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10 Powerful Books Every Entrepreneur Needs To Read

10 Powerful Books Every Entrepreneur Needs To Read

1. The Knowledge to Succeed by Wendy Day
Wendy Day - The Knowledge to Succeed
    Put the business in music business…

    You may not have heard of Wendy Day, but you hear the fruits of her labor everywhere. Tired of seeing her favorite musicians being screwed, Day quit her day job and went to work in the music industry. She’s credited for discovering Master P and his No Limit Records label, Eminem, Cash Money Records (Lil Wayne, BG, Juvenile, Hot Boyz, Big Tymers, etc), Twista, Do Or Die, David Banner, and many others. The Knowledge to Succeed is where Wendy Day teaches anyone how to replicate their success or hers.

    2. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey

      Seven Habits is a timeless lesson in leadership and success. By changing your mindset to embrace an alternative perspective, Covey walks you through the self-mastery Paradigm Shift. The process is broken down into Independence, Interdependence, and Continual Improvement, resulting in meaningful and consistent growth.

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      3. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

      The 4-Hour Workweek

        Prepare to have your mind blown. Americans have the least amount of vacation hours in the industrial world. We also work much more than 40 hours per week. Timothy Ferriss challenges conventional wisdom by providing case after case to prove normal “banking hours” aren’t as productive as we think. As an entrepreneur, you’ll find it easy to relate to the ideas presented in Workweek

        4. Shark Tank: Jump Start Your Business by Michael Parrish DuDell and the Shark Tank cast

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        Shark Tank - Jump Start Your Business

          On the hit ABC show Shark Tank, hopeful entrepreneurs present their business ideas to savvy investors, such as FUBU founder Damon Johns and Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban. The show is filled with useful business advice from these savvy investors that every entrepreneur could use. From always knowing your customer acquisition cost to the real-world value of your business, don’t start a business without the fundamentals from the sharks.

          5. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

          Rhonda Byrne - The Secret
            It’s no secret – you’re the problem…

            A company’s brand is an extension of the person running it. If you want to create a successful business, you’ll need to create a successful self. Self-help books are an oxymoron, but The Secret manages to avoid the pitfalls of the genre by focusing on actionable exercises over generic advice. It’s no secret that Byrne’s tips lead you down a better path, so add it to your entrepreneurial reading list.

            6. Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson

            Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
              Cheesy, but invaluable…

              The business world is a rat race, and Dr. Spencer Johnson uses this imagery to illustrate our different reactions to change. Cheese is a business fable featuring two mice and two littlepeople. When their treasured cheese supply dwindles, the characters have different reactions to the change. Traversing through the maze, some learn to adapt to their new cheese situation, while attempting to assist the others in finding their own way. Change is inevitable, and as an entrepreneur it becomes part of your daily routine. Dr. Johnson can help you find comfort when you’re constantly forced out of your zone.

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              7. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnagie

              How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

                Although Simon Pegg’s spoof How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is a great tip of the hat to the disruptive side of relationships, Dale Carnagie’s classic book is every bit as relevant today as it was the day it was written. Negotiations are a cornerstone of entrepreneurial endeavors. Learn how to successfully steer people toward your line of thinking, whether it’s clients, customers, or employees.

                8. Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

                Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson
                  No man is an island, but some own one…

                  If you’re going to emulate someone in business, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone better than Richard Branson. He started his first business at 17, and opened the Virgin Records stores at 22. Branson expanded his iconic Virgin brand from a record store to an empire, including a music label, airline, mobile carrier, and even a space shuttle. Branson even has his own island where celebrities such as Mariah Carey take a vacation. He explains how he did it in his own words in Virginity

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                  ,his autobiography.

                  9. Il Principe (The Prince) by Nicolo Machiavelli

                  The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
                    Ever wonder what made Tupac 2Pac?

                    In 1532, Nicolo Machiavelli published one of the most important works of political philosophy in human history. Although written in Italian, and quite short, he summarizes all the lures and trappings of the quest for power. It may seem like an oddball choice for an entrepreneur, but it’s important to understand that when you stand on your own and attempt to build an empire, you’re joining reality’s Game of Thrones, and those in power will notice your success because it takes away from theirs. Know your enemy – you may one day become him.

                    10. The Signal And The Noise by Nate Silver

                    The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver

                      Big data is a new concept to many people, but it’s been studied by large organizations for years. After gaining public recognition for developing a performance forecasting system for Major League Baseball, Nate moved into politics, where he analyzed the data and near-flawlessly predicted the results of both the 2008 and 2012 elections. As big data becomes more prominent, every entrepreneur needs to understand what it is and how it can be leveraged. The Signal And The Noise is your first lesson.

