, look at the camera. The same is true for the jury and judge, make eye constant. If you don’t know the answer to a question, never guess. Say you don’t know. Remember, honesty is key!
Don’t lose your temper in court, however, if authentic emotion is fine. Never talk in public about the case, regardless of where you are at, someone may very well overhear your conversation. That includes press, who may misinterpret your words while in a hurry. If you chose to make a statement, “We believe in our case, and that is why we went to court,” is enough.
26. Perfection equals paralysis.
Don’t waste time on things you cannot change.
Truthfully, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of working on things that don’t matter. You could spend an entire year putting together the perfect business plan, only to see it fail after being put in action. Even small things like picking out the right font, color, messaging, etc. on a simple brochure can be a major time suck.
When in doubt, trust your gut; don’t delay if you don’t have to. A good plan today is always better than a great plan you execute next week. By then, well, it just might be too late. Remember, your gut is your most valuable asset, don’t just ignore it. The truth is, conventional wisdom is almost always wrong in the first place.
27. Every problem solved will eventually be replaced by a much larger one.
Never underestimate how wrong you can be.
Even with careful planning, external circumstances and events can create chaos. Super successful businessmen live for that kind chaos, it’s what fuels the fire in their bellies. Understand that progress often masquerades itself as trouble.
Never opt for the easy, Band-Aid solution; it will eventually peel off. Short term solutions don’t work for long-term problems, regardless of how alluring they may appear. Instant gratification can get in the way of your goals, avoid that.
28. Being a super successful businessman is NOT for every man.
I don’t care what the gurus and coaches tell you. Most of them made money putting asses in seminar seats and pushing book sales, NOT in business. But boy will they sell you on a dream they couldn’t even acquire own their own. They love to pump out misinformation which gives you no chance to succeed.
Let’s face it, most men are today are TOO weak. A strong drink and a good f-ck would kill most them.
You’re not going to work 4 hours a week, you’re going to work 120. You’re not going to be sipping mojitos and napping at the beach, you’re going to sleep in the office!
Understand that it doesn’t matter if you’re working 12 hours a day, you could be “busy” for 12 hours a day in reality. There’s a difference between working smart and staying busy.
29. Kiss a lot of frogs.
Life is a numbers game, regardless if you’re asking out women or trying to acquire financing. If you want to see success you must always be kissing frogs! Twenty women may turn down your request to take them home for the night, but the twenty-first woman may very well agree. Yet, most men can’t take that kind of hit to their ego or emotional bank account!
In business, you’ll be met with calls that are hung up on you, abusive call backs, and flat out refusals to talk. What divides the men from the boys is persistence and focus. Very few are willing to make a thousand phone calls when it comes to getting financing. After a handful of rejections, most men quit. They proclaim, “I can’t get financing”, “No one will invest in my idea”, etc. ALL of them, excuses!
There is a sucker out there who will invest in anything, including your idea, but only if you take the time to find them first.
30. Expand in a down cycle.
Double your work effort when times are difficult. Tough times don’t last, tough businessmen do.
It’s a reminder of what Henry Ford once said, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” This is especially true when it comes to economic times of recessions and depressions. When the stock market falls, you won’t see Warren Buffett jumping ship. Yet, the rest of the world believes this may really be the end. Meanwhile, he’s buying up everything in sight with the utmost confidence.
Understand that building wealth at the levels most men can never fathom about, means buying small companies, rolling them into one, puffing your company up like a fat hog, and selling it at the market. When you stop expanding, so does your success. Take for instance this very moment, interest rates are incredibly low. Banks are flush with cash, literally waiting for you to come and take it. It reminds me of the housing crash years ago. Fast-forward in time, and you’ll see Buffet again, ready to buy bulk real estate when others are still uneasy over the thought of it.
31. Pay yourself and your employees first.
That includes through all economic cycles. Share your wealth with your dream team, do it with cash, equity, options or wants that are tangible rewards for performance and loyalty. Pull cash out the company, enjoy the lifestyle you and your family have earned.
Most business owners today work their entire lives at one place, waiting for the day they can “cash out”. When the time comes, they are shocked. They discover the market isn’t willing to pay what they had planned to sell off at. Remember, it doesn’t matter how much YOU value your company, what matters if how much someone else is willing to ultimately pay for it!
If you are over 40 and in an upmarket, sell your business. You might not be around long enough to see another one.
32. Know how to negotiate.
Define the boundaries of the other parties’ comfort zone. Place the deal inside of them nearest to your own interests. Remember, a deal has to sound good before it is good!
Respect the gentleman on the other side of the table. He’s not as stupid as you may believe, and you’re not as clever as you think!
33. All ideas are worthless until put into action
You are standing in your own acres of diamonds. I’m talking about your mind here. It churns out ideas, day after day. But if you aren’t willing to dig for them, their worthless.
It doesn’t matter what you invent, figure out, or what mystery of the world you unlock. If you don’t file for a patent, your competitor will. If you don’t pitch your idea in order to get financing, someone else will get the money, and your product will never reach the shelves at the store. If you don’t write down your idea with the goal of making it a reality, it will NEVER happen.
On the other end of the spectrum here, even the most bizarre of ideas can often be profitable. Who would have ever thought pet rocks or even the plastic grocery bag with the smile on it, could be multi-million dollar ideas in reality? The people who took action did, and guess what, they succeeded. Can you imagine how many people called them crazy in the process? How many times they got rejected and ridiculed?
It’s truly a shame most men give up on great ideas because they are either too embarrassed, afraid or unmotivated.
34. Go from idea to execution the right way.
Identify the idea. It could be expanding your revenue or forming a new joint venture partner and so on. Investigate. Then investigate again to see if it is what you think it is. The second time, use different people from within your organization. Commit to the idea. If you’re not obsessed with it, no one else will be. In that scenario, sh-t can it!
Share the obsession and start living it. Discuss how great it will be, how great it will be for America, for whatever. You live it and you breathe it, and you share it with others. Don’t talk about anything else, period! It becomes your whole life. Walk the talk.
Never share your doubts with anyone, ever! Not your wife, mistress, etc. regardless if it eats you up inside or make you an insomniac at night. You WILL have a lot of doubts, however, you must be a bulldog. The moment you say, “I don’t know if it’s going to work”, the deal is DEAD. It’s over, it has fallen apart.
Put together a critical path. Your team of decision makers will do this, not you! They are the ones who are going to have to implement and execute it. If they don’t get it accomplished, you are the one who puts their heads on a pole. Stay out of it! Create a detailed timeline. Continually measure every single thing. You don’t measure it, they do.
