Summer’s here, school’s (nearly) out
And it’s that time of year when even busy business owners think about taking a little time away from the front line for some well-deserved rest and recuperation.
In anticipation of having some quality time on our hands, many of us will slip a book into our baggage along with the flip flops, shorts and shades. What reading material will you pack this year?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of escapism of course, a thriller or a romance perhaps, but a holiday is also a great opportunity to expand your business brain.
Relaxed, and removed from the distractions and demands of work, you’ll be in exactly the right place to open your mind to new ideas: ideas that might even transform your business!
Depending on how long you’re away for, finding time to read one or even two books shouldn’t present too much of a challenge, and won’t stop you doing all the other fun stuff you usually do on holiday.
I’m not much of a reader the rest of the year, but I got into the habit of taking a business book away with me on holiday a few years ago now. I’d acquired quite a little collection from my business coach, but always seemed to be too busy to open them. Deciding I needed to make a dent in them, I took one with me to southern Spain in 2008, and now I can’t imagine not packing a business book whenever I travel.
I do have one rule I stick to which is that I don’t read business books that are more than an inch thick, and everything I read is on the recommendation of friends or colleagues – or by Amazon’s clever algorithms that generate the ‘You might also like’ suggestions.
By way of passing on some recommendations of my own, here are 6 of my favourite reads:
1. The Flip Side: Flip Flippen
This is the book that first kick-started my holiday reading habit and it made a real impact on me. The author is a psychologist who believes that, instead of focusing on the things we already do well, we should identify our weaknesses – those habitual behaviours that continually get in our way and prevent us from achieving our full potential. Flippen says that addressing and correcting these behaviours will result in a dramatic surge in productivity and a real improvement in all aspects of life.
The first step in this process is to identify your personality type, and the book made such an impression on me that soon after returning from holiday, I organised personality profiling for myself and other key members of the team!
2. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it: Michael E. Gerber
I’d recommend this as essential reading for anyone who is running – or contemplating setting up a business. It’s only a small book, but it’s full of insights into the little things you can do to design and run a better business. Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way. The book takes a step by step look at a business from entrepreneurial infancy to maturity, and draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business.
3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire People to Take Action: Simon Sineck
Any business owner will be able to explain what they do; some will be able to explain how they are different or better; but very few can clearly articulate why. Sineck says that it’s the why that is most important. It’s the thing that inspires us and inspires those around us. People buy from you because of why you do something rather than what you do – so if you don’t know why you do what you do, how can you expect someone else to connect with you emotionally?
The message in this book has an especially strong resonance with me. Inca exists to buck the statistical trend that says 80% of businesses will fail in their first 5 years. We want to see the businesses we work with, their staff, suppliers, families and communities succeed, and this is our why.
4. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! Robert T kyosaki
This is a brilliant book which sets out to explain the principles of looking after your money, exploding the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich. It explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.
The author tells the story of his two dads—his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad—and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing.
5. Think Your Way to Success: How to Develop a Winning Mind-Set and Achieve Amazing Results: Mark Rhodes
We all know that a positive mental attitude can work wonders, but this book highlights that there′s much more to it than that. Rhodes works with professionals from the worlds of both business and sport, helping them achieve goals through visualisation and mind-set. He believes it’s possible to get what you want by maintaining a positive frame of mind and focusing on a successful outcome – as opposed to setting limitations and thinking about what can go wrong.
Reading this book will help you map out exactly what you want to achieve, and give you the confidence to act on opportunities.
6. The Magic of Thinking Big: David J Schwartz
This is the book I’m currently reading when I find time, and it’s proof that good ideas never go out of date. Although it was first published in 1959, the content is as relevant and as powerful as it was nearly 60 years ago.
The author shows how you can free up your mind and defeat disbelief and the negative power it creates, make your mind produce positive thoughts, and think your way to success.
For any business owner, the process of self-development is ongoing, and business books are a great way to improve knowledge
If you don’t have time to read them the rest of the year, pack one when you go on holiday and you might find that as well as a suntan, you come back with new ideas to implement in your business!
Share Your Favourite Business Book With Us!
Is there a business book that has inspired you, changed the way you think, or caused you to run your business differently? Don’t keep it to yourself, share your business book recommendations with us, so that we can share them with others here!