I am a perpetual reader, which for entrepreneurs (and constant learners, movers, and shakers) is a great thing. If you missed Volume 1, here are my first five recommend business books. And here are my next five favorite professional development books so far. I’m honest with my rankings, so not all are 5 stars…
“Badass Business-Building Books”
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- One Word That Will Change Your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page
- The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
Let the inspiration begin!
Start with Why
Author: Simon Sinek
Who should read it: New business owners or dreaming entrepreneurs, marketing departments, and designers. This book teaches you much more than the “how” or “what” you learned in school. It takes you back to the roots of “why”.
Rating: * * * * * (5 stars)
“There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or influence. Those who lead inspire us. Whether individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead not for them, but for ourselves.”
“If more knew how to build organizations that inspire, we could live in a world in which that statistic was the reverse—a world in which over 80 percent of people loved their jobs. People who love going to work are more productive and more creative. They go home happier and have happier families. They treat their colleagues and clients and customers better. Inspired employees make for stronger companies and stronger economies. That is why I wrote this book.”
“There is a big difference between repeat business and loyalty. Repeat business is when people do business with you multiple times. Loyalty is when people are willing to turn down a better product or a better price to continue doing business with you.”
“Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do what they do. When I say WHY, I don’t mean to make money — that’s a result. By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?”
“This is the genius of great leadership. Great leaders and great organizations are good at seeing what most of us can’t see. They are good at giving us things we would never think of asking for.”
“When our decisions feel right, we’re willing to pay a premium or suffer an inconvenience for those products and services. This has nothing to do with price or quality.”
“Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.”
“Great organizations become great because the people inside the organization feel protected. The strong sense of culture creates a sense of belonging and acts like a net.”
“WHY-types are the visionaries, the ones with the overactive imaginations. They tend to be optimists who believe that all the things they imagine can actually be accomplished. WHY-types are focused on the things more people can’t see, like the future.”
“Achievement comes when you pursue and attain WHAT you want. Success comes when you are clear in pursuit of WHY you want it.”
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Who should read it: Those looking to foster or develop creativity living beyond their fears.
Rating: * * * * *(4 stars)
“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.”
” Question: What is creativity? Answer: The relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration. It calls to your heart and brings you to life.”
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels—that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place — that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one. The often surprising results of that hunt—that’s what I call Big Magic.”
“Just say what you want to say, then, say it with all your heart. Share whatever you are driven to share.”
“Best of all, though, by saying that you delight in your work, you will draw inspiration near. Inspiration will be grateful to hear those words coming out of your mouth, because inspiration—like all of us—appreciates being appreciated. Inspiration will overhear your pleasure, and it will send ideas to your door as a reward for your enthusiasm and your loyalty. More ideas than you could ever use. Enough ideas for ten lifetimes.”
“Recognizing this reality—that the reaction doesn’t belong to you—is the only sane way to create. If people enjoy what you’ve created, terrific. If people ignore what you’ve created, too bad. If people misunderstand what you’ve created, don’t sweat it. And what if people absolutely hate what you’ve created? What if people attack you with savage vitriol and insult your intelligence, and malign your motives, and drag your good name through the mud? Just smile sweetly and suggest, as politely as you possibly can, that they go make their own fucking art. Then stubbornly continue making yours.”
“The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust—and those elements are universally accessible.”
“We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we are so worried about what other people think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won’t completely be free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth: nobody was ever thinking about you anyhow.”
“Fierce trust asks you to stand strong within this truth: You are worthy, dear one, regardless of the outcome. You will keep making your work, regardless of the outcome. You will keep sharing your work, regardless of the outcome. You were born to create, regardless of the outcome. You will never lose trust in the creative process, even when you don’t understand the outcome.”
Author: Cal Newport
Who should read it: Anyone needing convincing that email- and social media-obsessed distractions truly don’t lead to deep work. It’s a very scientific and dry read, but excellent for people wanting another reason to convince their bosses to work from home. Fewer distractions mean more productivity.
Rating: * * (2 stars) (I rated this book only two stars because I think it could be summed up in a 1-page paper — not an entire book)
“By working on a single hard task for a long time without switching, Grant minimizes the negative impact of the attention residue from his other obligtations, allowing him to maximize performance on this one task. When Grant is working for days in isolation on a paper, in other words, he’s doing so at a higher level of effectiveness than the standard professor following a more distracted strategy in which the work is repeatedly interrupted by residue-slathering interruptions.”
“The attention residue concept is still telling because it implies that the common habit of working in a state of semi-distraction is potentially devastating to your performance.”
“Rule #1: Work deeply. Rule #2: Embrace boredom. Rule #3: Quit social media. Rule #4: Drain the shallow (Decide what you’re going to do with every minute of your workday using time-blocking.)”
One Word That Will Change Your Life
Authors: Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, Jimmy Page
Who should read it: Anyone looking for one word of inspiration for your year. No explanations or definitions — just one word.
Rating: * * * * * (4 stars)
The book takes less than 1 hour to read, so I’m not going to list any favorite quotes, but I will share that my word for 2018 is BOLD. One Sunday morning, I was thinking about my word and it came to me. As the book states, the words finds you. Read this book and try to define each year after this one with just one word that will change your life.
The Compound Effect
Author: Darren Hardy
Who should read it: Anyone looking to start or stop a habit. This book focuses on how small, incremental changes compound over months and years to give you transformational growth.
Rating: * * * * * (4 stars)
“Success is not doing 5000 things really well. Success is doing half a dozen really well, 5000 times. So, the key is, what are those half a dozen things and how do you do them really well?”