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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 April 19, 2021

                  The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

                  The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

                  Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

                  The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

                  Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

                  In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

                  When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

                  Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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                  1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

                  When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

                  As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

                  That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

                  The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

                  What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

                  Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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                  There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

                  So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

                  2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

                  When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

                  No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

                  3. Move Your Body

                  A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

                  It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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                  So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

                  4. Connect With Another Person

                  Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

                  One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

                  Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

                  5. Use Your Imagination

                  When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

                  That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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                  And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

                  Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

                  Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

                  More on the Importance of Taking a Break

                  Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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