10 Best Business Books I Have Read

I hope you’re able to get the same value from these books that I did. Enjoy.

1. ”Start with why” by Simon Sinek. A book about finding the meaning in the midst of everything. Essentially the most important aspect of what you do-why you do it. (Also, “Leaders Eat Last”)

2. “So good they can’t ignore you” by Cal Newport. Why following your passion is bad advice, and what you should be doing instead. (Also, “Deep Work”)

3. “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. While it’s not necessarily a “business” book. It applies to life as a whole. (Also, “Turning Pro”)

4. “The rich employee” by James Altucher. How to navigate the world of entrepreneurship while being an employee, and why it’s okay to not be an “entrepreneur”. (Also, “Choose yourself, and “The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth”)

5. “Anything you want” by Derek Sivers. How to do business the right way. Putting customers first, thinking outside the box, and not accepting what’s expected. A great short book.

6. “Perennial Seller” by Ryan Holiday. Not his most famous book, but one that points out how to make something that will leave a lasting impact. (Also, “Ego is the Enemy” and “The Obstacle is the Way”)

7. “How to fail at almost everything and still win big” by Scott Adams. An honest book that gives valuable insights with humor integrated. Easy to read and easy to get value. (Also, every “Dilbert” comic strip.)

8. “Money, Master the game” by Tony Robbins. While it’s a personal finance book, and a behemoth at that, there’s tons of knowledge to get here from some of the top minds in finance. (If this book is too big and daunting, try “Unshakeable” by Tony as well.)

9. “Never Split the difference” by Chris Voss. A hostage negotiator’s tactics to persuade people. Extremely valuable for salespeople, and anyone in the business of persuasion….So, it’s extremely valuable for everyone.

10. Seth Godin’s daily blog. This man is ridiculously insightful on a daily basis, and he’s made it free to everyone. Read what he has to say, there’s more value on his site than most of these books put together. He writes in his blog every. single. day. He’s done it for years. It’s a powerful example that he continues to write and put something out to the world every day without ever missing a day. Do yourself a favor and go read what this man has to say.

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“Accomplishments don’t change who you are”

-Ryan Holiday.

Setting goals for ourselves is what we’re told to do in order to be successful. I’ve set goals for myself that I have achieved and felt accomplished, some I am still striving for, and some that I have given up on. While there was an immense satisfaction in attaining what I set out to do, this quote brings me back to reality.

What you do doesn’t matter as much as who you are. Obviously your actions are often a reflection of who you are, but accomplishing personal goals doesn’t define you. The traits that you exhibit on a daily basis, the inner thoughts you have about the world and about yourself, and how you treat others is far more important. These things are more important than how many plaques are on your wall, how much you have in your bank account, how big your house is, or how nice of a car you drive.

Setting goals is great, but what’s more important is who you are in the process of achieving them. Remember what really matters.

3 years with my Bride.

There’s a song I like to listen to called “Let’s hurt tonight” by OneRepublic. (Still one of my favorite bands. Judge me.)

It talks about a couple who comes home “worn to the bones” after a long day and the argument that ensues between them. The crescendo of the chorus goes, “Don’t walk away, don’t roll your eyes, they say love is pain, well darling, let’s hurt tonight.”

While I obviously don’t believe that “love is pain”, the premise of the song is powerful. We’re mad at each other, it hurts to talk to one another, but it doesn’t matter-we’re going to work this out. Regardless of how much this situation might suck right now- I still choose you. I choose to work this out until it’s fixed. If this pain and heartache is what it takes to get this fixed, then I’m going to embrace it because you matter more than the pain.

Hannah and I are only three years into our lives together. They’ve been a great three years. Ups and downs for sure, but great overall. This is still only the beginning, and our first little one is on the way, due in June. So I know that there will come many nights when I come home “worn to the bones” just like she will be after a day of mothering… And in those moments when we’re both tired and frustrated- we’re going to work it out. We’ll both have valid frustrations, and we’ll both try and possibly fail at being understanding, and when that happens, we will choose to stay with one another and work it out.

I don’t know the fullness of what the future holds, but it’s going to be great going through it all with my wife at my side. She’s exactly the one who I want to share this life with.

Happy three years babe. I love seeing our growth and look forward to so many more years of being with you. Growing, learning, and loving each other more and more each day.

Progress and Purpose

A little bit of progress every day.

There’s a dissatisfaction in me about where I am in life. I’m not content to stay in the exact same place I am right now doing the exact same things I am doing for the rest of my life. I would not be happy with that, I would look back at my life with dissapointment and regret.

