Advertising
Advertising

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.”

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.”

Advertising

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.”

Advertising

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

More by this author

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With 8 Signs You Have A Strong Personality That Might Scare Some People How to Achieve Quick Success at Work Even If You’re Lacking in Clear Direction You’ll No Longer Be Fooled by Skillful Liars If You Know This Concept How I Kill Boredom at Work to Regain My Productivity

Trending in Leadership

1 5 Key Traits of a Charismatic Leadership 2 How to Master Your Management Skills and Build a Strong Team 3 8 Signs of a Micro Manager (And How Not to Become One) 4 9 Reasons Why Motivation Matters in Leadership 5 10 Huge Differences Between a Boss And a Leader

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 9, 2019

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

The world has become a very distracting place, you don’t need me to tell you that. Where once we could walk out of our house or office and disappear into our own world with our own thoughts, we are now connected 24 hours a day to a network that’s sole purpose is to make us available to anyone and everyone at any time they choose to disturb us.

Of course, it is very easy to sit here and say all you have to do is turn off your electronic devices and just allow yourself several hours of quiet solitude; but the reality is far harder than that. There is an expectation that we are available for anyone whenever they want us.

However, if you do want to elevate yourself and perform at your best every day, to produce work of a higher quality than anyone expects and to regain control over what you do and when you will need to regain some control over your time, so you can focus on producing work that matters to you…

The good news: You do not have to become a recluse. All you need are a few simple strategies that will allow you enough flexibility in your day to stay focused to do the work that matters and still allow you to deal with other people’s crises and dramas.

Here are 7 ways you can stay focused and be less distracted.

1. Find out When You Are at Your Most Focused

According to research, brilliantly documented by Daniel Pink in his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, our brains have a limited capacity to stay focused each day.[1]

From the moment we wake up to the time we turn in for the day, we are using up our brain’s limited energy resources and, depending on the time of day, we will be moving between strong concentration and low concentration.

This means that for most people, their optimum time for sustained concentration and focus will be soon after they wake up. For others, it could be later in the evening—a kind of second wind—but that is rare.

Advertising

Once you understand this, you can take time to learn when you are at your best and to protect that time on your calendar as much as possible. If you can, block it off and use that time for the work you need to do that requires the most concentration each day.

2. Get Comfortable Using ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode

We have the ability to switch our electronic devices to do not disturb mode. Where all notifications are off and your phone or computer will not alert you to a new email or message.

Now after testing this function for a number of years, I can happily report that it does work.

When I sat down to write this article, I put all my electronic devices to do not disturb, closed down my email and began writing. I am safe in the knowledge that until this article is written, and I turn do not disturb off, there will be no interruptions or distractions.

Of course, it is not really about whether do not disturb works or not, it is whether you are willing to turn it on or not.

Most people believe they have to be constantly available for their boss or customers. This is not true at all. What has happened is because of your always available status, you have conditioned these people to turn to you first whenever they have a problem.

You are not actually helping them at all. You are preventing them from having to think for themselves and develop the skill of problem-solving. By not being so readily available, you help them a lot more.

What it comes down to is your boss and customers are going to be far more positive with you, if you deliver your work to the highest quality and on time than you being available 24/7. Trust me on that. I also tested that one.

Advertising

3. Schedule Focus Time Every Day

This technique is a lot easier than you may think.

First, you figure out when you are least likely to be disturbed. For me, that is between 6 and 9 am. for a lot of my clients, they find the first 90 minutes in the morning at their workplace is when they are not likely to be disturbed. This is important because you want to be building consistency.

Most people start their day by checking their email and other messages. While they are doing that, they are not going to be bothering you. Now there is no rule about when you should be checking your email. The chances are email is not going to be where you want to spend your most focused time, so you can decide to check your email at say 10:30 am.

Dedicate 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 11:00 am for email processing and use the first 90 minutes of your day for doing your most important work. You will surprise yourself by how much work you get done in that ninety minutes.

4. Plan Your Day the Night Before

One of the inevitabilities of life is there is always a plan for the day. The choice is whether the plan you have is a plan of your own making or not. If you don’t have a plan, then the day will take control of you. Other people’s priorities, urgencies and dramas will fill your day. As the late Jim Rohn said:

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

If you take control and make it a habit to plan out what you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed, you will find yourself staying more focused on your work and be less likely disturbed.

Now when I say plan your day the night before, I do not mean you need to spend an hour or so planning and mapping out every minute of the day. Planning your day should only take you around 10 to 15 minutes and you only need to decide what 10 things you want to complete — 2 “must do” objective tasks and 8 “would like to do” tasks. What I call the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique:

Advertising

Do not be tempted to go beyond 10 tasks for the day. When you do that, you do not have enough flexibility in your day to handle crises and other unknown issues that will pop up throughout the day.

When you do not build in flexibility, you will soon stop planning your day. Only plan tasks that will have the biggest positive impact on your work and projects.

5. Learn to Say “No”

I am sure you’ve been told this before. We are wired to please and this results in us wanting to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. The problem is we cannot do everything and every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you are saying “no” to another opportunity. You cannot be in two places at the same time.

Jay Shetty shared an inspiring video on JOMO “Joy Of Missing Out”. Here’s the video:

Rather than allowing ourselves to be succumbed by FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), we should replace that ‘fear’ with the “joy” of missing out. Because of our need to please, we say yes to things we really don’t want to do; yet when we do that, we miss out on doing things that bring us joy—creating something special, spending time educating ourselves and just having some quiet alone time with ourselves.

Learn to say “no” every time you get a notification to your phone. Ignore it. Learn to say “no” to your colleagues when they want to gossip. Learn to say “no” to volunteering when the thing you are being asked to volunteer for does not excite you. Just learn to say “no”.

By saying “no” to opportunities, distractions and interruptions, you are saying yes to better and more meaningful things. Things you do want to focus your attention on.

6. Create a Distraction-Free Environment for Your Focused Time

This has been possibly the most powerful tip I learned when it comes to focusing on what is important. Have a place where you do only focused, high-concentration work.

Advertising

Now this place needs to be clean and only have the tools you need to do your work. If it is writing a report or preparing a presentation, then it needs a table and a computer, nothing more. Files, paper and other detritus that accumulates on and around people’s desks need to go. A clean, cool and well-lit environment is going to do a lot more for your focus and concentration than anything else.

The dining table in our home is where I go for undisturbed, focussed work. I take my laptop or iPad, and only have my writing app open. Everything is closed down and the computer is in “do not disturb” mode. There is nothing else on the dining table just my computer and my water tumbler.

Because that is my designated focus area, I only go there to work when I have something that needs total focus and concentration. I am there right now!

7. Be Intentional

The reality is, if you absolutely need to get something done then you need to be intentional. You have to have the intention of sitting down, focusing and doing the work.

There’s no magic tricks or apps that will miraculously do all your work for you. You need to intentionally set aside time for undisturbed focus work and do it. Without that intention, you can read as many of these articles as you like and you still will not get the work done.

It is only when you intentionally set yourself up to do the work, turn off all notifications and do whatever it takes to avoid distractions will the work get done.

The Bottom Line

The strategies and tips I shared in this post will go a long way to helping you become better at focusing on the important things in your life. No matter what they are, you are in control of your time and what you do with it and where you spend it, never give that control away to anyone else.

Protect it and it will be your servant. Give that control away and it will become your master and that is not a good place to be.

More About Staying Focused

Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next