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10 Books to Read for Entrepreneurial Success

It’s been quite the journey – these last 3 weeks have pushed me to write about content outside of my comfort zone.

While it wasn’t my best content, I’m still very glad I was able to share with you a number of things I’ve learned in the past year through my entrepreneurial endeavors.

Here are all of the posts in our Wantrepreneurship to Entrepreneurship series:

Even though I’ve just provided you 9 great resources and posts to get you started from wantrepreneurship to entrepreneurship, I’m just one person and only have 1 point of view.

In this post, I will be sharing with you 10 books which would be great for you to read to learn more about entrepreneurship.

10 Books to Read for Entrepreneurial Success

Below are 10 books which I highly recommend you read for entrepreneurial success.

The Millionaire Fastlane

The millionaire fastlane

“What if I told you ‘insane’ was working fifty hours a week in some office for fifty years at the end of which they tell you to piss off; ending up in some retirement village hoping to die before suffering the indignity of trying to make it to the toilet on time? Wouldn’t you consider that to be insane?” – Steve Buscemi

Is your financial plan destined for greatness or mediocrity? Is your financial plan tied to variables you can’t control, such as the stock market or your job? Why spend 40 years working 40 hours a week so you can be rich in a wheelchair? It doesn’t make sense.

The Millionaire Fastlane is a great book which targets individuals who are willing to live like no one else today, so that they can live like nobody else tomorrow.

The End of Jobs

the end of jobs

Entrepreneurship is connecting, creating, and inventing systems – be they businesses, people, ideas, or processes.

The End of Jobs, by Taylor Pearson, discusses how now is the best time in the history of the world to become an entrepreneur. Pearson spent three years interviewing hundreds of entrepreneurs from all over the world and working with dozens of them to grow their businesses.

The End of Jobs is the culmination of Pearson’s interviews and experiences. This book was eye-opening, thought provoking, and gives a rough outline of how you could be a successful entrepreneur.

Financial Intelligence

financial intelligenceMany companies and executives expect managers to use financial data to allocate resources and run their departments.

Unfortunately, even with this expectation, many managers can’t read a balance sheet, don’t understand how to calculate return on investment, and don’t understand all of the assumptions that go into the income statement and statement of cash flows.

With all of these moving parts, it’s essential to have a very strong understanding of accounting and finance – that’s where Financial Intelligence comes in.

In Financial Intelligence, Karen Berman and Joe Knight teach the basics of finance – but with a twist. Financial reporting, they argue, is as much art as science.

The Slight Edge

The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson

Humans are creatures of habit. Every day, we make simple decisions: what to eat, should we exercise, should I call my parents, should I read my book, etc. Are the decisions you are making helping your life? Or are they detrimental to your life? Are they bringing you closer to your goals? Or are you still a long time away from achieving those goals?

The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson, walks us through a strategy to achieve success in anything we want in life. Do you want to lose weight? Well, first, you have to start. You have to be consistent. A positive attitude helps keep you going. You will have to pay the price, and you may need to be committed for the long haul. It will be worth it!

Sam Walton: Made in America

Sam Walton: Made in America

As a student of personal finance and entrepreneurship, Sam Walton’s story of success and growth interested me. Sam Walton: Made in America was one of the recommended books on Jeff Bezos’ reading list.

If a nobody from the Midwest can build a retailing empire from the ground up, then there must be something to learn.

Sam Walton: Made in America, is Sam Walton’s autobiography of his life and work. Starting in the 30’s, he talks about growing up during the Great Depression, and the impact it had on his life. Then he takes you on a 50 year retailing journey, from his days running his first store, to owning a national brand and a company bringing in billions of dollars a year. This book was a great read – I definitely recommend it!

Question Based Selling

question based selling

Without sales, you have no business. Let’s look at a great book on sales.

Secrets of Question Based Selling, represents a shift in traditional sales thinking.

In the past, sales training programs focused on defining the steps of the sales process. It turns out that just identifying “what to do” provides no advantage over competitors who also have a sales process in place, as it’s likely their process is very similar (if not identical) to yours.

As a result, rather than just continually rehashing the sales process, Question Based Selling was specifically developed to teach salespeople and entire sales teams “how” to execute more effectively. There’s a reason top salespeople in every industry (and within every company), are outperforming their struggling counterparts, even though they’re all following the same sales process steps!

