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10 Books That Bill Gates Wants You to Read to Become as Successful as Him

10 Books That Bill Gates Wants You to Read to Become as Successful as Him

Ever heard the quote “learners are earners”? Bill Gates certainly has. He strives to read a book a week. No one is questioning his ability to earn! Luckily, you can follow his lead by following his blog, Gates Notes. He posts his thoughts on the books he reads so anyone can get into his mind and understand his views on success. Read on. Lead on.

1. Business Adventures by John Brooks

Business Adventures

    To have great success, it is important to understand why businesses are successful and why they fail. This book dives into the deep inner workings of why on both sides.

    What the publisher says about it: “From Wall Street to Main Street, John Brooks, longtime contributor to the New Yorker, brings to life in vivid fashion twelve classic and timeless tales of corporate and financial life in America.”

    What Bill Gates wrote about it:

    “Today, more than two decades after Warren lent it to me–and more than four decades after it was first published–Business Adventures remains the best business book I’ve ever read. John Brooks is still my favorite business writer.”

    Actually, this book was so important to Bill Gates that he made a short video about it. In it, he interviews Warren Buffet and other high-profile business leaders. Read Gates’ review and watch the video here.

    Buy the best business book Bill Gates has ever read.

    2. Tap Dancing to Work by Carol Loomis

    tap dancing to work

      It’s no secret that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have a strong relationship. This book is a compilation of Buffett’s articles interwoven by his colleague and close friend, Carol Loomis. If you want to learn about the unfolding of great success, this one is for you.

      What the publisher says about it: “Warren Buffett built Berkshire Hathaway into something remarkable–and Fortune journalist Carol Loomis had a front-row seat for it all.”

      What Bill Gates wrote about it:

      “I think anyone who reads it cover to cover will come away with two reactions: First, how Warren’s been incredibly consistent in applying his vision and investment principles over the duration of his career; and, secondly, that his analysis and understanding of business and markets remains unparalleled.”

      Buy the book that gets inside the mind of Bill Gates’ mentor.

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      3. Life is What You Make It by Peter Buffett

      life is what you make it

        Peter Buffett has been successful in his life too, although not completely because of his wealthy, successful father. This book tells the story of a hard-working wealthy child, and what his father instilled in him to become successful in music and philanthropy. Bill Gates said he will be reading it with his older children. You don’t have to be the child of a wealthy man to get this wisdom and enjoy your path.

        What the publisher says about it: “From composer, musician, and philanthropist Peter Buffett comes a warm, wise, and inspirational book that asks, Which will you choose: the path of least resistance or the path of potentially greatest satisfaction?”

        What Bill Gates says about it:

        “Contrary to what many people might assume, Peter won’t inherit great wealth from his father. Instead, he was encouraged by his parents to find his own path. The book is a chronicle of that journey–and the wisdom and perceptions he has developed along the way.”

        Get the book that Bill Gates wants for his children.

        4. Awakening Joy by James Baraz

        https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937006220?tag=s7621-20

          Why do you want to be successful? Joy may be a reason. This book teaches you how to have joy while you are becoming successful.

          What the publisher says about it: “Awakening Joy is more than just another book about happiness. More than simply offering suggested strategies to change our behavior, it uses time-tested practices to train the mind to learn new ways of thinking.

          The principles of the course are universal, although much of the material includes Buddhist philosophy drawn from the author’s thirty years as a Buddhist meditation teacher and spiritual counselor.”

          What Bill Gates says about it:

          “Joy is not for just the lucky few–it’s a choice anyone can make. In this groundbreaking book, based on his popular course, James Baraz helps you discover a path to the happiness that’s right in front of you, offering a step-by-step program that will reorient your mind away from dissatisfaction and distraction and toward the contentment and delight that is abundantly available in our everyday lives.”

          Get the book so you can successfully have what Bill Gates has: joy.