But…. in the midst of this dissatisfaction, I see progress. Because of what I am doing to move myself forward, I see a little bit of the needle being moved towards where I want to go. It’s an extremely small movement on a daily basis, but I still see the movement. The progress encourages me. It gives me a sense of meaning and confidence that I will not stay where I am.

I don’t understand how so many people can go to work, count down the hours of their torturous job, and go and waste their time at home. So many people are knocking out full seasons of shows, watching movies, playing videogames, going to bars and partying, and they still want to talk about how they’re unhappy…They talk about how they don’t like their life….Well of course you don’t like your life, you’re not doing anything. You’re not moving anywhere, you’re just stuck. Your existence is the same drudgery day in and day out.

It would be different if  in the midst of the drudgery you were doing something to try and move yousrself forward. Doing something, some kind of discipline or creative endeavor, that would get you a small peek into what life could be like outside of the hole you’re currently in.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re happy going to the same job and living the life you’re currently living for the rest of your life-that’s great. Be happy and enjoy the contentment, it’s hard to find.

However, if you’re unhappy, and all you’re doing is complaining about where you are in life…. Stop, and make yourself change. Make yourself go do something that would get you out of your current status. It won’t be easy, it will most likely take a long time, but that just means that what you’re doing matters.

Different starting points

The kid who is born in the suburbs, whose parents stick together, who lives comfortably, and has his college paid for before he gets out of high school has a distinct advantage going into adulthood.

The kid who is born in the projects, who has no father figure in his life, who does not have adequate clothing, and has to drop out of high school to help his mom with the bills, has a distinct disadvantage going into adulthood.

They will start out their adult lives with two extremely different starting points.

So how do we remedy this? Do we redistribute wealth and Robin Hood the world? Take from the rich and give to the poor?

I don’t think so. Theft is still theft regardless of the motivation behind it.

If someone starts life at mile 3, and ends up at mile 15, they have significantly improved the starting point for their children.
The person who starts at 15, oftentimes will end their race at mile…15. They might have had a better starting point, but if they didn’t do anything with it then what does it matter? There is value in striving to not only improve your life, but the lives of those around you, and the lives of the generation after you. You cannot take pride in reaping benefits from someone else’s hard work.

It’s right for children to reap generational benefits from their parents… It’s also right for children to reap the generational disadvantages. The only thing that we are all equal in is the fact that we had no control over the hand we were dealt.
We can’t control where we start, we can only control the progress we make and hand it off to our children.

If your starting point is further along than someone else’s, you should help them along, help them grow and get better. That being said, don’t neglect your own growth. It’s not wrong for someone to go further in life just because there are some who aren’t as far along the path.

If your starting point is farther back than everyone else, while your circumstance sucks, your goal should still be to further your own status in life and help others to do the same as well. You might have a further distance to go, but the reward is greater when you can look back and see how far you have come.

Improve your status, and help others who are less fortunate to do the same.

Regardless of your starting point, the above sentence should ring true.

Littering

It’s amazing to me the amount of trash that I find in my yard on a regular basis. Every two weeks I mow the lawn and there’s 7 or 8 random little pieces of garbage that I find. The person who made their contribution to the garbage didn’t think much of it. “It’s just a candy wrapper, it’s not a big deal.” And then the next person thought the same thing, and the next one, and the next one…..Pretty soon all those little pieces of trash that really didn’t matter that much made a pretty big impact in the space of two weeks. All those little pieces of trash made my yard quite, well, trashy.

Most people don’t make one big decision to mess up their life. It’s the little things, the little compromises that add up over time. Compromising your values just a little bit every once in a while- it adds up.

Don’t let the little compromises pile into a mess. Hold your ground, maintain discipline, and say no when the opportunity to be lazy presents itself.

 A lot of little, unchecked compromises eventually leads to big problems.

Leadership and Responsibility.

“Well, they didn’t follow through on what I told them to do.”
“My team just doesn’t care about their jobs.”
“This person is significantly holding our team back.”

Deflecting, passing blame, pointing out other people’s failures- this is what bad leaders do. In the short period of time that I have been in the workforce, it amazes me how many people seem incapable of admitting a wrong. Even when it is glaringly obvious that they failed, the person at fault still tries to pin it on someone else.

Own your mistakes.

Take ownership. Take responsibility.
Good leadership is taking responsibility when the team fails, and praising those below you when the team succeeds.
Good leadership is painful, because it doesn’t take credit for the success, but takes blame for the failure. It requires selflessness and humility.
Most people want the credit, they want the attention, and it’s not worth it to them if they don’t get it.

Lift up the people below you, but take the hit for them when they fail.