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17 Books To Read If You Want To Become A Billionaire

17 Books To Read If You Want To Become A Billionaire

Success is magnetic. As a species, we’re constantly studying how it happens, why it happens, who has achieved it for themselves, and how we can obtain it.

One thing is for sure: money is an echo of value. Those who bring great products, services, businesses, and ideas into the world are rewarded (at least somewhere along the way) with financial gain. Some of these people even become billionaires. Now, it’s not to say money is everything (it’s not), but having financial freedom certainly makes life more flexible and filled with opportunity.

For all the hubbub surrounding success, most of the attention is often swallowed up with the aesthetics of materialism. Getting a nice house, car, plenty of money to go around, and buying anything you want are still considered goals by thousands in developed countries.

In spite of this, in order to break through the typical barriers that withhold people from achieving success, there’s a ton of hard work involved. Experience, skill, grit, and emotional intelligence all contribute to success; one can be sure of this. But what’s the piece most people overlook or underestimate? Having certain knowledge others neglect.

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Here, I’ve compiled a list of 17 books to read if you want to become a billionaire. Take these one at a time and enjoy!

1. How The Scots Invented The Modern World

Billionaires point to this book because, in many ways, essential understandings of economics, free markets, and product innovation can be gleaned from it. Written by Arthur Herman, it’s a vital book for anyone seeking to understand the core of how modern economics functions.

2. Guns, Germs, And Steel: The Fates Of Human Societies

Authored by Jared Diamond, this particular book is similar to Scots, but different in the sense that it covers more details regarding societies. Guns, Germs, and Steel breaks down why certain civilizations lasted longer than others and how this was accomplished. It’s a collection of keen insights into how and why some people outsmart their environments (whether they be war-ravaged or not).

3. Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion

An absolute classic on the power of how to get things done your way, Robert Cialdini takes persuasion to a new level here. Breaking down the six pillars of how to get people to like you and legitimately want to help you, Influence is a must-have guidebook on how to uphold the best in people while achieving your own goals.

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4. Titan: The Life Of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

At about 800 pages long, this book is certainly not a speed-read. However, there’s no book more ideal for learning about one of history’s richest men. If you want a detailed discourse on the rising of Rockefeller, look no further than Titan. At the very least, it will reinforce some helpful success principles, and perhaps help you avoid a few mistakes of your own.

5. The Warren Buffett Portfolio: Mastering The Power Of The Focus Investment Strategy

Recommended by billionaire Charlie Munger, there’s perhaps no better book on Warren Buffett’s own investment strategy. While you can’t expect to read this book and then have perfect investing knowledge overnight, it’s indisputably an advantage over other forms of traditional education. Why not learn from arguably the most successful investor of all time?

6. Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

By Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton, this book has long been regarded as a superior business text in thousands of college classrooms and company boardrooms. Similar to How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Getting To Yes takes aim at extremely powerful negotiation techniques. Much of the book’s content includes how to talk about an issue rather than belittling a person, aiming for mutual benefit, and remaining politely persistent.

7. The Wealth And Poverty Of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich And Some So Poor

In short, this book is about why some economic pursuits succeed while others have not and will not. If you want to understand why people go after what they go after in regards to business, this is a vital read.

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8. Things Hidden Since The Foundation Of The World

In René Girard’s paradigm-shattering work, he deconstructs many of the traditionally held beliefs and systems many of us have worked through or on for centuries. Girard’s argument is that even though many individuals strive to be distinct in the world, this particular drive can have counterintuitive and occasionally undesired effects.

9. How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, And The Hidden Power Of Character

In a wonderfully refreshing read, How Children Succeed takes the reader on a journey through varying cultural and economic backgrounds. Author Paul Tough accurately points out how one’s intellect is not always tied to academic achievement, as well as similar comparisons. A fascinating and insightful read for those interested in helping and developing upcoming generations.

10. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming The Unseen Forces That Stand In The Way Of True Inspiration

Written by creative powerhouse Ed Catmull (co-founder of Pixar), this recent book breaks down how teams of artists and creative engineers can work fluidly and get their best work done. It’s an essential guidebook for anyone who’s interested in filmmaking, music, visual art, or other artistic/creative endeavors.

11. Inside The Tornado: Strategies For Developing, Leveraging, And Surviving Hypergrowth Markets

A book adored by Steve Jobs, Inside The Tornado is an unusually helpful read on how the success of tech companies can be applied to up-and-coming startups. Author Geoffrey Moore also goes to the length of providing techniques on how to remain prosperous in spite of rapidly changing markets and consumer demands.

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12. The Intelligent Investor

One of the most highly acclaimed investing books of all time, this work by Benjamin Graham can’t be missed for those serious about profiting from investments. Read by Warren Buffett at age 19, the investing maven himself has consistently referred to it as one of his best self-education choices.

13. Good To Great

This classic business book was written in 2001 by Jim Collins, the famed company and entrepreneurship growth expert. His work examines the leadership traits necessary to take any company from just average to true greatness, reaping larger financial profit, massive employee fulfillment, and deeper cultural impacts in the process.

14. The Power Of Now

In Eckhart Tolle’s insanely popular work, the spiritual writer enables entrepreneurs even further by describing how to prevent yourself from defeating yourself. The crux of the book deals with learning how to make the absolute most of any situation you find yourself in.

15. Outliers: The Story Of Success

In what many regard as Malcolm Gladwell’s most successful work, the illustrious thinker examines the how, what, and why of various successful achievements across multiple fields. This book is an oft-returned-to discourse on the precise mechanics of how success is accomplished.

16. How To Win Friends And Influence People

There’s perhaps no more famous book on evergreen sales techniques and general principles for getting your way in life. Dale Carnegie’s time-tested, monolithic work of non-slimy persuasion hacks is filled with anecdotes and practical tips on how to master any conversation and achieve leverage within business aims.

17. Think And Grow Rich

Napoleon Hill first wrote this classic in 1937, and ever since, hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs have pointed to it as the most important read on personal success principles. Hill’s book breaks down the psychological barriers everyone faces on the road to success, and how changing your thought patterns can directly affect your life’s trajectory.

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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