HuffPost: 5 Books That Will Change the Way You Do Business

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5 Books That Will Change the Way You Do Business - Huffington Post

When entrepreneurs are craving more personal and professional development, they often turn the pages of an inspiring book. The wisdom discovered in a great read can certainly change your life. It’s definitely changed mine.

Interestingly enough, reading is a benchmark of entrepreneurship and success. Warren Buffett read 600 to 1,000 pages per day when he began his investing career. In fact, Buffett still devotes 80 percent of his day to reading. Reading among entrepreneurs is not a rarity. On average, Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. Mark Cuban reads around three hours daily. The evidence is quite clear: entrepreneurship and reading are synonymous.

Every entrepreneur who wants to grow professionally must have an active reading list firmly in place. However, deciding what is worthy of your office library can be challenging. To get you started, here are five books that changed my life.

Start With Why, by Simon Sinek

It is most certainly all about the “why” when it comes to loyalty and trust in Simon Sinek’s book. Conventional wisdom would drive many entrepreneurs to begin every project, investment or sales pitch with “what.” Sinek turned this on its head for me, and I began to focus more on the “why” myself.

Sinek introduced a new theory for business investors, salespeople and entrepreneurs. Sinek’s reasons that the “why” is your most valuable asset. For instance, why did you want to begin a new entrepreneurial endeavor? Why are you are passionate about something? And why should people care about it?

In practice, if someone you met in a networking event asked you what you did, what would your response be? Perhaps it would sound like, “I’m an entrepreneur.” It is indeed what you are and do, officially, but there is much to be desired. By focusing on the “why,” your answer may instead be, “After my father was misdiagnosed with a serious health issue I began seeking new ways for people to attain fast and accurate medical second opinions via an accessible database of doctors through a mobile app.”

The second one certainly sounds better, and it brings out the passion behind your entrepreneurial drive. Which reply would you be more likely to bring into an investors meeting?

Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell

In what way does opportunity come knocking at the door of entrepreneurs? Gladwell explores this in his third consecutive bestseller. He examines what really makes people successful and challenges the common myth that success is self-made.

In an opposing theory, Gladwell explains that successful people “are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.”

Specialization, time, place, collaboration and culture are all attributes of successful men and women. This may sound quite familiar to any entrepreneur, since most of these attributes are part of our daily mix-up. This part of the book changed how I approach my entrepreneurial endeavors. Understanding each attribute allowed me to see my own strengths and more importantly, places I can improve. Success is a combination of opportunities and time dedicated to one’s craft.

The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss

If you are in a creative slump and want to light a fire under your entrepreneurial feet, this is a must-read. Ferriss may change how you see business forever, potentially uncovering new inspiration to aim high and succeed on each page. He blows the 9-to-5 grind assumptions many people have out of the water. One of the most profound takeaways from Ferriss’ examination of true personal development is that we are whom we surround ourselves with. If you want to be inspired and successful, surround yourself with like-minded people.

There are plenty of examples that would support this theory of success. If you woke up tomorrow and wanted to make healthier lifestyle choices, like run more and eat better, you would most likely begin to gravitate toward people who will keep you on that path. The same goes for entrepreneurs. You want to surround yourself with those that share your passion and vision.

All In, by Bill Green

Bill Green is a serial entrepreneur with more than four decades of experience. His book is a roadmap to success based on his own journey, experiences, wins and setbacks. This rare glimpse into a lifetime of entrepreneurship goes far beyond expectations. Green serves up 101 valuable insights to take your startup to publicly traded company.

The journey into Green’s entrepreneurial career is also an excellent reminder of how we all began. From gas station attendants to grocery store baggers, most entrepreneurs go from mediocre jobs to greatness.

Green’s emphasis on the drive and 100 percent commitment it takes to be an entrepreneur has helped in my own personal and professional development. Seeing someone else’s perspective has helped me see the overall journey as far more important than the last chapter of the book. I know that the more I focus on specific challenges, the better equipped I am in the future. There is much to be correlated with dedication, passion and entrepreneurial success.

The $100 Startup, by Chris Guillebeau

Many people believe that you need a trust fund or million-dollar seed investors to create a successful startup. The $100 Startup will definitely change those perceptions.

It turns out that you don’t need investors or a large bank loan hanging over your head to make it as a successful entrepreneur. Guillebeau recants tales of how people uncovered success from opportunity, odd circumstance and by turning passions into profit, all for around $100. This is a must-read for anyone still on the entrepreneurial fence highlights how you can turn your hobby into a business. Sure, not all passion projects will become successful. But for $100, why not try?

Guillebeau also examines traditional marketing efforts being employed and how you can turn them on their head to really reach your audience. Looking at who shares your passion and values may just be more important than age, gender and location.

These are only a few of the books that changed my life. The entrepreneurial journey is everchanging, and when you find yourself at a fork in the road, it may be best to pick up a book to get your journey moving forward. The evidence is indeed clear: reading is valuable to an entrepreneur’s success.