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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 July 21, 2021

                  The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

                  The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

                  No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

                  Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

                  Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

                  A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

                  Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

                  In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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                  From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

                  A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

                  For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

                  This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

                  The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

                  That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

                  Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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                  The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

                  Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

                  But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

                  The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

                  The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

                  A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

                  For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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                  But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

                  If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

                  For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

                  These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

                  For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

                  How to Make a Reminder Works for You

                  Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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                  Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

                  Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

                  My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

                  Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

                  I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

                  More on Building Habits

                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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                  Reference

                  [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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