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20 Books Written By Successful CEOs No Aspiring Entrepreneur Should Miss

20 Books Written By Successful CEOs No Aspiring Entrepreneur Should Miss

We are a vicarious generation ruled by the internet with the thoughts of the world in our mind but with the immense dormancy to translate that into our lives mainly because of the lack of motivation or “appropriate” ideas.

Though torrents of information scattered in the burrows of the internet provide us some ideas, to develop concrete ideas with which we can work on, we must read books–the accounts of people who have “been there, done that” to have comprehensive knowledge of the subject.

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur and really want to understand the essence of entrepreneurship, here we present you the list of ultimate entrepreneurial books, written by highly successful CEOs in their realm.

1. Smart People Should Build Things (Andrew Yang)

1

    “Personally, I always dreamed about going into the woods and fighting the dragon, not selling the guy a sword.”

    Andrew Yang is the Founder and President of “Venture for America”. He was frustrated by the students studying law or finance or medicine for the sake of money and status. Yang worried their perfunctory work produced no real output.

    In Smart People Should Build Things, a resurrected lawyer and entrepreneur weaves a compelling narrative of success stories (including his own). With thorough limpidness, he describes the flow of talent in the U.S. and explains how the current trends are resulting in a cultural decline in the “Land of Dreams”.

    2. Straight from the Gut (Jack Welch)

    2

      “Control your own destiny or someone else will.”

      John Francis “Jack” Welch, Jr. is a former American business executive, chemical engineer and an author. He served as the CEO and Chairman of General Electric from 1981 to 2001.

      In this NY Times bestseller, Welch narrates his spectacular career with his work ethic, passion and overtness. From his early childhood era to his job at General Electric and his meteoric rise, his business fervor led the way for successes in his extraordinary career.

      3. Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain (Ryan Blair)

      3

        “Your future takes precedence over your past. Focus on your future, rather than on the past.”

        Ryan Blair is the CEO and co-founder of the multi-level advertising corporation ViSalus Sciences. In his book, Blair rushes our adrenaline by making audacious points with his devil-may-care attitude that reflects in his words.

        He inspires entrepreneurs to take bold decisions and never regret the past. “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.” This well-known quote by C.S. Lewis, author of The Great Divorce, perfectly summarizes Blair’s book.

        4. The Promise of a Pencil (Adam Braun)

        4

          “The single most powerful element of youth is our inability to know what’s impossible.”

          With relevant anecdotes and motivational monologues, Adam Braun, CEO of Pencils of Promise, delivers his prophecy in this book. The gist of the book, as he summarized it in his Reddit AMA interview, is “Speak the language of the person you seek to become.”

          Braun advises that you shouldn’t hold your dreams within you, but express them to others and they’ll not only help you move in that direction but you’ll feel responsible to them and yourself in getting there.

          5. The Impact Equation (Chris Brogan and Julien Smith)

          5

            “Don’t settle: Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.”

            Chris Brogan and Julien Smith are authors, journalists, marketing gurus and social media marketers. As the title suggests, this book is about self-actualization and covers a great range of exercises to evaluate your ideas and communicate them properly.

            Brogan and Smith’s book includes easy to understand mnemonics, insidious tactics and many interesting encounters with the writer duo’s favorite celebrities. The things you’ll learn from this book will be tantamount to the fun you’re going to have.

            6. Who: The A Method of Hiring (Geoff Smart and Randy Street)

            6

              “Do not hire anybody who has been pushed out of 20 percent or more of their jobs.”

              Randy Street and Geoff Smart are entrepreneurs and authors from Atlanta. They arrange motivational seminars and conduct campaigns to motivate aspiring entrepreneurs.

              This book can be an important manual for entrepreneurs to hire the appropriate individuals for the job. The authors have presented a detailed account of personnel management and have simplified the tedious process of employee selection.

              7. Taking People with You (David Novak)

              7

                “Roots can live without branches, although truncated; branches cannot live without roots.”

