This past summer and fall I have stumbled on 20 books (audio, Kindle & soft/hardbound) on career, culture & commerce (my choice and passion) but only finished reading 11 of them and would like to share them.
There are few reasons why the other ten did not make it to the list – because I did not finish them because I was not excited to read them and I only have 20 days to keep them from Hoopla, Overdrive, RBDigital via my local library.
First of all, if you are already using those book or library apps, congratulations. You are saving hundreds of dollars for Audible subscription and Kindle purchases. (See my separate blog about how you can use this app). Dates indicate I completed or returned the book.
Here is what I Learned and what I have Earned in this 11 books:
1. The Four by Scott Galloway (November 5). Learned how the four powerful companies: Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon went through becoming the sustaining company they are today. Google has excellent work ethic and lives to the adage: Don’t Be Evil. Google takes care of their people through many incentives that are hard to match including the 18-month maternity leave policy. Apple is focused on the looks and branding of the iconic logo and media ads to clean and pure, acutely concentrated on the marketing of their products. The book mentioned how Amazon is leading the way in how to diversify and expand their services by being resilient and how Jeff Bezo’s personality affects how the company grows into the multifaceted company. Google started a search engine, and like everyone of this “Four” companies, they started literally in their garage, small and created what people are needing. Although all Four competes with each other in some areas, focusing how to improve themselves against competitors is not their focus like the theme of this next book Zero to One from the founder of Paypal.
- What I learned: As a business owner of promotional and branding company I relate to Steve Jobs focus on simplicity of product and service and Bezo’s resilience diving into territories with courage from the failed Amazon Phone to acquiring Whole Foods, a grocery chain, who’ve seen this coming?
2. Zero to One by Peter Thiel (October 25). Peter described how he build from nothing to something in his transition as a lawyer to the founder of Paypal as he was supposed to take a very vital job in Court Justice Department as the top student from top law school. Unique insights about how small (zero) can have a significant vision (to one). One curious and unique idea about his book was his contradiction to the notion of competitiveness; he thinks it is unhealthy as proven from Google, instead of competing with other searching engine or Facebook competing against other social media. It does make sense that if you fight and wins, did you win permanently? What happened to the loser who is in the same industry? We need to change the notion of working with our competitors. Also, monopoly is productive as it brings new products that “benefits everybody and sustainable profit to the creator.”
- What I learned: Follow your guts to create something new that the community needs not what is already in existence. Zero to One means we start from ground zero (as he did – he was a lawyer and know the educational background on business or marketing) to something he believes and passionate about.
3. Innovation You by Jeff Degraff (August). I got hold of this though Hoopla audio under Career section, and so I downloaded and got more than I expected. A useful book on career changes and how to succeed as an entrepreneur and making those decisions. It is not just a book on innovation but how to have an innovative mind and to unlock our unique potential to grow and succeed by providing us easy to follow four step-by-step frameworks based on academic research (not just Degraff’s opinion).
- What I learned: All innovation starts with an individual (You or me in this case). To wow our client, boss or customers, we must be truly innovative and transformational. To be creative or innovative, I must create, compete, collaborate and control. I must ask myself, what is it that I am holding back that does not serve my goal – get rid of it. When aiming, set high-quality goals, take multiple shots until I reach my goal and learn from the experience.
4. Mind Hacking by Sir John Hargrave (November 10). Most of the advice has been heard before in most advice books but not in a fun and modern way as John does who was a computer geek and able to converse in a natural tone & voice as outlined in the following ideas which are a 21 Day program.
- What I learned: I should be aware of what I am thinking like a programmer. Use imagination and remove any constraints on us. Multitasking does not work, it is unproductive so do one thing at a time. Develop a habit by doing something consistent one thing at a time.
5. The Miracle of Definite Chief Aim by Mitch Horowitz (June 30). Two years ago I had the privilege to a Facebook friend, read and review Mitch’s 5-star book One Simple Idea discussing the key points and history of most “Self-Help” and books with one simple idea: to live positive in life, the law of attraction, rules of living on how to be rich. The Miracle of Definite Chief Aim is much easier read (I finished the audiobook in two workout run), similar concept but different perspective.
- What I learned: to succeed in life we must identify our true aim, improve and act on it and never look back on our setbacks and stay focus (chief aim) on our goal as well as to be passionately decisive, set a target date on our goals (chief aim). He gave us a formula for fine-tuning our health, wealth by asking: “What do I really want in my life?”. The “miracle” happens in unexpected ways so don’t expect to accomplish what we want in how we want it, but it will happen “miraculously” if we have a “definite chief aim”.
6. Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy (Oct 13). The premise of this book was: We should live every day with a bigger picture, design of my day to day life on how I can achieve that outcome. We must aim to get our full potential by feeling “alive” and know that we deserve to be happy.
