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Reading Between the Lines

Not every book on your shelf needs to be about financial strategies and marketing campaigns. Here, the nonbusiness books that inspired successful entrepreneurs:

Andrea Lake, 34
stickerjunkie.com
Santa Fe, New Mexico
"Ask and It Is Given by Jerry and Esther Hicks. I apply Ask and It Is Given in all of my business interactions by clearly setting my intention for what I would like to create, and then moving forward to harmoniously create that. What's most important to me is to have deep and meaningful relationships. As a result, people love working with me, and I love working with them. When everyone feels truly valued for their efforts, it creates an amazing office environment."

Mike Shiley, 40
Shidog Films
Portland, Oregon

"Tai Pan by James Clavell. The main character has to run a tea and opium trading business in China during the mid-1800s. Business doesn't get much more challenging than that. It taught me to take risks, make decisions on the fly and deal with people openly and honestly."

Jen Bilik, 38
Knock Knock
Venice, California
"Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. It's a book on writing that applies to any arena of creativity, including business--which, much to my surprise, is quite creative.

"The title comes from Lamott's brother being overwhelmed by the prospect of doing a report on birds. Her father said, 'Just take it bird by bird, son. Bird by bird.' It's like the adage 'The journey of a 1,000 miles starts with a single step.'"

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This article was originally published in the February 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Reading Between the Lines.

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