Your other decision-makers will implement the plan. They keep focused and follow up at subordinate levels. This is the grunt work, the real work.
Focus follow up at the decision maker level.
Execution. It means laser beam focus without deviation and no blinders. You lead from the front, it is the only thing in your life. Never second-guess your subordinates, as they will make mistakes at all levels and lots of them. Only step in and override when you believe it will take down the company. People must be given permission to make mistakes, it’s the only way they can grow exponentially.
Reevaluate and start all over again.
35. Conventional wisdom is almost always wrong.
You can’t do that… You will hear those words a million times! It comes in many different forms. “It’s the worst recession ever, you can’t get a loan.” You can’t get financing if you have bad credit.” The most obvious rationale given to you will almost always be wrong.
The truth is, it’s extremely difficult when you’re starting out to overlook the obvious and go against all conventional wisdom; it’s near impossible. However, you MUST remain focused on the positive. Talk about the positive, never the times you weren’t successful. Keep your eyes set far down the road.
Assume people are honest and that they will deal with you fairly. When you discover they are not, the rules change entirely.
You can investigate at either the beginning or the end, though, if you’re uncomfortable do it at the start. Spend a few thousand dollars to see if that person is no good. Hire real investigators. Every penny you spend will be worth it. Period. For instance, if you are doing a $5 million dollar joint venture with a partner, spending $10,000 is a drop in bucket; it’s cheap!
37. Establish a line of credit.
Contrary to popular belief, credit cards are NOT a line of credit
A fourteen-year-old child can have an American Express card. Any moron on the face of the planet can get one. If you feel proud because you have one, you’re an idiot!
You must start thinking in terms of fishing with nets, not lines. Doing thirty deals and closing multiple houses, instead of buying one at a time. Most refuse to do twenty or thirty deals at a time because they are afraid of what happens when more than one gets approved.
38. You don’t need a business plan to get financed.
Never go into a bank with a business plan. On the first meeting, you must show up with nothing. No papers!
Ask the financial banker for a copy of a proposal that has been OK’d and approved by the bank. Tell them to redact and black out the names. They’ll give you a business plan that works, and you don’t even have to write one.
Remember, business plans are NOT set in stone, at best there are wild ass guesses. The same is true for when you estimate how much financial cash you will need.
39. When you borrow money, borrow big bucks.
If you need ten thousand, borrow fifty! Always borrow more than you believe you will need. In all honesty, you never truly know what the number will be, you’re only assuming. Understand that you’re not doing anything wrong here.
When it comes to 1, 3 or 5 over prime, it should NOT make a difference in your deal. If it does not pencil out, your deal is too tight and it’s no damn good! Expect there to be a margin for errors and mistakes.
40. It’s not that money you’ve got to worry about, it’s the deal!
In reality, banks today are flush with cash. The only problem is, most men aren’t smart enough to get off their ass and actually go get it. You don’t have money for your projects because you don’t ask for it! And you don’t ask for it because you don’t wholeheartedly believe in it enough. And if you don’t believe in it enough, the bank knows it and so do you. And that’s why you don’t ask them because let’s face it, you already know exactly what they’re going to say!
Without any enthusiasm, your chances are next to ZERO. Remember the most beautiful woman at your school, the one you never asked out? It’s no different!
41. Bad credit and all other excuses are not valid.
It’s true bankers are more inclined to lend you money when you have a track record. The same can be said for your credit rating. They lend to people who have had a successful chain of transitions. If you have none of these, you need to partner with someone who does.
Past the first transition, even if you give up most of your equity, it will be worth it. That track record will carry over to second, third and so on. Understand, that having your mother in law or father in law on the deal with you can be a red flag to bankers. More than one last name across the page is always the better option.
When you’re looking for banks, keep an eye of for two that have just merged. If there’s a new bank in town, set up a tent outside their front door. Also remember, there ARE financial institutions out of this country that require none of the above. It’s YOUR job to go to them, even if means hunting for cheap flights or riding on a boat! The US is not the only financial playground in the world.
Of course, it’s also perfectly fine to shop for a deal. More than six credit checks on your report is not a big thing!
When it comes to angels, aka the old man with money who will fund your project. Expect a GREAT one to take 85-95% of your deal and throw your ass out within 1 year if you can’t deliver as the CEO or boss. While you might think you can manage, the truth is most can’t! Finding angels is no difficult, it’s only difficult but you never ask.
If possible, position yourself properly by using audited financials. You’ll double your chances of approval. When they’re from a big fix firm, you can expect that to be even 25% higher.
Remember, you must be willing to put your neck out on the line. If you won’t, why should a banker? You are the one running the company, not them! Roll your financial worth if you have to.
Aside from bankers, you have other options. Owner financing for one. For instance, a man may have run his business for fifty years, and now he’s watching his wife caught up blood at the hospital. He wants out, FAST! Let’s face it, there are plenty of opportunities out there, however, you must look for them and ask first!
42. Success in selling is smiling and dialing.
When pitching for funding, you’ll be met with an emotional hurdle! Think of yourself as a concept salesman. It doesn’t have to feel sleazy like being a used car salesman or the guy that sells encyclopedias at your front door step.
You must practice! Do so for two to three hours before a presentation, you will be a thousand times more at ease. You must sell your vision with clarity. The banker has to feel like you’ll do WHATEVER it takes to pay back the money. That passion needs to be crystal clear!
43. Know how to deal with bankers.
You want to work with a banker who can make a decision, NOT one that will waste your time. Ask them, “What is the lending limit of your bank?” Immediately, you will separate yourself from 99% of the other people he’s ever talked to. When he responds, ask, “Secured or unsecured limit?” When you have that information, ask, “What is your lending limit?” By that I mean, the amount he doesn’t need a sign off from mommy or his superior for. If his limit is $25,000 you ask for $24,950.
If he can’t make a credit decision himself, you don’t want to talk to him. If you must talk to a committee of two, make sure both of them are present at the same time. If it’s more than two, find another bank!
Before stepping a foot in the door, call and set up the interview, ask to speak with the senior leading office. “This is Brian Cornwell, is your bank in a lending mode right now?” You don’t want so to invest time only to find out the FDIC is closing the bank down next month. If they ask why, respond, “I’m looking for a new financial relationship.” Remember, it is always better to have an assistant set up your interviews for you when possible.
What you are really doing here is simply qualifying the bank.
