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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 May 28, 2020

            How to Overcome Boredom

            How to Overcome Boredom

            Have you ever been bored? Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?

            I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.

            If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, laptops, Ipads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem: boredom.

            What is Boredom?

            We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment. We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People now do not know how to sit still, and we feel guilty when we are not doing anything. Today, inactivity has become the ultimate sin.

            You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety and stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

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            It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’ – it’s a desire for sensory stimulation. What it boils down to is a lack of focus.

            If you think about those times when you’re bored, it’s usually because you did not know what to do. So, indecision also plays a big part.

            When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored. So, one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.

            Sometimes It’s Good to Be Bored

            If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation – in other words – to enjoy stillness.

            Sometimes, it’s not boredom itself that causes the frustration but the resistance to doing nothing.

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            Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore, and you will feel more relaxed!

            In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So, when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.

            It may sound weird but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st-century living provides – constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phone calls, etc.

            Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually good for us?

            Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax, and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.

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            In this article, I’ll share with you my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom.

            3-Step Strategy to Overcome Boredom

            1. Get Focused

            Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. Focusing on something important helps prevent boredom because it forces you to utilize your time productively.

            You should ask yourself: what would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?

            Here are a few ideas:

            • Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you.
            • Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.
            • Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses.

            2. Kill Procrastination

            Boredom is useful in some ways because it gives you the energy and time to do things. It is only a problem if you let it. But if you use it to motivate yourself to be productive, then you can more easily overcome boredom.

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            So, the next time you’re bored, why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been meaning to get done but have been too busy to finish? This also presents a great time for you to clear your to-do list.

            Here are some ideas:

            • Do some exercise.
            • Read a book.
            • Learn something new.
            • Call a friend.
            • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write).
            • Do a spring cleaning.
            • Wash the car.
            • Renovate the house.
            • Re-arrange the furniture.
            • Write your shopping list.
            • Water the plants.
            • Walk the dog.
            • Sort out your mail & email.
            • De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe).

            3. Enjoy Boredom

            If none of the above solutions work, then you can try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it. This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to waste your time being bored. Instead, think of it as your time to relax and re-energize, which will help you be more productive the next time you work.

            Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly doing things to be productive. In fact, research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.[1] Taking breaks once in a while helps boost your performance and can help make you feel more motivated.

            So, take some time to relax. You never know, you might even like it.

            Final Thoughts

            Learning how to overcome boredom may be difficult at the beginning, but it can be easier if you make use of some techniques. You can start with my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom and work your way from there. So, ready your mind and make use of these tips, and you will be overcoming boredom in no time.

            More Tips on Overcoming Boredom

            Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

            Reference

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