                      Featured photo credit: Rene Skaflestad via reneskaflestad.com

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                      Published on February 17, 2020

                      How to Stay Focused on Your Goals in a Distracting World

                      How to Stay Focused on Your Goals in a Distracting World

                      In this digital era, distractions can seem impossible to avoid. Just figuring out how to stay focused on your goals and ambitions can feel as difficult as actually achieving them.

                      These days, constant distractions can lead to a massive loss in productivity.

                      Statistics show that employees, on average, waste 28% of their time dealing with and trying to recover from unnecessary interruptions.[1]

                      And that’s at work, where you’re paid to be productive, and where some of us are monitored too much or too closely for comfort.

                      So, one can only imagine how much time is lost or wasted when we are left to our own devices.

                      A World of Distractions

                      Speaking of devices, how many times have you grabbed your cell phone at the very moment you hear a notification, wasting precious time scrolling through social media when you should be using that time working on your goals?

                      I can bet a lot.

                      But we’ve all been there.

                      Sometimes, even with the best of intentions and efforts to stay on task, we still find ourselves being chronically distracted.

                      Chances are you’ll be interrupted before you can even finish reading this article.

                      The reality is as undeniable as it is unavoidable: we live in a world full of distractions!

                      But how can you take back control of your time and attention to avoid these distractions and learn how to stay focused on your goals?

                      There are several strategies for overcoming distractions and reclaiming your focus, such as avoiding social media, prioritizing emails, meditation and more.

                      You can read about them in detail in our article, How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide).

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                      Some of these methods have been discussed ad nauseam. But one method in particular hasn’t been talked about enough.

                      How to Stay Focused on Your Goals

                      Your Environment Is a Major Factor

                      Whether we want to admit it or not, all of us are mostly a product of our environment. Our environment impacts us far more than we realize.

                      It’s made of a multitude of things, from the space we live and work in, to the people we spend the most time with, to the things we read, listen to, and watch, to even our profiles on social media, and more.

                      All of these elements of our surroundings influence our focus, thoughts, mindset, belief systems, and the goals and standards we set for ourselves. They all serve as triggers for certain behaviors, tendencies, and moods. That’s how many of our habits are formed.

                      We’ll always take on aspects of the environments we continually place ourselves in.

                      Willpower and Motivation Is a Broken Approach

                      What a lot of people have gotten wrong about trying to achieve their goals is that they often focus only on what needs to be done and how to get it done – outcomes and willpower.

                      Many think that willpower and motivation in their own right determine success.

                      While both are great and necessary virtues to have to navigate this increasingly difficult world, willpower is largely a short-term solution, while motivation is great to get you started but is also fleeting.

                      This is one of the main reasons why so many people’s New Year’s resolutions go belly-up by the end of January.

                      Your willpower is like a muscle, which means it’s finite and will deplete with use. [2]

                      Using the willpower approach to stay focused on goals centers on increasing personal efforts to overcome the environment, not on modifying or changing the environment.

                      The harsh reality is that your environment is more powerful than your internal resolve. No matter how much discipline you have, eventually, you’ll succumb to your environment despite your greatest efforts.

                      Setting Yourself up for Success

                      In an environment that’s incompatible with your goals, its negative influence will sabotage your success.

                      On the other hand, a compatible environment is one of the most important strategies you can utilize to stay focused on achieving your goals.

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                      Creating an environment that is conducive to success will trigger your desired behaviors and, most importantly, will decrease distractions.

                      Inevitability Thinking

                      In fact, productivity expert Eben Pagan believes that designing the right environment will create conditions that make it impossible for you not to achieve your goals.

                      The multi-millionaire, entrepreneur, and investor regards this as the next evolution of goal-setting that will move us away from focusing on willpower and outcomes.

                      He calls this concept “Inevitability Thinking,” which is thinking and acting as if what you are doing is a foregone conclusion because you set up the conditions for it to happen.

                      What he means by “setting up the conditions for success” is designing an environment that’s conducive to you achieving your goals.

                      Building Your Environment

                      World-renowned leadership coach and author Dr. Marshall Goldsmith believes if a person doesn’t create and control their environment, then it will create and control them.

                      He suggests having a vision of achieving the goals you want to accomplish. Then, think about designing the structure of your environment, your situation, or your organization in a way that would organically bring that vision to life.

                      “If [you] can design your life [and] behaviors well, [you] don’t need to rely on willpower.” – BJ Fogg, Social Science Research Associate, Stanford [3]

                      “But I’m not a designer,” you might be thinking.

                      Don’t get intimidated, it can be done – by you or anyone! Designing or modifying your environment so you can better stay focused on your goals is not like designing spaceships – it’s not rocket science.

                      Here is how to make it happen.

                      How to Stay Focused on Your Goals: Designing Your Environment

                      1. Find the Environment That Supports Achieving Your Goals

                      Real progress occurs when we fully understand and align with what, whom, and where best support our goals.

                      So, the next time you’re in your environment, whether at or outside of work, try to pay attention to how you feel while you’re there. Note if that feeling changes when you leave that environment.

