8 Great Marketing Books + True Kat Confessions

In 2003 – 2004, I went through a really difficult time. I was in south France teaching at an English immersion camp called American Village. Best. Job. Ever. During one of our off-weekends, a friend and I visited Nice. That’s when I put my bag (mon sac) on the ground at the train station, and it all started rolling out…

(Life hasn’t always been full of fun corporate drumming like it was last Friday! Thanks Jessie Johnson for this pic!)
Corporate Team Building, San Diego

Money and Security Problems

Someone stole my bag in France. They did it so well, that I didn’t even notice right away. It was bizarre. They were true professionals. Many sentimental items were stolen, including a spontaneous poem that a romantic Italian wrote about us while we were visiting the Vatican. But other items included: our train tickets to the next stop, all of my cash, my drivers license, my passport, my credit cards, all of my toiletries, my journal, and there were some more but I can’t remember.

Imagine being in France with ZERO passport, credit cards, identification, cash. Fortunately my friend Sauce (camp name) was with me, lent me some cash, and sent me off to Marseilles to get an emergency passport.

Health Problems

That was only the beginning. That day became the first day of my 28-day long stress-induced period which caused me to black out and stay bed ridden, in France, at camp, for 3 days.

Romantic Problems

Then my boyfriend came to tour Switzerland with me. We broke up on the trip. This wasn’t just *any* boyfriend. This was love-of-my-life, write-me-love-poems, look-into-my-soul-with-your-eyes boyfriend. We traveled solo after hugging in the cobble-stone streets of some small Swiss town at 11PM for 2 hours straight, not letting go for the entire 2-hour duration.

Shelter Problems

I returned to Tallahassee that fall to finish up my second year of grad school, but my apartment (for which I signed a lease) was not finished with construction due to heavy summer rains. So I filled out forms for option B, stay with a friend. I stayed with my friend Jim who had two rottweilers. I am a Kat. I do not play well with dogs.

Animal Problems

I took the dogs for a walk one day, and Gracie started eating poop. I tried to wash it off. She wouldn’t stand still and poop got all over me.

More Shelter Problems

I couldn’t stand living with dogs any longer, so I lived in my car for a few weeks. Living in your car works in warm climates that do not have mosquitoes. But in Florida, it’s not so pleasant. The first night, I was eaten alive because I couldn’t cover my skin with my blanket – It was too hot for that, and I was drenched in sweat all night. So the second night I tried to engineer a plug for the vents. It worked better. I was still drenched in sweat all night. But at least I found showers at Tom Brown park and showered there when I could.

More Health and Energy Problems

At that time of living in my car, I remember that I was still recovering from low iron. So, I vividly remember eating spinach out of the bag for many of my meals because I didn’t have the energy (or kitchen) to cook.

I have to say… I secretly found pleasure out of showing up at college, teaching and learning in classes, sleeping in my car every night.

School Problems

On top of that, FSU was about to strip away my assistantship because in the hustle of making it out to France, I had totally forgotten to file my in-state paperwork. (Honestly, I signed up for grad school at FSU haphazardly and didn’t take much seriously.) Stripping my assistantship would mean that I would drop out of grad school. There was no other option…except… Jim convinced me to talk to the boss’s boss of the dean’s dean’s master dean. And I did. And by the grace of God, she allowed the paperwork to go through several months late.

Legal Problems

Then I received a notice from my apartment’s lawyer telling me how much rent I owed. Rent? I was staying at Jim’s and in my car. I took Option B, so how could this be?

I called. They said “Well, you’ll be up against the lawyers on this.” huh?

I read my lease over and over. I could not find the part where if they didn’t delivery on the apartment, I still had to fork out cash. Unbelievable. Apparently, *everyone* else took Option A, the alternative housing. I refused. That was ridiculous. They won’t deliver, I won’t participate…

I made an appointment with FSU’s free legal services for students. Dude said I was ok.

