3 key takeaways for useful books for entrepreneurs
Here are the nonfiction books I recommend if you are an entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur:
The Unwritten Laws of Business by W.J. King
Your integrity and morals are your most valuable assets, make sure you keep them intact throughout your career. They will benefit you in the long run.
Avoid using foul or vulgar language in the workplace, you have more to gain than lose if you allow yourself to be used in this way.
When doing business, make sure that you never hurt anyone’s feelings, otherwise you’ll end up resenting your colleagues, business partners or clients without realizing it. Make sure that you always maintain cordial relations, do not make enemies unnecessarily, you will pay dearly in the long run.
Indispensable, Joe Calloway
Make the words “Why not?” your friends. If you ask yourself this question as often as possible, you will see the world in a more optimistic light. It’s a way to see how to improve what’s around you and to always be in a position to challenge the established order. By continually telling yourself “why not?” you are looking for a way to improve on all levels of your life.
Get into the habit of telling the truth. Create a culture of truthfulness that banishes lying both personally and professionally. When truth is a value you believe in, you open the door to trust with all your employees and customers. Don’t take shortcuts by sacrificing the truth in order to gain short-term advantages. Act with sincerity and honesty as much as you can
Make your product or service a community builder. If you can create a strong brand image, you will succeed in communicating a set of values that your customers will identify with. If you can do this, your products have a unique status that makes them exceptional. Community is a social group that is loyal and resilient in the face of adversity (competition etc.).
Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeir
Stop copying your competitors because it’s a passive attitude that sets you back every time. Seek to make or offer value that is unique to your customers so they won’t look elsewhere.
Planning is guessing. Trying to plan your company’s future results or your competitors’ actions over the long term is too illusory. Most of the time, we are wrong because we lack information and a situation can change quickly in one direction or another. It is much more reasonable to plan from one week to the next and to focus on the execution of a short-term action plan that is reviewed regularly according to changing circumstances.
A company culture is forged by your daily actions and by the consistency between what you say and what you do. It is important to be natural and not to take a paternalistic tone when speaking to your employees.
This is marketing, Seth Godin
To maintain a sustainable business, you need to offer a product that is really useful to a particular type of person. Then you need to build a relationship with those people for whom your product is best suited.
Your primary concern is not how to make more money, but rather how to improve the lives of the customers you serve.
You must first identify the smallest, most viable audience for your customers. Don’t try to appeal to the maximum number of people, you must choose a group small enough to be clearly defined so that you can have a pitch directed at them. Only when you have conquered a small market can you expand to other populations.
Your empire in a backpack, Stan Leloup
Being able to sell is an essential quality for any entrepreneur starting out. In order to become good at both marketing and selling, you need to follow three simple steps:
◦ Understand the fundamentals of human psychology which comes down to, among other things, knowing how to increase the perceived value of a product to potential customers.
◦ Study and learn proven sales and marketing strategies. Then adapt them to suit your project.
◦ Always test and apply what we learn theoretically. Experience allows us to appropriate and validate what we learn if necessary.
Stan has a position of his own. In his view, the changes that technology causes leave two great opportunities in the 21st century:
◦ to become a specialist in one of the technologies to accompany their development
◦ become a marketer so as to contribute to the diffusion of technologies. Use technologies to achieve this.
Tribalism is a strong marketing lever. There are three ways to increase one’s status within a tribe:
◦ Helping other members acquire the value that is most valued by the tribe
◦ Associate with people of high status
◦ Publicly attacking people who are enemies of the tribe
From zero to one: How to build Peter Thiel’s future
Not every business that fails has been able to escape the competition. To prosper, one must seek a monopoly position in a market. Monopolies generate profit, they fund innovation and the money they generate allows for investment in expensive R&D projects over the long term.
There are four possible characteristics for creating a monopoly:
◦ Possessing a proprietary technology that the competition by definition does not have
◦ Having a product that enjoys a network effect which makes it difficult for new players to compete.
◦ Having a greater economy of scale makes it possible to reduce costs and have more competitively priced products or services.
◦ Having a strong brand image makes it impossible or at least very hard to compete in some cases.
Being the last entrant in a market is not necessarily a bad thing, you learn from the mistakes of the pioneers and you can have an ambitious strategy that allows you to conquer all the market niches one by one.
Josh Kaufman’s Personal MBA
In most cases, it is much better to invest in management books than to pay for an MBA which is expensive and its profitability is not at all certain.
The core of a business is mainly about creating value, i.e. meeting a need that is not adequately met elsewhere.
There are 5 basic determining human impulses:
◦ The acquisition drive: it consists in wanting to acquire tangible or intangible objects in order to increase one’s status, influence etc.
◦ The connection or bonding drive: wanting to be valued and loved.
◦ The learning impulse: to quench our thirst for curiosity.
◦ The defense drive: to feel safe or protected.
◦ The sensation drive: experiencing intense emotions, seeking sensory stimulation, pleasure, entertainment etc.
Becoming indispensable, Seth Godin
Society brainwashes us to believe that a job is simply following instructions. There is a new paradigm that is instead about being remarkable, being generous, creating art, being discerning and connecting with people and ideas. Our reptilian brain is the most instinctive part of our mind, it pushes us to make safe decisions in such a way that it keeps us away from our potential genius.