Spin Selling

spin selling

The method of SPIN selling was developed, through the careful observation of sales experts on 35,000 sales calls, to identify exactly why a sale was successful or not.

It turns out that specific questions and the quality of those questions were most important during the sales process.

The book, SPIN selling, talks about these specific questions: Situation questions, Problem questions, Implication questions, and Need-payoff questions.

For business to business, and large product salespeople, this is a fantastic book for you to read and apply.

Zero To One

Zero to One

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, by Peter Thiel, with Blake Masters, touches on the mindset required to create a thriving and successful business in the modern world. In addition to thoughts on the required mindset, he poses questions and criteria which are important for any founder to ask and examine as they decide to go into the harsh world of startups and business.

Peter Thiel co-founded PayPal and Palantir, and has made investments in other startups, such as Facebook, SpaceX, and LinkedIn.

Given this first hand experience in working in and with startups, he created a class which he taught to Stanford students on startups; Zero to One is the book version of this class.

POP!

pop marketing

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, sales manager, or executive, you know that when it comes to connecting with your customers, every word counts.

In POP! you learn about the secrets behind some of the biggest successful brands, names, and slogans.

This is a great book for you if you are looking to break through the crowd, stay at the top of the mind for your customers, and make a huge impact.

I really enjoyed it while doing through my most recent re-brand of my business. Check it out!

The Power of Broke

The power of broke

Have you ever been down to your last fifty dollars? You didn’t know where to go? Were you energized by the fact you had no where to go but up? What you experienced was the power of broke…

The Power of Broke is a book about how being broke, on a tight budget, and hungry for success can be motivating, exhilarating, and a catalyst for great success.

It’s a story book profiling a number of successful entrepreneurs who didn’t have large amounts of funding starting off.

I was drawn to reading The Power of Broke because I saw Daymond John on the popular TV Show Shark Tank and wanted to learn more about his story. In addition, I’m constantly looking to surround myself with the ideas of successful business owners and entrepreneurs. There is no better way than to read about them in books!

Your Task

With every post in this Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur series, I will be providing you with a task for you to think about after finishing this post up.

For you, decide today that your education is never done.

Each and every hour, day, and week, there is an opportunity for you to learn more.

The books above span a wide variety of topics.

Each book I read, I add a little bit to my perspective of the world. I hope you will experience wild growth from learning and the application of your knowledge in your career, business, and life!

Conclusion

Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.

The world of business is a wild one – there is so much to learn and know.

Look to grow a little bit each and every day.

While there’s so much to learn and know, you can become knowledgeable in any field you want over time.

Readers: what is your favorite book on entrepreneurship? What about sales and marketing? Do you have a favorite book for self improvement which could tie nicely into this discussion?

Erik

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Ideas are Worthless Without Action

Like many families all of the world, every Christmas, my family and I open up presents.

Most years, my sisters would put one of the new fads on their Christmas list and when it came time to open up the gift, I’d hear multiple comments like, “Why couldn’t we have come up with something like that?” or “Can you imagine how much money these people are making off something this silly?”

In this post, I want to reflect on these comments and talk about ideas. In particular, why ideas are worthless without action.

Hopefully, by reading this post, you can get into the appropriate entrepreneurship mindset: the mindset of taking action.

“Ideas are nothing but neurological flatulence.” ~ MJ DeMarco

“Having the world’s best idea will do you no good unless you act on it. People who want milk shouldn’t sit on a stool in the middle of the field in hopes that a cow will back up to them.” ~ Curtis Grant

Ideas are Worthless Without Action

Last summer, I was hanging out with a group of friends and they started talking about some of the ideas they had.

After telling me some of their ideas, I started to dig a little deeper into their comments, “How would you actually implement that? What steps are you taking for these ideas? Have you thought about potential competitors or what you customers actually might want?”

I stopped short of telling them my true opinion… but they didn’t appreciate me raining on their idea parade.

“Well Erik, you are doing a lot of things with your time. What ideas do you have? I bet you have a ton of ideas.”, my one friend said.

What I said next caught them off guard.

