Reading is fundamental, that’s an old-school mantra that applies to existing business owners and those just starting out. Learning about business is an never-ending process. Books should be used as part of that learning. Having a successful business is about the actions you take. You need to know the how, what, and when of building a business–delivering a viable product or service, managing employees, growing a customer base, and bettering yourself.
What book helped shape your business and you, personally, as a CEO? This is the question BlackEnterprise.com posed to members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization, comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free, virtual-mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
These are the books that are at the top of their reading list:
1. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard. This book helped me completely rethink my management style, especially with remote workers. All the principles that the author describes are critical for successfully running a remote company: encouraging employees to think on their own, refraining from micromanaging, giving praise and quickly correcting problems. Everyone should read this book, and then work on fixing their own managerial style.
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This book is not about tactics for tricking people into liking you; it’s about understanding how to be a better person, listener, and communicator. This book was recommended by my brother, and it’s taught me to be more amenable, patient, and empathetic. I’ve learned how to communicate more efficiently and more effectively, while being a more pleasant person. It’s integral for success in business.
3. Choose Yourself by James Altucher. In Choose Yourself, James teaches entrepreneurs how to build a successful business in a world where all industries have been disrupted and the only constant is change. The book made me realize that the middlemen are being pushed out of the picture. New digital tools and platforms have emerged to make it possible for everyone to create content and make millions of dollars without “help.â€
4. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. A must-read for any startup entrepreneur, The Hard Thing About Hard Things scrupulously describes how to lead teams through obstacles. The book offers plenty of practical advice like the importance of sharing bad news with your teammates, and encouraging teammates to share bad news with you in order to improve. The collection of candid anecdotes from the author is valuable to any CEO.
5. The Geography of Thought by Richard E. Nisbett. While this book focuses on how Asians and Westerners think differently (and why), its implications are much wider. All business is now global. Understanding how people in other cultures make decisions and think, is critical to success. In running my own international business, I have referenced this book time and time again. I recommend it for anyone trying to understand how to work better with others.
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