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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 October 16, 2019

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Do you like making mistakes?

I certainly don’t.

Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

  • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
  • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
  • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
  • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

  1. Point us to something we did not know.
  2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
  3. Deepen our knowledge.
  4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
  5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
  6. Inform us more about our values.
  7. Teach us more about others.
  8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
  9. Show us when someone else has changed.
  10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
  11. Remind us of our humanity.
  12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
  13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
  14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
  15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
  16. Invite us to better choices.
  17. Can teach us how to experiment.
  18. Can reveal a new insight.
  19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
  20. Can serve as a warning.
  21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
  22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
  23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
  24. Remind us how we are like others.
  25. Make us more humble.
  26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
  27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
  28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
  29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
  30. Expose our true feelings.
  31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
  32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
  33. Point us in a more creative direction.
  34. Show us when we are not listening.
  35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
  36. Can create distance with someone else.
  37. Slow us down when we need to.
  38. Can hasten change.
  39. Reveal our blind spots.
  40. Are the invisible made visible.

Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

The secret to handling mistakes is to:

  • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
  • Have an experimental mindset.
  • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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