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10 Great Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

10 Great Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

What is one thing the world’s wealthiest people all have in common? 88 percent of them read for at least 30 minutes a day (compared to just two percent of the general population).

If you aspire to join the ranks of wealthy entrepreneurs, reading is an invaluable skill. Books lead us into new ways of thinking, help us push through the tough times, and teach us how to become successful business men and women.

If you’re an entrepreneur or an aspiring entrepreneur, here are 10 must-read books.

1. Choose Yourself by James Altucher

choose yourself

    This is an amazing book. Altucher’s writes like an old friend and his self-depreciating style is raw, honest, and the kick in the pants every entrepreneur needs. Here’s my favorite quote from the book:

    The only skills you need to be an entrepreneur are the ability to fail, to have ideas, to sell those ideas, to execute on them, and to be persistent so even as you fail you learn and move onto the next adventure.

    2. Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

    Rework

      Rework is not your average business book. It shows you a smarter, faster approach to succeed in business. This is the best book I’ve ever read about entrepreneurship. It defies “traditional” rules and offers simple, no-nonsense advice for starting your own company. Like this:

      The best way to get there is through iterations. Stop imagining what’s going to work. Find out for real.

      3. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

      purple cow

        Godin is one of the greatest entrepreneurial minds in the world. In Purple Cow, he advocates building something so amazing that people can’t ignore you. There are a lot of great lessons in this book—it’s definitely one you’ll be making notes on throughout.

        You must design a product that is remarkable enough to attract the early adopters – but is flexible enough and attractive enough that those adopters will have an easy time spreading the idea.

        4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

         

        stephen-covey-7-habits-of-highly-effective-people-book
          Seven Habits

          is a classic book about leadership and success. There’s a reason it has sold millions of copies: the lessons are timeless and they work. My personal favorite is the “Win-Win” habit, which says that one of your first priorities should be to create a product or service that benefits your customer, and then worry about the rest.

          5. Tribes by Seth Godin

          tribes

            Godin makes this list twice because “Tribes” should be required reading for every entrepreneur. Here’s the most important takeaway:

            Almost all growth that’s available to you exists when you aren’t like most people and when you work hard to appeal to folks who aren’t most people.

            Choose your audience first, then find a product that fulfills an unmet need.

            6. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

            Meditations

              If there’s one book that changed the way I think more than any other, it’s this. Being an entrepreneur is about finding balance in your life. It’s a constant juggling act and Meditations, the classic book of wisdom from Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor Aurelius, will help keep you grounded.

              You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

              7. Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelly

              CCBook_Front_Comp_560px

                This book will help you unlock your inner creativity, even if you think it’s an area where you’re lacking. A must-read for entrepreneurs.

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                Take time to ask yourself each day “When was I at my best?” or “When was work most rewarding?” It can help point you toward roles or activities that will enrich your work and reveal what gives you the greatest pleasure or fulfillment.

                8. To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink

                Dan-Pink-To-Sell-Is-Human

                  Even if you don’t consider yourself a “sales person,” all entrepreneurs need to understand how to sell. This book breaks down the stigmas about salesmanship and shows you a simple strategy for “moving others.” It’s a fantastic read.

                  9. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

                  EP_slight_edge

                    The Slight Edge philosophy is based on doing little things, which, done consistently over time, add up to the big accomplishments. This is a great read for entrepreneurs because it shows you how doing the “little stuff” and continuously improving are the keys to success.

                    10. The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

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                    4hour

                      Ferris lays out a brilliantly simple plan for taking your new “big idea” to market: pick a specific topic you know and have experienced more about than your audience; test different types of positioning and find out what your audience needs help with; then develop a product that meets their needs. This is one of my favorite books of all-time that will show you plenty of shortcuts for taking your entrepreneurial dream to reality.

                      Featured photo credit: gcouros via flickr.com

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                      Scott Christ

                      Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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                      Last Updated on November 5, 2020

                      Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It)

                      Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It)

                      Nobody enjoys failing. Fear of failure can be so strong that avoiding failure eclipses the motivation to succeed. Insecurity about doing things incorrectly causes many people to unconsciously sabotage their chances for success.

                      Fear is part of human nature. As an entrepreneur, I faced this same fear. My ego and identity became intertwined with my work, and when things didn’t go as planned, I completely shut down. I overcame this unhealthy relationship with fear, and I believe that you can, too.

