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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

                      More by this author

                      Scott Christ

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

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                      Last Updated on November 19, 2019

                      Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

                      Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

                      I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

                      How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

                      Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

                      So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

                      1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

                      Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

                      For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

                      Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

                      “When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

                      2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

                      These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

                      This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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                      But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

                      Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

                      For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

                      There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

                      3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

                      It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

                      Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

                      4. Use Your Phone Wisely

                      Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

                      If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

                      5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

                      If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

                      In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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                      One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

                      6. Use a “To Don’t” List

                      We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

                      But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

                      Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

                      7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

                      When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

                      Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

                      “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

                      And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

                      8. Be Concise

                      Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

                      One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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                      Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

                      • Making new contacts
                      • Talking about yourself at a job interview
                      • Meeting people at conferences or parties
                      • Phone calls to new clients

                      9. Ask the Right Questions

                      “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

                      How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

                      When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

                      Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

                      Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

                      10. Learn as Much as You Can

                      You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

                      Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

                      “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

                      11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

                      No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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                      If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

                      What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

                      Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

                      12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

                      As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

                      But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

                      The Bottom Line

                      The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

                      Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

                      More About Working Smart

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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