Entrepreneurs Reading List

What are you doing these days to further your business knowledge?

One way entrepreneurs keep their skills sharp is by reading, and not just books that directly relate to their business.

Studies prove that reading fiction and nonfiction enhance your brain functions and keep you sharp as you age. Reading helps improve your analytical thinking as well as improve memory and increase vocabulary. Also, reading is known to reduce stress.

Time and attention are at a premium in our nonstop world, especially if you are running or building a business, have a family and are involved actively in service to your community. There seem to be not enough minutes in the day.

How do you find the time? You don’t. You instead make the time to read every day as part of your daily routine. Reading at night before bed is often ideal since it helps you retain the material better.

What are entrepreneurs reading?

Here’s a look at some entrepreneurs’ book choices — that might not be what you’d expect.

Lauren Milligan, ResuMAYDAY, Chicago, suggests reading “The E-Myth Revisited,” by Michael E. Gerber because when she was new in her business she dealt with many of the issues the book addresses, and she thinks that most new business owners do. Instead of being a complicated business theory book, it tells an accessible story. She didn’t need an MBA to understand it.

▪  Chad Lewis with Peak NanoSytsems in Texas focuses on leadership and his industry in his reading. Lewis suggests: “Scales on War: Future of America’s Military” by General Bob Scales, “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel, and “Team of Teams” by General Stanley A. McChrystal.

▪  “The Dictator’s Handbook” and “The Logic of Political Survival” by authors Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith are recommend by Ysmay Walsh with Ysmay, Inc., Washington, D.C. Walsh, who describes herself as a New Mexican girl who’s “totally obsessed with web design and online business,” likes these books because business is very much a political beast, she said.

Whether you’re a solopreneur or CEO of a Fortune 500, business is politics. Just as a politician gets elected based on constituents and influencers, a business thrives on clients and influencers (even minor ones who only have a fan base in their community). Understanding how politicians thrive and stay in power helped Walsh to understand how businesses can do the same.

▪  “Expert Secrets” by Russell Brunson and “The Road to Riches“ by Napoleon Hill are suggested by Allie Theiss, AllieTheiss.com, Wooster, Ohio. Theiss recalls that she read Hill’s first book, “Think and Grow Rich” and “The Road to Riches,” an accompaniment to that book.

The books helped remind her of what is possible if you put your belief into an idea and have the work to back it up. She is a fan of author Russell Brunson and read his “Dot.Com Secrets” prior to “Expert Secrets.”

Other books you should think about adding to your reading list are:

▪  Zombie Loyalist: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans, by Peter Shankman. Publishers Weekly says this about the book: “Marketing and PR expert Shankman offers a hilarious, astute, and ultimately practical guide to creating customers so satisfied they’ll promote your company with zombie-like fervor … this entertaining yet valuable work is a must-read for any business owner or executive interested in turning satisfied customers into avid brand ambassadors.”

▪  Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant, author of two New York Times best-selling books and The Wharton’s top-rated teacher for four straight years.

▪  You’re a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life byy Jen Sincero. Publishers Weekly says: “Sincero brings a fun, feminine verve to now well-tread self-help tropes… The tone is far more feisty than academic, and there’s humor on every page, all of which is exactly what she intended audience most needs.”

▪  The One Thing: The Surprising Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan. The book has made more than 350 appearances on national bestseller lists, including #1 Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USA Today. It won 12 book awards and has been translated into 27 languages.

▪  Hello, My Name Is Awesome: How to Create Brand Names That Stick by Alexandra Watkins. Watkins, founder of the naming firm Eat My Words, attempts with this book to prove that even the “most noncreative person” can conceive of something that will resonate with customers. She examines all aspects of a brand name’s commercial value, from how easily it can be pronounced and recognized, to whether or not voice recognition software will be able to spell it correctly, Publishers Weekly states.

This column was originally published in the Lexington Herald-Leader on April 23, 2017, and nationally distributed to over 300 media outlets through the Tribune Content Agency.