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Self Development

12 Entrepreneurs Share The Books They Always Recommend

Just in time for the holiday season, entrepreneurs tell us the books they always tell others to read.

Nina Zipkin

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A savvy entrepreneur understands that the ability to empathise with a variety of perspectives is invaluable when growing a business. One of the simplest and most effective way to do this is to read widely, across genres and from authors whose point of view is different than your own.

Whether it is a novel or history book on your nightstand or an in-depth scientific study, these successful founders have some unexpected titles that they always recommend to everyone.

1On having a positive attitude in the face of adversity

danny-the-champion-of-the-world

  • Name: Merrill Stubbs
  • Company: Food52
  • Book: Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World. I love children’s books in general, and a lot of kid’s books are really good reading for adults. This one in particular is not only a great story and narrative, but it’s a great study of a relationship between father and his son.

Plus, the entrepreneurial, can-do attitude of Danny and his father has always been inspiring to me. While they are meticulous planners, ultimately it’s the partnership and camaraderie between them that is more important than their scheme working out exactly as planned. I try to keep this in mind when things don’t go the way we’ve anticipated.

Related: 10 Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal The Books That Changed Their Lives


2On combating negative thinking

positive-intelligence

  • Name: Jessica Dilullo Herrin
  • Company: Stella & Dot
  • Book: Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine. In this book, he pulls together decades of research to show people how to shift their negative thinking into empowering ways of thinking, acting and feeling. After I read it, I was convinced that Shirzad was the real deal, and his approach and techniques really worked.

The gist of positive psychology is this: The more you train your brain to be positive, the happier you feel. For me, this has translated into taking time to quiet my brain every day to recharge and refocus.


3On how emotions affect our work

thinking-fast-and-slow

  • Name: Oren Frank
  • Company: Talkspace
  • Book: I recommend a book called Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. He’s the first and only psychologist that won the Nobel prize for economics. The notion that people, emotions and relationships determine so much of the decisions we make and these are deeply rooted mechanisms is something that is becoming more understood and accepted. It’s basically the fundamentals of business, because who do you do business with? You do business with people. This particular book gives you amazing insight as to how to better understand and work with people

Related: 3 Books To Help You Become Better, Smarter And Faster


4On a learning from a diversity of opinions

conscious-capitalism

  • Name: Gavin Armstrong
  • Company: Lucky Iron Fish
  • Book: Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia. If you’re an entrepreneur, I think that you can’t only have one point of view. That book lets you explore the concept within different frameworks and how it would work for you. It uses relevant, current issues and examples. Even if you don’t agree with the opinions, you are given enough information to make your own decision.

5On the scope of technology

making-of-the-atomic-bomb-by-richard-rhodes

  • Name: Jeff Chapin
  • Company: Casper
  • Book: Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. It is a story of the U.S. effort to build the atomic bomb. It’s a beautifully written book about the science and technology behind it. I don’t think many people think of a non-fiction book as page turner, but it sucked me in.

There’s incredible science described in a very understandable way, tension around the morality of building an atomic bomb, egos and personality conflicts, along with the fact that many of the scientists were Jews expunged from Nazi Europe creating the ultimate weapon to destroy Nazism. It’s a good read. A lot of people haven’t had great experiences with non-fiction, so I think it surprises them.

Related: 3 Brilliant Books To Help You Launch Your Business


6On the golden rule

how-to-win-friends-and-influence-people

  • Name: Dave Rusenko
  • Company: Weebly
  • Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It’s a nice reminder and blueprint on how to be a good person. It’s effectively saying that if you could pay more attention to other people’s needs, it will benefit you.

7On taking ownership of your journey

the-alchemist

  • Name: Melissa Ben-Ishay
  • Company: Baked by Melissa
  • Book: I always recommend The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I try to read it once a year. I think everyone takes different lesson from reading that book. For me, it reminded me about the journey and that my path is my path, and I need to own it and enjoy it. It’s really all about the way you choose to perceive the events that are happening in your life.

Related: 7 Books (and Blogs) for the Entrepreneur in All of Us


8On the importance of sleep

no-more-sleepless-nights

  • Name: Aaron Hirschhorn
  • Company: DogVacay
  • Book: I have been recommending – and maybe because I have had some problems sleeping as the stress of the business is sort of catching up to me – is a book called No More Sleepless Nights by Peter Hauri. It puts insomnia into perspective. It’s a really practical guide to having a better attitude around sleep. I have been recommending that a lot to people, because it turns out a huge percentage of people I know suffer from insomnia and a huge percentage of the country, too. Very practical, not a business book, but it just affects your life in a huge way.

