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15 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read Ahead Of 2016

15 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read Ahead Of 2016

I’m a great believer that in order to further develop one’s self, you need to first expand your knowledge base. This could be in many different ways, but reading (or listening to audiobooks) is the best way for me to learn new topics or further develop existing ones.

In order to be successful in life and in business, you need to gain a good understanding of what could go wrong and why, as well as understanding human behavior and so on. With this in mind, I’ve comprised my list of the top 15 books I feel every entrepreneur should read ahead of 2016.

1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Rich Dad, Poor Day is a key differentiation between gaining the right and wrong kinds of education that can turn you into a successful entrepreneur or just another pawn in the rat race. Understanding and building the right kind of skills can get you set on the right path on the journey of entrepreneurship. This book really helped me to understand the concept of money and how it should be spent. It also forced me to question my belief systems and start to build a richer mindset.

2. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

For me, this book breaks down the walls and details how entrepreneurs of the 21st century are using constant improvements and innovation to build totally new successful business ideas. Following previous models is no longer viable, and this book is a great read for any entrepreneur wanting to form a new startup.

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3. The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

This book really changed the game for me. Although it can be difficult to get into at times, the principles are vital for anybody wanting to spend more time living and less time in the office. One of my first business ventures was formed around a drop shipping business model, as detailed in sections of this book. Had I read this at the time then maybe I would have been a little bit more knowledgeable within this area. Overall, the topics covered in this book are key for every entrepreneur to understand and develop.

4. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

This book really looks into the reasons why we do what we do and how we can change and form new habits. Through investigation of root causes, the author is able to break down the basics of human behaviour. This is vital for every entrepreneur to form new habits and ideas.

5. The $100 Start-Up by Chris Guillebeau

Do you really need a 9-5? This of one of the many questions this book makes you ask yourself. For me, this book really makes me reconsider why I want to build my own business and what it truly takes to be successful and happy. For every entrepreneur wanting to chase money, this is a great book to gain some grounding, get to know the fundamentals, and build a business.

6. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Although this book was written in 1937, the values are still extremely powerful today. As far as self-help books go, this one really helps you to break away from the broke/poor mindset and start building a much richer mindset. The philosophy taught in this book can be applied in several different lines of work. It is a key read, in my eyes, for everyone — entrepreneur or not.

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7. The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford

From basic economics to business fundamentals, this book takes you through it all. Through investigating the root causes of the relationship between prices and profits, the author is able to explain, in simple terms, the reasons behind high prices in certain areas of the world. Although there are several apposing books out there, I feel this is a great introduction to economics for any entrepreneur.

8. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

As stated on the book’s cover, this is the definition of why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it. By looking at assumptions, the author is able to explain why an individual who understands the technical work of a business is not necessarily going to be successful at running that business, and the myth that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs.

9. Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

This book is a refreshing break from the typical business book as we dive into the tools required to start any business. Today, things are far simpler and far cheaper than in previous years, and this book really helps to break down the simplicity of building and running a business in today’s business environment. Described as “the average man’s playbook for business,” this book is great for any entrepreneur wanting to embark on an expedition into the world of business.

10. The Millionaire Fastlane by M. J. DeMarco

This book really set itself apart from other books of its genre. By focusing on the route causes of wealth, we are able to drill down into the right information and weed out the not-so-good stuff. The title gives this book no justice, but what’s included does. This is no happy-go-lucky book that focuses on your dreams and goals. Instead, this book focuses on action and the steps towards where you want to be. It encourages you to stop doing anything that isn’t a passion and to focus on the things you enjoy. It’s a great read for anyone wanting to ride the road towards prosperity.

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11. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

This book is very motivational compared to other books of its kind and really helps you to understand the principles of improving your life. As far as self-help books go, this one is up there at the top of the must-reads. The author goes on to explain what the compound affect is and how simple and small decisions can have positive results if guided correctly, along with how minor issues can compound towards becoming something far more major. I feel this book is key for every entrepreneur to understand the causes and effects of every action.

12. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

From great ideas to even bigger failures, this book looks directly at the points that cause any new technology, and business, to fail. This book explains why looking for answers in the wrong areas can backfire on any business model. For me, the topics covered are key for every entrepreneur to learn and look out for.

13. The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch

This book really dives into the concepts of more for less and how to best utilize the skills of time management. Based on the counter-intuitive fact that 80% of results flow from 20% of causes, it is the guiding principle of highly effective people and organizations.

14. Start With Why by Simon Sinek

From investigating what products people buy to what airlines they fly with, the author explains why people follow ideas and the psychology behind it. This book is a great benchmark for every entrepreneur as it constantly asks the question of “why?”.

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15. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Although this book was first published in 1936, the merits that can be learnt still stand today. Much like the old saying “You catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar,” this book leans you towards changing your behaviour and radiating the right kind of positive energy to win others over to your way of thinking. This is key for every entrepreneur to learn and will eventually breathe success into your life.

If you have any other books you have read and feel would be of benefit to anyone reading this post, please comment below. Also, if you disagree, please feel free to express your thoughts below.

Find more like this at www.williamstokes.co.uk.

Featured photo credit: Bookshelf-filled-with-colorful-books via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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