Ready for Summer? Here are 8 Beachy Business Reads. Okay fine, they're not exactly beachy. But every entrepreneur should read these books, and all the better if you do it while catching some rays.
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With warmer weather and vacations on the horizon, it's time to think about which books you'll be reading at the beach or by the pool this summer. The slower pace and long days offer a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to get ahead and gain an advantage on competitors.
Nearly all experts agree that the most successful entrepreneurs never stop learning. When asked how he learned to build rockets, Elon Musk simply replied, "I read books." Warren Buffett offered a more detailed response when he said, "Read 500 pages… every day. That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it."
Want to learn something new this summer? Here's a list, in no particular order, of the top eight books that every entrepreneur should read.
1. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
This is the book to read if you want to sharpen your focus and figure out what matters most, both at home and at work. Authors Papasan and Keller ask readers to ask themselves this question: "What's the one thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?" This may seem like a tall order, but they teach how to master what matters most, and it really helps entrepreneurs to become more productive while boosting sales and staying true to their mission.
2. Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team, by Simon Sinek
If you're a reader of business books, this book's prequel, Start with Why, may have already earned a spot on your list of must-reads. It's led millions to rethink what they do, and most importantly, why they do it – in their careers, organizations and personal lives. This hands-on, step-by-step guide picks up where the first book left off, by showing you how to apply the powerful insights of Sinek's groundbreaking master work. By helping you understand WHY you do what you do, this book will help you find more inspiration in your work, which can also be carried into your home life.
3. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
This may be an "oldie" in the world of business books, but it's a quick book that's worth reading and rereading. Every time I've picked this one off the shelf, I've found something new that applies to my current situation. In case you're not familiar, How to Win Friends and Influence People offers rock-solid and time-tested advice that can be used to make any situation work for you. It offers six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to win people over to your way of thinking, and many more tips to build your business.
4. Instant Influence: How to Get Anyone to Do Anything—Fast, by Michael V. Pantalon, PhD
Everyone wants to be better at motivating employees, convincing customers to buy more, or inspiring change in oneself, but we often lack the "influence" to get it done. This book makes the list because it takes the principles of How to Win Friends and Influence People, and breaks them down to six simple steps. In Instant Influence, Dr. Pantalon shares three decades of research in his simple methods to create changes in seven minutes or less. Yes, you read that right – 7 minutes to create changes, both great and small. Without giving away his secrets, "instant influence" can be gained by helping people tap into their deeply personal reasons for wanting change. It can help you find that "yes" even when the answer sounds like "no."
5. The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Eric Ries
This book has been called "a bracing slap in the face to would-be tech moguls" because it offers practical advice that doesn't sugarcoat the realities of entrepreneurship. The Lean Startup encourages you to test your ideas before betting the bank on them, to start with a modest offering and then only build on the aspects that customers respond to. This is the one business book that's not afraid to say, "expect to get it wrong." It's all about having optimism and caution in equal measure.
6. The Sport Business Handbook: Insights From 100+ Leaders Who Shaped 50 Years of the Industry, by Rick Horrow
Through dozens of chapter sidebars from the top minds in sports and business, the reader is exposed to lessons and tips with each page. Whether you work in the sports industry or not, business is business, and the perspectives of the included team owners, league commissioners, and company c-suites are invaluable. (Full disclosure: I'm one of the sidebar authors.)
7. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, by Daniel H. Pink
If selling is your thing, then don't miss this book. To Sell is Human unlocks the secrets to "moving people" to part with their money, time or energy, in exchange for the value your product provides. This book is a fascinating deep dive into human behavior, motivation, and about how everyone is "selling", even if you're in a non-sales role. If you're trying to convince others to take certain actions, you're selling!
8. Measure What Matters, by John Doerr
From the author of Insight Selling, another all-time favorite, Measure What Matters introduced a brand new concept: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). This is the revolutionary movement that fueled explosive growth at Google, Amazon and Uber. OKRs is about goal setting and making tough business choices, a concept has helped many tech giants and charities exceed expectations. The OKR model contends that objectives define what we seek to achieve, and key results are the method of attaining these goals. By focusing effort and making key objectives transparent to the entire organization, OKRs clarifies the most important work that needs to be done.