9On questioning your own perception

fooled-by-randomness-the-hidden-role-of-chance-in-life-and-in-the-markets

Related: 5 Books to Read Before Starting Your Business


10On taking risks

good-to-great-why-some-companies-make-the-leap-and-others-dont


11On reaching for the stars

an-astronauts-guide-to-life-on-earth

  • Name: Ryan Holmes
  • Company: Hootsuite
  • Book: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Canadian astronaut and International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield. He’s a friend and one of the most courageous and inspirational people I know. In the book, he shares some incredible stories from his life as an astronaut but also shows us how to make the impossible a reality whatever pursuit we’re in. I recommend this to anyone who dreams big and who strives to stay true to themselves.

Related: 5 Tips to Read 100 Books a Year


12On personal health and how it affects our daily lives

The China Study

  • Name: Daniella Yacobovsky
  • Company: BaubleBar
  • Book: I would recommend The China Study by Thomas Campbell and T. Colin Campbell. It is a really exceptional study on the impacts of nutrition on our outlook on life and how we approach basically everything. That has changed my approach to nutrition and my expectations that the things you eat do have a huge impact on everything, from your energy levels to your outlook.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Nina Zipkin is a staff reporter at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

Self Development

10 Ways To Develop A Success-Oriented Mindset

Confidence empowered entrepreneurs to take decisive action, and decisive action is what builds confidence.

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Take a minute to imagine an entrepreneur you deeply respect. Think of that person at the start of his or her career, working on a product or service that will eventually make it big. Regardless of whom you’ve chosen, chances are the entrepreneur in question had a success-oriented mindset from the outset.

Entrepreneurs who lack confidence or who have a pessimistic mindset will usually fail. It’s hard to motivate people to invest money in a new idea or work for a fledgling company if the entrepreneur behind it lacks confidence. But having a successful mindset isn’t just helpful for those who are launching a new venture. It can also help readers from all walks of life to make smarter decisions that result in better personal or business outcomes.

Here are 10 strategies that can help you develop a winning mindset.

1. Put yourself in challenging new situations

You gain confidence by overcoming challenges, but when you fail to put yourself in challenging new situations because you assume the outcome won’t be positive, you will be unable to grow.

Instead, develop a list of exciting challenges you’re interested in overcoming. They could include exploring a foreign city on your own or enrolling in a challenging business course at your local university. Even volunteering to help with a new project at the office can provide a challenging situation that will foster growth.

Whatever the challenge you select, be sure it is something that interests you; otherwise, it may be difficult to stay focused along the way.

2. Be open to finding a mentor

Mentorship is often discussed with regard to self-improvement and business success. But many professionals assume that finding a mentor is as simple as asking a senior professional for help.

However, as Sheryl Sandberg argues in the Harvard Business Review, finding a mentorship doesn’t work that way. Instead, professionals need to put themselves in situations where they can build real relationships with senior business leaders.

In time, after an existing relationship has formed, it may be appropriate to ask a senior professional for mentorship. That means readers will need to make themselves available to build professional relationships before they can secure a mentor who can help them grow.

3. Think of failure as a learning opportunity

failureFailure is an outstanding learning opportunity. If you find yourself succeeding frequently, it may be a sign that you aren’t challenging yourself enough.

Develop a mindset that views failure as an experience to learn from. By reframing failure, you’ll find it is easier to take risks. Adopting this mindset will leave you less prone to anxiety, which is key to creating a winning attitude.

4. Keep a folder of your proudest moments

While it’s important to focus on the present and future instead of the past, maintaining a collection of moments you’re proud of can serve as a helpful reminder when you’re feeling down. By periodically reviewing past successes, you may find inspiration for future projects. At the very least, you can use past successes as a way to build long-term confidence.

5. Surround yourself with top talent

Environment plays a significant role in creating our mindsets. After all, we’re social creatures and are influenced by those around us. Surround yourself with talented individuals who can teach you new things and who can encourage you to grow personally and professionally.

If you’re involved in the hiring process at your organisation, look for prospective employees who are better or smarter than you. This will help create an environment that can consistently encourage you to form a successful mindset.

6. Find time to disconnect from stressors

The average American works more hours per week than his or her counterparts in other developed countries. Furthermore, the average number of hours worked has been steadily growing since the 1980s. Unfortunately, work-related stress has been creeping up at the same time.

Readers should find time to disconnect from work-related stress that can make it difficult to adopt a success-oriented mindset. Traveling can be a good way to disconnect, as can adopting a daily meditation practice.

