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5 Book Recommendations From Bill Gates

5 Book Recommendations From Bill Gates

Are you a leader? An influencer? A linchpin? Or are you just starting out on your journey towards entrepreneurship? No matter where you are on your journey, it’s a difficult road to traverse. There is no map. No chart. No gold at the end of the rainbow. There is just a great deal of hard, focused work. But where do you begin this epic journey? This is a question that I struggled with for many years. I learned that you can’t wait until you can answer that question, you just need to begin.

One of the best resources for helping me to start my entrepreneurial journey was to educate myself. I began by reading recommended books by those who are where I want to be. Bill Gates has been one of my greatest influences and has been a (virtual) mentor. Here are five books that Gates recommends. They have helped me, and I am hoping that they can help you in your own journey:

1. Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2013, by Carol J. Loomis

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    Book Summary: Carol J. Loomis has collected and updated the best Buffett articles Fortune published between 1966 and 2012, including thirteen cover stories and a dozen pieces authored by Buffett himself.

    Why Bills Gates Recommends the book:

    I think anyone who reads this book from cover to cover will come away with two reactions: First, how Warren’s been incredibly consistent in applying his vision and investment principles over the duration of his career; and, second, that his analysis and understanding of business and markets remains unparalleled.

    2. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street, by John Brooks

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      Book Summary: What do the $350-million Ford Motor Company disaster known as the Edsel, the fast and incredible rise of Xerox, and the unbelievable scandals at General Electric and Texas Gulf Sulphur have in common? Each is an example of how an iconic company was defined by a particular moment of fame.

      Why Bills Gates Recommends the book:

      Today, more than two decades after Warren lent it to me—and more than four decades after it was first published—Business Adventures remains the best business book I’ve ever read. John Brooks is still my favorite business writer.

      3. Interventions: A Life in War and Peace, by Kofi Annan

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        Book Summary: This is the story of Annan’s remarkable time at the center of the world stage.

        Why Bills Gates Recommends the book:

        Only after reading his recently-published book, Interventions: A Life in War and Peace, did I get a true sense of how difficult a job Annan had. As a voluntary organization of 192 states, it’s easy to criticize the effectiveness of the UN, but without it, we would be substantially further behind on issues of global health and development.

        4. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, by Steven Johnson

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          Book Summary: The printing press, the pencil, the flush toilet, the battery—these are all great ideas. But where do they come from?

          Why Bills Gates Recommends the book:

          I picked up Steven Johnson’s book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, with a little bit of skepticism. Lots of books have been written about innovation—what it is, the most innovative companies, how you measure it. The subject can seem a little faddish, but Johnson’s book is quite good at giving examples of how to create environments that can encourage good ideas.

          5. Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America, by Jay Mathews

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            Book Summary: When Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin signed up for Teach for America right after college and found themselves utter failures in the classroom, they vowed to remake themselves into superior educators.

            Why Bills Gates Recommends the book:

            Jay did a great job in writing this book. It gives a great sense of how hard it was to get KIPP going and how intense the focus on good teaching is.

            Final Thoughts

            Which one of these amazing books will you read first? My personal favorite is Tap Dancing To Work, but it doesn’t matter which you choose, just choose one and read it. Learn it. The most important act you can do to improve your chances of being a successful entrepreneur is to educate yourself, and that includes a healthy portion of reading mind-opening books.

            Featured photo credit: Boom Beats/Tumblr via boomsbeat.com

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            Last Updated on March 13, 2019

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

            You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

            Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

            1. Work on the small tasks.

            When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

            Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

            2. Take a break from your work desk.

            Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

            Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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            3. Upgrade yourself

            Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

            The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

            4. Talk to a friend.

            Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

            Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

            5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

            If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

            Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

            Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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            6. Paint a vision to work towards.

            If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

            Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

            Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

            7. Read a book (or blog).

            The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

            Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

            Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

            8. Have a quick nap.

            If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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            9. Remember why you are doing this.

            Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

            What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

            10. Find some competition.

            Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

            Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

            11. Go exercise.

            Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

            Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

            As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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            Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

            12. Take a good break.

            Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

            Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

            Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

            Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

            More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

            Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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