Adam Witty is an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member in Charleston, South Carolina, and founder and CEO of Advantage | ForbesBooks, the authority marketing specialists in working with business professionals to elevate brands and grow businesses through publishing. Adam has built the company into one of the largest business book publishers in America, serving over 1,000 members in 40 U.S. states and 13 countries. Adam shared the books he recommends for Black History Month:
In recognition of Black History Month, I've compiled five insightful and inspiring books written by successful African-American entrepreneurs. Each book shares lessons specific to the author's journey that will resonate with every entrepreneur.
1. Millionaire Moves: Seven Proven Principles of Entrepreneurship by William Pickard
Pickard, CEO of Global Automotive Alliance, is one of the nation's most successful black entrepreneurs. His seven principles for achieving success include having a positive vision, always being on the lookout for opportunity, seeking finance options everywhere, nurturing good relationships, choosing the right team, not overreacting to failure and cultivating a strong faith. His goal is to help people see beyond circumstances and create a mindset for success. Readers should open this book with highlighters in hand: It's bursting with insightful quotes that will serve you well, such as "Failure is never fatal and success is never final," and "Don't shoot where a deer is, shoot where it's going to be." Pickard is a smart, highly successful leader who offers advice worth heeding.
Wall Street veteran Carla Harris, vice chairman and managing director at Morgan Stanley, gives readers the tools necessary to get started and get ahead. She suggests planning your career in five-year units, and shares steps she took to launch and sustain her own career. I love the exercises she presents, such as this one: Three blank sheets of paper; one headlined, "If money were no object, how would I spend my days? What would my job look like?" the next asking, "What jobs have this content?" and the third titled, "What skills, experiences or education do I need to be eligible for these positions?" Her useful insights will benefit both young and mid-level professionals.
Gunn is the founder of 937 Strategy Group, a leadership consulting practice; a former state legislator and a leadership advisor to some of the biggest brands―including U.S. presidents. He illustrates that while there are myriad leadership styles, there are a few striking similarities that all strong leaders present. Divided into three main parts―service, empowerment and legacy―the book dives into each of the seven principles that the best leaders exemplify, including: "Inspire others through your action," "Decide to engage," and "Preach what you know." Gunn synthesizes the complexities of leadership development, employee engagement and sustainable results into actionable ideas. As former head of external affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Gunn's examples tend to focus on the health care sector, but his valuable and relatable principles apply to every industry.
Moore is vice president of sales strategy and education at HBO whose life crashed―literally. Without wearing a seat belt, she drove her convertible head-on into a concrete median, inciting a personal and professional transformation. Moore shares her story and the philosophy that grew out of it, enlightened leadership―her assertion that personal enlightenment is essential for meaningful and impactful leadership. Moore suggests that enlightened leaders build open, healthy team cultures that raise employee engagement and retention, driving productivity and profitability. Each chapter provides practical, actionable tools to help leaders look at themselves as both individuals and managers, including exercises for personal and professional reflection. As a leader, I understand that being aware of who you are as a person is integrally tied to the health and profitability of your company. Moore's book supports that process.
This book is all about money, mindset and motivation―specifically, if you don't have the money, you better have the right mindset to motivate you. John's theory is that being broke makes you hungry for success, forcing you to think more creatively, use resources more efficiently and market more imaginatively. As head of the billion-dollar company FUBU, John started with a $40 budget selling T-shirts out of a van―effectively proving the book's thesis. This book is not about John's tips for success; instead it's inspirational, and the perfect thing to read when you feel cornered or want to give up. It tells the stories of 13 uber-successful entrepreneurs who started with limited resources and fought their way to success, such as Gigi Butler, the house cleaner from Nashville who built a cupcake empire on the back of a family recipe and her maxed-out credit cards. If you're looking for a motivational kick in the pants, this is the book to inspire you.