05 Mar 5 Books You Should Read (or listen to) In 2021
When you are an entrepreneur and a mother of 2, it can be so easy to stop learning and reading. With so much content being created and streamed on every device we have, how does anyone have time to read? During a particularly difficult time keeping our business going, I found myself getting tired of television. Sure, I binge-watched Netflix series every now and again. But everything I was watching just seemed to mirror real life. Bad relationships, tough times, violence, and so on. I’m pretty partial to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Criminal Minds which also probably didn’t help. Meanwhile, I got so busy doing the day to day work of doing the business that I forgot that I needed to keep learning everything I could on how to actually run my business. I also needed to get the noise and the overstimulation of content overload that I was receiving.
Everyone knows reading is supposed to be fundamental. But in a world where your phone is no longer just a phone and your laptop is connected to every other device you have, business school doesn’t teach you how to handle it all and still find time for reading. Learning is something that needs to be constant. In fact, several well-known CEOs have become very outspoken about not needing a college education, but having an active thirst for learning and performing.
A video featuring super entrepreneur Elon Musk has circulated on YouTube discussing his feeling on job candidates and which colleges or universities he prefers to hire from. His response that it doesn’t matter if a candidate has a college, or even a high school degree, doesn’t matter to him. He notes, that while a candidate from a top university may be capable of great things, it doesn’t necessarily justify bringing that person onto his team. Musk isn’t the only one who feels that way. In 2013, Google moved away from hiring from top universities and filled their team with some employees who had never attended college based on their own analysis. https://youtu.be/vqcdF1oWaD0https://goo.gl/Y8jHPR
As a two time entrepreneur and an employer, this made me take a hard look at my education, not to mention the student loans I’m still paying off. With that in mind, in the spirit of continued learning, As a team, we began reading, or in some instances, listening to 1 book a week. The parameters were that the books needed to be nonfiction and could be about anything business related including biographies of different types of entrepreneurs. Every week we’d have a small meeting about the books we’d read, what we took away from them, and how they could help us personally and professionally. We also learned how each other preferred to take in their content; paperback, on iPad, and for my audiobook. The consensus was that everyone took a little time each day during down times.
Personally, I prefer audiobooks. I love the feel of a good paperback in my hands. The feel of the pages turning is an experience. I also like the convenience of reading on my iPad. I can take notes and do research on topics while I’m reading. But the best way for me to consume books for me is an audiobook. I can listen to it anytime, especially in the car, I can listen to it in place of television, and can listen to it over an over again. I can do it while I’m driving which means I can learn anytime or anywhere.
So here’s our list:
1. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, CEO, and CoFounder of The Black Swan Group. https://goo.gl/xWpyaC This book was outstanding and completely challenged my thinking on negotiation. Written by a former FBI hostage negotiator, Voss dispels the notion that a successful negotiation is about getting the other person to “yes”. Instead, he pulls from his experience of life or death negotiations and puts it into the perspective of any negotiation. I had the pleasure of meeting Voss at a small business meet up where I first changed my thoughts on the difference between difficult and awkward.
2. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, creator and executive producer of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal”. https://goo.gl/kTBe2D Shonda Rhimes is like King Middus in that everything that she touches seems to turn into pure gold. If you’re a How to Get Away With Murder or Scandal fan like we are than you’ve no doubt heard of the woman. But in this book, Rhimes is open and honest about her shyness and self-doubt. She talks about what it takes to keep it all going with three children and just how important the characters that she creates are to her. But aside from hearing how this amazing queen churns out these amazing stories, or “lays track” as she calls it, the reader also gets an intimate peek into how Rhimes turned her habit of saying no to things that scared her into saying yes to everything for an entire year. As a fellow shy person, this admission was everything because it showed that even if you’re Shonda Rhymes, sometimes you just have to dance through the fear and do it anyway.
3. Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy https://goo.gl/Ag5NaJ. You know that feeling of just never having enough hours in the day to do all of the things that you want or need to get done? Do you have a “to do” list that adds 5 tasks to every 1 that you complete? Brian Tracy says that successful people don’t try to do everything. They only focus on the tasks that will make the most impact towards their goals. Tracy shows how to structure your day so that your most important tasks get done first. This book really isn’t about time management, but rather brings awareness to how much time we waste each day getting ready to do something or preparing to do something. We put off tasks that we are scared or don’t want to do. If eating a frog was the worst thing you had to do, you get over with first thing in the morning so that the worst thing is off your plate and done with the rest of the day to spare. When you run a business, have a family, and also want to enjoy your life, it’s critical to know what to do with your time. By structuring your day focused only on mission-critical responsibilities, you are far more likely to get to your goal and will have plenty of time for any other tasks that can’t be delegated. This made the whole team look deeper into how we were spending our time both in and out of the office.
4. Girl Code by Cara Alwill Leyba https://goo.gl/KLgUg4. This book is full of girl empowerment, self-love, and changing your mindset as a woman in order to be the best female entrepreneur that you can be. After #GIRLBOSS by Nasty Gal owner, Sophia Amoroso; a number of female entrepreneurs have sprung up and have banned together to support each other. Leyba encourages women to embrace all things feminine, take care of yourself, and your fellow women. Pump each other up and rather than compete; collaborate. She also talks a lot about putting yourself first, since woman by nature are nurturers and usually expend themselves on others. Girl Code is a manifesto to women everywhere about living their best life possible, being their authentic imperfect selves, and to contribute and share information between other female entrepreneurs so that we all do better as a community.
5. You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero https://goo.gl/v44BBp. Keeping with the same theme as Girl Code is another woman empowerment how-to guide. There are stories, exercises, and advice filled with humor but meant to give you pause to be aware negative self-talk and behaviors that stop women from making the kind of money and lives that they want to live. I think this book gets to the heart of what many female entrepreneurs feel which is “I’m not good enough to do it like a man”. It’s a reality check for women who are not running with their passion and loosing out on the income that it could bring.
I hope these books help you as much as they helped us. Let us know in the comments what you think about each book. We’d love to hear your feedback.