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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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Published on August 25, 2019

How to Find Your North Star

How to Find Your North Star

Most of us are familiar with the concept of a North Star–it’s the star  (currently Polaris) that helps travelers on their journeys… acting as a guide to keep them on track. And, I firmly believe that we all have our own individual North Stars as well, which act in a similar fashion.

When I talk about a North Star, I’m referring to a life purpose. If you don’t have one, you’ll be lost in life. But, if you do have one, you’ll have a guiding light that keeps you firmly on track for fulfillment and success.

A life purpose is exactly as it sounds: a purpose that drives your life. For example, think of a famous athlete or musician such as Michael Jordan or Ed Sheeran. People like this live to express their physical, mental and artistic abilities. They’re passionate, energetic — and they know what they want to achieve in life. In other words, they’re following their North Star.

So how about you? Have you discovered your life purpose? Or are you simply drifting aimlessly on an ocean of wishful thinking?

Why We Should Seek out and Embrace a North Star

American author Denis Waitley said:  “Winners are people with definite purpose in life.”

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In my experience, this is absolutely correct. Winners know what they want, and they have a plan on how to get it.

If you’re struggling to achieve the level of success and happiness that you’d like, then you may need to spend some time to find and embrace your North Star (see the next section for help with this).

What benefits will following your North Star give you? Well, first, you’ll develop an almost super-human ability to overcome and defeat obstacles that come your way. This is because, you’ll be fixated on your end goal and won’t allow small things to stop you from getting there.

Let me give you an example of this:

You’ve decided you want to learn electric guitar. You purchase the relevant equipment (guitar, amp, leads, picks, etc.), and you subscribe to an online guitar tutorial site. For the first few weeks, things go well, and you make solid progress. However, unexpectedly, you break the top string on your guitar while playing.

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If you were just casually dabbling with learning how to play guitar, then the hassle of purchasing a new string — and learning how to fit it on your guitar — could be enough to end your fledgling hobby. But, if you were set on being a proficient guitarist, perhaps even a professional musician, then you certainly wouldn’t allow this obstacle to stop you in your tracks. On the contrary, you’d most likely head off straight to your nearest music shop to pick up a few packs of replacement strings, watch a YouTube video on how to fit it, and then carry right on with your playing! And, the next time you break a string, you won’t miss a beat.

Can you see now how a North Star (or big goal) can give you incredible energy, drive and persistence?

It’s the difference between a care-free attitude and a must-do attitude. The former will cause you to drift through life; the latter will keep you firmly on track to reach your desired destination.

A North Star is really just a greater overall goal that will allow you to align smaller, achievable goals to it. For instance, if you want to become a school teacher, you’ll need to pass your grades to go to college, then pass your college exams, then gain the appropriate work experience — and then attempt to secure a job. Without completing each of these steps, you’ll never make it to the front of a classroom.

In other words, big goals only become manageable when we break them down into smaller, bite-sized chunks. If you attempted to join a professional basketball team, for example, but you’d never played before, you’d be laughed off the court. But, if you trained hard, found a great coach, and had a burning desire to make it — the right doors would probably open for you.

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Let me ask you a question: Do you currently feel a little lost or unsure about your future?

If you do, don’t worry. Once you start following your North Star, all the other stars will begin to align for you! You’ll be able to keep your mind on the bigger picture, and you’ll understand the best actions to take in life to realize your dream. And, when you do this, your confidence will inevitably grow, you’ll give your health a boost.[1] In a research-backed article by Psychological Science, it reveals that following a life purpose can even help you live longer.[2] You’ll also feel energized by your progress in pursuing goals that genuinely mean something to you.

5 Things That Can Help You Find Your North Star

So are you ready to discover your purpose?

If yes, then read on to find out five ways that will help you do this: 

1. Break free from mental limitations— You know what I mean, your inner voice that keeps telling you that you’re not good enough to do or achieve the things you dream of.

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2. Ask yourself these questions: What do you love to do? What activities set your soul on fire? If money was no object, how would you spend your time?

3. Think back to when you were a child — What things brought you immense satisfaction at that time? And, were there things you loved to do, but adults told you to forget about them? …perhaps a dream about becoming an actor, dancer or astronaut?

4. Spend time in contemplation — Dwell on the answers to the above questions for as long as you need. And, then wait for answers to come into your mind. This may take minutes, hours, days or even weeks.

5. Listen to that feeling deep in your bones — You’ll instinctively know when your life purpose has been revealed to you. It will feel right to you, and it’ll also excite you to begin taking action.

Finding your North Star is a crucial first step on your journey to success, but navigating your way to it is a whole different challenge. To help you with this, check out my recent article: Need a Breakthrough from the Limitations Holding you Back?

Featured photo credit: Heidi Sandstrom via unsplash.com

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