While we've all heard that reading is the key to success, for entrepreneurs with a million other things to attend to, it can seem like a waste of time. As a result, they don't often make time for it.
But the truth is, many of the most successful people in the world are--and will always be--avid readers.
Reading provides insights on new strategies and approaches that can boost your productivity and foster better habits. In fact, the best leaders often get knockout ideas from reading about others who have tried novel approaches to problem solving. They then adapt those solutions to meet their own needs and boost their success.
When you're in the know, you have more presence and confidence in your interactions and conversations with others. You're more informed and articulate. Not all voracious readers succeed--it's what you apply from what you learn that counts. But, in my experience, highly successful people are almost invariably voracious readers--and are often lifelong learners.
Every year, more amazing books are published on entrepreneurship and business, but it sometimes feels like everyone is reading the same thing (often a bestseller).
Here are my top four recommendations. You might not have heard of them before, but you will be very glad you did.
1. Disrupt You! by Jay Samit
This is, hands down, my favorite book for innovators. Change is the only constant, and understanding how to continually transform will keep you and your business thriving.
Jay has a lot of great advice in this book, but one perfect takeaway is his "zombie idea." Rather than build up your idea, destroy it. Often, we're too afraid to accept the challenges facing our pet project, but if you think proactively about all the ways it can fail, you'll be better prepared to clear those hurdles. Don't let obstacles discourage you. Instead, use them to build an idea that won't die.
From this book, you'll learn powerful distinctions that you can apply immediately to resolving the challenges you're up against. It's chock full of powerful lessons--learning the skill of choosing to be accountable over taking a victim's stance alone is worth the investment of time to master and integrate. That one insight can shift your whole world.
What could be more core to success than these foundational ways of relating to yourself and to others in your world? You'll also become more adept at assisting others in solving their most pressing problems with precision and grace. This book is priceless for entrepreneurs.
3. Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Derek Sivers
My friend Derek Sivers created a company by accident, then sold it for a mint and gave most of the proceeds away. This book is an account of his journey and his hard-won insights.
It's written for a new class of entrepreneurs who would rather be fulfilled than rich, who care about making a difference and impacting today's culture. Derek helped transform an industry by following his heart and filling a need that appeared that he was passionate about. His own words sum it up best: "In the end, it's about what you want to be, not what you want to have."
4. Thrive! Stop Wishing Your Life Away by Alan Weiss
Written by one of my mentors, Alan Weiss (a.k.a. "The Million-Dollar Consultant"), this book helps you begin to take control of your life, your relationships, and your work and free yourself from the pressures of other people's agendas.
Learn why the true definition of wealth is discretionary time, and why so many people erode wealth by mindlessly trying to make more money. By turning several--or even just a couple--of the many practical suggestions in this book into regular habits, you're virtually guaranteed to be happier, healthier, wealthier, and wiser.
Reading keeps your mind sharp, gives you fresh insights and practical tips to apply, and makes you aware of what's going on in the world around you. Moreover, by being well-read and up-to-date on current affairs, you will be viewed as more effective, powerful, and in the know.
These four books can help you shape a mindset that will lead to more success and fulfillment in your work and in your life. To succeed as an entrepreneur, you must not only stay on top of industry-related trends, but also be knowledgeable and conversant about what everyone else is talking about. The world moves too fast to be left behind!