7. Develop a simple morning routine

morning-routineAccording to lifestyle gurus like Tim Ferriss, we are shaped by our morning routines. That means it’s important for readers interested in developing a new mindset to develop new habits as well.

Since your morning has the power to make or break your entire day, consider creating a simple morning routine that positions you to have a successful day.

For example, waking up earlier than normal can give you time to focus on yourself in ways that might have otherwise been impossible. With the extra time you can go to the gym or develop a meditation practice to reduce stress, as mentioned above.

8. Set time-bound and achievable personal goals

More than 90 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. If you’re serious about changing your mindset, you should take a different approach to goal setting. Instead of relying on a New Year’s resolution, create time-bound goals that you know are achievable from the outset. Approaching goal setting from this angle will help to build your confidence, which in turn will reshape your thinking.

9. Listen to your instincts

Part of developing a winning mindset is learning to trust your instincts. According to the Harvard Business Review, we are usually capable of making smart decisions when we rely on our gut instincts.

Confidence in your instincts is a critical component of business success. While it’s usually ideal to rely on research and data to make decisions, there are a variety of scenarios in when empirical evidence is unavailable or inconclusive. In these situations, people with a winning mindset are comfortable making decisions with their gut. This serves them well in the long run.

10. Avoid stagnation

If you feel as though you aren’t learning new things in your personal or professional life, it’s time to change it up. Avoid stagnation in order to continue to grow. This will help you to face new challenges and overcome new obstacles.

Developing a successful mindset can take time. To get started, focus on learning new skills and putting yourself in new situations. By overcoming adversity, you’ll begin to develop faith in yourself.

Establish morning routines and build a network of talented colleagues and mentors in order to avoid stagnation and achieve moments you can be proud of.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Self Development

The Anatomy Of Peak Performance

Besides paying lip service to “positive thinking” what is the reality behind hard work and the remuneration for it?

Dirk Coetsee

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tony-robbins

“The quality of your life is dependent upon the quality of the questions that you ask”

– Tony Robbins

Positive thinking clichés

We all have heard repetitive clichés emanating from the mouths of our parents, teachers, friends and family such as:

  • “Just work hard and you shall be rewarded”
  • “What you sow you shall reap”
  • “Think positively and all will be better”
  • “Do not worry tomorrow will be a better day”

Yet most family members and friends will complain that they work hard but that, in their minds, they are overworked and under paid. Besides paying lip service to “positive thinking” what is the reality behind hard work and the remuneration for it?

Related: Business Leadership: Leading A Culturally Diverse Business Team

The purpose of hard work

“Whatsoever your deepest driving desire is, so shall your thoughts be, as your thoughts are, so shall your deeds be, and your deeds shall echo in all eternity” – Upanishads

“As a man thinketh so is he.” – Proverbs

The only real reason for hard work is to build perseverance and “strengthen your spine” because it is very hard to give up on a cause if you have sincerely put in a lot of hard work. However take the time to consider that when you really love what you do and you live your purpose, long hours do not feel so long and hard work can even be energising as opposed to making you tired all the time. When you are driven by purpose and love what you do there is less stress involved within your efforts and better performance will result.

Of the upmost importance is the quality of the work that you put in versus the amount of hours spent doing your work. A razor sharp focus on the activities that serves your business purpose and vision which in turn increases profits is a requirement of smart work.

The Pareto principle applies here:

On average team members spend only 20% of their time on the activities that really serves the business purpose and vision and brings in the desired business results and 80% on activities that does not fully support business results or only to a very small degree. Smart and quality work is therefore ensuring a razor sharp focus and spending 80% of your time on the 20% of the activities that really drives business results.

“The quality of your life is dependant on the quality of the questions that you ask”
– Tony Robbins

How do I identify the twenty percent of the activities that bring in the profits and serves our collective purpose? Now, that is already a better quality question than for example: “Why am I so tired? Why am I so de-motivated? When you ask high quality questions you are already starting to train your brain to come up with better quality answers that will lead up to better quality actions, that is if the reader is brave enough to venture outside of the self-imposed boundaries of his or her own comfort zone.

The following table clearly highlights the difference between high and low quality questions. High quality questions that is answered and acted upon consistently leads to peak performance and lowered stress levels.

Related: Leadership: The Principle Of Authenticity

Low quality questions often leads to excuses that are void of solution driven thinking and increased stress levels:

High quality question. (Peak performers should ask) Low quality question. (That generally leads to poor performance)
What creative solutions can we come up with in order to generate more leads from our marketing campaigns? Why is it so difficult to get leads?
Which accurate metric system can we put in place in order to measure all activities that will reveal which ones drive the most profit? Why am I so overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done?
What type of candidate with which type of characteristics do we need to serve our collective purpose? Why is it so hard to find the right person?
How can we align all our processes and systems and remove waste (waste of time and waste of effort) to deliver better results? I am so tired and demotivated, why is this not working?


