Whether you have just launched your small business or been around for a while, you will probably agree with me: Entrepreneurship is a never-ending learning process.
That is the reason why you must keep your mind sharp and read as much as you can about your field and business in general. Books are one of the most efficient ways to achieve those goals.
Thousands of books offer tips, advice, and solutions for your needs. So, how can you see the forest for the trees? To answer this question, I asked three Paper.li publishers to share their favorites with us.
Jessica E. Roberts
Jessica is one of our #BizHeroes regulars and a major Paper.li supporter. This content strategist and writer helps businesses craft and share strong, diverse, and dynamic brand stories that build advocacy and solid communities.
Jessica’s Recommended Books:
- Restaurant Man by Joe Bastianich – In his memoir, the New Yorker and former Master Chef co-host recounts his journey from working for his parents to becoming one the most successful restaurant owners in the United States.
“He has a lot to say about what it takes to turn a passion into an enterprise,” Jessica says. “This book is not for the light-hearted entrepreneur or anyone who isn’t super keen on the spicy language dished out by Bastianich. But his strong language is out-matched by powerful lessons and invaluable takeaways about business and life.”
Her favorite quote: “When you confront business decisions, you have to stay true to what you believe is right. Really, it’s just about being honest with what moves you.”
- Body Of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together by Pamela Slim – In this day and age, it is becoming increasingly harder to find stability in our careers. Every transition means questions, research, and the prospect of more unpredictability. In this book, Slim invites readers to take a different look at things, open new doors, and reinvent themselves.
The book helped Jessica get through her career transition. “I learned I no longer had to be contained by one career label. We should strive to develop a body of work, rather than get attached to a specific career label. A body of work is what will sustain your professional life in this hyper connected global, mobile, and social world.”
Her favorite quote: “In the new world of work, our ability to create a powerful body of work is what will determine our ongoing employability.”
Carol’s Favorite Books:
- The Martha Rules: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success as You Start, Build, or Manage a Business by Martha Stewart – Stewart is famous for two things: building a business empire and spending five months in jail for lying about a stock sale. During that time, she had the opportunity to advise other women interested in starting a business when released, which gave her the idea for the book.
Carol mentions three important takeaways from The Martha Rules:
“1. Search until you find your passion – it is not uncommon to try a number of things before you find it.
2. Write the book you want to read (the resource you wish you had).
3. Teach so you can learn.”
Her favorite quote: “You will care about quality in a world where quality is often declining. You will listen to your customers in a world where that business value is often ignored. You will be a respected expert in a world that is overflowing with information but deficient in reliable sources of the ‘best’ advice.”
- Super Self: Doubling Your Personal Effectiveness by Charles J. Givens – Originally published in 1993, this book offers successful strategies to help you take control of your life in any situation.
“Although the title doesn’t do this book justice,” Carol says, “it is an easy read and the points he mentions are easy to apply. This book shows you how to take back your time, get more done, avoid interruptions, generate goals and achieve your dreams.”
Natasha is an entrepreneur, actress, comedienne, and certified audio engineer. Her Paper.li paper The Younge Hollywood Blast, which highlights the work of emerging talent, was the first to be nominated for a Shorty Award. It actually won two years in a row in its category!
Natasha’s Recommended Books:
- The Go-Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann – Joe is a young man craving success. Unfortunately, his hard work doesn’t seem to pay off. After a really bad quarter, his seeking advice from a man known as ‘The Chairman’ leads him to discover the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success and the power of giving.
Natasha read the book when she needed inspiration with her business efforts. “It does not read like a typical book for the business person,” she says. “However, this engaging and vivid story contains many unpredictable characters, who show what true success can look like – and feel like – in a business setting.”
“Generosity and abundance are concepts which are central to the creation of money flow in any business. Yet, it can feel like a very dangerous or ‘loaded’ topic to approach without becoming preachy or impractical. Burg and Mann have presented these concepts in such an entertaining and clear way, that you can devour each chapter, and feel as though you could have written it yourself – and furthermore, that you knew it all along.”
Her favorite quote: “Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.”
- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield – Whether you are an artist, author, athlete, or solo-preneur, the process of launching a business is often akin to war. There are many roadbloacks and naysayers. In this book, Pressfield introduces you to the enemy and shares the game plan to defeat it, while helping you to keep going.
“The ‘how to keep going’ part is relevant to any business owner who has invested time, money, and their heart into an endeavor which has not yet materialized in this world,” says Natasha. “It was yet another fantastically short and punchy read which offers a great kick in the rear end, while encouraging you all at the same time – almost like the coolest personal trainer for the creative mind!”
Her favorite quote: “Nothing is as empowering as real-world validation, even if it’s for failure.”
- Lead the Field by Earl Nightingale – Any successful person will say the same thing: Success never happens by chance. And even if you know the right people, you will still have to work hard. This series of motivational essays focuses on attitude, a state of mind that changes everything in life.
Natasha was in college when she got acquainted with the series. It had such a powerful influence on her that she decided to choose business as a minor.
“Upon re-visiting this series, it seems these essays offer even more now to the small business person of this era. Unlike ‘step-by-step’ success programs available everywhere these days, these essays are more like an old friend to whom you can turn to for tried-and-true, straight-forward advice. Furthermore, the scope that Nightingale presents through his many entertaining anecdotes feel fresh, and can continually inspire new thought and actions.”
“In fact, one of my favorite essays, Acres of Diamonds never fails to lift my thoughts and change my perspective on looking at the ‘same problem.’”
Her favorite quote: “.. keep this thought in mind, as often as you can, on and off the job: Somewhere in your present work there lurks an opportunity which will bring you everything you could possibly want for yourself and your family. It will not be labelled ‘opportunity’ – it will be hidden in common, everyday garments…”
Natasha has learnt invaluable lessons from the aforementioned books, including the importance of true professionalism, continuous self-education, and the need to challenge our patterned ways of thinking to find new opportunities for success.
“When our humanity is not only present, but engaged within our business, we are able to accomplish more.”
What are the books that have changed your life as a small business owner?
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