Every entrepreneur that is public about their aspirations has had the experience of being bombarded with book recommendations – the usual ‘in a world full of minnows, be a shark’ books that preach about the traditional fighter mentality. While these books seem to work for some people, they only seem to focus on a few principles, many of which are outdated in a workforce that is rapidly changing and diversifying. The books that truly work have the capacity to push you forward as an entrepreneur and expand your horizons, forcing you to challenge your assumptions about what it means to be an entrepreneur. A lot of these books have very little to do with business. In fact, most of these books tend to focus on convincing entrepreneurs to value worldliness and introspection above the constant desire to succeed. These are the books you should be seeking out – the ones that grow your understanding of the world around you, making you more savvy and intuitive.
- “The Art of Choosing” by Sheena Iyengar
One of the few constants in our lives is the act of choosing. Every individual makes choices, and, whether small or large, they each impact our lives and the lives of others in a plethora of ways. Iyengar’s book analyzes the many questions surrounding the act of choosing. Where does the act of choice come from? Is it innate or cultural? Why do we sometimes choose against our own self interest? How much control do we really have over the choices we make? This book is a wonderful way to understand the act of decision making within the context of our ever-changing social, political, and economic landscape.
- “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” by Kathryn Schulz
Being wrong is one of the most common and most infuriating parts of being alive. It is inevitable and completely natural, and yet many people seem to deny or actively try to avoid this inevitability. In this book, Schulz explores the power and effect of conviction, what happens when conviction is shaken, and the many large and small significances of being wrong. Using four main facets – religion, politics, memory, and love – to explain and explore the allure of certainty and the importance of fallibility.
- “The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources” by Lynne Twist
Through personal stories, practical explanations, and riveting questions, Lynne Twist forces us to confront our relationship with money. By exploring our innermost core values, this book gives us the tools to transform our lives by grappling with how we are controlled by the prospect of money, and how the ways in which we utilize it provide insight into where our true moral balance lies. WARNING: This book makes you feel things!
- “Beyond Reason” by Roger Fisher
Well-known negotiator and educator Roger Fisher teams up with highly regarded psychologist Daniel Shapiro to create a book that teaches you how to more effectively shape an argument within a disagreement that depends primarily on emotions. This book teaches you the basics of pathos and other rhetorical strategies that allow you to use emotions effectively in your negotiation tactics. While emotional disagreements may be some of the most daunting situations to tackle, Fisher and Shapiro give you the tools to aim for and effectively achieve mutual understanding and benefit.
- “Give and Take” by Adam Grant
While the majority of business leaders preach about the importance of the typical skills, such as drive, talent, hard work, and luck, researcher and business professor Adam Grant suggests that there may be a more important skill for entrepreneurs to pay attention to – interaction. Our interactions with our peers, friends, enemies, and fellow humans have the capacity to shape our success. This book focuses on giving us the tools to boost our interactions, as well as other skills such as work balance and productivity.
Books are important. They are easily accessible forms of information that have the ability to be revolutionary and life changing when applied in the correct ways. But, what you decide to read is a major factor that plays into this. Sometimes, delving into the fields that don’t necessarily seem quite as relevant ends up giving you the tools that you didn’t know were so necessary to your success. So, branch out. Open your mind. And happy reading!