It’s the most common question many successful entrepreneurs receive… What are you reading? 15 entrepreneurs across the nation share the books that changed their businesses forever.
What’s one book every entrepreneur should pick up today? What was your big takeaway from it?
In this fascinating book, Atul Gawande talks about how a few simple, well-made checklists can reduce the complexity of tasks. Checklists help automate processes and are a simple, inexpensive failsafe against stupid or “careless” mistakes. My big takeaway was that by creating checklists for tasks that are often replicated, you free up time and mental energy for more complex and challenging tasks.
– Brittany Hodak, ZinePak
Everyone should read The Einstein Factor by Win Wenger. It’s packed full of ways to become more creative at solving problems, which has helped me miss many land mines in business. The big take away: You’re able to solve your toughest problems if you’re not focusing on the problem, but focusing on creative ways of coming up with better questions to ask that make the problem irrelevant.
– Rob Fulton, Matikis
Dan is like the godfather of direct marketing. The strategy laid out in his No B.S. Direct Marketing book will help any entrepreneur develop a game plan to generate repeatable and reliable sales through advertising the smart way. Ads are a quick way to blow through a lot of cash, but if you follow Dan’s advice you will quickly learn how to see a positive ROI on your marketing efforts.
– Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes
The best way to develop strong business relationships is proactively think of ways to help others. Instead of asking for this or that, try asking how you can help them. You’ll be amazed by how much you help yourself by constantly thinking of ways to help others.
– Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC
This was one of the first “business” books I read many years ago and it’s always stuck with me. It’s so sensible yet so meaningful. Unless your business can continue to function as well without you there, you’ve only created a job for yourself and the company cannot live on. Strive to make yourself replaceable in the company.
– Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40 / Finance Whiz Kids
So many of us focus on books that teach us how to do something. I’m all for that, but sometimes it’s better to supplement that reading with solid life experience from someone that’s done it before. When I Stop Talking You’ll Know I’m Dead is a biography written by Jerry Weintraub, one of hollywood’s most successful agents and producers. It reminded me of the importance of relationships.
– Mark Krassner, Knee Walker Central
Many entrepreneurs think that by studying other successful companies or following a particular set of rules, they can achieve success. In The Halo Effect, Phil Rosenzweig unmasks the delusions that are commonly found in business so you can avoid emulating a particular strategy that worked for one company, but may have no relevance to the success of your own company.
– Mark Cenicola, BannerView.com
This book focuses on the life and values of Ewing Marion Kauffman, one of the most genuine and most successful entrepreneurs in the history of the United States. My big takeaway was Mr. K’s philosophies. 1. Treat others as you want to be treated. 2. Share life’s rewards with those who make them possible. 3. Give back to society. It’s the right way to act, but also the smartest way to be successful.
– Jason Grill, JGrill Media | Sock 101
Patrick Vlaskovitz recommended The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It’s amazing — a must read for anyone who is creating anything (a startup, a play, etc.). Pressfield writes about “resistance,” the thing that makes it tough to even work sometimes. My big takeaway, frankly, was that I’m not alone in my struggles. I can’t be A+ all of the time, and that’s okay.
– Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
Whether you’re into fantasy fiction or not, this is a great book that will give your mind a break from thinking about business while providing you with one essential takeaway that you can apply to your startup: strategy. The story of Game of Thrones is like ten games of chess happening on the same board. Learn to see the big picture while understanding the role every action plays in that outcome.
– Fabian Kaempfer, Chocomize
You wont be able to put this book down or stop talking about it once you start reading it! This is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s a story about talking risks and following one’s “personal legend.” The major theme in the book is that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself, and when you listen to your heart and follow your dreams things will work out.
– Chris Kane, Bounceboards LLC
I first read this book during my MBA studies, and there are many lessons readers can take away from it. It is a valuable book that teaches readers how to make decisions to succeed in management and business. The book’s main focus, the Theory of Constraints, has impacted my business and me the most, though.
– Joseph P. DeWoody, Clear Fork Royalty
Another entrepreneur recently recommended I read Predictable Revenue and I am so glad that I took his advice! The book is one of the most helpful I have ever read. If your business involves sales (and honestly, what business doesn’t), you should get the person in charge of building your sales team to read this book.
– Windsor Hanger, Her Campus Media
The distance between where we stand now and achieving whatever we desire is only as great as we perceive it to be. While this might be understood on a cognitive level, believing it on a visceral level is life work. Being able to visualize what you want, believing that you can get it and following a plan in order to do so is the formula for success in any great life endeavor.
– Alexander Mendeluk, SpiritHoods
I would suggest, The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. In the book he says, “I will live this day as if it is my last…I will waste not a moment mourning yesterday’s misfortunes, yesterday’s defeats, yesterday’s aches of the heart, for why should I throw good after bad?”
– Matthew Moisan, Moisan Legal P.C.