                David Colin Novak is an American businessman. He currently serves as the executive chairman of YUM! Brands, Inc. In this book, he highlights one of the most vital quality of entrepreneur–social skills.

                An entrepreneur should be more than everything affable and should be able to inspire people. As Michael Jenkins of Shout Agency rightly puts, “Companies who are too reliant on technology and do not have enough of a human presence will lose their edge over the next few years.” And Novak exactly illustrates how in his honest book.

                8. Conscious Capitalism (John Mackey)

                8

                  “It’s competition that forces companies to get out of their complacency.”

                  John Mackey is an American businessman. He is the current co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, which he co-founded in 1980. Named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003, Mackey is a strong supporter of free market economics.

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                  Though modern businesses tend to be filled with fraud, deceit and counterfeits, Mackey still believes business–more than anything–is an art. He believes in living up to the spirit of fair trade and offers his highly persuading views on logical capitalism.

                  9. Rework (Jason Fried)

                  9

                    “What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.”

                    Jason Fried is the CEO and co-founder of Basecamp, Inc. He is a dedicated man and he believes commitment plans are way more important than exit plans.

                    He has presented an almost stepwise guide to establish a successful business. If you are a committed entrepreneur who wants to establish something big and are willing to be patient, you’ll certainly bow to his higher degree of wisdom in entrepreneurship.

                    10. Let My People Go Surfing (Yvon Chouinard)

                    10

                      “The more you know, the less you need.”

                      Yvon Chouinard is a rock climber, environmentalist and outdoor industry businessman. He’s the founder of two successful companies, Black Diamond Equipment and Patagonia. He is also a writer, who first started by writing on climbing issues and ethics, and later on entrepreneurship.

                      What creates a well-functioning machine are its well-functioning components. If machines are analogous to an enterprise, employees are the functional monomers. Chouinard’s book postures that the creative output of the company is cumulative of the individual creative output of employees.

                      11. #Girlboss (Sophia Amoruso)

                      11

                        “The energy you’ll expend focusing on someone else’s life is better spent working on your own. Just be your own idol.”

                        Sophia Amoruso is the founder and owner of Nasty Gal, which trades women’s fashion that includes modern and vintage clothing, shoes, and accessories through the brand’s website.

                        From a school drop out to shoplifter to eBay seller to CEO, her journey has been full of twists and turns. After 200 odd pages, entrepreneurs will be surely inspired to be a #Girlboss themselves.

                        12. Raising the Bar (Gary Erickson)

                        12

                          “I’ve seen what happens to companies that get bought. They lose the values that were set up.”

                          Gary Erickson is the co-owner as well as co-chief visionary officer of Clif Bar, a company in America which produces organic foods and drinks. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, this book can be a guide to your corporate integrity.

                          The book is filled with arresting personal anecdotes of Erickson, with refreshing personal stories from his life trekking in the Himalayan Mountains to his bicycle riding over roadless European mountain passes, with a perfect blend of his life philosophy.

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                          13. Pour Your Heart into It (Howard Schultz)

                          13

                            “I think if you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got to dream big and then dream bigger.”

                            Howard D. Schultz is an American businessman, best known as the chairman and CEO of Starbucks. He formerly owned the Seattle SuperSonics and was on the Board of Directors at Square, Inc.

                            Schultz insists on offering customers something they are not accustomed to–something superior. Although it may take some time for customers to be palatable, it helps you instill a sense of discovery in them and create a higher bond of loyalty.

                            14. CEO Tools: The Nuts-N-Bolts for Every Manager’s Success (Kraig Kramers)

                            14

                              “The two most powerful words in any language are: What If.”

                              Kraig Kramers is an experienced and seasoned business executive, author and business speaker who has been CEO of eight companies in diverse industries. Currently, he is president and CEO of Corporate Partners, Inc., which is one of the top consulting firms.

                              CEO Tools, with its worthy subtitle, is truly an encyclopedia of management. As The Effective Executive writer Peter Drucker bemoans, “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.” This book helps you understand the essence of management.

                              15. The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company (David Packard)

                              15

                                “Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.”

                                David Packard co-founded Hewlett-Packard along with William Hewlett and served as president, CEO, and chairman of the board. He also served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense during the Nixon administration.

                                Packard describes HP’s history with pieces from his life and devotes each chapter to the seven commitments of his company vision: profit, customers, field of interest, growth, employees, organization and citizenship.

                                16. Winning: The Ultimate Business How-To Book (Jack Welch and Suzy Welch)

                                16

                                  “When you were made a leader, you weren’t given a crown, you were given the responsibility to bring out the best in others.”

                                  This is the second book on this list that features Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric. Along with his wife Suzie, Welch gives valuable advice from his perspective to today’s managers and future managers on how to organize and manage a company.

                                  This book provides deep insights on the pros and cons of management. It focuses on important issues, such as creating a company’s mission statement, developing its strategy and building its values. The authors also emphasize the importance work-life balance.

                                  17. The Hard Thing about Hard Things (Ben Horowitz)

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                                  17

                                    “What is the hard thing about hard things? That they don’t have a formula.”

                                    Ben Horowitz, former CEO of Opsware, shares his opinion on opening and running a startup company. While many people write about the power of entrepreneurship and the holy thing about starting a business, very few speak about the difficulties.

                                    This is probably one of the most influential books every aspiring entrepreneur must read if they want honest management advice. A lifelong devotee of rap music, he offers business lessons in style, using his favorite lyrics to strengthen them.

                                    18. Business @ the Speed of Thought (Bill Gates)

                                    18

                                      “How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose.”

                                      Bill Gates, former CEO and co-founder of Microsoft, puts his views on the influence of technology in running a business in a better way in his book. He discusses how technology can be used to run businesses in a more effective manner.

                                      This book is particularly for those who agree that “technology will be the major form of business in near future.” It’s perfect as a manual that offers an outline on the use of information technology in order to improve business.

                                      19. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business (Danny Meyer)

                                      19

                                        “Hospitality is how the delivery of that product makes its recipient feel.”

                                        Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, shares a fascinating tale about the creation of his most beloved restaurants which provide warm hospitality and consistent excellence.

                                        Setting the Table is a best-selling treasure of valuable, innovative thoughts full of exciting examples. It is applicable to all kinds of businesses. The focus of this book is on hospitality and the author views it as the foundation of his business philosophy.

                                        20. My Years with General Motors (Alfred Sloan)

                                        20

                                          “Bedside manners are no substitute for the right diagnosis.”

                                          Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr. was an American business executive in the automotive industry. He was a long-time president, CEO and chairman of General Motors Corporation.

                                          The life of Alfred Sloan like every other entrepreneur was cranky, unpredictable and above all difficult. Sloan’s book praises the idea that while entrepreneurs can be good at many things, there are still things they need help with. And it’s okay to ask for help.

                                          Featured photo credit: Business woman and project/Sergey Nivens via thinkstockphotos.com

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                                          Last Updated on August 19, 2019

                                          20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

                                          20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

                                          A resume describes your critical skills in a way that compels a hiring manager to want to meet you. That is a resume’s sole purpose.

                                          And make no mistake: Writing a resume is an art.

                                          Today each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes on average, and somehow yours will need to rise above the competition. It’s actually harder to snag an interview from an online posting than to get into Harvard. But don’t let that intimidate you. Instead, open your laptop, roll up your proverbial sleeves, and let’s get to work!


                                          Employers generally prefer candidates with skills that show leadership ability, problem-solving ability, and perseverance through challenges. So in the resume, you should demonstrate that you’re a dynamic candidate.

                                          Refine the skills on your resume so that you incorporate these resume “musts:”

                                          1. Leadership Ability

                                          Even an entry-level employee can show leadership. Point out how your skills helped your department ascend to a new level. Capture leadership attributes with compelling statements.

                                          Example:

                                          “Led change that drove efficiency and an ability to cut 800 error-free payroll checks.”

                                          2. Problem-Solving Ability

                                          Most employees are hired to solve problems. Showcase that ability on your resume.

                                          Example:

                                          “Led staff in campaign to outrival top competitor’s market share during a down cycle.”

                                          3. Perseverance

                                          Have you been promoted several times? Or have you maintained margins in a down cycle? Both achievements demonstrate persistence. You look like someone who can navigate roadblocks.

                                          4. Technical Skills

                                          Consider including a Key Skills or Technology Skills section in which you list computer and software skills.

                                          Example:

                                          “Expert-level knowledge in Java.”

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                                          5. Quantified Results

                                          Nothing is quite as attractive as objective results. Did you increase sales by 25 percent? Win three new clients? Surpass the internal goal by 15 percent?

                                          Use hard-hitting numbers to express your point. State the result first, and then provide a sentence or phrase describing the critical skills you applied to achieve the milestone.

                                          Example:

                                          “Boosted sales by 200 percent by developing new online platform that made it easier for customers to compare and contrast sizes, textures, and fit.”

                                          6. People Skills

                                          Employers prefer congenial staff members to prima donnas or mavericks. Relate your strongest soft skills.

                                          Example:

                                          “Organized, hard-working staffer who listens well and communicates effectively.”

                                          7. Passion in the Field

                                          Recruiters and hiring managers can intuit whether candidates care about their career performance by the dynamism behind the descriptions of their skills on their resumes. Are your efforts “transformational” or merely “useful?” Were your results “game-changing” or boringly “appropriate?”

                                          The tenor of your words reveals whether you’re passionate or passive. (But don’t overdo it. See the “Hyperbole” section below.)

                                          8. Being the Entrepreneur within the Corporation

                                          Whether you took the initiative to create a new synergy or worked independently to land an opportunity, share how you furthered organizational goals through your self-directed efforts.

                                          9. Your Adaptability

                                          Have you switched career paths? Weathered a corporate takeover?

                                          Make it clear that your resilience helped get you and your organization through the turbulence.

                                          10. Confirming Your Expertise

                                          Every job posting states experience requirements. Ideally, you want to meet these requirements or best them. But don’t exaggerate.


                                          While proving that you possess the credentials described in the job posting, you can still stand out if you are able to offer additional special skills to showcase your personality.

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                                          Consider adding any of these special accomplishments, if true:

                                          11. Referencing Award-Winning Talents

                                          If you played center on your college basketball team that made it into the Top 10 finals, then working collaboratively and cooperatively are among your natural callings. Be sure to say so.

                                          12. Unveiling Your Work Persona

                                          If you were repeatedly singled out for your stellar performance in work settings, becoming employee-of-the-month, top revenue generator, and so on — it’s worth mentioning.

                                          13. Capitalizing on Commonalities

                                          From Googling the hiring manager, you discover that she was formerly a Peace Corps volunteer in Belize. Listing your Spanish immersion course in Central America may draw her attention to the other outstanding skills on your resume.

                                          14. Highlighting Creative Tactics

                                          If, for example, in your HR role, you piloted an employee incentive program that became an industry model, include it. Such innovative thinking will command an employer’s attention.

                                          15. Specifying All Accolades

                                          Listing any honors received instills confidence that you will bring that level of perfectionism forward in a corporate environment.

                                          16. Transferable Skills

                                          You spend your spare time conducting your community orchestra. Highlight this after-hours pursuit to show that you have the critical skills needed to keep a team on task.


                                          Take note: Hyperbole can hurt you. So, show your credibility.

                                          Although it may be tempting to use embellishments to boost your experience, improve your job title, or enhance your education, resist. These days, a five-minute search will reveal the truth. And taking self-inflation too far could easily come back to destroy your career.

                                          Hiring managers have their antenna up for resume hyperbole. A survey shows that 53 percent are suspicious that candidates are often dishonest.

