Having spent some time with a number of entrepreneurs within the Entrepreneur’s Circle now, I’ve been asked for a reading list, especially as the way I work is ‘holistic’ (I work with ‘why’ you do what you do, not just the ‘how’) and purposefully aimed at gaining maximum alignment for you and your business journey. So here it is, with a clear explanation as to the reasons why each book is in the list and what it will do for you and your entrepreneurial success.
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1. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action – Simon Sinek
This should come as no surprise to those who have had a one to one with me already. If you understand ‘why’ you do what you do, then you’ll be able to pass this onto your customers in a clear way that engages them in your own story and journey. This is an essential starting point for anyone who owns or runs a business or product.
Quote: “Products with a clear sense of WHY give people a way to tell the outside world who they are and what they believe. People don‘t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”
2. Synchronicity – Joseph Jaworski
Joseph Jaworski is the son of the trial lawyer for Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandle. As someone who did not ‘need’ to become an entrepreneur, he felt a clear drawing to his destiny by stepping away from his law practice and setting up the American Leadership Forum. This book tells the story of how he did it (very successfully) and the clear guidance he received from some sort of Universal destiny… ie: there is no such thing as coincidence. A must read for anyone drawn to their calling.
Quote: “Just being able to be there for others and to listen to them is one of the most important capacities a leader can have. It calls forth the best of people by allowing them to express what is within them.”
3. The E-Myth Revisited – Michael E Gerber
To be a good cook, you require the right ingredients. An entrepreneur requires the necessary balance of visionary, manager and ‘doer’. In a businesses infancy, an entrepreneur will no doubt have to be all three, but as the business grows, they need to realise where the balance lies and how to address it to take the business into full maturity. This book explains how to recognise this and what to do about it.
Quote: “The work we do is a reflection of who we are. If we are sloppy at it, it’s because we’re sloppy inside. If we’re late at it, it’s because we’re late inside. If we’re bored by it, it’s because we’re bored inside, with ourselves, not with the work . . . How we do our work becomes a mirror of how we are inside.”
4. Rework – Jason Friend & David Hansson
Every rule in business was created by a human being, doing business. This book breaks the rules… and in the process, redefines business. Written by a company that is global, tiny in size, yet huge in profit and influence, this book is a manifesto for a new way in which work is getting done by small (and large) businesses, with a simple and easy to follow manual on how to do it for yourself.
Quote: (from the back cover) “A.S.A.P. is poison. Underdo the competition. Meetings are toxic. Fire the workaholics. Emulate drug dealers. Pick a fight. Planning is guessing. Inspiration is perishable.” Nuff said.
5. The Power of Full Engagement – Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz
So we’ve broken some rules and made some assumptions redundant along the journey thus far… now’s the time to make some changes to the other side of the equation…. Us (or should I say: YOU). If you put sh*t in, you’ll get sh*t out… and this applies to you and your own ferrari. And by that I mean the body you were given to complete your entrepreneurial journey with. Life is all about balance, so get this book and realise that the way to fully engage with your purpose is through maximising YOUR energy.
Quote: “In short, the highest form of creativity depends on a rhythmic movement between engagement and disengagement, thinking and letting go, activity and rest. Both sides of the equation are necessary, but neither is sufficient by itself.”
6. Clarity: Clear Mind, better performance, bigger results – Jamie Smart
When Seth Godin gives the thumbs up to a book, it’s probably a good bet for the mind bank. When I say that Jamie Smart taught me all I know, then it’s another (as I hope you’ll end up agreeing). As entrepreneurs, we have all the hardware and software we need at our disposal. We live in ‘advanced’ times. The only thing preventing us from achieving our goals… is us. And if you think that there are ‘physical’ restraints on your situation that are impassable, let me point you here. It’s only ever your own thinking holding you back. This book will point you towards the clarity required to bypass mental hurdles.
Quote: “When you’ve got nothing on your mind, you’re free to give your best”
7. The 4 hr work week – Tim Ferriss
Now I’m assuming most of you will have heard of this book, but there are a few people I’ve spoken with who haven’t. Get it. Read it. Do it. Anyone who can offer the advice to only read email twice in a day, and if you need to get hold of me urgently – call me…. deserves some read time. To then go onto using his own methodologies to win a tango competition as a ‘non-dancer’ and a world championship martial arts competition with minimal training, says it all really. Genius. This is the way to do things, the ‘easy’ way. But oh so productive! There is an impossible amount of high quality nuggetary in this book. Links, ideas, processes, the whole shebang. Buy it. Now.
Quote: “Problems, as a rule, solve themselves or disappear if you remove yourself as an information bottleneck and empower others.”
8. Book Yourself Solid – Michael Port
I think it’s fair to say that a majority of the issues I’ve come across in speaking with entrepreneurs, is filling the prospect funnel at some level. There’s a product… check. There’s a need… check. OK, so where’s the audience? This book goes a long way in showing you how you can (in any industry) get a long waiting list of clients in your funnel, ready to convert. It’s a lead generation and conversion bible (in my book) and it’s worked a treat for me.
Quote: “Do you realise how many more clients you could be serving if they just knew what you had to offer? The best way to inform them is to have at least one compelling offer that has no barrier for entry”
9. The invisible sale – Tom Martin
The way that business is being done is changing. Most buying decisions are made well before the button is pressed to purchase. The value is in the research and if your name is constantly appearing as an authority in your sector, then you’re going to be ‘top of mind’ when that button is finally pushed to add to cart. This book is an in depth look at the process through which it’s possible to make that invisible sale in a transparent marketplace. A must!
Quote: “To win invisible sales, you have to stop selling to prospects and start helping them to make a buying decision”
10. 80/20 sales and marketing – Perry Marshall
Anyone who’s heard of the Pareto principle will already have an interest in this book, but when you apply it to sales and marketing, it gets really interesting. When I first read this book and learned of ‘racking the shotgun’, it was an absolute revelation to me. How does one ‘find’ a prospect? This book explains just how to do it. In fact, there are so many ‘how to’s’ in this book , that it seems to be a firm favourite of exceptional marketers, Nigel included. It’s a real gem.
Quote: “I was knocking at the door in a way that positioned me as a beggar. You can’t do that… it’s just about impossible to close the sale”
Oh all right then, I’ll stick a couple of others in as well. I mean who could not include Nigel’s ‘Botty Rules’
Quote: “To get a breakthrough in business, what you have to do is change your thinking.”
or my very own ‘Do Nothing!’?
Quote: “Most executives don’t know that the burden of pressure is actually informing everything they do. It feels normal to them and part of how they operate. But they are generating it all within their own mind – it’s self created… not job created. They don’t HAVE to feel pressure or burden. Stress is optional!”
But I’m assuming you’ve already read these.
However, if you haven’t for any reason, DO IT!