If you want to start a business, there's simply no excuse to be clueless anymore. Being the leader of a brand that influences people requires a relentless commitment to bettering yourself.

What's the quickest way to do this? Books.

Books are a cheap investment with a potentially infinite ROI. Think about it this way. A world class expert might work for 20+ years to figure something out, completely devoting her entire life to answering one particular question.

You can possess all of her knowledge on that subject in a 200 page book that can be read in a weekend. Consider the fact that you have access to this information for pennies on the dollar by simply going to Amazon and buying a used copy. There is no excuse anymore. You have all the access in the world.

Whatever you choose to read is fine. Fiction feeds your creativity, nonfiction feeds your knowledge. Biographies of people you admire give you insight into the minds and habits of the masters. It's all good. Whatever you choose, I recommend sticking to a schedule and committing to feeding your brain for at least 30 minutes a day without fail.

This is especially important for content creators, as the best way to come up with creative ideas is to synthesize them from the ideas of others. I do not view reading as a leisure activity. It's serious work and it takes effort. I often don't "feel" like reading -- but just like any part of my physical hygiene (brushing my teeth, for instance), this is part of my mental hygiene. It just has to happen every single day. No exceptions.

There are a few books that, among a sea of others, I view as essential "ground zero" books for anyone looking to level themselves up, start a business or change their lives.

If you're new to this whole "serious reading" thing, I suggest you start with one of these:

Mastery
SCRUM
The Art of Learning
Deep Work
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Meditations

I consider these my "ground zero" when it comes to leveling up your psychology, productivity and hustle.


 

Published on: Jul 5, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.