Whether you’re about to take a leap of faith or not, I’m sure you can agree that it’s essential for us to feel motivated and inspired. To ensure we live fulfilled, meaningful lives we often need to be reminded that we too can make positive changes; that we too can take a shot at success, and that we are absolutely deserving of a great life. And what better way to feel inspired and motivated than to read books written by people just like us – who found themselves in similar positions, and who made a success of their circumstances?
Take a look at our top 5 must-reads for aspiring entrepreneurs:
1.The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
He also reminds us that success doesn’t favour any one ‘type’ of person, it only favours those that grab hold of opportunities whether big or small;Chris Guillebeau reminds us in this fantastic read that you don’t have to be a trust-fund baby to achieve great success. those that work hard, persevere and are creative in their thinking. In this book, you’ll come across more than a few inspiring examples of ‘accidental entrepreneurs’ who identified and acted upon opportunities which lead to incredible success.
Favourite Takeaway: “To succeed in a business project, especially one you’re excited about, it helps to think carefully about all the skills you have that could be helpful to others and particularly about the combination of those skills.”
2. The Real Warren Buffett: Managing Capital, Leading People by James O’Loughlin
This book is of course a must-read, especially for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start off on the right foot. Throughout this book Warren Buffett emphasises the importance of people and capital – he believes it is the core of a business and without these two factors there is no business. Author James O’Loughlin has perfectly described the key techniques Buffet has used throughout the years to balance these two worlds. He dives into Buffets decisions surrounding people and capital and later learns that Buffett recognises that this ‘talent’ has massively contributed to his monumental success.
Favourite Takeaway: “Focus on your customers and lead your people as though their lives depended on your success.”
3. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
This book is primarily about the incredible rise of American online retail giant, Zappos and what it took for them to make over $1 billion in sales in less than ten years. Written by the CEO himself, Tony Hsieh, this book is written with immense honesty as Hsieh highlights even the ‘not-so-pretty’ parts of business and the hard lessons he learnt on the way to the top. Hsieh writes about the mistakes he made in business; the path to finding a balance between profits, passion and purpose and gives the reader incredible insight into how an enduring business brand is built, and how a strong company culture is established.
Favourite Takeaway: “The best leaders are those that lead by example and are both team followers as well as team leaders. We believe that in general, the best ideas and decisions are made from the bottom up, meaning by those on the front lines that are closest to the issues and/or the customers. The role of a manager is to remove obstacles and enable his/her direct reports to succeed. This means the best leaders are servant-leaders. They serve those they lead.”
4. Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson
This book is raw and real; and while it will teach you a thing or two about Richard Branson’s incredible business mind, it will also teach you the importance of just having fun and enjoying life. In this fascinating autobiography, Branson describes how he entered into the world of entrepreneurship; the decisions and choices he made – and is still making on his journey; and even details his ‘formula’ for success, which may just surprise you because it’s not all work – it’s, in fact, a lot of play too.
Favourite Takeaway: “I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive then I believe you are better off not doing it. A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”
5. The Hard Things about the Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz is one of Silicon Valley’s most respected entrepreneurs, and the co-founder of venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz. In his book, ‘The Hard Things about the Hard Things’ he reflects on his experiences with founding, running, selling, buying, managing, and investing in technology companies – and he is brutally honest about what it takes to be successful. This book is packed with the wisdom which will help you identify and navigate the problems that every entrepreneur encounters especially during their business’s infancy years. A lot of people boast about how great it is to start a business, but Ben Horowitz is honest about how hard it is to run one.
Favourite Takeaway: “Great CEOs face the pain. They deal with the sleepless nights, the cold sweats, and what my friend the great Alfred Chuang (legendary co-founder and CEO of BEA Systems) calls “the torture.” Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say, “I didn’t quit.”