Technically I didn’t READ any of these. I listened to them. A year ago I discovered the indispensable super tool that is audiobooks. I naturally read a bit slow, so listening through audio allowed me to increase the amount I consumed. And depending on the method you use (I recommend Audible) you can increase the play speed to double or even triple! Other than going for a morning walk, audiobook listening is my biggest recommendation to everyone I talk to. And the great thing is you can do both simultaneously. Taking that 20+ minutes out of your day to do these two things will improve it exponentially.
A few years ago I read maybe 2 books in a given year. This year after only doing a daily routine of 30 minutes of 2x speed audiobook listening, I’ve read over 20 books. Here are my top 7 non-fiction recommendations for entrepreneurs.
Mastery - Robert Greene
You’re special. Just kidding. Maybe you’re a bit unique, but no one is born with god like gifts. Even Mozart, as this book illustrates early on, was rigorously trained daily by his father. Leonardo Da Vinci even had his doubts, and many unfinished projects. This arguably was the reason he became so successful. He never lost his curiosity to delve into whatever was on his mind. And the training of Mozart was the reason for his 'gift'.
There is a balance to both of these that must be found. And more than anything, it is mindset that creates success. The world is complex, so we must constantly question and learn, and decide what our purpose is here. If you ever wanted to know the secrets of the greats, or if you want to gain some type of success or mastery in your own life, this is a must.
The Willpower Instinct - Kelly McGonigal
I read two books about habits and willpower this year, and this was by far superior. This book really delves into human nature and psyche. And instead of giving you some fluff, it really allows you to grasps the fundamental reasons for habits and our inability to curb or form them.
One important understanding is that there is only so much willpower within us, and that is the reason we sometimes fail at sticking to something. Yet there is a way to build this willpower, and become more resilient in the face of hardship. This again is partly due to mindset, as well as training, and being conscious of thoughts and actions. It isn’t easy to fight your biggest demons, but it is possible, and really, when was anything worthwhile easy?
The E-Myth - Michael E. Gerber
The E-Myth, E standing for Entrepreneur, focuses on debunking the myth that owning your own business means running your business. It argues that if you’re running your business, or working IN your business rather than ON your business, then you really aren’t much more than a freelancer, you aren’t going to get very far and your business will suffer because of it in the end.
Even when you are just starting out it is important to understand this, and the book suggests to break up your business into 3 tiers. At the top is the Entrepreneur. Then you have the Manager and finally the Technician. All roles are key, and sometimes when you are starting out you may need to play all three. But it is crucial you do not stay this way.
The book also focuses a lot on franchising, and that really only works for certain types of businesses. Written in the 90s this was before internet businesses were really a common thing. Nevertheless there is great insight to be learned here.
The Lean Startup - Eric Ries
This is a common recommendation between tech startups, as it focuses on a business concept that seems at first glance to be most useful in a software company. But it really goes much deeper than that, and not only should, but MUST be used in some way for any new business. In a sense the formula this book teaches is not much different than the scientific method. It is the best, most logical way possible to get results. Trial and error, test and record, incremental improvement. That’s the philosophy of this book. Don’t just think, do, and then do better. This book, similar to The E-Myth, stresses the importance of building a system for your business. However it takes it to the next level, emphasizing the importance of quick and lean improvement, as in today’s competitive business world, this is a necessity.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck - Mark Manson
The content of this book covers a lot of ideas and really calls into question your own perception of your life. Do you really want what you think you want? Will you be happy then? What if we as humans are designed not to ever be fully happy? What if suffering is essential, and vital to a fulfilling life? And no matter where you are in life, what you have or don’t, you’ll still suffer and want more. What if you aren’t special and it’s damaging your perception of reality? What if by looking at humans more logically and universally rather than emotionally and personally, we gain a more humble, open-minded understanding of ourselves and others? And finally, is your life not the way you want it to be because you REALLY just can’t do something, or is it your natural human fear towards that something that is keeping you from improving your life? You’re only here on this earth for a limited amount of time, stop giving a f*ck and live it fully!
The ONE Thing - Gary Keller
I wrote a blog post about this one that you can check out here. Basically as the name implies, this book tells you the importance of focusing on ONE thing for optimal results in anything. Most of us never think twice about what we do each day, what our day is revolved around, or in the bigger sense, what are the important things we should be doing. And when we actually do think about these things we don’t stay consistent.
This book helps to ask yourself what your one most important thing is so that if done, all other things become easier or unnecessary? And then reminds you to ask yourself this very question every day. Stay consistent at your one thing until you reach your goal, then adjust accordingly. The whole concept seems simple enough, but trust me, putting it into practice, we as flaw-filled humans, are not the best at.
The 4-Hour Work Week - Tim Ferris
The first time I read this was actually over a year ago. But its such a good read I revisited it again this year. It is my most recommended book to anyone. The overlying concept is all well and good of how to create a 4-Hour Work Week, but I feel the philosophy behind it is so much more important. The book is really a delving into the genius mind of it’s writer, Tim Ferris, and more than anything, the concept of life-hacking which Tim is a pioneer of.
This book is the reason I got into business. And no, I didn’t create the business so I could only work 4 hours a week, because trust me, I don’t. But what this book did was help me see the cracks, completely changing my mindset, and that it’s not about working hard, its about working smart. Its about finding the secrets or the cheat codes, by thinking creatively, taking action, analyzing, and looking at not just business but life as a problem to be solved.
Tools of Titans - Tim Ferris
If you find an interest in Tim Ferris, I highly recommend his newest book as well, Tools of Titans. A few years back he started a podcast interviewing celebrities, billionaires, extreme athletes and other intelligent and creative minds. This books is his interpretation and highlights of all the best advice from these minds. It’s written more as a pick up and open randomly, and so I have it out as a coffee table book, and read an entry daily.
So far I’ve learned about Wim Hof, AKA the Ice Man, and how he uses extreme cold temperatures and heavy breathing to boost his immune system, his mood, and health. I started doing this a few weeks ago and feel amazing already. I also learned about how the Ketogenic Diet may be the best for fighting a plethora of diseases, and that Arnold Schwarzenegger made his first million before ever being in a film, as a real estate agent!
Out of the 20+ books I read this year, these are my most recommended. Many of the books I read treaded over similar concepts, but just wasted a lot of my time with too much filling. These 7 are books I will revisit over and over again to remind myself of the best tactics and philosophies of success and fulfillment. Enjoy.
Here are an additional 7 that didn't quite make the cut but I still recommend:
The $100 Startup - Chris Guillebeau
Deep Work - Cal Newport
The Productivity Project - Chris Bailey
The Zero Marginal Cost Society - Jeremy Rifkin
The Daily Stoic - Ryan Holiday
The Richest Man in Babylon - George Samuel Clason
Algorithms to Live By - Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
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