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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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                      The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

                      The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

                      It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

                      Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

                      “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

                      In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

                      New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

                      There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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                      So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

                      What is the productivity paradox?

                      There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

                      In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

                      He wrote in his conclusion:

                      “Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

                      Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

                      How do we measure productivity anyway?

                      And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

                      In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

                      But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

                      In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

                      But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

                      Possible causes of the productivity paradox

                      Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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                      • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
                      • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
                      • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
                      • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

                      There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

                      According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

                      Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

                      The paradox and the recession

                      The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

                      “Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

                      This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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                      According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

                      Looking forward

                      A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

                      “Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

                      Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

                      “Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

                      On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

                      Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                      Reference

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