The three pillars of peak performance in business and any area of life

1. A laser focus on Purpose

Being purpose driven and doing what you love is a key factor in producing the desired results and delivering a great performance consistently. Then people start acting out of own accord and no longer have to be asked to do their work.

2. People skills

Sincerely care for people. Study and learn until you know how to speak to different personality types and respect different world views in order to get the best out of each individual. Inspire people to want to do what they sincerely love instead of constantly telling them what to do. Ask high quality questions to your team members to help them to train their brains to come up with high quality answers and solutions. Study human behaviour to understand your clients better and improve upon your people skills in order to enhance your customers’ experience of your product and service.

3. Technical skills

A high level of product knowledge, sales skills, and knowledge of all business processes and systems is of course a requirement of sustainable success. Technical skills only however becomes a potent driver of sought after business results when combined with highly developed people skills.

A peak performance equation

Carefully selecting from the key points of this article the following “peak performance” equation is created:

Being Purpose driven x Asking high quality questions x taking immediate action (no procrastination) x developing to a high level of people skills x developing to a high level of technical skill x Removal of waste (Time wasters and a waste of effort)  = Peak performance.


**** Multiplication is used within this equation to portray the fact that all elements within this equation is necessary to create a peak performance environment. Therefore if one element equates to zero the answer is zero, and will not lead to a peak performance environment.

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Self Development

You Need This One Trait To Succeed In Reaching Your Goals

In education, we know how to measure IQ, but what if doing well in school and in life depends on much more than your ability to learn quickly and easily?

Nadine Todd

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When Angela Duckworth started teaching Grade 7 maths, she realised that IQ was not a reliable predictor of who would be her best and worst students. In fact, some of her strongest performers did not have stratospheric IQ scores. Equally, some of her smartest kids weren’t doing so well. Duckworth was convinced that each of her students could learn the material if they worked hard and long enough.

After several years of teaching, she came to the conclusion that a much better understanding of students and learning is required from a motivational and psychological perspective. In education, we know how to measure IQ, but what if doing well in school and in life depends on much more than your ability to learn quickly and easily?

Identifying the success factor

So, Duckworth left the classroom and went to graduate school to become a psychologist. She started studying kids and adults in all kinds of super challenging settings, and in every study her question was, who is successful here and why? Her research team went to West Point Military Academy and tried to predict which cadets would stay in military training and which would drop out. They went to the National Spelling Bee and tried to predict which children would advance furthest in competition.

Related: Successful People Always Chase the Impossible – Here’s Why

They studied rookie teachers working in tough neighbourhoods, asking which teachers were still going to be there by the end of the school year, and who would be the most effective at improving their students’ learning outcomes. They partnered with private companies, asking, which of their sales people would keep their jobs? And who would earn the most money?

In all those different contexts, one characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success, and it wasn’t social intelligence. It wasn’t good looks, physical health, and it wasn’t IQ. It was grit.

What is grit?

Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

“To me, the most shocking thing about grit is how little we know, how little science knows, about building it,” says Duckworth. “I do know that talent doesn’t make you gritty. Our data show that many talented individuals do not follow through on their commitments and that grit is usually unrelated or even inversely related to measures of talent.

“So far, the best idea I’ve heard about building grit in kids is something called ‘growth mindset’. This is an idea developed at Stanford University by Carol Dweck, and it is the belief that the ability to learn is not fixed, that it can change with your effort. Dr. Dweck has shown that when kids read and learn about the brain and how it changes and grows in response to challenge, they’re more likely to persevere when they fail, because they don’t believe that failure is permanent.”

Angela Lee Duckworth is based at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies concepts such as self-control and grit to determine how they might predict academic and professional success.

Related: Why Grit Is The True Determining Factor Of Success

Learning to Win

“You cannot win the game by simply participating.

You cannot win the game by simply showing up.

You cannot win the game when you are obsessed with what others are doing.

You cannot win the game by simply reading the instructions.

But here’s the thing…

Participating counts. Showing up counts. An awareness of what others are doing counts.

Reading the instructions counts. In isolation our actions mean little. But when you weave them all together, something magical happens. Winners weave.” — Erik Kruger (Personal Development & Leadership Coach and Speaker)

Visit: erikkruger.com

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