44. When interviewing banks and financial intuitions don’t:
NEVER mention that you are looking to borrow money. That’s what 99% of the people who walk into banks today say. And you know what, it reeks of desperation! Always mention that you are looking to establish a new financial relationship.
Be a bum and walk around with your hat in your hand. YOU are in control; YOU are driving the show here. Avoid appearing nervous, it will affect your ability to pitch your deal with confidence. Again, it goes right back to the practice bit. You must rehearse beforehand.
45. Consolidate fragmented industries.
Let’s face it, starting from scratch with a brand new business takes years and years of hard, dedicated work. Even then, you’re looking on average at roughly 3 to 5% profit margins. However, when you build groups of enterprise through acquisitions, the rewards are exponential and the time frame is considerably short.
Aim to generate a combined value in this group. Achieve a synergy by which that bottom-line value is far superior to the sum of the individual operations. Think in terms of Unilever, Time Warner Cable, General Motors, US Steel and so on. Remember, real wealth is the result of repeated acquisition, sale and/or IP of businesses.
46. When it comes to purchasing, the majority of the choice stems from emotion.
If there’s one thing car dealerships are really good at it, it’s using this statement above to their advantage. They know the moment you test drive a new vehicle off the lot, you will more than often, fall in love with it. However, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, the rule applies for unloading a business as well.
Assume a potential buyer visits your location. They will see everything from the dirty carpet to the cluttered receptionist desk. They will notice how loud your employees are alongside the awards you have hung up on the wall. (It’s a good reason why franchises in the dealer world have STRICT showroom guidelines. I mean, fine tooth comb strict.)
You MUST puff up the hog.
47. The market decides how much your business is worth.
There’s the market comparison approach, the asset approach, gross revenue approach, and the here’s how much I’m willing to pay approach.
Most buyers will request three years of records. While you may supply your projections, no one is going to believe you. Buyers will do their own research and make their OWN projections. Of which, they’ll base the valuation off of.
48. Don’t become a fat cat.
Most of the successful businessmen and leaders you see today were once like you. They were bold, determined and ruthless to accomplish their dreams. After their first success, they stopped and decided it was time to play it safe. In other words, they practically retire early. They might wait for their sons to take over their company after they die.
Remember, you can’t cling onto your past successes like a teddy bear. You MUST repeat the process over and over again.
Interestingly enough, on the other end of the spectrum, you have the businessmen who become rich, yet, felt they didn’t ultimately deserve it. What happens is they usually end up going broke.
49. You must sell the seller on you.
It’s not uncommon to find business owners who are VERY protective over their company. It’s pretty apparent when you hear people talking about the “BRAND” over and over. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across people who are so focused on the “brand” they put business completely aside. It’s amazing…)
They want to know their baby is going to be in good hands with you. They’ll ask who you are and ask how you will run the company. To answer these questions, you NEED credibility. Having your accountant or lawyer make the first call will do that. If you insist on calling yourself, give references to the two above. It will satisfy their due diligence. Of course, you can also include these in a letter as well.
50. Start today.
If you do not take action with the next 24 hours, you NEVER will.
Time flies; you could be in your twenties or thirties this very moment. The next thing you know, you’ll be in your sixties and seventies. All within the blink of an eye. Don’t wait until it’s too late, because that time WILL come.
You need nothing more than a cell phone and a notebook. It doesn’t matter if your dead broke or haven’t worked a day in your miserable life! The only thing holding you back from reaching the level of super success you desire is quite simply, YOU!
Accept that life isn’t fair, stop being weak and start taking action. Period.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
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Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather WatchCheck Price
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.
The 10 Best Shower Speakers in 2021
Singing in the bath or shower has long been a hobby enjoyed by many. There are also those who simply love the thought of relaxing in their shower while listening to their favorite music. If that sounds like you, then you need a dedicated shower speaker.
It’s a great way to start your day with an energetic bang or perhaps you want to relax late at night while listening to an audiobook. Whatever your reason for wanting a shower speaker, you’ll want a sound and build quality that matches your needs.
What makes the best shower speaker? Well, the sound quality is always vital but there are other aspects to consider such as its waterproofing, how easy it is to use, and the different types of functions it has.
We’ve taken all that into account to come up with 10 brilliant speakers for you to consider. We thought all of these were great but everyone is different, so pick the best one for you. Let’s get started!
1. JBL Clip 4
We love this portable Bluetooth speaker because of its fresh look and excellent usability. It has a bold design with a large hook that lets you place it anywhere.
It has an upgraded carabiner integrated into the speaker for extra protection, so you can clip it on bags, suitcases, or belts and take it with you wherever you go. Its unique shape fits easily in your pocket, which gives it great versatility.
It delivers JBL original pro sound and bass which is impressive for its size. It is IP67-rated for dust and waterproofing so you won’t have to worry about breaking it. It has 10 hours of battery life which is easily rechargeable, so you can continue enjoying your favorite tunes wherever you go. We love it because it combines fantastic sound with great value for money.
2. BOSE SoundLink Micro
This speaker can tag along with you wherever you go. Simply attach the durable, tear-resistant silicone strap to your backpack or cooler and go for your adventure ride. It has a battery life of up to six hours but that can stretch out for quite a long time if you listen in bursts.
The Bose SoundLink Micro is water-resistant, making it great for the shower, and delivers crystal-clear high-quality sound. If you accidentally drop it in the bath, just dry it off and keep playing your favorite music. It weighs just 10.2 ounces, allowing you to place it anywhere.
You can pair it with your smartphone and tablet using Bluetooth connectivity, and take phone calls through the speaker with clear quality sound. The built-in speaker gives you access to Siri or Google assistant for hand-free voice commands even when you are in your shower.
3. Jam Hang Up
The great thing about this shower speaker is that it has a suction pad that sticks to any wall, shower tile, boat ceiling, or mirror. It attaches to any flat or smooth surface. It has up to eight hours of playtime, so you can have many showers before recharging.
It’s IP67 water and dustproof rated, which offers excellent protection from not just water but also the ingress of dust and dirt. It’s very easy to use when you’re in the shower, even if your hands are wet and soapy.
The call functionality is also very good as when the call comes, it will pause the music before ringing. When you are done with your call, the music will start playing from where you left the track. We were incredibly impressed with the low cost which makes this the best option for those on a budget.
4. Ultimate Ears WonderBoom 2
This wireless Bluetooth speaker has a surprisingly big 360-degree sound with deep bass. What we like about this speaker is that it has an additional feature of an outdoor boost.