I wrote a formal letter to the apartment’s lawyers. I made an appointment to see those creeps. I walked in and showed them the lease. They gave me a hard look, and told me that I owed cash. Then they compared my lease with everyone else’s. Apparently, they had given me the wrong lease to sign the year before! Unbelievable. They got off my back. ummmm, did I dodge a bullet? And what lease would ever say that if the owners don’t deliver on the apartment, you still have to pay rent?

Transportation and Shelter Problems

Then, I totaled my car. Which was my house.

Depression Problems

Certainly during this Year Of Hell in my life, there were angels by my side helping me through. Sauce in France, my sister and mom sent me money in France, my friend Karen in Switzerland, my friend Jim in Tally, the dean’s bosses’ master of deandome at FSU, FSU’s legal dept, my parents… And I can see that now, but at the time I just wanted to end it. I couldn’t get out of bed, when I finally landed in the bed of the apartment that was late on construction. I couldn’t stop crying. The crying for 8 hours and sleeping for 16 hours per day all sounds normal and fine, considering the circumstances. But when it goes on for months… I think then you know you’re in a deep, dark depression.

I won’t get into too many details, but let’s just say that my group piano students had a reeeeeally easy semester that year.

I think it was that Christmas of 2003 that someone shared the movie The Secret with me. At the time, the entire movie was streaming for free online. I watched it, and liked it. And it gave me hope, but I was still pretty lost and down.

Asking The Question

To make a long story short, I realized that I needed to make a commitment. This was literally life or death, and I needed to make a decision NOW: either commit to dying and moving on to the next world OR commit to living here on earth. But in order to make that decision, I had to know “Why am I on earth?”

Just by asking the question, and noticing my curiosity about myself, I realized that I wasn’t ready to move on yet. It took a long time to reach that point, and it was excruciatingly painful and unpleasant, but…

I finally decided to commit to living under one condition: That I would live with PURPOSE. If I lived with anything less, then I must end it. Living with purpose is the only way I would ever be able to handle these extreme, awful external events, if they happened to me again. But living without purpose is just not worth living at all… somehow these events led me to believe this.

I will have to write more on this topic at a later date, but you can get the gist here. And I hope you can understand why I’m so intense about some things in life.

The Temporary Answer

And so to clarify, my message is to be well, feel good, and make MUSIC. My purpose is to help others be well, feel good, and make MUSIC. That purpose is an umbrella for helping people unveil their brilliance, helping people realize the greatness within, and helping people connect with one another. Music just happens to be a sweet tool to get all that done. And the internet is a pretty sweet tool, too.

That’s my story and why I will never stop learning, asking questions, and seeking out the reason I am here on earth, as long as I’m on earth. Because my purpose is ever-changing and impermanent . . .

I had to share this whole story to answer someone’s question. Kathy Schumacher asked me “Have you compiled a list of all the books/on-line resources you used for learning about marketing? You mentioned in the Foundation podcast about jumping in 110% to learning everything you could.”

But in my interview, I actually mentioned jumping in 150% or ZERO. =)

My Big Why, As It Relates To Marketing

What does this story have to do with marketing? Bear with me… EVERYTHING! Because everything is related to everything (thank you, Dr. Madsen). Bear with me still…

Why do I study marketing? Because spreading my message is why I’m on earth. Without spreading my message, I would be living without purpose. And if I didn’t live with PURPOSE, then I would end my life. Pretty straight and narrow there.

Living With Purpose

Instead, I’ve gotten a taste of life with purpose, and I’m hooked. I’ve gone in 150%, and now there’s no looking back. It’s like the point of no return, and I’m at a constant acceleration of wild love for living a purposeful life.

Marketing my message is part of my PURPOSE here, it comes from my HEART, and I can’t separate marketing from business from my message from the way I live from my lifestyle preferences from my family from my fiance from any other aspect of life.

Because everything relates to everything.

