The Maverick Mindset
Fear is a powerful emotion. It can stop you dead in your tracks; it can keep your entrepreneurial dreams forever shelved. Forcing yourself down the path of most resistance, on the other hand, is the act of a truly courageous person. Or, to use authors Doug Hall and David Wecker's lexicon, mastering one's fear is the attainment of the maverick mindset.
"The Maverick Mindset is the highest order of courage," write Hall and Wecker in The Maverick Mindset: Finding the Courage to Journey From Fear to Freedom (Simon & Schuster, $22 cloth). "It's having the courage to live free from conformity and the grit to stand alone."
Although entrepreneurs aren't famous for conformity, don't assume Hall and Wecker have nothing to teach you. The path of most resistance is, after all, best walked prepared.
As a direct marketing pioneer, Lester Wunderman has pushed the envelope of advertising. Not only was he the brains behind the Columbia Record Club, but Wunderman has also engineered the marketing efforts of top-name magazines, credit cards and automobiles. Even if you don't recognize his name, you surely know his work.
Which is one reason to read Being Direct: Making Advertising Pay (Random House, $25 cloth). As the title suggests, Being Direct is filled with insights from the man who is described as the Bill Gates of his industry.
"I am not sure whether I discovered direct marketing or it discovered me. I found its components one by one during a lifetime of trial and error," Wunderman explains. "And only recently did I realize that there was a pattern to successful direct marketing--19 things all successful direct-marketing companies know. Those that fail or fall short of realizing their full potential neglect one or more of these fundamental rules."
Clearly, Wunderman knows a thing or two about potential fulfilled. From his shaky beginnings as the founder of his own advertising agency--complete with a first client whose life was literally saved by Wunderman--to his shaping of an entire industry, this direct-mail wizard has scaled the heights of accomplishment. In a sense, you could say Being Direct is the view from the top.
The Tao Of Personal Leadership
West meets East in Diane Dreher's intriguing The Tao of Personal Leadership (HarperBusiness, $13 paper). Yes, the title alone may raise your skepticism barometer a few degrees--but The Tao of Personal Leadership is genuinely rewarding.
"In contrast to modern books on leadership that focus on power plays, one-minute solutions, clever strategies and game plans, the Tao Te Ching affirms personal leadership, the enduring power of character," writes Dreher of the 2,000-year-old Chinese classic in which sage Lao-tzu illuminated the Taoist philosophy of life.
And, truly, character is what lies at the heart of this book. "Becoming a Tao leader means daring to take risks," Dreher asserts. "It means making mistakes and then returning to the music. It is the courage to live with integrity, to be honest, to live what we believe--in the dozens of small choices we make every day."
As you might imagine, Dreher quotes liberally from the Tao Te Ching throughout The Tao of Personal Leadership. As you might not imagine, the quotes themselves are fairly easy to understand and infinitely relevant to modern-day leadership.
In The Morningstar Approach to Investing: Wiring Into the Mutual Fund Revolution (Warner Books, $24 cloth), Andrew Leckey reveals how Morningstar separates Wall Street's winners from the losers, and shares secrets you can use to improve your own portfolio.