Entrepreneurship: 4 Inspirational Books to Read for Business Owners
November 8, 2022 | Business Storage
By nature, entrepreneurs are innovative, creative, and above all else, risk-takers. Even so, there are some additional skills you need to be a successful and inspirational entrepreneur. From problem solving and collaboration to accepting failure, there’s plenty of opportunity for growth, no matter where you are in your business plan.
Whether you’re starting a new business or still dreaming about becoming an entrepreneur, you might not think of reading as contributing to part of your overall vision. But it’s critically important to learn from others who have traveled the journey you’ll embark upon.
Below we dive into four diverse and inspirational books written to help you find answers, opportunities, and learn more about what it takes to be a business owner.
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
“Most people are fast to stop you before you get started but hesitate to get in the way if you’re moving.” — Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss became an overnight success after publishing 4-HOUR WORKWEEK in 2007. The book was on theTimes best-seller list for the next seven years. At first glance, the title seems to offer impossible promises. However, the idea that happiness comes with time and freedom hit a note for entrepreneurs, business owners, and those working for them.
The book’s step-by-step format is easy to read and offers valuable tips on how to optimize your workflow, whether contracting it out or eliminating it altogether. Some of the terms in the book, like, GoToMyPC (precloud) are somewhat dated. Still, the overarching theme of remote work, something employees had to negotiate hard for in 2007, is more relevant than ever for today’s entrepreneurs and workforce.
Ferriss’s other books include THE 4-HOUR BODY AND THE 4-HOUR CHEF, all New York Times best sellers. So clearly, he’s onto something. If you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner, the 4-HOUR WORKWEEK is a must-read. Even though it sometimes states the obvious, like wasting time answering calls from unknown callers, it will still energize you with its insights and revelations.
The Lean Startup by Eric Reis
“In the Lean Startup model, an experiment is more than just a theoretical inquiry; it is also a first product.” — Eric Reis
Eric Reiss is an entrepreneur and author who has experienced both successes and failures as a serial entrepreneur. THE LEAN STARTUP is a good book to read if you’d rather spend more time taking action and less time pondering ideas and planning. While the book relies on specific strategies referred to as “semi-scientific,” it doesn’t sacrifice getting results or making money right out of the gate.
THE LEAN STARTUP will teach you how to validate your idea while simultaneously finding a solid business model. Once you create a hypothesis, Reis advises you to implement it in the real world, which for today’s businesses translates to online. How? A/B testing.
A/B testing is a user experience research methodology that allows you to create two versions of your product to learn what your customers don’t want and what they value and need. Imagine the only way to do this a few years ago was to create physically different products.
Now, you can split-test everything from your website design to your product design, allowing you to know where to invest money ahead of time and what your customers need.
Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston
“I’d say determination is the single most important quality in a startup founder. If the founders I spoke with were superhuman in any way, it was in their perseverance.” — Jessica Livingston
Jessica Livingston co-founded Y-Combinator, a startup accelerator in Mountain View, CA, which has funded more than 1,800 startups with a total value of over $100 billion. So if you’re looking for a book to serve as inspiration when you’re doubting or questioning your business idea, FOUNDERS AT WORK won’t disappoint. The book is a collection of interviews with the people who started some of the world’s most successful startups.
But even more important is that you’ll learn that determination is the single most important quality in a founder and what principles are shared amongst all startups. Livingston discovered that having an idea is good but having a talented team is best. For example, some brainstorms grow into a Google or a PayPal.
As we’ve mentioned, most business concepts will fail in the first year, so it’s better to have a team that is fluid and able to pivot when the original idea is no longer the best idea. As startups grow, most founders featured in Livingston’s book advise ways to reduce costs in favor of bringing in new investors who bring demands and dilute shares.
But the most common advice she heard while conducting interviews was the importance of listening to customers. Not only in the beginning stages of a startup but as the company grows. Understanding what your customers want and what the competition is doing is critical to being the best at solving a problem.
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
“Daring leaders work to make sure people can be themselves and feel a sense of belonging.” — Brené Brown
Brené Brown, the author of six #1 New York Times best-selling books, has studied courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy for two decades. One might ask, how do these attributes affect starting a new business?
While we live in a world of AI and computer algorithms, we are still, for the most part, interacting and negotiating with people. DARE TO LEAD may not strictly be written for entrepreneurs, but it is written for anyone in a leadership role.
Of the many skills founders must possess, vision and leadership are perhaps the most important. Moreover, successful long-term leadership requires leaders to understand the meaning of vulnerability, values, trust, and resilience. The common ethos of workplace culture is changing rapidly, and DARE to LEAD may be one of the contributors to the evolution.
Brown’s Dare to Lead training courses and certified facilitators are a global phenomenon working across diverse industries, providing workshops and coaching to giant corporations and small businesses.
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