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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 January 13, 2020

                                          Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

                                          Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

                                          Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

                                          Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

                                          Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

                                          Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

                                          How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

                                          The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

                                          You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

                                          Physical Signs

                                          Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

                                          It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

                                          In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

                                          Mental Signs

                                          One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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                                          I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

                                          Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

                                          • The tension in your neck
                                          • Difficulties with sleeping
                                          • Unable to concentrate
                                          • High anxiety
                                          • Depression

                                          If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

                                          Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

                                          Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

                                          The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

                                          Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

                                          Desire for an Increase of Salary

                                          The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

                                          At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

                                          Overnight Decision

                                          Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

                                          Rejected for a Promotion

                                          I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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                                          Bored at Work

                                          Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

                                          A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

                                          • How long have you worked in your career?
                                          • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
                                          • Do you receive recognition?
                                          • Can you consider working in a new department?

                                          If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

                                          How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

                                          I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

                                          One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

                                          It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

                                          A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

                                          You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

                                          • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
                                          • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
                                          • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

                                          How to Make a Career Change Successfully

                                          The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

                                          1. Write a Career Plan

                                          A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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                                          You can learn how to set your career plan here.

                                          2. Weigh Your Options

                                          If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

                                          You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

                                          3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

                                          It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

                                          A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

                                          • Economic factors
                                          • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
                                          • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
                                          • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
                                          • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

                                            A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

                                            4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

                                            A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

                                            • What is required to be successful in the role?
                                            • What certification or educational development is needed?
                                            • What are the challenges of the role?
                                            • Is there potential for career advancement?

                                            A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

                                            Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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                                            5. Research Salary

                                            Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

                                            It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

                                            6. Be Realistic

                                            If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

                                            For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

                                            Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

                                            7. Volunteer First

                                            A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

                                            Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

                                            Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

                                            8. Prepare Your Career Tools

                                            I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

                                            • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
                                            • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
                                            • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
                                            • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

                                            Bottom Line

                                            It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

                                            Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

                                            More About Career Change

                                            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                            Reference

                                            [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
                                            [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
                                            [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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