TOOLS

A collection of books, resources, apps, and tools that I often recommend to other creators, all put in one place.

Yes, these are affiliate links. Thanks for your support 🙂

This page will be updated often so check back every month or two to see if there are new tools that might help you in your journey to becoming a full time professional, or Craftsman, creative.

BOOKS

Organized by Author. Every book was rated either 4 or 5 stars after I read it, many have been revisited a number of times, as marked by an asterisk *.

Business

How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big – Scott Adams
The 10x Rule – Grant Cardone
*Creativity Inc. – Ed Catmull
*Good to Great – Jim Collins
Rules for Renegades – Christine Comaford-Lynch
*Principles: Life & Work – Ray Dalio
The Effective Executive – Peter Drucker
The 4-Hour Workweek – Tim Ferriss
Rework – Jason Fried & DHH
The E-Myth Revisited – Michael Gerber
*Linchpin – Seth Godin
Permission Marketing – Seth Godin
Purple Cow – Seth Godin
This Is Marketing – Seth Godin
Tribes – Seth Godin
The ONE Thing – Gary Keller
Show Your Work – Austin Kleon
Do The Work – Steven Pressfield
*The War Of Art – Steven Pressfield
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – Al Ries
Anything You Want – Derek Sivers

Finances

Think & Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
*Profit First – Mike Michalowicz
Money: Master The Game – Tony Robbins
*I Will Teach You To Be Rich – Ramit Sethi

Story/Writing

*The Story Grid – Shawn Coyne
Adventures in the Screen Trade – William Goldman
Perennial Seller – Ryan Holiday
Damn Fine Story – Chuck Wendig

Personal Development

Daring Greatly – Brené Brown
Atomic Habits – James Clear
Grit – Angela Duckworth
The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
Outliers: The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell
The Dip – Seth Godin
*The Master Key System – Charles F. Haanel
Ego is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday
The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday
Developing The Leader Within You – John C. Maxwell
Essentialism – Greg McKeown
*Deep Work – Cal Newport
*So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport
*Awaken the Giant Within – Tony Robbins
Unlimited Power – Tony Robbins
The Art Of Learning – Josh Waitzkin

The Book of Mormon
Honestly, if there was one book I would recommend above them all, it would be The Book of Mormon. Call it the best self help book ever written, call it scripture, call it exactly what you need right now. It would be disingenuous of me to leave this out, as it has been the most influential book I’ve ever read. I read it at least once a year, and even wrote a book compiling all of the principles it teaches. You can find that book here.

APPS

https://gumroad.com/darentsmithAcorns
Automatically invests your spare change.

Albert
Automatic savings, advice, and financial tracking.

Audible
Listen to audio books.

Betterment
Invest your money into different kinds of IRA and savings accounts, automatically.

Brain.fm
Science-based audio tracks to help you focus, sleep, relax, or meditate.

Credit Karma
Track and improve your credit

Dashlane
Password manager. I switched over from lastpass and Apple/Safari’s built in password manager and have been extremely happy with it.

Debitize
Pays your credit card immediately after making a transaction so that you never carry a balance on your cards.

Evernote
My go-to note taking and tracking app. It’s the catch all for basically everything.

Fade In
The BEST professional screenwriting app, hands down.

Freedom
Blocks websites and internet access for a set amount of time to give you the freedom to work undistracted.

Gumroad
The easiest way to sell digital products online. You can see my store here.

Highland 2
Highland has been my writing app of choice since they released version 1 a few years ago. No distraction, just writing. I write the outlines and first drafts of basically everything including books and screenplays in Highland.

MileIQ
If you’re a freelancer and have your own LLC, this is the best mileage tracking app I’ve found, and you want to track your mileage, especially if you have a long commute.

Nerd Wallet
Another credit score and tracking app. I use this along with Credit Karma.

Oak
I use this app every morning. It’s simple, elegantly designed, and gives me a great way to track my morning meditation.

Overcast
While the built-in Apple Podcasts app works fine, this has some extra functions that I like as a sound aficionado, like a built in compressor, speed controls for each individual podcast, and a smart speed option which skips over long silences.

Prism
Track and pay your bills.

Sleep Cycle
A better alternative to an alarm clock, this app tracks your sleep as well as wakes you up gently within a half hour window so that you wake up with your natural sleep cycle, rather than when you’re in deep sleep. I’ve used it for years.

Streak
A great, free, CRM tool that lives inside Gmail. Brilliant for tracking leads and potential clients and projects.

Streaks
The best habit tracker I’ve found and I’ve tried probably a dozen. Track up to 12 different daily habits, with options for skipping days, tracking only a few times a week, etc.

Strong
The best workout tracker on the market.

Weekend Read
A great way to read PDFs of any kind, but especially screenplays. Best on an iPad mini but also works great on iPhone.

PRODUCTS

Basecamp 3
The best app for project management and team collaboration. I prefer this to competitors like Slack.

Carbon Copy Cloner
Back. Up. Your. Work. This has more functionality than just using time machine or other daily backup software.

Convert Kit
The BEST email software for creatives. It’s purpose built for people like you and me, and can grow with you as you grow your audience and your business. Nathan Barry, the founder of Convert Kit, is a friend, an incredible designer, and a great business leader. I couldn’t recommend a product more. I’ve been using ConvertKit since it was first released.

Final Cut Pro
My preferred app for video editing.

Pixelmator Pro
Why pay a monthly subscription cost and use old, hard to learn software when you can buy Pixelmator once and start using it immediately? I prefer this app over the Adobe alternatives.

WordPress
If you need a website, use WordPress. I’ve tried squarespace and wix and a number of other competitors and nothing compares. If you need a storefront, use WooCommerce on WordPress, I prefer it over Shopify and other competitors. If you need hosting, check out SiteGround rather than Godaddy.

You Need A Budget
I’ve used Mint and other financial tracking apps but the principles that you use in YNAB as well as the way the app works just jives with my brain way more than the other options on the market.

COURSES

Sphere of Influence
Easily the best course out there on everything that leads up to selling a product or getting people onto an email list. Andre is easily one of the best marketing teachers out there, and his courses are great. Sphere of Influence covers everything before the sale, while his other course, Auto Responder Madness, deals with how to engage your audience once they’ve already become your customer. Both are highly recommended.

Self Publishing Formula
For anyone looking to write or publish a book, Mark Dawson is an inspiration and a prolific teacher. Definitely check out the many courses he has available, get on his email list, and subscribe to his podcast.

PODCASTS

Akimbo
Children of Tendu
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
Daren In Podcast Form (Shameless self promotion)
The Empire Film Podcast
Freakonomics Radio
Launch
The Moment with Brian Koppelman
Naval
Planet Money
The Producer’s Guide
The Q&A With Jeff Goldsmith
Reply All
Rework
Science Vs
Scriptnotes Podcast
The Self Publishing Show
Story Grid Podcast
The Tim Ferriss Show