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8 Books From World-Class Leaders: How To Achieve Phenomenal Success

8 Books From World-Class Leaders: How To Achieve Phenomenal Success

Businesses operate very differently today. Many of the rules that used to work in traditional ventures and corporations no longer work. It will be critical for those entering the business climate today to think “outside of the box.” This new environment has motivated some of the most successful entrepreneurs to write books – books that go “against the grain” of traditional advice trotted out by MBA’s and financiers.

Here are 8 books by business successes that have written their own new set of rules.

1. #GirlBoss – Sophia Amoruso

https://www.amazon.com/dp/039916927X?tag=s7621-20

    Sohia Amoruso did not have the best start in life. As a teen, she was a thief and dumpster-diver, tooling around by hitchhiking. Her first venture into the business world was selling a stolen book on E-Bay. Eventually, Amoruso had to “give in” and get a real job – and she held several of them.

    “What all of these jobs taught me is that you have to be willing to tolerate some shit you don’t like – at least for a while… I didn’t expect to love any of these jobs but I learned a lot because I worked hard and grew to love things about them.”

    Ultimately, Amoruso began her business of selling vintage clothing on E-Bay because she saw a demand for that product. She now runs a $100 million dollar company, Nasty Gal. The takeaway from this book is that being successful has nothing to do with being popular or going to a good college. Instead, it is about following your “gut instincts.” Her three rules work for her: “Don’t ever grow up; don’t become a bore; and don’t let ‘The Man’ get to you.”

    What is Amoruso’s most important reflection on success? You get success because you are willing to work for it. This book is a fascinating and fun read, but it is full of very practical advice for business sense and success.

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    2. Pour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time – Howard Schultz

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

      Starbucks was already a small successful company when Howard Schultz decided to buy it. In fact, he was already a successful business man selling appliances like coffee makers to companies like Starbucks. However, Schultz had an idea. He not only wanted to “serve a great cup of coffee,” but he also wanted to serve up an experience – an oasis for people to sit, contemplate, meet a friend, hear some jazz music, and (yes) even work on their devices if they so choose.

      As Schultz says, he wanted to “build a company with soul.” In terms of management and leadership, his approach is clear. “People want guidance, not rhetoric,” Schultz writes. “They need to know what the plan of action is, and how it will be implemented. They want to be given responsibility to help solve the problem and authority to act on it.” His approach has obviously worked. Though he has now retired, Starbucks has some 21,000 stores around the world and is worth about $2.9 billion.

      Schultz’s story begins in the projects of Brooklyn, but demonstrates the drive that brings success. He was always making plans to “win” and always moving from one goal to the next, from one idea to the next biggest. This book is a great “rags to riches” story, filled with nuggets of wisdom that everyone can use. Furthermore, it is a story

      3. Delivery Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose – Tony Hsieh

      Delivery Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passions, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

        Tony Hsieh is not a “household name,” but Zappos is. It is Hsieh who founded and built this iconic shoe company, now owned by Amazon. Going against the grain of traditional management style, Hsieh decided that building a company around employee happiness would ultimately bring financial success. He was right. From the very beginning, relationships with his workers became the primary focus, following the belief that a team that played together a lot, and workers who were well cared for, would result in a climate in which everyone would “give their all” to make the company a success. Hsieh regularly went out with his employees, took them on vacations, and built a family atmosphere in his work environment. They produced for him. Of his advice to other entrepreneurs in launching a start-up, Hsieh says:

        “Stop trying to network in the traditional business sense, and instead just try to build up the number and depth of your friendships, where the friendship itself is its own reward. The more diverse your set of friendships are, the more likely you’ll derive benefits from your friendships later down the road.”

        Filled with humorous stories about his childhood and growing up, this is an easy read that flies in the face of the traditional concept of a boss.

        4. Raising the Bar: Integrity and Passion in Life and Business: the Story of Clif Bar & Co. – Gary Erickson

        Raising the Bar: Integrity and Passion in Life and Business: the Story of Clif Bar & Co. By: Gary Erickson

          If anyone needs proof that a business can be a success when there is a strong focus on its people, the environment, and community support, then Clif Bar is the perfect case study in taking a different path. Owner Gary Erickson is an outdoors enthusiast, a cyclist, a mountain climber, as well as the power and brains behind his privately held healthy snack-food company. He has built a $100 million in annual sales by keeping his company private and focusing on health, employee welfare, and volunteerism. Indeed, employees have three-day weekends every other week, but they are also given time off from work to volunteer locally.

          Moreover, production of the energy and snack bars is fully green. “Companies on the red road list to a lot of noise: the market, shareholders, the board, economic consultants, advisers, and conventional wisdom,” Erickson says, as he states that his is a white road company. “I’ve seen what happens to companies that get bought… they lose the values that were set up.” His advice? Stay private and keep your integrity.

          5. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business – Danny Meyer

          Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

            The Union Square Hospitality Group owns a number of eateries in New York – perhaps the most famous being the Union Square Café and the Gramercy Tavern. Though they have brick and mortar businesses, they have a clear handle on a major factor in success for e-commerce businesses too – it’s all about relationships with customers.

            If you are selling a product or a service, the way that product or service is delivered is just as important as the item itself. In fact, Meyer says in his book, “Service is the technical delivery of a product; hospitality is how the delivery of that product makes the recipient feel.” This, to Meyer, is the key to success.

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            6. The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change – Adam Braun

            The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change

              While Pencils of Promise is a non-profit organization, it is hugely successful. Certain for-profit businesses can take some lessons from founder and director Adam Braun. No stranger to the business world, Braun worked for Bain Capital after graduating from Brown University. However, he wanted a different life story, created by a different mindset. He started with a $25 check and a new bank account for his company. Six years later, his non-profit grew into an organization that has built 200+ schools around the world.

              Braun banked on two business principles that were very new – the rise of social media, and the rise of consumer demand for companies that have a cause. His story is exciting and inspiring, providing valuable lessons for businesses who want to grow in this new environment.

              7. Smart People Should Build Things – Andrew Yang

              Smart People Should Build Things

                According to author Andrew Yang, talented young people today enter careers in finance, law, medicine, and so forth. They make great money, but they don’t really produce anything. As he says of the misappropriation of talent, “We have too much icing, and too little cake.”

                To push his agenda, Yang began Venture for America, a non-profit that provides fellowships to talented kids to attend a “venture start-up” training program. Graduates are then sent out to work in start-ups throughout the country. The goal is to inspire these elite young people to go out into the world, start their own ventures, and build things. To Yang, this is the path for the future of America and, indeed, the country’s own economic survival. The book is a fascinating story about the start-up of Venture for America and provides a model for young people to launch their own start-ups. Furthermore, it is a story of how to stay motivated despite anything.

                8. Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain – Ryan Blair

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                Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur

                  The CEO of the successful marketing company, ViSalus Sciences, was once a member of a gang in Los Angeles. Ryan Blair claims that his unusual experiences motivated him to start a business at the age of 21, and ultimately become a multimillionaire. Blair is an inspirational individual, and his book is just as inspirational.

                  “You are stronger than whatever circumstances you’re facing. Remember that with the proper mind-set, potential is the one power you always have, and the mind-set that propelled me forward came from having nothing to lose.”

                  Blair’s life-story of entrepreneurship is fascinating. For those contemplating such a career, he has some great advice from a bit of a different viewpoint.

                  Conclusion

                  One or more of these books will make a great last-minute Christmas gift for anyone you now who is contemplating a business venture. The stories are incredible, the lessons are very practical, and the advice is invaluable.

                  Featured photo credit: Daniels College of Business 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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