As a human being and then an entrepreneur, you must be an acquirer of knowledge. You’re not allowed to have a hate relationship with reading. You can’t even afford it. Books often contain the world’s best kept secrets and the world’s most successful people indulge frequently in this mental workout.
You should read to save yourself time; these days, information is the currency of time. More often than not, successful people will put their experiences in a book. For instance, if a 50 year old CEO writes a book, you will spend one or two days learning what it took him (or her) approximately 20-25 years of his working life to learn for a small fee. Would you rather pay in time and a higher price ultimately to learn the same thing?
One characteristic of a cell is that it forms from existing cells. Ideas are the same; they form from other ideas and reading has a way of igniting new ones. So, if you’re looking for something to read this season, here are some recommendations. It is a mix of entrepreneurship, personal finance and personal development.
Think and Grow Rich
I first heard this Malcolm X’s speech from the intro in MI’s Superhuman off his illegal music 2 album (one of the greatest albums ever). Malcom X says, “…… as long as you can be convinced you never did anything, you can never do anything”. You see, every defeat or victory you encounter will come from your mind. That’s why the most important war you have to win is the war of the mind. This book focuses fear, procrastination, decision making and many other issues that prevent people from reaching their potential. Let me tell you a little about my own fear and how it almost crippled me. Before I started writing on this platform, I was afraid no one would be interested or engage in my posts because I don’t write about relationships; you know, tips and tricks on how to catch a man or keep one. So, I stalled. One day, I told myself even if only one person is interested and engage, then, my work is done. Apparently, my fears were baseless.Warning: This is an old book so the language is little olden days like but you will get the message. There’s also a part that encourages talking to imaginary friends actually, more like making them your advisors and having meetings with them-regularly. Great read!
Blue Ocean Strategy
I will never stop talking about this book because it had a profound effect on me. In a previous post (here), I mentioned that you need to know the how of your business which should explain the difference between you and your competition, well, this book captures just that. The book states that there are red oceans; existing markets filled with competition and then blue oceans markets with little to no competition. There is no need to bother with the competition. Instead, focus on breaking barriers using the 6 stages of the buyer experience cycle by testing new markets because that is the only way you will be truly successful. Overall, it encourages entrepreneurs to seek ways of doing things differently.
The Lean Startup
I was confused and needed direction on how to start my business. This book showed me the way. The focus is on advising entrepreneurs to create a MVP (Minimum Viable Product). You want to build small to; minimize your loss in time, resources and money. Create the core of your product (version 1.0) and expand as you go along. This way you can learn and track what works and what doesn’t easily and quickly since you’re on a small scale. The book also encourages testing your product as you build (it seems obvious but you’d surprised) using the Kanban diagram of work. Warning: It is a little difficult to read and some parts might be boring because the author has a technical background. Read this one gradually.
The Richest Man In Babylon
I read this book a long time ago. If you’re still having problems with your finances, this will help you greatly with its nuggets of wisdom. Its also an old book, so the language is old as well. It is written in a parable like manner. There’s a short story in there titled 7 Cures for a Lean Purse; 1) start thy purse to fattening. 2) Control thy expenditure 3) Make thy gold multiply 4) Guard thy treasure from loss 5) Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment 6) Insure a future income 7) Increase thy ability to earn. Follow it and expect great results.
The Millionaire Next Door
Also a personal finance book, the authors did a 20 year study on millionaires and also rounded up millionaires (worth one to ten million) for personal interviews to ask them how they live, what they do and how they acquired their wealth. Most of them had parents who didn’t help them either. Some of their advice was to Live well below your means. Spend your time, energy and money efficiently in ways that build wealth. Believe that financial independence is more important than social status. Warning: Some of the research done is outdated. But, it is still a great read.
Made To Stick
This one is special. It’s about creating ideas that stick. Stick meaning ideas that are understood, remembered and have a lasting impact. Ideas that stick have six critical elements: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotions, and Stories. Business managers seem to believe that, once they’ve clocked through a PowerPoint presentation showcasing their conclusions, they’ve successfully communicated their ideas,” Heath (one of the authors) writes. “What they’ve done is share data” Sticky ideas shock, move and convince us. This book is an easy read and one you won’t forget.
I remember reading it with adrenaline running through my veins as it did when I read Sidney Sheldon’s Nothing Last Forever way back. The book is more about social economics and explains why certain things are the way they are. It will teach you to question everything and seek answers because there’s a lot more than what you see on the surface. I respect the authors because writing this book required a lot of research (data, statistics and analysis) on their part yet, they were able to present their findings in an entertaining style. They also confirmed two things I had always believed but had no proof of. With chapter titles like “Why Drug Dealers Still Live With Their Mothers, What do School Teachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Common, Why Do Prostitutes Earn More Than an Architects, this book will blow your mind……literally.
What books have you read that changed your life or way of thinking? If you’ve read anyone of these, which is it? What are you reading right now? I need some recommendations myself.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Igor Mojzes