5 Books To Improve Your Business

I mentioned in my last blog post that I kept a list of all the books that I read in 2016. My grandma used to do this which is where I got the idea. I think she did it so she could keep track of what she had already read. I kept track because I had a goal of reading 50 books in 2016 and I know from experience that what’s measured improves. I made it to 37 which is pretty darn good! Here are 5 books that I read last year that I highly recommend to anyone interested in finding business (and life) inspiration:

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

Why I Read It: The author (love), the time of the year (January), the subject matter (personal improvement). It all seemed like a good idea at the time – and it was which is why it’s first on this list!

Why I Like It: I like this book because it’s a quick read and considering the time of year it’s really good timing to set the tone for an amazing year. The author takes you through her process (in a nutshell, say yes to opportunities that scare you) and documents awesome results that any of us can achieve.

My Favorite Takeaway:  You may look at the title and think: Pfft, I can do that no problem! I challenge you to think twice about that assumption. You may think you say yes to things that take you out of your comfort zone but I bet if you really assess things, you don’t. If you can’t “see” it, ask someone who knows you what they think. Then no being ticked at them when they tell you the truth.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Why I Read It: I got really into audio books last year in addition to reading books with pages and books on my Kindle. This was available at the library and I thought: That sounds like a reasonable thing to learn about. Yes, I judge books by their covers and titles sometimes – and you do too!

Why I Like It: I love books that have oodles of examples. Most of the books is documentation of case studies and as boring as that might sound, it works really well because the subject matters are incredibly interesting and often relatable.

My Favorite Takeaway: The two stories I found most fascinating were how Proctor & Gamble came to figure out how to market Febreze (it’s not what you would think!) and Tony Dungy’s contribution to the success of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (after he wasn’t the coach anymore).

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

Why I Read It – I wore my multitasking abilities like a badge of honor for years. I was pretty sure that was actually not the greatest way to go so I read this book to decide once and for all. I also like books written by Gary Keller. Way back in 1994 I got my real estate license because I planned to quit college (I didn’t) and be a Realtor (I did for a while – the hours stunk) and Gary Keller (of Keller Williams real estate fame) wrote some other good books on the topic.

Why I Like It – In a nutshell, this book ended up saving my sanity last year. I took on a very large project and as much as I wanted to dive in and be all over the place with my brain and actions every day, I kept reminding myself to “Do ONE thing at a time.” I would literally say to myself: “Finish what you are doing before you move on to _____“. It sucked doing the work to create habit, but now I know it’s the only way to live and work.

My Favorite Takeaway – By doing less, the author’s business took off like a rocket ship. It’s so counterintuitive to think this way but there are countless examples of this being the case.

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

Why I Read It – A “best books for business and personal improvement” blog post would not be complete without a Seth Godin book on it, would it? Last year I participated in a program called 30 Days of Hustle. It’s an excellent program and I highly recommend participating in it. This book was recommended while going through the program. At the same exact time I found a copy of the book at Goodwill for a buck or two. Oh how I love me some serendipity!

Why I Like It – What’s not to like in a Seth Godin book? Short, to the point, “duh” level business advice that always manages to be a revelation to us when these things are called out in a book. It was fun to discover “the dip” is a real thing and when I am “in it” I am completely normal and as dips do – the ups eventually return (as do the downs).

My Favorite Takeaway – With the visuals of the dip contained in this book I finally “got it” that, as Kenny Rogers said: “You got to know when to hold ’em, know then to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” …and it’s perfectly ok (and highly recommended!) that you do just that whenever appropriate.

Alexander Hamilton

Why I Read It – This was the first book I read on Audible. I now read lots of history books on Audible (Truman, Washington, Franklin…) – it’s the only way to go on those massive reads, in my opinion! A client shared the book with me because he had already read it and knew how good it was. FYI: This was all pre-Hamilton the Musical hype!

Why I Like It – This is a biography of a man as well as a biography of the formation of America. It is fascinating on both fronts and I was amazed to learn that although all of the things we are fighting about in America these days seem new, we have actually been fighting about theses things for 200+ years. Who knew? I didn’t.

My Favorite Takeaway – When I say that Alexander Hamilton came from nothing, I am being generous. He came from less than nothing and went on to become one of the most influential founders of the country. If we was able to do that, what can we do?

As I mentioned, this list of 5 recommended reads only scratches the surface of what I read last year. But these are the books that stand out to me as being incredibly useful as I managed my business and personal life. I say yes to opportunities I once would have said no to thanks to Shonda Rhimes. I observe my audience and ask better questions because of Charles Duhigg. I only do one thing at a time because of Gary Keller. I close the door on things that don’t work or I don’t enjoy in my business anymore thanks to Seth Godin. And I try and try again when stuff I believe in doesn’t take hold as quickly as I thought it would thanks to Alexander Hamilton (via Ron Chernow). Books inspire. They make us better thinkers, communicators, decision makers, business people, friends, family members. What will be your first read this year? Head over to my Facebook page and let me know!

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