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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 July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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