The battery can last up to 13 hours, so you can easily enjoy your musical showers for weeks before recharging. It has a rating of IP67 which means you can easily take it with you in the shower, pool, or beach, and it even floats! It weighs only 15 ounces and has an internal Lithium polymer battery.
The WonderBoom 2 has an easy play/pause and skip button so you can control the music through your speaker while you’re in the shower without reaching for your phone. It is compatible with smartphones, tablets, and any other Bluetooth devices.
5. Sony SRS-XB12 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
This Sony Bluetooth speaker has a small and light design. You can pair it with any Bluetooth device like a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and it will connect wirelessly across the room with any device.
It has a wireless range of 33 feet so you can leave your phone in another room. It has an IP67 design that means you can enjoy it safely in the shower but also allows you to take it anywhere you want. It has a battery life of sixteen hours so you don’t have to worry about recharging your speaker all the time.
It comes with an auxiliary input and a clip-on, so you can easily take it with you and keep enjoying your music. It has effortless power on/off and play/pause and volume buttons, so controlling your speaker will be easy for you. It’s very user-friendly, and you will enjoy your speaker whether you’re taking a relaxing bath or sunbathing on the beach.
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6. Altec Mini Lifejacket Bluetooth Speaker
We love this Bluetooth speaker because it has long-lasting durability. It’s waterproof and shockproof, so it will be a good companion for you in the shower. It floats in water and the rechargeable battery will last for up to sixteen hours.
The Altec Mini Lifejacket has built-in Bluetooth which will allow you to pair it with two devices at a time. This Bluetooth speaker will make a great gift because it delivers excellent quality sound for a great price.
It’s made from a combination of plastic and metal which gives it exceptional strength. It’s one of the loudest speakers on this list so is ideal for those that wish to pump up the volume.
7. Xeneo X21 Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker
This Bluetooth speaker delivers rich bass with outstanding audio quality. Its unique cylinder shape has aluminum passive radiators on both sides to provide all-around ambiance and complete sound projection.
It comes with a built-in FM radio and micro SD card that allows you to stay tuned and connected to your favorite music indoors and outdoors. It has Bluetooth 4.2 and the aux jack provides a high degree of connectivity from many devices.
Its built-in 2400mAH rechargeable Li-ion battery will last up to 10 hours. It’s rugged and waterproof and makes the perfect complement to any shower. This speaker has everything you need to enjoy your music.
8. BOOM Swimmer Jr Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker
We love this speaker because of its unique design. You can wrap the flexible tail around any object cylindrical pipe such as a showerhead or handrail. The end of the tail tucks through a hole to form a secure ring.
The tail is over 6″ long and the diameter of the speaker is 2.7″. This speaker is water and shock-resistant against any drop or spills. It has an IPX7 rating so it can be immersed in three feet of water for up to 30 minutes, making it great for the bath.
Its built-in mic is speakerphone-ready to take hand-free calls and is very simple to use. You will enjoy its unique design and that tail can double up as a base so you can take it with you wherever you go.
9. House of Marley No Bounds Speaker
If you like socially responsible products, you will love this Bluetooth speaker. This speaker is made up of recycled materials which not only make it great for the Earth but also look fantastic.
It delivers 360º sound, and you can adjust the volume to enjoy your whole audio experience. It has a very stylish look with 12 hours of battery life and IP67 certification. You can take it with you to the pool or enjoy your favorite music in the shower or bath.
It comes with a quick charging cable so you can get back to listening to your tunes in no time at all. It also comes with a metal carabiner so you can clip it on your bag or belt and take it with you wherever you go. It can be paired up with another speaker to boost your listening experience and create an element of surround sound.
10. Eboda Shower Speaker
This shower speaker is on our list because it delivers powerful sound with beautiful lights. You can dim the lights in your shower or bath and enjoy the light show it can produce.
This waterproof shower speaker is finely tuned and crafted to deliver a superior sound experience both indoors and outdoors. It has a 5W loud stereo sound, and it comes with a built-in 2000mAH battery and up to 24 hours of playing time.
It has an included carabiner with a compact design and sturdy hook, making it easy to carry around or attach it to your shower head. It has efficient Bluetooth 5.0 and up to 33 feet of range.
See more about - The 10 Best Waterproof Speakers in 2021
Shower Speaker FAQs
The first thing you need to look at is the IP rating which determines its level of waterproofing. Once you know that it can survive your shower, other features become important such as Bluetooth connectivity, sound quality, and usability. Once you know a speaker is suitable for your needs, you can then look at other factors such as the size and style.
Waterproof speakers are more durable and shock-resistant than regular speakers, and you do not have to worry about any water damage. If the speaker has an IPX7 rating, then it can completely go underwater without any damage for a short period. You can take phone calls and listen to your favorite music while you are in the shower without worrying about breaking it.
The ruggedness and sound quality of shower speakers have improved over the years. All speakers are different and there will be normal speakers better than shower speakers and vice versa. We were impressed by the sound quality of all the devices we looked at here.
The 10 Best Waxed Canvas Jackets for Men in 2021
Waxed jackets have been a men’s wardrobe staple for centuries, and for a very good reason. Unlike your typical denim, corduroy, nylon, or flannel jackets, waxed jackets will protect you from all the elements – including water and wind – and will keep you warm, dry, cozy, and stylish during any season of the year. While waxed coats can come in any style, if you’re looking for a rugged, outdoorsy, or utilitarian style jacket that’s suitable for daily wear, is of high quality, and is durable, then you definitely need to make space in your closet for one of these timeless, long-lasting jackets.
If you’re really adventurous (and crafty), you can always try waxing your own jacket or your favorite non-waxed coat, but since we’ve put together this list of the best waxed canvas jackets for men in 2021, you might as well save yourself some time and trouble and leave it to the pros.
1. Patagonia Maple Grove Canvas Jacket
It’s no secret that Patagonia is one of the best choices when it comes to outerwear and environmental activism. The company itself donates 1% of its sales to “the preservation and restoration of the natural environment” and has “awarded over $89 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups” since 1985.
The Patagonia Maple Grove Canvas Jacket is a must-have staple in every guy’s wardrobe. It comes in three colors (Forge Grey, Mojave Khaki, and Sage Khaki) and is available in a multitude of sizes ranging from XS to XXL.
The jacket is weather-resistant, meaning it’s wearable through multiple seasons and climates, has a fleece lining to keep you extra comfortable and warm, and is made of fabrics consisting of 64% recycled materials. If you’re looking for a jacket that’ll stand the test of time and keep you looking sharp year-round, this one’s it.
