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Here Are 10 Inspirational Biographies That Can Steer You Towards The Right Path

Here Are 10 Inspirational Biographies That Can Steer You Towards The Right Path

Everyone out there has had days when they lose all self confidence and feel like they are going nowhere. All your ideas start sounding stupid and you don’t know why you’re still trying in the first place. This is where these inspirational biographies come into play. People who have held on to their ideas and passions and executed them regardless of how difficult it was to keep going and hopefully by reading some of these, you will know exactly where your passions lie and figure out just what you need to keep doing to make them happen.

1. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

    The extraordinary and inspiring account of both the professional and personal life of Steve Jobs. Based on three years of exclusive interviews conducted by Isaacson with both Jobs and his family, colleagues and competitors. A great insight into Jobs’s life and thoughts making it a very motivational and inspirational read, one of the best inspirational biographies out there.

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

    2. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson

      Richard Branson followed a very interesting ideology that gained him, in slightly more than twenty-five years, successful ventures all around the place from Virgin Atlantic Airways to Virgin Megastores and nearly a hundred other myriad ventures. Reading this tale of someone doing business his way will surely encourage all you closet-entrepreneurs to just “screw it, let’s do it” in the words of Branson himself.

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      “I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive then I believe you are better off not doing it. A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”

      3. Shark Tales: How I Turned $1000 into a Billion Dollar Business by Barbara Corcoran

        Many of these books happen to be about business successes but that is the key to pushing ourselves to implementing all the ideas we have in mind. This book is Corcoran’s best advice for anybody starting a business but it’s also beyond that because despite failing at 22 jobs by the time she was 23, she borrowed a 1000 bucks form her boyfriend and started a tiny real estate office in NYC. This developed into a $6 billion dollar business. Now that is enough to keep me persistent!

        “Taking chances almost always makes for happy endings.”

        4. Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-Founder of Microsoft by Paul Allen

          Paul Allen was a world-famous billionaire by his early 30s and Time has named him one of the hundred most influential people in the world as the cofounder of Microsoft. Rushed into sharing his story by a diagnosis of lymphoma, this memoir was created filled with his passion, rigor, thoughts and most importantly his endeavors; both the triumphs and the failures. This will emphasize the importance of ideas in all of our minds and we could all use a little of that.

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          “For the most part, the best opportunities now lie where your competitors have yet to establish themselves, not where they’re already entrenched.”

          5. One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com y Richard L. Brandt

            Richard Brandt has brought us the intel behind the creator of the world’s most popular online shopping site, Amazon.com. With its super easy and convenient layout, Amazon has helped Bezos rise from computer whiz to a world-changing entrepreneur. Through interviews with employees, competitors and observers, we get an insight into how Bezos thinks enabling us to sharpen up our decision making skills and maybe, finding something that gives us a higher meaning to our lives.

            “… working at Amazon was not just a job – it was part of a visionary quest, something to give higher meaning to their lives.”

            6. Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

              This one is now sitting on my “Want To Read” shelf on Goodreads because it is a slightly different kind of biography than the ones prior. This literary adventure teaches you to live deliberately without fear or compromise because only when you know what you want and stand for it will you be able to succeed. The book proposes many other conflicts and thought processes but Chris’s desire to live on his own terms and his pursuing of that is the inspirational essence.

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              “Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.”

              7. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

                This one is a classic, discovered in the attic in which Anne Frank spent the last years of her life during the war and the holocaust. Anne has a remarkable voice that in itself makes you feel guilty for letting some of your hardships – that now might now seem as hard – get in the way of what it is you want to do. Perhaps this might not be lighthearted but it is most definitely positive because that is what Frank intended it to be. She broke the Maslow’s hierarchy theory because she didn’t need a sense of security to write and express herself and reach self-actualization, she just did, and in her strength we can all find ours.

                “Although I’m only fourteen, I know quite well what I want, I know who is right and who is wrong. I have my opinions, my own ideas and principles, and although it may sound pretty mad from an adolescent, I feel more of a person than a child, I feel quite indepedant of anyone.”

                8. Front Row: Anna Wintour – What Lies Beneath the Chic Exterior of Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief by Jerry Oppenheimer

                  The list would be incomplete without the chic and that is embodied in Vogue’s Queen Bee: Anna Wintour. Behind her trademark sunglasses and bob she essentially controls the fashion world, what’s in and what’s out, and every month millions of women and men are influenced by the pages of the wish-book that she has earned fighting her way to the most prestigious position in fashion journalism. Wintour’s belief in her opinions and voice makes you want to wear whatever you want and even carry through that attitude, ambition and drive into the rest of your endeavours.

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                  9. Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie

                    The title in itself is the lesson. Mycoskie tells the story of TOMS, one of the fastest-growing shoe companies in the world, and includes the innovative lessons he has learned from other organisations such as charity: water, TerraCycle and FEED Projects. Blake makes it easier for us by presenting six simple keys for creating or transforming your own life and business so the first step, is to pick it up and give it a read if you’re ready to make a difference in your world and most importantly, your personal life.

                    “Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.… If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.”

                    10. By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop by Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis-Wilson

                      Alexis and Alexandra went to Harvard Business School and while they were learning all they could at the top training ground for future Wall Street titans, they had no idea that 5 years on the line, they’d be famous at the intersection of fashion and technology. Gilt began with one bold idea: to bring sample sales online and change the way millions shop. The quintessential lesson is that anything is possible if you have the confidence to embrace your creativity, spontaneity and ability to recognise an opportunity and just go for it.

                      “The reason we wrote our book, By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt And Changed The Way Millions Shop, is to inspire entrepreneurship – especially among women. We want to help increase the chances of success with more startups.”

                      Featured photo credit: Grow via youandsaturation.com

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                      Last Updated on March 14, 2019

                      7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                      7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                      Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

                      For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

                      Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

                      1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

                      A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

                      It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

                      It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

                      How it helps you:

                      If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

                      Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

                      2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

                      Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

                      Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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                      How it helps you:

                      Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

                      Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

                      If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

                      Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

                      3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

                      Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

                      Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

                      How it helps you:

                      This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

                      For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

                      Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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                      A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

                      4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

                      To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

                      A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

                      How it helps you:

                      One word: hierarchy.

                      All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

                      In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

                      If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

                      5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

                      Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

                      Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

                      How it helps you:

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                      Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

                      If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

                      This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

                      6. What do you like about working here?

                      This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

                      Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

                      How it helps you:

                      You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

                      Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

                      Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

                      7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

                      What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

                      As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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                      How it helps you:

                      What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

                      First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

                      Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

                      Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

                      Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

                      Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

                      Making Your Interview Work for You

                      Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

                      Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

                      More Resources About Job Interviews

                      Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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