My Favorite Marketing Books

And with that, here are some of my favorite marketing books:
1. E Myth Revisited: a MUST-READ! I’m telling you, you MUST read this book right now. This has helped me in a million different ways. As soon as you read the first chapter or two, you will write me an email that says “omg Kat, he describes me EXACTLY in those chapters. How did you know? How did HE know?” Seriously, buy it now if you are a business owner.
2. E Myth Mastery
3. Rework
4. Start with Why
5. Tribes (or anything by Seth Godin)
6. Ready, Fire, Aim
7. The Breakthrough Company
8. Millionaire Messenger

More Ideas For Resources

I admire the work of my 5 amazing girl friends here in San Diego. Also, Marie Forleo and Brendan Burchard. Otherwise, I have a business coach with whom I meet once per week – month, depending on my needs. I also seek out secret video interviews that don’t get played much. Or I look for content by any of the authors of the books above. Or I read blog posts from Amy Porterfield. Or I jump in online courses with Melanie and Devin Duncan or Victoria Gibson. Or I go to live events with people I admire. I’m definitely an online course hopper. And I put time, energy, and resources into educating myself as much and as often as possible.

Whew. So, why are you here on earth? Loaded question, I know 😉

24 Responses to 8 Great Marketing Books + True Kat Confessions

  1. Jordan Goodman October 25, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Very inspiring post Kat! Good for you for being honest and candid. It will resonate with many. Some of your book suggestions are new to me, thanks for sharing!

    • Kat Fulton October 31, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

      Thanks for reading and being with me on this one, Jordan =) See you on twitter!

  2. JoAnn Jordan October 25, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    What an amazing line of events, Kat. The world is so blessed you chose to go the route of living a purposeful life!

    “E Myth Revisited” is one I have read and kept as a resource. Glad to know I have company in liking it.

    • Kat Fulton October 31, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

      Ah So glad you have the E Myth – completely changed *everything* for me! Thanks for your presence here, JoAnn!

  3. John Mews October 25, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Wow, thank you for sharing your heartfelt deep story! It resonants with me so much! I too had a turning point and like you it was the secret that steered me into a better more clear “purposeful” direction!
    And then I met you KAT!!! wink!
    Thank you for sharing your purpose with others and helping us in our journey! Its amazing when we share what you get back!
    So thank you for sharing these amazing books as I’m on my journey to marketing my business in a different more intentional and profitable way!

    • Kat Fulton October 31, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

      Ooooo honey – isn’t it great to find our purposeful direction? I can’t wait to show you my bridal gown pix. Stay tuned – Oh I probably need your cell! xo Cheers!

  4. Kathy Schumacher October 25, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Kat! Amazing and intense blog post. Thank you for your transparency and for sharing with all of us. Can’t wait to see what the next five years bring for you and this entire on-line community!

    • Kat Fulton October 31, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

      Hey Kathy! Thanks for starting the SPARK that led me to write this!

  5. Susan Seale October 25, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    Awesome, Kat…I knew there was something about you….:)
    I’ve had a couple of lifetimes inside this one kind of like the one you just described. They are not pretty and not much fun. Fortunately, they do end and things turn around despite all that happens.

    I think I was born knowing my purpose to work with children except that purpose got completely turned upside-down a couple of years ago.

    I didn’t expect my life’s purpose to be unexpectedly tweeked after half a century of already knowing what my purpose was…and after always pretty much knowing what my purpose was…like from the age of 3.

    Life is different for me now.

    Great books:) I remember reading the E-myth over 20 years ago and was just recommending his books the other day to someone.

    Kat, you are doing amazing things in the world and serving people in amazing ways. I know my life has a new dimension to it (and a new biz) because of your online teachings.

    Thank you:)!

    • Kat Fulton October 31, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

      And I know there is something about youuuuuuuu my friend – gosh we’ve been with each other online for a long time, Susan! Amazing to see how you’ve bloomed and blossomed into the COACH you are today! Thanks for always sharing your story and inspiring others with your openness. I appreciate your comment here, your encouragement (constant!), and your vision! Love you –

  6. Debi Kret October 25, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    Hey Kat,

    We must be Sisters! I have been there too! Thanks for sharing and thanks for starting your internet blog…it was right here that I started reading your blog and reclaimed my true purpose!

