I’ve always been a book-nerd.
Starting with goosebumps and the famous five as a kid, I developed a passion for reading, although the books did turn a little more serious once I launched my own business.
Except for Harry Potter. That one’s a given, right?
So I was rather surprised when I saw this fact pop up on my feed.
One in four people haven’t read a single book in the last year.
In the last 12 months 25 percent of the world have not picked up a book for any reason. They weren’t trying to kill time on a flight, get a break from the idiot-box, or pull their eyes away from their phone.
Reading allows me to get new perspectives, find solutions for a particular problem, and learn. I get ideas to improve my business, and get inspired to do things better. They help keep me motivated, and allow me to stretch the limits just a little bit more.
In this post I’m going to review ten of the most recent books I’ve read and the lessons they’ve left me with, in the hope they inspire you to pick up a book yourself.
Influencer by Kerry Patterson
Learn how to change your behavior and better understand your thought process, so you can apply these techniques to become a “change agent” and make a larger impact on the world.
Lesson: Find the one action you need to take to achieve exponential results, and focus on this alone.
Beer School by Steve Hindy & Tom Potter
Follow the story behind the launch of the Brooklyn Brewery Company, and the mistakes and triumphs the founders made along the way. Entertaining and education, it has a wealth of advice on scaling, marketing tactics, and what actually goes into building a brick-and-mortar business.
Lesson: Focus on what you’re passionate about, and delegate the rest to your team.
Remote by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier
If you’ve ever thought about hiring a freelancer this book is a must, as the writers dive into what it takes to build a company using remote teams. The strategies they used to keep workers on task and on track can be adapted to any business using freelancers.
Lesson: Start using freelancers, for the flexibility, their expertise and to keep your business competitive.
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
Using real case studies the author does a great job of getting you inspired, with specific lessons in every chapter. My takeaway was to identify the skills you have that others are willing to pay for, and turning your own passion for these into a business.
Lesson: Success doesn’t need to be a multi-million dollar corporation. Lifestyle businesses offer the freedom to live life on your own terms.
Secrets of a Master Closer by Mike Kaplan
Covering basic sales 101, the writer covers how you need to approach a prospective client and get them to buy. It’s not as advanced as other sales books, but is a great introduction if you’ve never held a sales role before, with guidelines you can use in every sales call.
Lesson: Use proven techniques to move prospects through your sales pipeline, and double down on what works.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Fail fast is the mantra of this book, with a focus on eliminating waste and getting your products in front of a customer as fast as possible. The goal is to ensure you’re not wasting time, energy or money on ideas a customer wouldn’t actually buy.
Lesson: Actually speak to your customers and find out what they want, so you can build the right products for them.
Zero to One by Peter Thiel
The writer talks about what makes a truly entrepreneurial company and gives a set of questions to help you identify what you need to do to create value for your customers.
Lesson: Make sure you dominate your niche before you do anything else.
Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder
The book for entrepreneurs who don’t want to plan, simply follow their models and put together a simple business model that gets you focused on serving your customers. You’ll be surprised at how good it feels to put pen to paper and write your strategy down.
Lesson: Use their Business Model Canvas but remember it’s not set in stone. Go out and talk to potential customers.
What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School by Mark H. McCormack
An oldie I couldn’t resist revisiting from my bookshelf, it’s basically just a collection of anecdotes on “street-smart” concepts you can apply in business, like trusting your instincts and mastering persuasion.
Lesson: Shut your mouth and listen, people will open up if you actually give them a chance to talk.
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Another inspirational read that taps into your creative side. The goal is to stop trying to be original, but simply to create, while you learn to add your own “spin” to the work.
Lesson: Just go make things. Forget creativity and excellence. Just get started, and have fun.
Each of these books left a mark on me, and if you’re looking for a little reading inspiration I highly recommend checking each of them out. So tonight, instead of turning into a zombie in front of the television, curl up on the couch and get stuck into a good book.
You may be surprised at what you learn.