In the past 14 years of running our business, we’ve invested in ourselves a lot – we love reading so we usually invest in books (those who’ve visited our home can attest to a floor to ceiling bookshelf full of business books). While most people shop for souvenirs, we shop for books when we’re abroad!
We’ve read hundreds of books but some books are so memorable they stick like duct tape in our minds. They contain good advice and ideas, good enough to keep referring to them over and over.
If you’re book-hunting, here are our top selections for what we believe are the essentials for building your business, growing yourself and changing your mindset. These are the books that we’ve learnt from, and keep referring to over and over.
1. Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad
This was one of the first books I read right out of university. I was then a junior copywriter, happily and gainfully employed. He wrote about knowing your assets from your liabilities. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking a house or a car is an asset. They’re not unless they make you money. Every time we re-read his book, we discover newer insights.
Try playing his Cashflow 101 board game after you’ve read his book. It makes the ideas of money, assets and liabilities a lot more concrete. Now, most people play Cashflow as a game; they play without realizing the game teaches you about managing money and yes, how to know what doodads are and how to stop spending money on them.
2. Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Mastery
We love this book because it reveals why most small business owners end up frustrated although they started with lots of passion initially. The idea behind E-Myth is that you need to work ON your business, not IN your business. There’s a big difference in that and those who struggle for years are those who haven’t read this book and had their big “A-ha” moment.
The key to making entrepreneurship fun and exciting is to be able to create systems which help you run the business. This makes a lot of sense because I personally see a lot of successful professionals who are so tied to their businesses that they can’t even take a day off! Their success becomes their ultimate prison. Nic felt that Gerber tends to be too long-winded but this is a good book to read if you want to prevent disillusionment from settling into your business.
3. Felix Dennis’ How To Get Rich
An eccentric Englishman called Felix Dennis wrote this book, a funny tongue-in-cheek read about how he became rich, his life lessons and why you should never be afraid to pay taxes. If you’re paying taxes and a huge chunk of it, it means your business is making money and there is no shame in that. As a fact, Dennis pays millions of pounds in taxes and get this, even frames up a copy of his cheques to the Inland Revenue Department as a testimony that he is getting richer each year.
4. Donald Trump’s Think Big and Kick Ass
Granted, the title sounds as cocky as the billionaire himself. The thing about Trump is, you either love him or hate him. There’s no in-between. That said, not everyone enjoys his brashness but the fascinating thing about Trump is that this man can talk big and still make big bucks. I believe that is how he silences his critics. It is no mean feat bouncing back after a tango with near bankruptcy. He co-authors this book with a guy named Bill Zanker who described how he made his first million the moment he enlarged his thinking!
You may not want to “kick ass” but the key learning from this book is that if you’re thinking, you might as well think big. Half the book is penned by Trump while the other half is penned by Zanker. Trump’s anecdotes about people he likes and hates (and why) are in true Trump style – he dares to mention people who have crossed him and how he got them back in the end. If you forget all the cockiness and big talking, you will find heaps of good advice in this book, rash as its title may sound.
5. T. Harv Eker’s Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
This is not a business book per se but it is a life-changing book. Before you start with Trump’s book, it is best you read Eker. We’ve attended Eker’s seminar live and no doubt he is a consummate salesman with the ability to push the right buttons so that people run to sign up for his next event. It gets old after a while (those Internet marketing ‘deadlines’ and ‘only today’ offers…sigh). You don’t have to spend money going for his live seminars when you can easily and affordably get his book. We loved his book before we saw him live and I can say I prefer reading his book! The book isn’t so much about business as it is about creating a new money blueprint for yourself. With this new blueprint and a new way of thinking about money, success and fortune, you can go out and get going with your business.
6. Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Sales Answers
If you’re a business owner, you must equip yourself with sales and marketing skills. But you have no time to bother with long treatises on marketing (the kind taught in school). So what do you do? I suggest grabbing a copy of this book. It’s not for you to read from cover to cover but it is a handy and concise reference for anyone involved in sales to find answers to their selling! What I like best about this little book is that you can pick it up, read 1 page and still get enough good advice for you to use in your next sales encounter. Gitomer is no-nonsense in his writing and that’s why the other books in this series are such hot winners too. You will never go wrong with Gitomer!
7. Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles
This is one of those books which you will continue to refer to because the principles are universal and classic. This is more than just a business book – it is a personal development book. With 64 chapters to explain and illustrate each of the success principles, this book gives you a round-up of what you need to get where you want to go.
The parts I enjoyed the most were the stories of successful people as well as the exercises which one could do to deepen the understanding of a particular principle. I believe you can read a chapter on its own and still derive great benefits and inspiration. Inside this book are stories about Tim Ferriss, John Assaraf and many more.
No doubt some stories are taken from his highly popular Chicken Soup For the Soul series, these stories work as a way to give meaning to the principles he outlines.
As every business owner knows, you need resolve and strength to do what you need to do each day. Sometimes you meet naysayers. Sometimes you need a book like this to help you get back on track when you’re out cold.