In my previous column, I provided a list of books that provide invaluable road maps for the problems that beset today's economy and business environment.
Today's column contains the best business books of the year (so far) that can help entrepreneurs to become more successful.
All of these books are in the running for my annual best business books of the year competition, so stay tuned.
Subtitle: How Nonconformists Move the World
Author: Adam Grant
Five-Second Summary: Explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, manage fear and doubt, nurture originality in children, and build cultures that welcome dissent.
Best Quote: "To be an original, you need to take radical risks. This belief is embedded so deeply in our cultural psyche that we rarely even stop to think about it. We admire astronauts like Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride for having 'the right stuff'--the courage to leave the only planet humans have ever inhabited and adventure boldly into space. We celebrate heroes like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., who possessed enough conviction to risk their lives for the moral principles they held dear. We idolize icons like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates for having the audacity to drop out of school and go for broke, holing up in garages to will their technological visions into existence."
Subtitle: One Entrepreneur's Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness
Author: Gary Vaynerchuk
Five-Second Summary: Presents advice on marketing, social media, entrepreneurship, including the use of Twitter to launch a small business, hiring superstars to creating a personal brand, launching products, and even staying healthy.
Best Quote: "The vast majority of people tend to play to the middle, which is why they usually only succeed up to a certain level and then plateau. Alternatively, they get stuck in one or the other, getting so bogged down by minutiae or politics they lose sight of the clouds, or so into the clouds they lose the appetite or neglect the skills they need to execute successfully. Ideas are worthless without the execution; execution is pointless without the ideas. You have to learn to prioritize properly and quickly identify what's going to move you further ahead and what's going to make you stall."
Subtitle: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future
Author: Steve Case
Five-Second Summary: Along with self-congratulatory boasting typical of books authored by CEOs, Case explains how technology companies, in order to be successful in the future, must rethink their relationships with customers, with competitors, and especially with governments.
Best Quote: "I didn't want to write a memoir, but I did want to share some of my stories, as I do believe, as Shakespeare famously said, 'What's past is prologue'--that there are lessons to be learned. I didn't want to write a guidebook for budding entrepreneurs, as there are plenty of those--but I did want to explain why the rules of the entrepreneurial game are changing. And I didn't want to get too wonky on policy, but I do believe America is at risk of losing its lead as the world's most entrepreneurial nation, and I wanted to explain why--and what we can and must do about it."
Subtitle: Dream Bigger, Live Happier, and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms
Author: Jessica DiLullo Herrin
Five-Second Summary: Offers a series of ideas and strategies intended to help you to "embrace your individuality, to believe in yourself beyond reason, and to step up to creating your own definition of happiness and success."
Best Quote: "I believe that no matter how you contribute to the world--whether it's by becoming a doctor or a teacher or a stay-at-home mother--your success at whatever you choose is equally important. None of these choices is any less valid than another--they are simply different. The world would be a bizarre dystopia if everyone's value was measured by the same yardstick. We don't all have the same definition of happiness, and thus we don't all have the same definition of success."
Subtitle: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do
Author: Chris Guillebeau
Five-Second Summary: Offers suggestions for finding your ideal work and ideal working conditions, create plans that will allow you to take smarter career risks and earn extra cash on top of your primary stream of income.
Best Quote: "Even if you receive a regular paycheck and have no intention of ever starting a business, it's important to understand that you are still essentially self-employed. No one will look out for your interests as much as you will, so you should make active decisions and take responsibility for your own success as much as possible. Even if you have absolutely no desire to start your own business and are perfectly happy working for a conventional employer, there are plenty of tactics and strategies for turning that job into the work you were born to do."
Subtitle: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage
Authors: Daymond John and Daniel Paisner
Five-Second Summary: Aims to help you turn financial difficulties into personal advantage by using them to help connect with your customers more authentically, market your ideas more imaginatively, stay focused on your goals, and devise innovative solutions.
Best Quote: "Let's face it, when you're up against all odds, when you've exhausted every opportunity, when you're down to your last dime... that's when you've got no choice but to succeed. You're out of options, man. So you double down, dig deep, and switch into that relentless turbo mode we've all got kicking around in our machinery. And that's when the real magic happens."
Subtitle: The House That Jack Ma Built
Author: Duncan Clark
Five-Second Summary: Tells the story of how Jack Ma built Alibaba into one of the world's largest companies, an e-commerce empire on which hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers depend, in the process making himself an icon for China's booming private sector.
Best Quote: "Jack combines a lot of showmanship with a relish for defying stereotypes. Where other business moguls like to talk about their connections or academic credentials, Jack enjoys talking down his own: 'I don't have a rich or powerful father, not even a powerful uncle'. Having never studied abroad, he likes to describe himself as 'one hundred percent made in China.' He stands out as a tech company founder with no background in technology. At Stanford University in 2013 he confessed, 'Even today, I still don't understand what coding is all about, I still don't understand the technology behind the internet.'"