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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 February 11, 2021

                      10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

                      10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

                      Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

                      You have to work hard to develop the right skills

                      If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

                      1. Make your presentation short and sweet

                      With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

                      JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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                      2. Open up with a good ice breaker

                      At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

                      • Joking
                      • Tugging on their heart strings
                      • Dropping a bombastic statement
                      • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
                      • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

                      You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

                      3. Keep things simple and to the point

                      Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

                      4. Use a healthy dose of humor

                      Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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                      It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

                      5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

                      Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

                      6. Practice your delivery

                      Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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                      7. Move around and use your hands

                      Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

                      8. Engage the audience by making them relate

                      Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

                      9. Use funny images in your slides

                      Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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                      10. End on a more serious note

                      When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

                      As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

                      Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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