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!
Women Trailblazers: The Most Successful Female Founder in Every Country
If you are a female entrepreneur, it’s natural to feel like the odds are against you. After all, there continues to be a significant bias towards a male-leadership model, and investors still tend to be more cautious in their response to pitches from women. (more…)
3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Business Uncertainty
Life doesn’t have a “pause” button. Even if it did, I’d tell you not to push it. Yes, being an entrepreneur during COVID-19 is scary, but fear of failure in business is simply part of the journey. Ironically, it’s also a great motivator. (more…)
5 Basketball Lessons That Taught Me How To Close Consistent Sales
If you’d like to learn how to close consistent sales in your business so you can make money and be successful, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
Heart pounding. Skin prickling. Unsure of what the outcome will be. Reminding myself to focus and breathe. Sales and competitive basketball have more in common than you’d think. The same tenacity, drive, and commitment that were required for success in my athletic career were the same things I needed to become successful in sales. (more…)
6 Simple but Important Ways for Entrepreneurs to Avoid Burnout
If you’d like to learn how to avoid burning out so you can have a long and successful career, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
Burnout affects professionals in every industry, but it can be particularly problematic being an entrepreneur because when it’s their own business, it can be on their mind all day, every day. It is more than just a sense of being tired. It is the state of being overwhelmed emotionally, mentally and physically, to the point that you need a break in order to keep functioning. (more…)
Turn Adversity Into Your Advantage
The Pandemic Helped Me Battle Test My Habits. These Are the Ones That Stood Out
10 Life Changing Quotes That Helped Me Create A Meaningful Life
The Quickest Hack to Breaking Out of a Slump
How to Land an Internship: The Ultimate Guide
55 Inspirational Quotes That Will Change Your Life
(Images) 52 Motivational Picture Quotes For An Epic Year Of Success
30 Famous Quotes That Will Inspire Success In You
72 Positive Thinking Quotes For More Inner Strength & Growth
40 Rare Motivational and Inspirational Picture Quotes
3 Prince EA Videos To Change Humanities Path To Greatness
(Video) What Is Success? An Entrepreneurial Story To Inspire You
(Inspirational Video) What If Today You Knew You Were Going To Take Your Last Breath?
How To Make Enough Money From A Blog To Quit Your Job – Kate McKibbin
How Finding Your Passion And Becoming An Entrepreneur Can Lead To Happiness – Chiquita Searle
- Quotes4 weeks ago
25 Quotes About Resilience to Help You Bounce Back in Tough Times
- Life4 weeks ago
5 Keys To Success In All Relationships
- Motivation3 weeks ago
Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About These 4 Motivation-Boosting Techniques?
- Success Advice4 weeks ago
Why Body and Mind Harmony Are So Necessary for a Successful Life
- Life4 weeks ago
Drawing Boundaries is an Essential Skill for Getting What You Want
- Success Advice4 weeks ago
8 Traits of an Effective Business Leader
- Success Advice3 weeks ago
How to Lead in a Time of Crisis
- Success Advice4 weeks ago
The Four Ps That Influence Effective Negotiation