                                          Follow these guiding principles when writing your own resume:

                                          17. Accurately Describing Your Degree

                                          Make sure to differentiate between certificates attained and degrees earned, along with the name of the institution awarding them.

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                                          18. Stating Job Duration with Honest Dates

                                          Honesty is the only policy when reporting the length of a particular job. If you’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, state the reason you have gaps.

                                          Whether you traveled, had to cope with a family emergency, or went back to school to change your professional track, communicate the positive outcome that came from the hiatus.

                                          19. Claiming Only the Skills You Truly Possess

                                          Unless you’re proficient in a software program or are fluent in a second language, leave any mention of them off.

                                          Conversely, if you feel like you must include them, then accurately qualify your level of competence.

                                          20. Being Honest About Your Role in a Project

                                          You may think you were the lead person because you did most of the work, but chances are your supervisor thinks otherwise.

                                          Besides the 20 critical skills to include on your resume, here’re some important notes for you.

                                          Bonus Tips for Writing a Resume

                                          You Only Have 6 to 7 Seconds to Impress the Employer

                                          Hiring managers and artificial intelligence “bots” may spend only 6 to 7 seconds perusing your resume, which means you need it to teem with essential skills, quantifiable achievements, and action words.

                                          If, in fact, you believe that a “bot” will be analyzing your resume before it even lands on a hiring manager’s desk, be sure to include some of the actual key words from the posting in your document. There’s no reason why you can’t customize your resume to each job posting.

                                          Another tip: Be sure to show your resume to a few individuals who work in your field, so that you can fine-tune the information as needed.

                                          Starting at the Top

                                          The Objective at the top of your resume is optional if you’re seeking the same job you already have, just at different company. However, if you’re switching fields, it’s critical to include an Objective, which is a one-sentence summary of the job you want.

                                          For example:

                                          Objective: To become web editor at a thriving news website.

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                                          If you’ve been in your field for ten years or more, you will probably want to include an Executive Summary. This is a one-sentence takeaway about who you are, including the critical skills you amassed throughout your career.

                                          For example:

                                          Executive Summary: Award-winning creative director with over ten years experience managing teams on three continents.

                                          Depending on your field, you may also want to add some skills as bullet points in the Executive Summary section.

                                          And what about your Education? If you graduated from college within the past ten years, include your Education just below the Objective section (and forgo the Executive Summary). If it’s been over ten years since you graduated, then include your Education at the very end of your resume. Only cite your grade point average (G.P.A.) if it was exceptional—3.7 G.P.A. or higher, or if you won scholastic awards.

                                          Ideally, the critical skills you amassed during college, at your previous job, and throughout your career will add up to a riveting portrait of a professional who’s ideally suited for your dream position: You.

                                          Tailor, Tweak, and Fine-Tune

                                          If you’re targeting different kinds of organizations, you’ll need customized resumes for each outreach.

                                          Don’t be afraid to parrot some of the words on the list of requirements back to the company. Many times, organizations will actually use the key words mentioned in the job posting when screening resumes.

                                          Approach Your Resume as a Skills-Based Story

                                          Like any good storyteller, lay out the framework at the beginning. Include the skills you’ve mastered and state how you can add value—wording your sentences in a way that reflects the specific job you’re seeking.

                                          Are you vying for a sales position? Quantify your results: “Responsible for 50 percent of all sales that resulted in $750,000 in annual revenue.” Use your critical skills, peppered throughout your resume, to tell the exciting story of your distinguished professional career!

                                          Researching the organization that you’re targeting will help you make your examples specific. Does the company cater to a particular audience or clientele? Be sure to note any experiences you’ve had with similar audiences.

                                          Putting It All Together

                                          A resume is not a laundry list. It tells a cohesive story. Your story should highlight your qualifications and critical skills in a way that makes a logical, well-constructed case for your compatibility with the organization and its advertised position.

                                          Packaging your story into the concisely prescribed format of a resume means that it will read as a synopsis — one that will hopefully land you the job.

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                                          Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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