5 Great Books That Every Entrepreneur Should Read

The world’s greatest entrepreneurs all share one habit: reading. If you want to know all about how to succeed in business, all of the information you need can be found in bestselling books. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, you simply need to find relevant knowledge and absorb it. This is precisely why we created Blinkist: a mobile app that gives you actionable tips from the world’s best nonfiction books in 15 minutes or fewer.

All tips are available in the app in bite-sized flashcard formats that you can quickly read or, thanks to the audio versions, listen to on-the-go. What you learn with Blinkist is totally up to you—there are more than 2,000 titles in virtually every category to choose from. We’ve picked out 5 tips from 5 of our favorite business-related books to illustrate some of the top titles that are loved by entrepreneurs the world over. So, whether you already lead a company or you’re just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey, these tips will give you the knowledge you need to excel.

1. Devote time to hone your leadership skills

 

Forget what you’ve heard, the truth is that no-one is born a leader. Leadership is a skill and it’s completely up to you to develop it. In his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John C. Maxwell explains the Law of the Lid - this means that the potential success of your company is limited by one simple quality: your ability to lead. One of the key skills of great leaders is their uncanny ability to influence others - this is known as the Law of Influence. Having influence involves great intuition and the ability to pay attention to intangible factors that can affect a team of people. For example, a great leader is able to spot when someone is feeling like they’re being treated unfairly. With heightened intuition, you can sense rising tensions and resolve issues before they start hurting your business.

  • Actionable tip: Don’t act like you’re above the law. Develop organisational rules and stick to them. When your team sees that you are fair, they will implicitly trust you and follow your lead.

2. Always begin with the end in mind

Being truly effective means knowing what you want to achieve and making sure that your actions will produce the right results. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey insists that you should always begin with the end in mind. In other words, make sure that you have a clear mission statement and a measurable long-term goal. When factoring in the necessary elements for success, having the right skills will only take you so far. If you want to truly improve, you have to address your character. This means taking a look inside and working on your emotional development. This is the truly effective starting point. Once you manage to bring about real internal change, you can massively influence the world around you.

  • Actionable tip: Visualize the outcome of every action as clearly as possible before doing it.

3. Remember that personal contacts open doors

Nobody can hope to be successful in the long-term without gaining the support of others so it’s safe to say that having a personal network is a prerequisite for a successful business career. That said, nobody likes a networking nuisance who is tone deaf to the needs of others. In Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi teaches you the industry secrets to effective relationship building. In times of economic downturn and job insecurity, being well-connected is a great way to ensure that you will always be able to find great employment opportunities. On the flip side, as an entrepreneur with a fantastic network, you can expand your hiring pool in the right direction and ensure that your company hires the best possible people.

  • Actionable tip: Never ask “How can others help me?” Always ask, “How can I help others?” This generous approach is a surefire path to successful business connections and collaborations.

4. Negotiation is power

Most things in the world are negotiable so it is invaluable for all entrepreneurs to learn how to negotiate well. In You Can Negotiate Anything, Herb Cohen shares a story about a time he was turned away from a hotel in Mexico because they claimed there were no rooms available. He calmly asked for the manager and then inquired, “Would you have a room for the President of Mexico if he showed up right now?” The manager said yes and Cohen said, “Well, the President is not coming so I’ll take his room.” This anecdote shows the importance of remaining calm and the overwhelming power of speaking to the right person at the right time.

  • Actionable tip: Make your opponent invest time and effort in the negotiation. Once he has invested in the process, he’ll be more likely to find a way to give you what you want.

5. Stay authentic in your marketing

Effective marketing is all about telling believable stories. In his marketing classic All Marketers Are Liars, guru Seth Godin explains how to tell the right stories. The first step to find the right story to tell is to understand your customer by tapping into their worldview. All customers are not the same. Then again, they’re not completely different. People from similar backgrounds develop similar worldviews. Your job as a marketer is to find a group of people who have nearly the same worldview and tell a story that speaks directly to them. When crafting marketing messages, be sure to reach out to people in a genuine, meaningful way. That way, you’ll build a believable relationship that benefits both parties.

  • Actionable tip: Tailor your story to a small audience. Don’t try to appeal to everyone or you’ll water your story down. When your story targets a niche audience, it’s much more powerful.

Source: Blinkist Magazine.