13 More Books for Every Entrepreneur

Master the fundamentals of entrepreneurship at every stage in your career

Previously, I wrote about 13 books every entrepreneur should read, but if that was the baseline, this is the update: 13 more books every entrepreneur can benefit for reading:

The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha.

Reid Hoffman, (entrepreneur, investor, and co-founder of LinkedIn) together with Ben Casnocha (entrepreneur and author) have created a revolutionary new blueprint for thriving in today’s fractured world of work. Traditional job security is a thing of the past. Hoffman and Casnocha show how to accelerate your career in today’s competitive world by managing your career as if it were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you. The same skills startup entrepreneurs use, professionals need to get ahead today. This book isn’t about cover letters or resumes. Instead, you will learn the best practices of Silicon Valley start-ups, and how to apply these entrepreneurial strategies to your career. Whether you work for a giant multinational corporation, a small local business, or launching your own venture.

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

Eric Ries, entrepreneur and author of the popular blog Startup Lessons Learned, co-founded and served as CTO of IMVU, his third startup, and has had plenty of startup experience along the way. The Lean Startup is a new approach to starting a business that is changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. Ries defines a startup as, “An organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” This is just as true for one-person company to a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. The mission is to discover a repeatable, successful path to a sustainable business. The Lean Startup approach encourages companies to leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, and a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress with significant metrics, and learn what customers really want. It’s what makes a company agile, regardless of it’s size, by altering plans inch by inch and minute by minute. Businesses are asked to test their vision continuously, adapt, pivot, and adjust – before it’s too late.

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen

Jim Collins (student, teacher, and author) and Morten T. Hansen (a management professor at University of California) have teamed up to write Great by Choice, which asks, “Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?” Based on nine years of research, buttressed by rigorous analysis and infused with engaging stories, Collins and Hansen, explain the key principles for building a great company in unpredictable, tumultuous, and fast-moving times. As with Collin’s prior work, he uses a team of researchers to study companies that rose to greatness by beating their industry indexes by a minimum of ten times over fifteen years. That would be a feat in and of itself, but these businesses also had to do it in environments that experienced rapid shifts that leaders could not predict or control and other extreme environments. The best leaders were not more risk taking, more visionary, and more creative than the comparisons; they were more disciplined, more empirical, and more paranoid. Another surprise: Innovation is not as important as the ability to scale innovation and to blend creativity with discipline. Contrasting to Ries’ agile movement, Great by Choice states that, “Leading in a ‘fast world’ always requires ‘fast decisions’ and ‘fast action’ is a good way to get killed.” The great companies, Collins and Hansen argue, changed less in reaction to a radically changing world than the comparison companies.

Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the Practice of Great Leadership by John Hamm

John Hamm, author and leadership expert, explains why leadership can’t be mastered as a single concept or tool. Instead, excellent leadership is composed of actions, ideas, emotions, cultural forces, history, and expectations that work together in an interconnected system. This system forms the core of the winning combination of superb character, skill-based competence, and professional reputation. Hamm demonstrates that any leader can excel by consistently putting into action the Necessary Nine skills: being authentic, trustworthy, and compelling; leading people, strategy, and execution; communicating, making decisions, and making an impact. Unusually Excellent offers powerful, unforgettable leadership lessons, reinforced empirical evidence, and logical analysis. Treat it like your personal coach – one that will prepare you for the lifelong and ongoing journey towards exceptional leadership.

Do the Work by Steven Pressfield

Steven Pressfield, author of The Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire, and The War of Art, asks, “What is this terrible thing called Resistance — and how can I overcome it?” Do the Work probes further, “Could you be getting in your way of producing great work? Have you started a project but never finished? Would you like to do work that matters, but don’t know where to start?” The answer is to do the work. It’s not about better ideas, it’s about actually doing the work. Do the Work is a weapon against Resistance – a tool that will help you take action and successfully ship projects out the door. “There is an enemy. There is an intelligent, active, malign force working against us. Step one is to recognize this. This recognition alone is enormously powerful. It saved my life, and it will save yours.” When I used to be in Amway, I used to ask how to make money. The response was, “Show the plan.” When I’d ask how to show the plan, the response was the same, “Show the plan.” Sometimes you just have to do the work. Read this when you’re feeling resistance. I did.

Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims

Peter Sims, author, speaker, and entrepreneur, found that successful people in different industries achieved breakthrough results by methodically taking small, experimental steps in order to discover and develop new ideas. Rather than believing they have to start with a big idea or plan a whole project out in advance, trying to foresee the final outcome, they make a series of little bets about what might be a good direction, learning from lots of little failures and from small but highly significant wins that allow them to happen upon unexpected avenues and arrive at extraordinary outcomes. This is similar to Ries’ agile method in The Lean Startup. Based on extensive research, including more than 200 interviews with leading innovators, Sims discovered that productive, creative thinkers and doers (Do the Work) from Ludwig van Beethoven to Thomas Edison and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos practice a key set of simple but ingenious methods. Fail quickly to learn fast, tap into the genius of play, and engage in highly immersed observation to free minds, opening them up to making unexpected connections and perceiving invaluable insights. These methods also unshackle them from the constraints of overly analytical thinking and linear problem solving that our education places so much emphasis on, as well as from the fear of failure, all of which thwart so many of us in trying to be more innovative.

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts

Duncan J. Watts, a professor of sociology at Columbia University, a principal research scientist at Yahoo! Research, and a former officer in the Royal Australian Navy, holds a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University. He is the author of Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age and in Everything Is Obvious he asks, “Why is the Mona Lisa the most famous painting in the world? Why did Facebook succeed when other social networking sites failed? Did the surge in Iraq really lead to less violence? How much can CEO’s impact the performance of their companies? And does higher pay incentivize people to work hard?” If you think the answers to these questions are a matter of common sense, think again. As Watts explains in this book, the obvious explanations we give for life’s outcomes are less useful than they seem. Drawing on the latest scientific research, along with a wealth of historical and contemporary examples, Watts shows how common sense reasoning and history conspire to mislead us into believing that we understand more about the world of human behavior than we do; and in turn, why attempts to predict, manage, or manipulate social and economic systems so often go awry.

The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen

Jeff Dyer (Professor of Strategy at the Marriott School, BYU), Clayton M. Christensen (Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, co-founder of Innosight, a management consultancy; Rose Park Advisors, an investment firm; and Innosight Institute, a non-profit think tank), and Hal B Gregersen, (Professor of Leadership at Insead; a co-founder of The Innovator’s DNA, a leadership consultancy; and a Senior Fellow at Innosight, a management consultancy) wrote The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators. The book proposes that you could be innovative and impactful if you can change your behaviors to improve your creative impact. By identifying behaviors of the world’s best innovators—from leaders at Amazon and Apple to those at Google, Skype, and Virgin Group—the authors outline five discovery skills that distinguish innovative entrepreneurs and executives from ordinary managers: Associating, Questioning, Observing, Networking, and Experimenting. The authors state that once you master the core competencies (ability to generate ideas, collaborate with colleagues to implement them, and build innovation skills throughout your organization to sharpen its competitive edge) innovation advantage can translate into a premium in your company’s stock price—an innovation premium—which is possible only by building the code for innovation right into your organization’s people, processes, and guiding philosophies.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell, a staff writer with The New Yorker magazine since 1996. His 1999 profile of Ron Popeil won a National Magazine Award, and in 2005 he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. He is the author of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference and Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, both of which were number one New York Times bestsellers. In this stunning new book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of the best and the brightest, the most famous, and the most successful people. Gladwell asks the question, “What makes high-achievers different?” His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Poke the Box by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the author of ten international bestsellers that have been translated into over 30 languages, and have changed the way people think about marketing and work. His Unleashing the Ideavirus is the most popular ebook ever published, and Purple Cow is the bestselling marketing book of the decade. If you’re stuck at the starting line, you don’t need more time or permission, to wait for your boss’s okay, or to be told to push the button; you just need to poke. Poke the Box is a call to action about the initiative you’re taking-–in your job or in your life. Godin knows that one of our scarcest resources is the spark of initiative in most organizations (and most careers)-–the person with the guts to say, “I want to start stuff.” Poke the Box just may be the kick in the pants you need to shake up your life.

Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

Derek Sivers, entrepreneur, programmer, avid student of life, went looking for ways to sell his own CD online and ended up creating CD Baby, once the largest seller of independent music on the web with over $100M in sales for over 150,000 musician clients. Since 2008, Derek has traveled the world and stayed busy creating and nurturing creative endeavors, like Muckwork, his newest company where teams of efficient assistants help musicians do their “uncreative dirty work.” Derek writes regularly on creativity, entrepreneurship, and music on his blog. In Anything You Want, Derek Sivers chronicles his “accidental” success and failures into this concise and inspiring book on how to create a multi-million dollar company by following your passion. In this book, Sivers details his journey and the lessons learned along the way of creating CD Baby and building a business close to his heart. “[Sivers is] one of the last music-business folk heroes,” says Esquire magazine. His less-scripted approach to business is refreshing and will educate readers to feel empowered to follow their own dreams. Aspiring entrepreneurs and others trying to make their own way will be particularly comforted by Sivers straight talk and transparency -a reminder that anything you want is within your reach.

The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman, an independent business teacher, education activist, and author, brings a multidisciplinary approach to business education that has helped hundreds of thousands of readers around the world master foundational business concepts on their own terms. His work has been featured in BusinessWeek, Fortune, and Fast Company, as well as by influential websites like Lifehacker, HarvardBusiness.org, Cool Tools, and Seth Godin’s Blog. Getting an MBA is an expensive choice-one almost impossible to justify regardless of the state of the economy. Even the elite schools like Harvard and Wharton offer outdated, assembly-line programs that teach you more about PowerPoint presentations and unnecessary financial models than what it takes to run a real business. You can get better results (and save hundreds of thousands of dollars) by skipping business school altogether. Learn the essentials of entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, negotiation, operations, productivity, systems design, and much more, in one comprehensive volume. The Personal MBA distills the most valuable business lessons into simple, memorable mental models that can be applied to real-world challenges.

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Sir Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica

Ken Robinson (an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources) and Lou Aronica (author). Robinson has worked with national governments in Europe and Asia, international agencies, Fortune 500 companies, national and state education systems, non-profit organizations and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations. He was knighted in 2003 for his contribution to education and the arts. The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the Element, they feel most like themselves, most inspired, and achieve at their highest levels. With a wry sense of humor, Ken Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the Element and those that stifle that possibility. Drawing on the stories of a wide range of people, including Paul McCartney, Matt Groening, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and Bart Conner, he shows that age and occupation are no barrier and that this is the essential strategy for transform­ing education, business, and communities in the twenty-first century. The Element is a breakthrough book about talent, passion, and achievement from one of the world’s leading thinkers on creativity and self-fulfillment.

Are You on Fire?

Do you love what you do? Are you passionate about it? If not, why are you doing it?

Most people, if you ask them these questions will respond with excuses which on the surface sound very good:

“I’m just doing this until I can find something better.”

“I’m just holding out until I retire in a couple of years.”

“If I didn’t have my family so early in life, I could have done it, maybe, but that’s in the past now.”

“I can’t take a risk now. I’m too old and my family depends on me.”

What they are really saying is, “What if I fail and someone gets hurt along the way – someone like my ego and my family’s lifestyle?

No one can predict the future, but you can take calculated risks. A planned move into an area where you are better suited is actually less risky than staying in a precarious, but ‘secure’ position at the job you think you ‘have to have’ to get by.

It may sound flippant, but you do only have one life to live and all of this is temporary. What are you doing with your life? Do you ever wish there was something better or more rewarding you could be doing? What if you could provide for yourself and/or your family AND be doing your passion? Are you even looking?

The first step is to decide that the current path you are on isn’t working for you. As the old metaphor goes, you’ve got your ladder leaning on the wrong building – that’s all. Just move it to another building and go. Take action and be prepared for others, but primarily yourself to tell you it won’t work and that you will fail. Overcome these thoughts and you’ll be well on your way to doing what you are passionate about.

Need help finding out what you are passionate about? Sir Ken Robinson has written a book that might help titled, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. It’s less than $10 on Amazon and it could change your life – for the better.

How to Start an Internet Marketing Business

I spoke a little bit about how to start an Internet marketing business on my blog, An Entrepreneurial Mind, but wanted to go into more detail here about how I got started in Internet marketing and what products I’d recommend. I got started in Internet marketing almost by mistake. I was doing some research about how to promote a particular site and kept running across initials like “IM” and “MS” and “30DC.” After looking into them I realized that there was thing called Internet marketing (IM) and a lot of people used Market Samurai (MS) because of going through the Thirty Day Challenge (30DC). I ended up going through what is now called The Challenge (since their was no fee for awesomeness) and got to really like Ed Dale. I eventually bought Market Samurai and have used that extensively for research. One thing I didn’t learn from any one place though was an overall strategy for how to go from start to finish on a project or a business.

For a long time, I had a card hanging up on my wall that said, “There is a process to success,” which was a quote from Chris Farrell. Chris runs an Internet marketing service that teaches people how to make money online in easy, step-by-step processes from start to finish. What Chris has said, Ed Dale would add, “There’s a process for everything. Creativity is a process. If you’ve ever found yourself sitting in front of the computer wondering what to do next. That’s not a Focus problem…It’s a PROCESS problem.” Learn the processes of successful people and repeat them to be successful yourself. It’s not easy, it’s a process, and one that is learnable. Sir Ken Robinson, an author, speaker, and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, and education, says that, “Innovation and creativity are learnable skills, not inborn talents.”

I’ve just recently purchased and received Sir Ken’s newest book, The Element, which tackles the challenge of determining and pursuing work that is aligned with individual talents and passions to achieve well-being and success. ‘The element’ is what Sir Ken identifies as the point where the activities individuals enjoy and are naturally good at, come together. I’m looking forward to reading it, but even more looking forward to doing it. I once had a mentor tell me that my mind was always running on a parallel track to what I was working on during the day because I was aligned with my true passion, but that once I did, I would “take off on fire.” That’s partly why I wrote what I did under my new executive coaching blog, Are You on Fire? If you’re not on fire for what you do, what’s stopping you? If you’re tired of that pit in your stomach every time you think about your work, it’s time to consider a change and if you’re looking for help on how to make money online, remember Chris Farrell’s membership program.