Connect with us

Entrepreneurs

4 Non-Business Books Every Entrepreneur Must Read

Avatar

Published

on

books every entrepreneur needs to read
Image Credit: Unsplash

Successful people read a lot. Take a look at any study regarding how successful people differ from everybody else. One characteristic you will find among successful people is that they are constantly reading and learning new things. While this fact is true of people who succeed in any field, it is especially common among those who have mastered the game of business.

There have been many posts written about the best business books, the best books for entrepreneurs, and the best self improvement books. But in my own experience, some of my greatest insights have come from books outside of the business world.

To name just a few examples, here are 4 books that have been surprisingly helpful to me as an entrepreneur:

1. The Signals Are Talking – Amy Webb

In business, especially when you are just starting out, you often have to make decisions even when you have very little data available. “The Signals Are Talking,” by Amy Webb, helps you make sense of small amounts of data and predicts trends based on what the author calls weak signals.

A weak signal is data that is not based on big data and statistics. Instead, it is based on observations of human behavior that could signal a coming change. For example, a unique corner store that suddenly becomes more popular or a niche website that has been gaining increased activity are both weak signals that could signal the very beginnings of a new trend developing.

Many of the greatest entrepreneurs found success by building something that satisfied a small but fast growing market. Amazon and Uber are both great examples. At the time they started, online book sales and ride sharing were very small markets. What other people didn’t realize was that while those markets may have been small, they were growing fast. Although it is not strictly aimed at business people, “The Signals Are Talking” shows you how to spot the weak signals that can tell you where a new market might be forming.

2. The Glass Cage – Nicholas Carr

Do you use a mapping app on your phone? If so, you might want to reconsider, and this book explains why. “The Glass Cage,” by Nicholas Carr, describes how technology is having a negative impact on our skills. For example, research has shown that the use of mapping apps reduces your spatial awareness and map reading skills.

In a more dramatic example, the author also describes a trend in plane crashes over the last few decades. Overall, plane crashes have gradually become less common, thanks to advances in autopilot and other tools. But those same tools can be hazardous when they fail because pilots have ceded control of the aircraft to technology, reducing their own skills as pilots. As a result, the cause of plane crashes have shifted away from safety and equipment malfunctions, and pilot error is now the leading cause of plane crashes.

This fascinating book describes the double-edged sword of technology that is around us every day, and it has changed how I work as a business owner. In light of what I learned from this book, I have gone back to doing a lot of my creative work with pen and paper, and I’m happy that I did. By learning which technology to embrace and what to avoid, I’ve become more creative and more productive in my business and in my life.

3. Who Gets What And Why? – Alvin E. Roth

Typically, selling a product is a simple matter of building something great and getting it in front of the right people at the right price. This is what economists call a commodity market. But there are some products and services that do not fit that pattern, and those products fall into a category called matching markets.

A matching market is one in which the customer not only has to choose the product, but the product is also selective about the customers. College admissions are a great example. In the college admissions market, it is not enough for a student to decide on a particular school, the school must also decide to accept the student. This is a matching market in action. Some other examples of two-sided markets are online dating, organ transplants, and job searching.

Matching markets are important for any business person to understand because they can create an uphill battle for those trying to enter an industry that is shaped by such a market. I personally have rejected product ideas I’ve had because I realized I would be working against the friction of a matching market.

If you want to learn about matching markets, the best book is “Who Gets What And Why?” by Alvin E. Roth, who won a Nobel Prize in economics for his pioneering work on this very topic.

4. Hagakure – Yamamato Tsunetomo

I first read this book in college, lent my copy to a friend, never got it back, then forgot about it. Years later, I rediscovered this incredible book. “Hagakure”– also known as The Book of the Samurai— was written by Yamamato Tsunetomo in the years from 1709 to 1716. Tsunetomo was a scribe and retainer to a samurai named Nabeshima Mitsushige. This book is a collection of thoughts and observations made by Tsunetomo over the course of those years.

Written during a time period when samurai fighting was illegal, this book covers a vast range of topics including adapting to change, confronting fear, risk taking, and the value of lifelong learning. Another common topic in the book is the importance of finding a higher purpose and casting aside selfishness in pursuit of that cause.

As entrepreneurs, these are all skills that we must be striving to improve upon. This 300 year old book is full of timeless lessons on those and other topics we must master to succeed in our pursuit of success.

What’s your favorite non-business book and why? Share it with us below!

Aaron Wright is the founder and owner of Lernabit.com, a learning platform designed for self teaching. In college, he studied microbiology, but then he learned that you can't do much with that so he taught himself coding and business skills and starting building businesses. He is relentlessly passionate about encouraging and enabling others to make learning a lifelong pursuit. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Entrepreneurs

What I Learned as a Young Entrepreneur and Why You Should Take Notes

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

As a young entrepreneur, I am constantly underestimated. When people look at my age or appearance, consider the fact that I’m not even old enough to have graduated college, or refuse to believe me when I say I own a 7-figure business (seriously, Google is free!), I honestly feel a bit lucky. I’m reminded that, because I’m so young, I have plenty of years ahead of me to grow, learn, and develop even more entrepreneurship skills that will enable me to make a difference. (more…)

Continue Reading

Entrepreneurs

A 3 Step Process to Deal With Negative Emotions as an Entrepreneur

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had your fair share of ups and downs while being an entrepreneur. There are moments where everything is going great and then the next moment it feels like everything has gone wrong. The hard truth is that this rollercoaster ride will continue to happen but how we deal with negative emotions as an entrepreneur can change our lives for the better. (more…)

Continue Reading

Entrepreneurs

5 Strategies for Building the Ultimate Company Culture

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

When I hired my first team of 3 people, I issued them a challenge. I told them, “whatever we do together now is going to set the tone for the culture we have as the company grows. So, let’s be intentional about it.” Don’t wait until your Startup is growing exponentially before you get clear about your workplace culture. Your culture has a significant impact on your company’s ultimate success, so start defining it today before you end up with one by default. (more…)

Continue Reading

Entrepreneurs

4 Non-Financial Factors to Measure Success as an Entrepreneur

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

If you ask most online entrepreneurs what they want to get out of their business, they’ll instinctively mention something financial: “I want to make $1 million by my 30th birthday.” Fair enough. Most of us have grown up hearing stories about self-made millionaires, so money is often where our minds naturally go when asked about definitions of success. But there is so much more to life. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending