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4 Non-Business Books Every Entrepreneur Must Read



books every entrepreneur needs to read
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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, 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.

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?

Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.

Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

Get more leads and referrals

This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

Grow your business

By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.

We know that it’s not easy, going networking for the very first time. And that’s why we want to give you all the advice and tools that you need so you can walk in with confidence and make the most of the opportunity.

2023 is just around the corner, and you have the chance to make it the year you make networking work for your business. And the benefits could be incredibly amazing for your business, just like they have been for ours, and many business owners we have worked with over the years.

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