2. Carhartt Flame Resistant Canvas Active Jacket
Carhartt may be a clothing company known for its iconic beanies, but you shouldn’t look past the rest of their wickedly cool – and not to mention good quality – gear and outerwear. The Carhartt Flame Resistant Canvas Active Jacket is one of the best lightweight options for waxed canvas jackets on the market, as it only weighs 8.5 ounces, making it the perfect piece of outerwear that’ll keep you warm, but won’t weigh you down.
Not only is this piece flame resistant, according to reviews, it’s also wind-resistant, has “better than expected water repellency,” and runs a tad bit big. Per Amazon, it’s available in sizes S-XL and comes in two colors (Carhartt Brown and Dark Navy) that will surely fit seamlessly into any dude’s wardrobe.
3. H&M Cotton Canvas Jacket
If you’re looking for a canvas jacket that’ll look stylish, keep you warm and dry, and won’t break the bank, you need H&M’s Cotton Canvas Jacket in your closet ASAP. The jacket fits true-to-size, boasts diagonal welt front pockets as well as an inner pocket to ensure your belongings don’t randomly fall out, has a shell made from 100% cotton, and is lined with 100% polyester.
Although the jacket only comes in one color (Brown), it’s size-inclusive, making it a go-to piece of outerwear for anyone sizes XS-XXL. It’s also got 5-star reviews across the board, and those who purchased the jacket attest to its durability, warmth, and style – you really can’t go wrong with this one!
4. Barbour Classic Wax Jacket
There’s a reason Barbour has been one of the U.K.’s most respected and sought-after clothing brands for centuries – yes, centuries. Founded in 1894, Barbour is a fifth-generation family-owned business that has expanded to over 40 countries worldwide and has collections for men, women, children, and dogs.
While their coveted collections appeal to a wide audience, the Barbour Classic Wax Jacket is a tried-and-true wardrobe staple that’s not only functional and stylish, but it’s also made by hand in the company’s factory in Simonside, South Shields, so you know you’re getting the best quality jacket money can buy.
5. Buck Mason Dry Waxed Canvas Highland Jacket
If you’re looking for a jacket that features mixed materials, then the Buck Mason Dry Waxed Canvas Highland Jacket is a must-have for every man’s wardrobe. There are corduroy details throughout the jacket, including the collar, cuffs, and pocket lining, and the body of the jacket is “blanket-lined” and guaranteed to keep you warm in even the coldest climates.
Not only is the jacket water-repellent, thanks to the “fabric sourced from the renowned Halley Stevenson mill in Scotland,” it also comes with a tin of Halley Stevenson’s proprietary reproofing wax, so if you do all of a sudden get the itch to wax your own jacket, you can play around with it after a few seasons of wear.
The Buck Mason Dry Waxed Canvas Highland Jacket comes in sizes XS-XXL, so if you typically have trouble finding your size, Back Mason’s got you covered.
See more about - The 10 Best Puffer Jackets for Men in 2021
6. Taylor Stitch Lombardi Jacket
Finding an everyday, durable piece of outerwear that plays into your unique style can be a daunting task, to say the least, but the Taylor Stitch Lombardi Jacket will solve all of your canvas jacket woes. The utilitarian design is sleek and stylish, gives you a rugged but refined look, and can be dressed up, down, or worn with any outfit you put together.
With a shell made from 100% organic cotton herringbone dry wax, this baby is truly weatherproof, making it perfect for any type of climate you encounter and will keep you dry, warm, and super-cozy, all while remaining stylish and functional. The Taylor Stitch Lombardi Jacket comes in two colors, Olive Dry Wax and Mustard Dry Wax, and is available in sizes XS-XXL.
7. Belstaff Dunstall Waxed Cotton Jacket
Belstaff has been a well-respected clothing company for over 70 years, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Belstaff Dunstall Waxed-Cotton Jacket tops this list. Another option for those who favor the utilitarian style, this jacket features two large front pockets, gold button and zipper details, a pointed collar, is made of mid-weight waxed cotton, and comes in a classic black color that’ll surely appeal to minimalists everywhere.
The Belstaff Dunstall Waxed-Cotton Jacket also boasts “water and wind-repellent qualities,” so it’s guaranteed to keep you warm and dry no matter the season. You can find this essential wardrobe staple in sizes S-XXL.
8. L.L.Bean Double L Waxed Cotton Upland Coat
While it’s suggested that you spot or dry clean many waxed cotton coats, the L.L. Bean Double L Waxed-Cotton Upload Coat is actually machine washable, which will save you a dreaded trip to the dry cleaners when it comes time to wash it. The Upland Coat appeals to hunters and fans of a more rugged, outdoor aesthetic, and even features a “large, lined front entry game pouch” that “holds 3 or 4 large upland birds like pheasant,” so it really is ideal for those who take hunting seriously.
Its waxed cotton shell is highly water-resistant, too, making it the perfect coat to wear in wetter climates and seasons. It’s available in two colors, Loden and Maple Brown, and comes in sizes S-XXL.
Bonus: this coat is also available in regular and tall, so it’s a fantastic option for those who find normal length jackets just a bit too short.
9. Flint and Tinder Wool-Lined Waxed Trucker Jacket
If you’re looking for a waxed cotton coat that’s made in the good ole USA, then look no further than the Flint and Tinder Wool-Lined Waxed Trucker Jacket. The best part about this coat, other than its weather-resistant cloth shell and body that’s “fully lined with recycled Japanese wool blanket cloth,” is that the more you wear it, the more unique it becomes.
“Every time you hoist a beer, tie your boots, or ride your bike, your movements will lighten the color of the waxed fabric in the creases and bends to create your own unique wear patterns,” part of the description reads. Can’t disagree with that.
The Flint and Tinder Wool-Lined Waxed Trucker Jacket also comes in four colors – Brown, Field Tan, Chocolate, and Charcoal – and is available in sizes XS-XXL. So if you’re on the search for a unique jacket that you can essentially make your own, this guy is a good investment.
10. Mission Workshop Mission Bomber
While many waxed cotton jackets boast a utilitarian style or a rugged, outdoorsy vibe, the Mission Workshop Mission Bomber jacket is a great option for those who love the style of a classic bomber jacket but want more durability and weather-resistance than the average, lightweight bomber typically gives. The exterior of the jacket is made from Silkwax, which has a matte finish and a “high level of water resistance,” and like the Flint and Tinder Wool-Lined Waxed Trucker Jacket mentioned above, the more you wear it, the better it looks and more unique it becomes.
This coat comes in four colors – Desert Olive, Deep Navy, Charcoal Gray, and Black – is available in sizes S-XL, and is recommended for wear in weather ranging from 45 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
See more about - The 10 Best Lightweight Jackets For Men In 2021
Waxed Jacket FAQs
A waxed jacket is a coat that’s typically made from cotton and treated with wax, like beeswax or paraffin. Treating the fabric with wax will ensure that it’s weather-resistant and will help keep you warm and dry, no matter what the climate is.
Historically, sailors coated their sails in wax so they’d be able to withstand the harsh – and very wet – weather of the sea, and also to increase the durability of the sails. Essentially, coating fabric with wax is a tried-and-true method that has protected garments from the elements for centuries and is obviously still a method that is used to this day.
A waxed jacket is a wardrobe staple for a plethora of reasons. Waxed jackets are typically more durable than your average, everyday jacket. While denim jackets, peacoats, and other types of outerwear are stylish, they don’t protect you from the rain, snow, water, or in some cases, flames.
Waxed jackets are weather-resistant and can usually withstand even the harshest elements. They’re long-lasting, practical, and can be worn throughout multiple seasons. Waxed jackets are easy to layer under anything from a t-shirt to a thick sweater and can be worn comfortably as a base layer, can be styled up or down, and are good for everyday wear.
Waxed jackets don’t come cheap. While you can find some affordable styles, as the H&M Cotton Canvas Jacket mentioned in our list above, most long-lasting, high-quality waxed jackets will cost you upwards of $200, with some even coming with a $500+ price tag. And although that might seem like a lot of dough to drop on an item of clothing, it’s important to remember these jackets are designed to last, so purchasing a waxed cotton jacket from a reputable brand should be thought of as a long-term investment for your wardrobe.
The 40 Essential Albums To Own on Vinyl
Putting together a list of the essential albums to own on vinyl is not only impossible, it’s hugely stressful. I’ve done at least 30 variations; adding albums, taking off others, rearranging bits and pieces, or changing my mind altogether and taking it from the top.
There are sure to be some controversial takes, and there’s a swath of genres, records, and artists who didn’t make the cut, but I’ve only got one set of ears, a personalized palate, and a tight deadline.
Before you take a look at the list, here are some rules: these are in no particular order, there are no live performances or compilations, no more than one appearance by an artist, and the album has to physically sound good on vinyl. I’ve made it this far, but now I need a drink and a lie down.
1. Paul Simon - Graceland (1986)
This is my favorite album. I remember dancing around the lounge room with a literal boom box, and a massive set of headphones listening to The Boy in the Bubble, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, and You Can Call Me Al, picturing the film clip with Chevy Chase.
Out of all of my father’s albums, Graceland is my favorite, both for its scope and its sheer enjoyment. Whether it’s the Ladysmith Black Mambazo Orchestra singing together perfectly, or the amazing South African session musicians involved in its creation, Graceland is a fantastic album and a must-own for any music lover.
2. Led Zeppelin - IV (1972)
Sprawling, decadent, and powerful, Led Zep’s untitled fourth studio album is their best. It features a short little ditty called Stairway to Heaven, the sexually charged Black Dog, Mordor LOTR–style The Battle of Never More, and epic Misty Mountain Hop.
Most superstar bands don’t have four songs as good as this in an entire career, let alone on one album. Now, please excuse me, I’ve got 7.5 minutes to kill listening to Stairway…
3. Nas - Illmatic (1994)
Nas was a 17 year old still in high school when his debut album Illmatic dropped. The record is widely considered one of the greatest rap albums of all time (it’s firmly in my top three) and was announced as one of the 2020 recordings selected for inclusion on the National Recording Registry.
It turned Nas into a star and brought attention back to the East Coast after the dominance of gangster rap in the West.
4. Michael Jackson - Thriller (1982)
You can’t make a list of essential vinyl albums without Michael Jackson, and Thriller is all killer, no filler. It’s disappointing the way things ended for the King of Pop, but Thriller reminds us that we were lucky to hear the brilliance of Michael Jackson.
There’s a reason it’s the greatest selling album of all time.
5. The Black Keys - Thickfreakness (2003)
This living, breathing behemoth from the Ohio two-piece brought hipsters out from their garages in droves. The pumping piston drums of Patrick Carbery – who laid the tracks down on an eight-track in 14 hours – are a yammering foil for singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach’s dirty lashes of the axe and pedals, while his lyrics scrounge around like he’s digging into the couch creases looking for loose change.
I saw the Black Keys live when touring this album – it was all sweat, beards, and beer. I swear I couldn’t hear shit except for Set You Free for a week after.
6. Sade - Diamond Life (1984)
Honestly, you could pick any of Sade’s six albums for this list, but for mine, it has to be their debut Diamond Life. Merging soul with R&B and jazz elements, it’s got a bit of everything that’s great about 80s music.
Smooth Operator and Hang On to Your Love are incredible compositions, with Sade Adu’s vocals completely mesmerizing.
7. Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)
These days, you could release this cerebral Beach Boys album by saying: “There are goats on the cover,” and make a badass meme campaign.
Pet Sounds revolutionized recording music, although nobody in 1966 seemed happy to spend their money on it, given that it was vastly different from the 10 Beach Boys albums that came before.
It wasn’t until the UK got a hold of it that the production and sound engineering side of the Pet Sounds record got its due respect, and everyone realized the music was awesome too.
8. Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On (1971)
1971s What’s Going On is arguably the greatest album of all time from any genre. Rolling Stone has it at the top of their 500 Greatest Albums, and for good reason.
What’s Going On is a narrative concept album that tells the tale of a man’s return from Vietnam. If you’re unfamiliar with the brilliance, pain, and tragedy of Marvin Gaye, take 53 minutes out of your day to watch this documentary. It’s time well spent.
9. NWA - Straight Outta Compton (1988)
I scored this on cassette from my big brother when I was going into high school (on the other side of the 90-minute marvel was 2 Live Crew). A decade older than me, he didn’t say anything much about it except for, “Listen to this and don’t tell mum. Ever!”
Straight Outta Compton ushered in the gangsta rap era. Without NWA, the rap landscape would be very different; less realistic and raw, less creative, edgy, and honest. It certainly wouldn’t have been better.
10. David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
Bowie ushered in a new era of rock and pop fusion by creating different characters in his music and an amazing level of theatricality to his work.