                      Together we’ll examine how you can use failure to your advantage instead of letting it run your life. We’ll also look at how to overcome fear of failure so that you can enjoy success in your work and life.

                      What Is Fear of Failure?

                      If you are afraid of failure, it will cause you to avoid potentially harmful situations.

                      Fear of failure keeps you from trying, creates self-doubt, stalls progress, and may lead you to go against your morals.

                      What causes a fear of failure? Here are the main reasons why fear of failing exists:

                      Patterns From Childhood

                      Hyper-critical adults cause children to internalize damaging mindsets.[1] They establish ultimatums and fear-based rules. This causes children to feel the constant need to ask for permission and reassurance. They carry this need for validation into adulthood.

                      Perfectionism

                      Perfectionism is often at the root of a fear of failure.[2] For perfectionists, failure is so terrible and humiliating that they don’t try. Stepping outside your comfort zone becomes terrifying.

                      Over-Personalization

                      The ego may lead us to over-identify with failures. It’s hard to look beyond failure at things like the quality of the effort, extenuating circumstances, or growth opportunities.[3]

                      False Self-Confidence

                      People with true confidence know they won’t always succeed. A person with fragile self-confidence avoids risks. They’d rather play it safe than try something new.[4]

                      How the Fear of Failure Holds You Back

                      Unhealthy Organization Culture

                      Too many organizations today have cultures of perfection: a set of organizational beliefs that any failure is unacceptable. Only pure, untainted success will do.

                      Imagine the stress and terror in an organization like that. The constant covering up of the smallest blemishes. The wild finger-pointing as everyone tries to shift the blame for the inevitable messes onto someone else. The lying, cheating, falsification of data, and hiding of problems—until they become crises that defy being hidden any longer.

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                      Miss out on Valuable Opportunities

                      If some people fail to reach a complete answer because of the lure of some early success, many more fail because of their ego-driven commitment to what worked in the past. You often see this with senior people, especially those who made their names by introducing some critical change years ago.

                      They shy away from further innovation, afraid that this time they might fail, diminishing the luster they try to keep around their names from past triumph.

                      Besides, they reason, the success of something new might even prove that those achievements they made in the past weren’t so great after all. Why take the risk when you can hang on to your reputation by doing nothing?

                      Such people are so deeply invested in their egos and the glories of their past that they prefer to set aside opportunities for future glory rather than risk even the possibility of failure.

                      High Achievers Become Losers

                      Every talent contains an opposite that sometimes turns it into a problem. Successful people like to win and achieve high standards. This can make them so terrified of failure that it ruins their lives. When a positive trait, like achievement, becomes too strong in someone’s life, it’s on the way to becoming a major obstacle.

                      Achievement is a powerful value for many successful people. They’ve built their lives on it. They achieve at everything they do: school, college, sports, the arts, hobbies, work. Each fresh achievement adds to the power of the value in their lives.

                      Gradually, failure becomes unthinkable. Maybe they’ve never failed yet in anything that they’ve done, so they have no experience of rising above it. Failure becomes the supreme nightmare: a frightful horror they must avoid at any cost.

                      The simplest way to do this is never to take a risk, stick rigidly to what you know you can do, protect yourself, work the longest hours, double and triple check everything, and be the most conscientious and conservative person in the universe.

                      If constant hard work, diligence, brutal working schedules and harrying subordinates won’t ward off the possibility of failing, use every other possible means to to keep it away. Falsify numbers, hide anything negative, conceal errors, avoid customer feedback, constantly shift the blame for errors onto anyone too weak to fight back.

                      Loss of Creativity

                      Over-achievers destroy their own peace of mind and the lives of those who work for them. People too attached to “goodness” and morality become self-righteous bigots. Those whose values for building close relationships become unbalanced slide into smothering their friends and family with constant expressions of affection and demands for love in return.

                      Everyone likes to succeed. The problem comes when fear of failure is dominant, when you can no longer accept the inevitability of making mistakes, nor recognize the importance of trial and error in finding the most creative solution.

                      The more creative you are, the more errors you are going to make. Deciding to avoid the errors will destroy your creativity, too.

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                      Balance counts more than you think. Some tartness must season the sweetest dish. A little selfishness is valuable even in the most caring person. And a little failure is essential to preserve everyone’s perspective on success.

                      We hear a lot about being positive. Maybe we also need to recognize that the negative parts of our lives and experience have just as important a role to play in finding success, in work, and in life.

