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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 December 10, 2019

                                          7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

                                          7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

                                          Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

                                          But do you know what motivates your people?

                                          It’s simple:

                                          • Is their work stimulating?
                                          • Does it challenge them?
                                          • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
                                          • Do you encourage creativity?
                                          • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
                                          • Do you praise them?
                                          • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
                                          • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
                                          • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

                                          Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

                                          In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

                                          Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

                                          These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

                                          1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

                                          You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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                                          But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

                                          If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

                                          Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

                                          2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

                                          There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

                                          In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

                                          So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

                                          Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

                                          • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
                                          • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
                                          • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
                                          • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

                                          So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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                                          3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

                                          Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

                                          When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

                                          Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

                                          So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

                                          4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

                                          Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

                                          Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

                                          Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

                                          Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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                                          5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

                                          Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

                                          Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

                                          A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

                                          Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

                                          If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

                                          6. Monitor Their Workload

                                          Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

                                          What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

                                          • Red means they’re fully loaded.
                                          • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
                                          • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

                                          I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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                                          If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

                                          And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

                                          7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

                                          Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

                                          So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

                                          Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

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                                          Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

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