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10 Non-Cliche Books Written By Super-Successful CEO That You Shouldn’t Miss

10 Non-Cliche Books Written By Super-Successful CEO That You Shouldn’t Miss

The business section of any bookshop is rife with clichés about how you can be the best leader you can be. These books tell you that you should take risks and not be afraid to fail. This is all fine. But this kind of advice isn’t worth buying for $19.99. Especially when you can buy a motivational poster that says the same thing.

When you are looking for a book by a successful CEO, you want to look for substance. You want the right content in the right context. Of course, writing a book isn’t easy, even if you are a Fortune 500 CEO. But if you, as a reader, are going to spend not just your money but your time on it, you want to take away more than just a couple of key takeaways.

Here are 10 of the best non-cliché books written by successful CEOS:

The Hard Thing about Hard Things

Ben Horowitz is the co-founder of one of the most sought after venture capital firms in the United States – Andreessen Horowitz. His book offers a humorous and practical insight into dealing with real world problems that business people do not encounter in the classroom.

Horowitz is interested in entrepreneurs who are willing to fight for what they believe in. He believes that struggle is an essential part of entrepreneurship. In his book, he implores his readers to “embrace the struggle.”

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Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time

In this book, Howard Schultz unpacks the way that he changed the world through café culture. As the CEO of Starbucks, Schultz has plenty of advice to offer readers from his experience in creating a global phenomenon.

In his book, Schultz offers valuable advice when he tells readers that “mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last.”

Rework

Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson are the co-founders of Basecamp. Fried serves as the company’s CEO and Hansson serves as the CTO.

In their book, the pair throw away all of the old rules of business. The book is packed with interesting content that is especially geared towards internet businesses. Some of the best advice this give is regarding product development. The pair write that “the easiest, most straightforward way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use.”

Winning: The Ultimate Business How-To Book

Jack Welch was the chairman and CEO of General Electric from 1981 until 2001 when he retired. Welch led his company around the globe for decades. He entered multiple markets. He watched as trends came and went. He worked through the dotcom revolution and into the digital age.

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For Welch, the book is all about the real world. His book is aimed at people at every level of organizations from new hires to senior executives. Some of his most applicable advice reminds readers that “reality is as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.”

Business @ the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy

This book was written by Bill Gates in 1999. Bill Gates is a man who needs no introduction. As the co-founder of Microsoft, he knows a thing or two about pioneering in technology.

Business @ the Speed of Thought was a revolutionary book about data analysis before data analysis even really mattered. But despite this, he writes that “the most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competition … is to do an outstanding job with information.”

#GIRLBOSS

In 2014, Sophia Amoruso took the fashion world and the business world by storm when she published #GIRLBOSS. Amoruso has always been a doer. She is the founder, creative director and CEO of Nasty Gal, an online fashion retailer that pulls in more than $100 million a year.

The book offers readers a chance a personal story that reflects both Amoruso’s life and her personality. Rather than deliver the typical motivational quotes, she lets her readers now that they “are not a special snowflake.”

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Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose

Deliver Happiness was published by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh in 2010.

Hsieh had a conventional career in tech before joining Zappos. In fact, he sold one of his earliest companies to Microsoft for a cool $265 million. When he joined Zappos, he transformed the company into one of the best places to work in America. He did it by focusing on developing a healthy corporate culture.

This corporate philosophy stems from his personal philosophy. In the book, Hsieh says, “I made a list of the happiest periods in my life, and I realized that none of them involved money.”

Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business

John Mackey is the cofounder of Whole Foods Market, a grocery chain that saw growth not only in America but overseas as well.

In his book, he writes about how a company’s stakeholders are not just investors. A company is responsible for its customers, employees, society and the world environment. He sums his theories up well when he says that “the longest journey that people must take is the eighteen inches between their heads and their hearts.”

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Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen

As the CEO of Yum! Brands, David Novak had a lot of insight to share about what it means to lead not just a large organization but a great one. Novak skips the business school jargon and instead focuses on teaching readers how to grab the tools they need to succeed whether they work in the restaurant or they run the company.

In the book, Novak says, “Your ability as a leader to attract, develop and retain people is fundamental to your success. When you get your team right, you’re going to get results.”

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman

This book was published by Yvon Chouinard, the founder and current owner of Patagonia. A climber, environmentalist and businessman, Chouinard wrote this book to be part manifesto and part memoir. The book offers insight into the principles underlying Patagonia.

Both the manifesto and the memoir are summed up clearly when Chouinard writes that “how you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.”

These books are not a one-size-fits-all solution. It is important to read the book that is most suitable for your life. But if you’re looking for a great book that will not just inspire you but mold you into a more successful business person, any of these 10 books will send you down the right path.

Featured photo credit: Robert Scoble via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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