          5. Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson

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          Where good ideas come from

            Being successful requires a certain amount of innovation. This buzzword does not spark a strong visual for many people. Where Good Ideas Come From defines what makes fertile ground for successful innovation.

            What the publisher says about the book: “The printing press, the pencil, the flush toilet, the battery–these are all great ideas. But where do they come from? What kind of environment breeds them? What sparks the flash of brilliance? How do we generate the breakthrough technologies that push forward our lives, our society, our culture? Steven Johnson’s answers are revelatory as he identifies the seven key patterns behind genuine innovation, and traces them across time and disciplines.”

            What Bill Gates wrote about it:

            “Especially for people in business or education, it’s a worthwhile book. It talks about the institutional structures that facilitate good ideas–how you get lots of people thinking about cutting edge problems, how you put people together in a space where different skill sets and influences can come together, how you make the right kinds of materials available but don’t force a conclusion.”

            Get the book that Bill Gates says successful educators and businesspeople need for great innovation.

            6. Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

            Moonwalking with einstein

              You can’t be successful if you are known as forgetful. This book can teach you how to memorize obscure facts and useful ones. Great for those of us who are bad with names.

              What the publisher says about it: “Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer’s yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top ‘mental athletes.’ He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist’s trade to transform our understanding of human memory.”

              What Bill Gates says about it:

              “Like most people, I’m fascinated by how the mind works, and memory is a big element of that. Part of the beauty of this book is that it makes clear how memory and understanding are not two different things. Building up the ability to reason and the ability to retain information go hand in hand.”

              Get the book that makes Bill Gates’ mind work out hard.

              7. Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa

              Academically adrift

                This book outright says what we have all suspected: our college education may not have emphasized learning as much as we believed. This book can make you successful for two reasons:

                1. You can put your college education in a mental box and give yourself permission to learn in the real world.

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                2. If you are an educator, there is a real need for successful innovation.

                What the publisher says about this book: “In spite of soaring tuition costs, more and more students go to college every year. A bachelor’s degree is now required for entry into a growing number of professions. And some parents begin planning for the expense of sending their kids to college when they’re born.”

                What Bill Gates says about it:

                “The dismal results presented in Academically Adrift are based on the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test in which students are asked to make a practical decision–such as, what kind of airplane a company should buy–and explain their choice based on a set of goals and facts about different options. I’m optimistic about the potential of innovation to help solve many of the problems with our post-secondary system. But we need more and better information.”

                Bill Gates is lobbing this innovation softball at you. Will you take it and become successful?

                8. That Used to be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas L. Freidman and Michael Mandelbaum

                That used to be us

                  Thinking that the US is going to hell in a handbasket creates a dismal picture of the world. Dismal pictures dampen a person’s ability to be successful. Some aspects are true: America is not growing as fast as other countries; we are falling behind in math and science and sometimes even business. It’s not actually horrifying; we have just been really amazing at inspiring other countries to be like us. And now it’s time for the US to take the next step and lead the world.

                  What the publisher says about the book: “In That Used to Be Us, Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum analyze the four major challenges we face as a country–globalization, the revolution in information technology, chronic deficits, and our pattern of energy consumption–and spell out what we need to do now to preserve American power in the world.”

                  What Bill Gates wrote about the book:

                  “That Used to Be Us is a fantastic book, and I really encourage people to read it.

                  The basic message is that other countries, the ones that are now competing with us and kind of scaring us, are not doing anything different from what we did in our past. We have a difficult time responding to them, however, because they’re copying the way we used to be, and meanwhile, we’ve changed. As our society has gotten richer, we’ve become more careful about protecting people’s rights and not harming the environment, for example.”

                  Get the book that can position you to change the world.

                  9. Deng Xiaoping by Ezra F Vogel

                  Deng Xioping

                    Being successful requires taking a tough situation and transforming it into a beautiful piece of art. That’s what Deng Xiaoping did with the most populous country in the world. Before he came into power, China was in poverty and was unable to pull itself out. Deng transformed China’s business practices and and improved the country’s economy.