                      How to Overcome Fear of Failure (Step-by-Step)

                      1. Figure out Where the Fear Comes From

                      Ask yourself what the root cause of your negative belief could be.[5] When you look at the four main causes for a fear of failure, which ones resonate with you?

                      Write down where you think the fear comes from, and try to understand it as an outsider.

                      If it helps, imagine you’re trying to help one of your best friends. Perhaps your fear stems from something that happened in your childhood, or a deep-seated insecurity.

                      Naming the source of the fear takes away some of its power.

                      2. Reframe Beliefs About Your Goal

                      Having an all or nothing mentality leaves you with nothing sometimes. Have a clear vision for what you’d like to accomplish but include learning something new in your goal.

                      If you always aim for improvement and learning, you are much less likely to fail.[6]

                      At Pixar, people are actually encouraged to “fail early and fail fast.”[7] They encourage experimentation and innovation so that they can stay on the cutting edge. That mindset involves failure, but as long as they achieve their vision of telling great stories, all the stumbling blocks are just opportunities to grow.

                      3. Learn to Think Positive

                      In many cases, you believe what you tell yourself. Your internal dialogue affects how you react and behave.

                      Our society is obsessed with success, but it’s important to recognize that even the most successful people encounter failure.

                      Walt Disney was once fired from a newspaper because they thought he lacked creativity. He went on to found an animation studio that failed. He never gave up, and now Disney is a household name.

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                      Steve Jobs was also once fired from Apple before returning as the face of the company for many years. [8]

                      If Disney and Jobs had believed the negative feedback, they wouldn’t have made it.

                      It’s up to you to notice your negative self talk and identify triggers[9]. Replace negative thoughts with positive facts about yourself and the situation. You’ll be able to create a new mental scripts that you can reach for when you feel negativity creeping in. The voice inside your head has a great effect on what you do.

                      How To Be A Positive Thinker: Positivity Exercises, Affirmations, & Quotes

                        4. Visualize all Potential Outcomes

                        Uncertainty about what will happen next is terrifying. Take time to visualize the possible outcomes of your decision. Think about the best and worst-case scenarios. You’ll feel better if you’ve already had a chance to mentally prepare for what could happen.

                        Fear of the unknown might keep you from taking a new job. Weigh the pros and cons, and imagine potential successes and failures in making such a life-altering decision. Knowing how things could turn out might help you get unstuck.

                        5. Look at the Worst-Case Scenario

                        There are times when the worst case could be absolutely devastating. In many cases, if something bad happens, it won’t be the end of the world.

                        It’s important to define how bad the worst case scenario is in the grand scheme of your life. Sometimes, we give situations more power than they deserve. In most cases, a failure is not permanent.

                        For example, when you start a new business, it’s bound to be a learning experience. You’ll make decisions that don’t pan out, but often that discomfort is temporary. You can change your strategy and rebound. Even in the worst case scenario, if the perceived failure led to the end of that business, it might be the launching point for something new.

                        6. Have a Backup Plan

                        It never hurts to have a backup plan. The last thing you want to do is scramble for a solution when the worst has happened. The old adage is solid wisdom:

                        “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

                        Having a backup plan gives you more confidence to move forward and take calculated risks.

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                        Perhaps you’ve applied for a grant to fund an initiative at work. In the worst-case scenario, if you don’t get the grant, are there other ways you could get the funds?

                        There are usually multiple ways to tackle a problem, so having a backup is a great way to reduce anxiety about possible failure.

                        7. Learn From Whatever Happens

                        Things may not go the way you planned, but that doesn’t automatically mean you’ve failed. Learn from whatever arises.[10] Even a less than ideal situation can be a great opportunity to make changes and grow.

                        “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”

                        Dig deep enough, and you’re bound to find the silver lining. When you’ve learned that “failure” is an opportunity for growth instead of a death sentence, you conquer the fear of failure.

                        For more tips on how to overcome fear of failure, check out the video below:

                        Final Thoughts

                        To overcome fear of failure, we can start by figuring out where it comes from and reframing the way we feel about failure. When failure is a chance for growth, and you’ve looked at all possible outcomes, it’s easier to overcome fear.

                        Stay positive, have a backup plan, and learn from whatever happens. Your failures will be sources of education and inspiration rather than humiliation.

                        “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas A. Edison

                        Failures can be blessings in disguise. Go boldly in the direction of your dreams and long-term goals.

                        More Tips for Conquering Fear

                        Featured photo credit: Patrick Hendry via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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