An artist is someone who uses their creativity and courage to challenge the status quo. Artists have the following characteristics:
◦ They take risks and dare.
◦ They work with a high level of complexity. This one is based on the fact that others do not tell them precisely what to do and how to do it.
◦ They don’t do things just for the money.
There are 7 qualities to becoming indispensable:
◦ Creativity: originality and usefulness.
◦ Specialized creativity: originality applied to a specific field.
◦ Producing that unique creativity: being able to deliver creativity in the form of accomplishing a result
◦ Know how to manage a situation, organization or clients of considerable complexity
◦ Inspire others with your professional qualities and integrity
◦ Contribute deep domain knowledge with intelligent decisions and generous contributions. Generosity is an essential factor according to Seth Godin to be indispensable.
◦ Possess a unique talent: You must have a talent that is nearly impossible to replace.
Courage is calling you, Ryan Holiday
There are 4 cardinal virtues: courage, temperance, justice and wisdom
Fear is often the best indicator of what we should do
Courage is a habit that is cultivated in the trivial actions of everyday life. It is only very rarely that we can express our courage in a great moment of brilliance. Most of the time, everything happens in the smallest details that show us by the choices we make whether we are courageous or not. The key to becoming courageous is not to ignore our emotions but to temper them through training. Any apprehension of danger can be overcome by experience and good training. Fear leads to aversion, which leads to cowardice. Training means getting into the habit of overcoming fear, and this creates confidence which is the root of courage.
The Four Toltec Agreements, Miguel Ruiz and Janet Mills
We must be impeccable when we speak, which in the etymological sense means that our speech must be free of sin. Essentially, this means speaking with integrity and choosing your words carefully before you speak them out loud.
It recommends not taking things personally. When we do this, we avoid extraneous thoughts (jealousy, envy, sadness, etc.) that prevent us from being discerning. The best way to do this is to have a self-esteem that is strong enough to withstand people’s opinions of us.
He advocates not making assumptions. This avoids unnecessary stress, interpersonal conflicts, misunderstandings, sadness.
The last recommendation is to give the best of yourself by applying each of the three previous ideas in such a way that you increase your self-esteem and have no regrets.
One small step can change your life by Robert Maurer
The strategy of innovation is overestimated, it consists in finding a spectacular and fast method to generate important results like losing weight for example. While this works in some cases, in reality, in most cases it is an ineffective approach. It is much more effective to use the Kaizen method of continuous improvement, which consists of continually changing the way we do things so that in the long run it produces significant results comparable to the innovation method when it succeeds.
The amygdala in your brain plays an inhibiting role on your most complex and abstract thoughts. Being an archaic component, it always takes priority over other parts of your brain. It reacts especially to fear, anxiety or aggression. You cannot find creative solutions to a problem if your amygdala is dominant.
If you regularly ask yourself questions, you stimulate your hippocampus. It works for you and can give you an answer without you expecting it. So you have to be patient, it is often only a matter of time before you find the answer to a problem.
The Unfair Advantage by Ash Ali & Hasan Kubba
When it comes to success, we tend to adhere to one of two extreme beliefs that do not reflect reality. The first is that people think that rich people are rich only because they have all received one or more advantages that are not the result of their merit such as luck, family money etc. The second common idea, which is just as strong, is that anyone can make it as long as they work hard enough. The reality is that it is somewhere in between. You have to work hard while using unfair advantages that give you an edge over others. The key to success is to work hard and smart.
Everyone, without exception, has one or more unfair advantages, and most people don’t even know it. These advantages can take different forms: the intimate knowledge of an environment, the specific network of relationships that we have developed, the innate talents that we possess. There are 5 categories of unfair advantages: money, intelligence and insight, location and luck, education and expertise, and finally status
The properties of unfair advantages are that they cannot be easily copied or acquired. They are unique to you. They accumulate on each other in such a way that they have a snowballing and multiplicative effect. On the other hand, all unfair advantages can be double-edged weapons. Lots of money can make you complacent and less willing to succeed. A lack of intelligence can make you willing to ask questions. Lack of status can push you to be memorable and stand out.
The First 20 Hours by Josh Kaufman
There are ten principles in rapid skill acquisition. First, you must choose a skill that you are excited about. This is important because your motivation and desire have a direct impact on the results you get. The second principle is to focus your energy on one skill at a time to avoid spreading yourself too thin in order to optimize your results. You must then define the performance objective you wish to achieve, this will give you a clear vision of your result and you will subconsciously redouble your efforts to materialize it. The fourth principle is to break down the skill into sub-skills. Second, you need to get the essential materials and tools to practice the skill. Sixth, you must eliminate all obstacles that may distract you from practicing (distraction etc.). Seventh, you need to spend time practicing and then create quick feedback loops, i.e. get feedback from more advanced people who tell you what you can correct. Ninth, you need to practice in short enough blocks of time so you don’t lose motivation (20 min is usually a good length). Finally, you need to focus on quantity and speed because it is intensity that generates outstanding results. You should generally devote a minimum of 60 minutes per day to the skill you wish to develop.