    • Kat Fulton October 31, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      Gurrrrrrrrl yes. Then you know =) Thanks for *reading* my internet blog! I’m SO happy to have witnessed your reclaiming via email!!!! I remember those vividly, and WOW, you’ve come a long way. So proud to know you, Debi –

  7. Angie October 25, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    So inspiring. I love this blog. And your list of books. And your influences.
    My favorite parts of your message: 150% or ZERO and your 5 AMAZING GIRLFRIENDS.
    The list of books is great as well.
    Thank you, Kat!

    • Kat Fulton October 31, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

      =) couldn’t ever get through my life without my girls – they are AMAZING just like you! Come to San Diego, and we can all hang =)

  8. Melinda October 28, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Your courage to build an amazing business is so amazing to me. I am so blown away after reading the post. You truly have empathy, passion, soul and creativity in what you do and that is sometime rare in this messed up society we live in, where fame and money often come with “selling out.” Thanks for being you and for dedicating your life to a good cause! I will check out the book list to get some inspiration for getting my own message out into the world.

    • Anonymous October 31, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

      Hey Melinda! I’m so happy you can get some inspiration from this – let me know how you like the books!

  9. Mary Tolena October 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Wow, Kat, I am so inspired by your story!

    I was in my own deep well of depression at about the same time, and also had a distinct “I am going to save myself” moment. That led me to Arthur’s Hawaii Playshop in 2003, and a vision that a new life was possible!

    You are such a role model for me in the way you’re building your business and getting more of your own PURPOSE and MAGIC out there in the world. Go girl!!

  10. Kat Fulton October 31, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    Mary! We have been on the same voyage for many years before we knew each other. You are a kindred spirit to me – I’ve read a bit of your story, too, and likewise was inspired.

    Thank YOU for sharing your spirit and your rhythm with the world. Can’t wait to see you again – thanks for being YOU!! xo

  11. Liz November 17, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Hi Kat,

    I am relatively new to your blog, but I love how open and insightful you are with each post. I can completely relate to you in regards to your finding purpose through difficult times. Sometimes those difficult moments are needed so that you can propel into something bigger and better 🙂
    I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  12. Albert November 30, 2013 at 12:43 am #

    Kat, thank you soo much for posting this! I came across your site when I was browsing Craigslist for work gigs. Been struggling with “whys?” and your story has been an inspiration and the books a great help! I really loved the E-Mastery books, just finished them and wanted to thank you for that.

    Wishing you the best!


  13. Sarah jane January 8, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    Thank you for your openness and awesomeness! I truly believe that the experiences you (you, me and we!) endure and overcome help shape the adventures of our lives and build our character. I’ve shared similar times of “alternative living” including my car and tent living in Southern California and the Caribbean. No bugs in SoCal=score 1 for SJ! Even though they were times of struggle, I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything!

    The passage below has always been an important one for me to keep in perspective the balance of times of joy and sorrow. Hopefully it will resonate with others too.
    Thanks for being you and sharing your passion with the world!

    On Joy and Sorrow (Kahlil Gibran)
    Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be?

    The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
    Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
    And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
    When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
    When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

    Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
    But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
    Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

    Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
    Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
    When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

  14. Rachel Rotert January 8, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    It’s amazing how a difficult year can open your eyes to the big picture and what truly motivates you. Thanks for being so brave to share this story, and I’m glad it has turned around for you in your life and your business!

    By the way, I’m totally adding all these books to my reading list. I am a huge Seth Godin fan too and am currently reading “Small is the New Big”.

  15. Alison Watson January 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    What serendipity! I just finished the Music Therapy Ed e-course by Janice Lindstrom on burnout, and came back to your blog to read the above post. It is inspiring to read your story, and to learn about your resilience and passionate purpose. Thank you for sharing your journey and for your continued positive energies and efforts to advance music therapy-you rock!

  16. T. Theresa Jackson February 16, 2014 at 3:48 pm #


    What a blessing you have been to so many clients and colleagues. All of those trials have made you the wonderful and helpful person to those of us who may need the reminder that self-care is so important. May the same angels help see you through your past tribulations continue to keep you safe, healthy and at peace.

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