- What I learned: We are not a spectator or just drift like a bird “without wings”. Our main role is to “live forward” and follow our path by exploring our inner talents, and be aware our on “chains” that strangle us like regrets. This is not possible if we do not have a written long-term life plan. It is the only way to live with no regrets. If we missed an opportunity, it has forever gone – look for the next. It forces us to know every day that we have a better future and keeps us balance in different areas of our life.
7. Start with Why, How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone by Simon Sinek (May 3). I first stumbled Sinek on his inspirational talk on social media and this book has a lot of idea and lessons on how we can inspire others, excite our employees by knowing “Why we do what we do” and communicate clearly. Tell them why first, before you sell it to them.
- What I learned: People will not buy our idea or products if we do not tell them why they need it. It is hard to convince someone even if we have all the facts. Once we communicate why we do it, we do not have to worry about convincing someone or selling our ideas – that is the ultimate point, the same thing in convincing or motivating ourselves in accomplishing our goals. This will also free us in many ways how we do our day to day life, just ask why we do it and move on.
8. Culture Crossing by Michael Landers (April 25). I started digging into the study of culture as it influences business and career when I first hear and met Culture Map author Erin Meyer on how personal culture matters. This book by Landers was much easier read as it has fewer graphs and more variety of different culture based on his actual extensive experience growing up. It has more interesting and instructive stories, insight and self-assessment to evaluate our Cultural Quotient (CQ) which is another book I read.
- What I learned: I should be aware of all the people’s background why they respond differently than others or myself. I should develop agility and adjust my behavior and expectations as needed so we can communicate better to others. Understanding culture is the key to success in my personal life (knowing my friend is where they came from) and business (the multicultural background of my colleagues, clients, and employees) to develop empathy and influence to get our message across and sell our ideas to other culture – globally.
9. Intentional Living, Choosing a Life that Matters by John C. Maxwell (October). Maxwell was one of the few books I read on the subject of Leadership, 25 years ago and he never stops bringing in new and applicable ideas on the subject. This book is more personal that is applicable in all segments of our life with the goal of creating a lasting legacy to our business, family, and community by doing everything with high good positive “intentions”. There is a lot of anecdotes and experience shared by Maxwell including about his dad – his mentor and most significant influence on him and practices the Intentional Living.
- What I learned: We can either bring people down or up like an elevator so is others and we can control how we do it. We must intend to bring people up and not down. We attract what we think and say and we should “fill in” our calendars not others to our calendars; this takes discipline. Don’t allow gossip or idle chat to take over our time. Focus on the Rs: What is Required, what is the Reward and what is the best Return on everything that we do. Selfishness is the opposite of significance, so don’t be selfish if we want to be significant. These habits or growth is not automatic, and it gets better when practicing every day. Share this nugget as you practice them to your mentees, children and it will grow on you.
10. Talk Like Ted, The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the 21s Century by Carmine Gallo. (September). The author discusses how we can become a better public speaker and she got her tips and ideas by watching and reviewing several TEDTalk series and what the great presenters have in common. They all have nine qualities: Great emotion or passion, something new, memorable, it is conversational, and they tell a story.
- What I learned: to keep it short up to 18-minute maximum and simple. I need to have a personal story and be passionate when I conversationally talk about them. I must find a subject that is unique, and I know very much about and paint a clear mental visual experience with the audience.
11. The Third Wave by Steve Case (September). I remember reading Alvin Toffler back in college, and this is very similar. I finish listening to Steve Case read his book that describes why AOL failed to be the “Facebook” or “Google” of our time when Time Warner took over his America Online. Moreover, these are some lessons learned and how he sees the future.
- What I learned: The first wave was between 1985-200 which is the AOL, Microsoft, Cisco, we are now in the second wave of the internet which is the building of Apps from Google and services of social media like Facebook. The third wave integrates seamlessly and pervasively all of these in our lives from financial, education, health, career, transportation, etc. These are tools necessary to transform our lives. We should be mindful and embrace these changes – it is inevitable. The next wave will be the era of cooperation, “if you want to go far, we must go together.”
Books I did not finish (limit 20 days) but will re-borrow it to finish it. I highly recommend as well.
12. E-Myth Mastery by Michael Gerber
13. Influencer, The Power to Change Anything by Kerry Patterson
14. Decisive by Chip Heath
15. Listen by Dale Carnegie Associates (June 20)
Books I purchased and currently reading and would like to discuss and inivite for our next Books, Business, Branding and Beyond:
16. Grit by Angela Duckworth
17. Innovators by Walter Isaacson
18. Power of the Other, Startling Effect Other People Have on You by Dr. Henry Cloud
19. The Idea Book by Fredrick Harren
20. Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
The bottom line is I learned & earn something from reading these 11 Career, Commerce & Cultural books which I am passionate about - but doing what I learn is something else, and so I am now holding you accountable that hopefully, you can check up on me on a regular basis if I practice them. I also hope that you use your library benefits and use your tax to borrow these books (I prefer audio, then paper then Kindle) using Hoopla, Overdrive, RBDigital, CloudLibrary, Libby and other similar apps.