I absolutely love to read, and I’ve read many hundreds if not thousands of books over the years. I’ve always believed that knowledge is power, especially in the world of business. Unfortunately, so many of the business books out there are antiquated, droll, and at this point in time utterly worthless. In case you haven’t noticed, the world has changed. What worked yesterday is unlikely to work tomorrow, a fact that media empires the world over are finally beginning to accept.
Luckily, there are a handful of people in this world who not only grasp that things are changing, but who have discovered how to bend those changes to their advantage. There are also people who seek to understand why these things happen and leverage that knowledge, instead of just going with the flow and accepting the way things have been as the way they will be. Thankfully, many of those people are authors.
The following is a list of 7 books that have significantly changed the way I view the world, business, and life in general. Whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or a student looking to start their first business, reading and actually learning from the following list of books is CRITICAL to your success in the future:
#1 – The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss – This book is about working smarter, not harder. It teaches you everything you need to know to be more efficient and more effective. Even better, it can help you to literally make your dreams come true. I’ve personally leveraged the principles in this book to negotiate a remote work agreement, and to design and build an extremely efficient company.
#2 – Linchpin by Seth Godin – This book is all about change. Are you a cog? Or a Linchpin? If you are dissatisfied with the way things are, chances are this book can help you to find a solution. Nothing has to be the way it is. The choice and the power to change your life, your business, and the world are within your grasp, and Linchpin can help you to achieve your dreams.
#3 – Rework by Jason Fried and David H. Hansson – I just barely finished this book, and to me it was the anti-bible of the corporate world. The authors, the founders of software company 37signals, have defied traditional business conventions, and by so doing have succeeded marvelously. Though counter-intuitive, the lessons in this book can help you to create a business you will actually love working for, instead of the traditional 40+ hour hell most people are consigned to.
#4 – Sway by Ori and Rom Brafman – At the heart of both business and life, there are decisions to be made. Unfortunately, many of those decisions are irrational. Understanding why people make the decisions that they do is the key to both a successful business and a successful life. This book blends psychology, neuroscience and business savvy to help you learn how to both learn from and leverage the irrational decision-making process that all humans are prone to.
#5 – Blink by Malcolm Gladwell – Along the same lines as Sway, Blink looks at a decision-making process known as “thin slicing”. It features some incredible studies, with results that will blow your mind. This book taught me the importance of presentation and first impressions, and helped me to make a sub-conscious process a bit more…conscious.
#6 – Brain Rules by John Medina – This book is one of the most practical books on neuroscience out there. It distills otherwise complex brain processes into easy to comprehend sections, and applies those to everyday issues and problems. Understanding how and why people think the way they do is crucial to business and marketing.
#7 – All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin – I love Seth Godin books so much that he gets to be on this list twice. This book looks at marketing from the perspective of brands and stories from a very different point of view. Seth Godin not only thinks outside-of-the-box, but quite often he turns the box into a totally different structure. You will never look at marketing and branding the same way after reading this book.
I would consider the above 7 books to constitute an MBA for Millennial Entrepreneurs. You are highly unlikely to learn the lessons above in any traditional school, much less a traditional workplace, and they will do you more good than the junk you would learn in either. Read, learn, apply, and then go out and make the world a better place (and make your dreams come true in the process).
The future is not the past, and to approach it as such is the path to failure.