Ziggy Stardust helped bridge the gap between the declining hippy culture and stadium rock with a burgeoning live music scene where the show was just as important as the music.
11. Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
She might have gone off the rails, but Lauryn Hill is still one of the greatest female vocalists I’ve had the pleasure of hearing live. While that’s highly unlikely to happen anytime soon, I can always put this album on and remember how talented she is.
A melting pot of hip-hop, soul, R&B, and pop, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is a phenomenal record from a once-in-a-generation artist.
12. Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde (1966)
Not being able to incorporate a greatest hits compilation album is hardest here. Folk legend, visual artist, and bourbon bottler Bob Dylan is not only brilliant but also prolific.
Any of 10 studio, live, or compilation albums could take this space, but for pure end-to-end quality, his seventh studio album Blonde on Blonde may be the finest.
13. Outkast - Stankonia (2000)
“They are threateningly talented individuals” – Cee Lo Green
Outkast’s Stankonia took rap music and threw out the rule book. They turned hip-hop into something interplanetary (and the South into a stronghold), where freedom of expression, musical innovation, and pure enjoyment melded with traditional rap bangers and everyday struggles.
14. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories (2012)
I’m not much of a dance music guy, but Daft Punk is cool, whether the helmets are on or not. If you throw this on the Technics (careful, it’s hard to get in non-collectible form), things are going pretty well.
Twan’s cool vlog about the making of Random Access Memories – Daft Punk’s most critically acclaimed album recorded over the course of four years – is well worth a watch for anyone who wants to know more about this chart-topping album that gave us the massive hit Get Lucky.
15. Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (1959)
Great jazz music is made for being enjoyed on vinyl, and Kind of Blue is the greatest of jazz music. Put it on your player, settle in, and let Miles take you somewhere else for a while.
Check out the making of this classic album by watching this fantastic documentary (apologies for Bill Cosby’s appearance).
16. Radiohead - Kid A (2000)
I’m going to come clean: I AM NOT a Radiohead guy. I can appreciate their music, its complexity, skill, and vision. But it’s just not my thing. I’m sorry.
This clip explains brilliantly why Kid A is so vital and so vivid for many music fans, something I could not articulate.
17. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
This one might be a little controversial, but this is Kanye at his artistic peak. Coming off the poor reception of 808s & Heartbreak (an underrated album and my second favorite Kanye record) and dealing with problems in his personal life, Kanye hit studios across the world and created a masterpiece.
All of the Lights. POWER. Runaway. Blame Game. Monster. This album is not only chock full of hits but features some of the best rap verses Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross have ever spit.
This is a reminder of a time when Kanye was the center of the world for his musical abilities and not his private life.
18. Bjork - Post (1995)
Another choice some might not agree with, but Post is an exceptional album from Icelandic goddess Bjork.
It’s hard to describe what this album sounds like, but if you imagine every genre of music baked in a cake and topped with Bjork’s fascinating soprano as the icing, then you have Post.
While known for spawning the hit single It’s Oh So Quiet, there is much more to this album.
19. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang 36 Chambers (1993)
The debut studio album from the New York Collective is a stone-cold classic. Wu-Tang Clan announced themselves with gangsta rap’s signature braggadocio, plus a fusion of spare beats from the RZA threaded with Kung Fu samples.
Nine distinctly different voices and perspectives from inner-city New York can be heard, all with amazing lyrical flow and a willingness to experiment with beats, tempo, and personality.
The album gave birth to the highest-grossing hip-hop group of all time and ushered in an era of merchandise, film, and music production that still sees the group active and innovating today.
20. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (1977)
The Rumours album from Fleetwood Mac showed that copious amounts of drugs, sex, and alcohol, and relationship breakdowns (there were two couples in the group who both split before recording), could be great for creativity.
Rumours sold more than 10 million copies in the first month alone, while singles Go Your Own Way, Dreams, You Make Loving Fun, and Don’t Stop all made the US top 10 charts.
Disfunction has never sounded so good.
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21. Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain (1984)
While the film doesn’t quite hold up, the album remains an absolute banger that mixes power-pop, shredding guitars, funk, and psychedelic influences into an almost perfect tracklist. This is Prince at the peak of his powers.
22. The Clash - London Calling (1979)
London Calling is what happens when a punk band develops their music into a force that reflects the uncertainty, angst, and disaffection of an entire generation. London was a mess in 1979, with heroin, unemployment, political, social, and racial tension ripping through the city (and all of Great Britain).
While their classic punk sound was still readily apparent, The Clash’s third album harnessed reggae, roots, rock, ska, and heavy metal elements into a soup of powerful, politically, and socially aware set of tunes.
23. The Roots - Things Fall Apart (1999)
The Roots (yeah, Jimmy Fallon’s Band) proved you could make a killer hip-hop album with a live band. Things Fall Apart is a socially conscious album that still found resonance with the gangsta rap set and old school b-boys, which at that time was difficult to accomplish.
It features Black Thought’s lyrical dexterity and boxer’s delivery, mixed with great production and special guests like Mos Def, Erika Badu, Jill Scott, Eve, and Dice Raw.
24. Pearl Jam - Vs. (1993)
Pearl Jam, along with Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and lesser-known bands such as Mudhoney and Temple of the Dog, brought Seattle’s grunge sound to the rest of the world. After the commercial success of their debut Ten, Pearl Jam opted to mix harder and more aggressive rock with Eddie Vedder’s iconic vocal range on their sophomore album.
They eschewed releasing any singles despite having a handful that would’ve certainly made it into the top 10. It remains their most influential album and one that moved beyond grunge into another realm.
Fun fact: They wrote Daughter on the tour bus!
25. The Beatles - White Album (1968)
Another band where their entire back catalog could have appeared on this list, The Beatles White Album gets the nod. 30 tracks including classics Back In The U.S.S.R., Helter Skelter, Blackbird, and George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps make up this influential double album.
26. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
If I didn’t put this album on here, my sister would kill me. While many contemporaries looked outside, Pink Floyd focused on inside the mind with intense and dystopian fervor.
Dark Side of the Moon, much like Pet Sounds, transformed record arrangement, production, and recording, while the music itself was damn good to listen to as well.
Dark Side took out a lot of the long instrumentals and solos Floyd was known for while still maintaining a cinematic quality. Their audio innovation added the sonic effects that bands ever since have been copying.
27. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (2012)
“It ain’t nothing but a Compton thang.”
I don’t have too many contemporary musicians on this list (let’s face it, music now is made for a digital age, and I’m considered OLLLLLLD), yet Kendrick Lamar is an exception.
Lamar mixes old school gangsta sensibilities with furiously developed production on this coming-of-age concept album. To Pimp A Butterfly may be a stronger album, but I’ll argue forever that Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City is more influential and essential.
28. Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
I can still remember, nearly 30 years later, exactly where I was when I heard that Kurt Cobain had died.
If I hadn’t heard Nevermind, and especially Smells Like Teen Spirit, I wouldn’t have paid attention to the hype this band created. It’s hard to put into words just how much Nevermind impacted not only music but youth culture.
29. Eric B and Rakim - Paid in Full (1987)
The rap game changed once Rakim took the Mike and Eric B got on the turntables. Other rappers focused on changing things (KRS One), talking tough (Big Daddy Kane), and the drug epidemic in New York (Slick Rick) – Rakim focused on being better than everybody else
They took the socially conscious early hip-hop and added elements of cool that to this day remain unchanged, and gave us Paid in Full, which is still firmly inside the top 10 rap albums of all time.
30. (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
Seriously, if this album came out now – with all that media stoushing with fellow Brit Pop legends Blur – the internet would have broken. While Liam has turned into an epic storyteller and entertaining parent, for most of their career the Gallagher brothers have been considered complete and utter knobs (Noel still is).
The fact remains, though, that with the possible exception of dance music stars such as Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy, and the Chemical Brothers, no one had a bigger impact on British music than Oasis did throughout the 1990s, which has carried over into pop-rock music today.
31. Metallica - Metallica (The Black Album, 1991)
While old-school metalheads point to this as the moment Metallica sold out, in reality, it’s the band taking the next step in their evolution and proving heavier music has its place in pop culture.
The album is full of classic tracks. Enter Sandman is a grinding stadium rock offering. The Unforgiven a heartfelt ditty. Through The Never a reminder of Metallica’s thrash past. Then there’s Nothing Else Matters, an emotional power ballad about expressing and opening yourself up to others.
It might have pissed off their core fans, but Metallica topped the charts and has gone on to sell over 25.2 million copies worldwide, turning the band into the face of modern metal and gaining them more fans than they lost.
32. The Highwaymen - Highwayman
Waylon Jennings. Willie Nelson. Johnny Cash. Kris Kristofferson. Four of country music’s greatest stars joined forces as The Highwaymen, a country supergroup.
The result is a fantastic outlaw country album showcasing the distinct qualities of each man’s voice. Opener Highwayman sets the scene for a collection of country covers (including two Cash originals) perfect for a road trip through the great US of A.
33. Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine
Few political bands have managed to sell millions of albums and sell out stadiums without deviating from their beliefs like Rage Against The Machine.
Despite their success, or possibly because of it, the LA foursome has been a driving force in alternate rock for almost three decades. Merging rock with rap before nu-metal was a thing, Rage has a distinct sound thanks to vocalist Zac de la Rocha’s biting lyrics and Tom Morello’s unconventional guitar playing.
Rage Against The Machine is a Molotov cocktail of hard-hitting raps, brain-damaging guitar licks, slick bass lines, and thumping percussion. I can still remember headbanging in my room to Killing in the Name. Good memories.
34. The Prodigy - Music for the Jilted Generation
Before becoming household names with the release of Fat of the Land, The Prodigy lit up clubs and raves with tracks from their sophomore release Music for the Jilted Generation. The record is a big “fuck you” to new laws introduced against rave culture that fuses elements of trance, techno, and jungle.
The album contains a raft of eclectic samples, from films such as Star Wars: A New Hope, Poltergeist III, and Smokey and the Bandit, across 13 tracks fueled by Liam Howlett’s production. Their Law, Poison, and Voodoo People are all huge tunes, but for me, it’s No Good (Start the Dance) that showcases the brilliance of The Prodigy.
35. Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Both Joy Division albums should be part of any vinyl record collection, but if you had to choose one, I lean towards the Manchester group’s seminal debut Unknown Pleasures.
Four decades on and this album remains one of the greatest releases of all time. It’s responsible for creating the post-punk genre and has influenced almost every modern rock band ever formed.
Every song is a hit, from the droning bass of Peter Hook on opener Disorder to vocalist Ian Cutis’ fractured vocals on She’s Lost Control. This is an album addressing themes of angst, industrialism, epilepsy, and heartbreak brought together by Curtis’ pained baritone.
36. The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main St.
Recorded mainly in a villa in France, the making of Exile on Main St. is the stuff of legend. Keith Richards was in the depths of heroin addiction and Mick Jagger often missed sessions, but somehow when the band did manage to get together they created magic.
The Stones’ 10th album is chock full of incredible songs that merge rock and blues with soul and country, resulting in arguably the Stones greatest ever record.
37. Dr. Dre - The Chronic
After finding success with gangster rap group NWA, Dr. Dre proved he was a master of the art form with the release of The Chronic.
Creating the blueprint for g-funk, Dre blessed hip-hop fans with a classic album all about blunts, 40s, and attractive ladies. He also introduced the world to a then 18-year-old Snoop Dogg on hit Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang.
While the lyrics pose a problem in the current world, the beats still hold up, with Dre cementing his status as a hip-hop legend.
38. Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
Besides Adele, Amy Winehouse is the greatest female vocalist to come out of the past two decades. Possessed with a deep, soulful croon, you can feel Winehouse’s pain and sorrow on tracks such as Rehab, Addicted, and the glorious title track Back To Black.
A troubled figure who couldn’t beat her demons, Back To Black stands as Winehouse’s legacy – an emotional collection of soul, jazz, and pop songs that’s the biggest insight into her life we will ever get. RIP.
39. Bruce Springsteen - Darkness on the Edge of Town
You could put any number of Springsteen albums on this list, but for mine, it has to be Darkness on the Edge of Town. This is an exploration of the working class in America, with Springsteen fully embracing his love of rock and roll.
From the driving opener Badlands to the sax-heavy The Promised Land and the tale of a down on his luck loser on album closer Darkness on the Edge of Town, this 10 track record is a compelling masterpiece.
Springsteen would go on to release records that charted better and produced bigger hits, but this remains a touchstone in his career.
40. Black Sabbath - Paranoid
The godfathers of metal, Black Sabbath have released 19 albums over a 50-year career. Picking their best isn’t easy, but Paranoid stands the test of time. There’s not a bad song on it, from the demonic War Pigs to lo-fi Planet Caravan, this album highlights everything incredible about this band.
If you only own one metal album, make sure it’s Paranoid.
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