“I actually don’t have too many ideas. Right now, I’m focused on taking actions and working towards my goals. I truly believe that without action, ideas are worthless, so I actually don’t think too much about new ideas because I’m focused on what I’m doing now.”

After that, the conversation topic changed and we had fun enjoying some drinks and a ball game.

At the time, I didn’t know if my comments would have an effect on him, but he’s a smart guy. What’s interesting, 6 months later, I was chatting with this same friend.

He told me what he had started doing in the past few months to get closer to his goals. I’m glad I was able to influence him for the better 🙂

Could You Create an Overnight Success?

Let’s go back to Christmas from year’s past.

“Why couldn’t we have come up with something like that?”

Fidget spinners, rainbow looms, Tsum Tsums, the list of fad toys goes on and on.

I’m going to be condescending here: most of my family members are caught up in their own heads with their work, TV shows, finances, retirement, and the thought of creating something amazing never crosses their mind.

If I put it like that, it’s pretty obvious why you haven’t come up with something.

I’m going to be a little more condescending here: even if one of us had the idea, I bet the idea would stop there…

Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, hanging out with friends – these all are way more important than trying to make an idea a reality.

Overnight successes rarely happen, and typically are 5 to 10 years in the making. Instead of trying to shoot for the moon on day one, being consistent with your actions will be the key to success.

Humans Underestimate What They Can Do in a Year

ideas are worthless without action

Humans underestimate how much they can accomplish in a year, but overestimate what they can accomplish in a day.

Everyone on this Earth has 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, 720 hours in a month, and 8,760 hours in a year.

In the past year, I’ve written over 150,000 words on this blog across 200+ posts. Could I have done this in a day? No. What about a week? Nope. But in a year? Well, I did it, so yes 🙂

What’s your idea? What’s your goal? Where do you want to be in a year? What about 3 years? 5 years?

Think about this for a second: in 5 years, you’ll be on this Earth for 43,800 hours. 

How many hours does it take to implement your idea? 100?

Spending 5 hours today, and then not picking it up for 2 months isn’t going to get

you going towards your goal.

Spend an hour a day over the next 100 days and you’ll reach your goal. Spend half an hour the next 200 days, and you’ll be where you want to be.

Take action today. Spend 30 minutes sitting down, putting away your phone, and focusing on your taking a step on your idea.

Your Task: Implement Your Idea

After you finish reading this post, think about what ideas you have had in the past, and what you did with those ideas.

Think about what ideas you have today.

Brainstorm what actions you can take to make those dreams into reality. (I know you can handle a little brainstorming 🙂 )

Come up with a list of things you can do in the next week and start on them – let’s turn that dream from an idea to something concrete!

Unapplied Knowledge is No Knowledge at All

unapplied knowledge is no knowledge at all

When you begin to take action, remember the following quote by Stephen R. Covey: “Unapplied knowledge is no knowledge at all.”

You could read 1,000 books, and none of it would matter if you didn’t take action.You could attend 50 seminars, but it would be a waste of time if I didn’t do anything with your enthusiasm.

How many people do you know who claim to be experts in some fashion or another?

The supposed health guru who is 50 pounds overweight?

The personal finance expert who has 10’s of thousands of credit card debt and spends more than they make?

I’m sure we have all encountered the person giving our relationship advice when their relationships are a struggle.

Don’t be like these people – or should I label them? Imposters? Wannabes? I’m not going to be an imposter or wannabe. I’m applying my knowledge finally – I’ve read 5-10 books this year on business and self-development – and now I have a business registered with the state and collecting orders.

Growth occurs outside the comfort zone. Let’s continue to push into the discomfort zone.

Taking Action is As Important as Brainstorming

I hope that this post has altered your mindset a little bit towards ideas and taking actions.

You want to build an empire? It’s going to take time, and it’s going to take effort. No one gets to the top of the mountain watching TV or hanging out at the bar.

Ideas are what inspire us to do better and can be used to fuel the fire.

But, there needs to be a spark to light that fire – and that spark is YOU.

Start taking action today on your ideas. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish by just taking a little action 🙂

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life — think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” ~ Swami Vivekananda

Readers: what ideas do you have? Are you taking actions on those ideas, or just thinking about it? Why haven’t you taken action?

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