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                    What the publisher says about it: “No one in the twentieth century had a greater impact on world history than Deng Xiaoping. And no scholar is better qualified than Ezra Vogel to disentangle the contradictions embodied in the life and legacy of China’s boldest strategist–the pragmatic, disciplined force behind China’s radical economic, technological, and social transformation.”

                    What Bill Gates wrote about it:

                    “China in 1979 was one of the poorest countries in the world, far poorer than India. They were barely scratching out a living and their population density made it difficult for them to feed their population. There was very little to build on other than the fact that the party had incredible authority.

                    With this authority, Deng set in motion a series of critical changes early on in his leadership to achieve cultural stability and significant economic growth. To have done this essentially in one generation is an unbelievable accomplishment and is unique in the history of the world.”

                    Get the fascinating book about one man who inspired a whole country to become successful.

                    10. The Most Powerful Idea in the World by William Rosen

                    the-most-powerful-idea-in-the-world_books_2014_471px_v1

                      At first glance, it looks like this book is about railroads and engines. That’s plenty cool if you’re into that kind of stuff. The real meaning is about why these machines were so successful. What was the idea that made railroads so capable of changing the world?

                      Here’s what the publisher said about it: “Hardly a week passes without some high-profile court case that features intellectual property at its center. But how did the belief that one could own an idea come about? And how did that belief change the way humankind lives and works?”

                      What Bill Gates wrote about the book:

                      “The book’s premise is that the Anglophone world–England, Scotland, Wales and America–was the epicenter of the Industrial Revolution because it ‘democratized the nature of invention.’ Rosen makes a compelling argument that the steam engine is the quintessential example of that democratization at work.

                      Rosen’s view fits my own view of the power of measurement to advance the work of our foundation. (I focused my 2013 Annual Letter from the foundation on measurement and the amazing things you can accomplish in global health, education and other areas if you set clear goals and can measure your progress toward them.)”

                      Get the book that can change the way you invent new ides so you can become successful.

                      Featured photo credit: Thomas Hawk via compfight.com

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                      Published on January 16, 2019

                      How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

                      How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

                      We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

                      You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

                      You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

                      That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

                      Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

                      1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

                      Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

                      We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

                      To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

                      At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

                      The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

                      2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

                      Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

                      The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

                      In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

                      It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

                      It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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                      So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

                      • Are you a great strategist?
                      • Are you an effective planner?
                      • Is Project Management your strength?
                      • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
                      • Are you the ideas person?
                      • Is Implementation your strength?

                      Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

                      3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

                      One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

                      Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

                      Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

                      Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

                      4. Take Time for Planning

                      “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

                      One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

                      You can take the time to think about:

                      • What’s the purpose of the project?
                      • How Important is it?
                      • When does it need to be delivered by?
                      • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
                      • What are the KPIs?
                      • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
                      • Who is working on this project?
                      • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
                      • What tolerances can I add in?
                      • What are the review stages?
                      • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

                      Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

                      5. Focus on Priorities

                      Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

                      Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

                      One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

                      1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
                      2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
                      3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
                      4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

                      James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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                        The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

                        If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

                        If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

                        6. Take Time Out

                        To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

                        If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

                        Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

                        In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

                        Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

                        7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

                        Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

                        I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

                        Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

                        If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

                        8. Stop Multitasking

                        Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

                        So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

                        When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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                        If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

                        9. Work in Blocks of Time

                        To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

                        I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

                        Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

                        Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

                        Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

                        Then take another 10-minute break.

                        Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

                        By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

                        10. Get Rid of Distractions

                        Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

                        “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

                        Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

                        If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

                        11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

                        You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

                        Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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                        Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

                        12. Take a Time Audit

                        Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

                        Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

                        You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

                        Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

                        Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

                        At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

                        If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

                        13. Protect Your Confidence

                        It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

                        When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

                        Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

                        When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

                        Final Words

                        A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

                        The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

                        If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

                        Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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