                      Examine your surroundings. Look at all the infrastructure and ask yourself these simple questions:

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                      • Am I in an environment that’s conducive to me achieving my goals?
                      • Is it detrimental to me maintaining my focus on my goals?
                      • Is it on par with people who have already achieved what I want to achieve?

                      Also, examine your lifestyle and habits. Are you placing yourself in environments and situations that spark personal growth?

                      If the answers to these questions are anything but a definite and resounding yes, then you should seriously consider modifying or completely changing your surroundings.

                      The more you understand yourself, the more aware you’ll be of the environment that’s most likely to help you stay focused on your goals.

                      2. Let Your Goals, Not Distractions, Distract You

                      If you constantly lose focus on your goals, you pretty much render them useless. Distractions and interruptions are the biggest culprits of losing your focus.

                      One of the most practical ways to maintain focus is to allow your goals to constantly distract you.

                      You’ll inevitably lose focus from time to time. But you can limit the number of times it happens and the duration by facilitating your goals to distract you back to your focus.

                      Now, how do you do that?

                      It’s simple: make visual cues.

                      There’s a saying that if you don’t see it, you’ll probably forget it. Science agrees; the eyes hold the majority of sensory receptors in the human body. Therefore, the eye is a major component of focus.

                      The following cues are simply things that will trigger you to focus or refocus your attention back onto your goals.

                      What type to use will largely depend on what works for you, but below are a few common ones:

                      • Tape your task list or habit tracker to your desk or onto your refrigerator at home.
                      • Hang motivational posters at frequently visited sections of your house or workspace.
                      • Post-Its – write your goals in a one or two-word phrase on them and stick where you’re sure to see them.
                      • Set cues to constantly remind you to stick with your productive habits.
                      • Digital devices – alter the screensavers of your computer, smartphones, tablets, or any other digital device you use regularly to display something about your goal.

                      Read more about how to stay focused on your goals: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

                      3. Modify Your Inner Circle

                      Multiple studies have proven that our mindset, behaviors, and motivations are largely influenced by our peer group. Therefore, the people in our lives have an enormous impact on our ability to reach our goals.

                      “You are the average of the five people you associate with most…” – Tim Ferriss [4]

                      Since people have such a significant influence on the direction of your entire life, if you’re really serious about achieving your goals, you may have to adjust your inner circle. This is where designing or modifying your environment for success becomes tricky.

                      Unlike upgrading your iPhone, changing the makeup of your inner circle can be a lot more complex.

                      One of the most difficult things to do in life is to sever ties with friends, especially against their will, even if it’s for the betterment of the self.

                      It will likely foster resentment because it will require you to betray the very virtue that served as the keystone of the friendship in the first place: loyalty.

                      But we must remember that above all else, when we set important personal goals, we must be loyal to ourselves if we are to achieve them. Loyalty to friends, family, or even to your spouse that is detrimental to your success in life will only slow your growth.

                      By consciously deciding whom you want in your inner circle, you are taking control of the ultimate direction of your life.

                      4. Change Your Environment Completely

                      This method is the most extreme, but it can also be the most effective.

                      While modifying your environment for it to become less distracting is ideal, sometimes it’s just not enough. Certain elements in your environment, such as your social circle, are harder than others to modify. In fact, some elements that are nearly impossible to adjust.

                      There are times when these elements are so out of your control that the only thing you can do to stay focused on your goals is to make more radical and thorough changes. This can mean changing your environment completely.

                      Here are some examples of changes you could try to make (only if necessary):

                      1. Change your physical possessions (ex.: get rid of your TV)
                      2. Create a new virtual set-up (online)
                      3. Change your physical workspace (work, home, co-working, cafes, etc.)
                      4. Join a new social group
                      5. Change locations (home, co-working space, café, etc.)
                      6. Change jobs or switch branches
                      7. Drop distracting friends or family from your inner circle.
                      8. Change your spouse
                      9. Move to a different country

                      Of course, these are some extreme steps to take. So, only resort to these if you have tried everything else to stay focused on your goals but are still unsuccessful.

                      Conclusion

                      If you’re struggling to figure out how to stay focused on your goals, it’s a lot harder to make a significant, lasting change without altering some elements of your environment.

                      By taking control of the set-up of your environment, you can influence your levels of motivation, enthusiasm, drive, and desire towards the goals you have set.

                      Optimizing your environment creates powerful conscious and subconscious motivators that make staying focused on your goals easier. And for many of us, easier is always better.

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                      More Tips on Goal Setting

                      Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Information Overload Research Group: The Cost of Not Paying Attention – How Interruptions Impact Knowledge Worker Productivity
                      [2] American Psychological Association Study: Willpower, choice, and self-control
                      [3] BJ Fogg on Twitter: @bjfogg
                      [4] GoodReads: Timothy Ferriss: Quotable Quotes

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