Reading is a vital part of professional and personal development. Some titles might sound familiar, and others not so much. Regardless, they’re all worthy of a look.
You can glean a great deal about people and their values simply by perusing their personal library. So, what are people—especially successful entrepreneurs—reading these days?
Entrepreneur Ron Gibori says: “In my experience, a good book will have a few lessons; a special few will be profound.”
- “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss. Newcomers to entrepreneurship and franchising might put in long, arduous hours, but a grueling schedule that lacks work-life balance probably won’t bring fulfillment. Ferriss makes a case for “building a business that will allow you to work not 20, not 10, but 4 hours a week” and still lead a rewarding life.
- “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. Too many people are doing “shallow work,” fooling themselves about multitasking, attention and productivity, says Newport. He questions the value of a culture obsessed with interconnectedness, urging people to unplug from technology and plunge into their work. Paul Minors writes that “Newport studied the theoretical foundations of our digital age” and offers pragmatic ways for folks to regularly move off the grid and dive deep into meaningful work.
- “Into the Magic Shop” by Dr. James Doty. Susan Young, CEO of Get in Front Communications, says Doty’s boyhood interest in magic brings readers on a heartwarming journey through his broken childhood and on to his eventual success. Doty’s blend of personal development in his preteen years with a “free-spirited” woman in a local magic shop becomes the boy’s rite of passage into adulthood and an escape from poverty, limiting beliefs and emotional pitfalls, says Young. He beautifully balances his intricate work as a brain surgeon with the delicateness of the human heart.
- “Brag: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It” by Peggy Klaus. Instilling the confidence necessary to self-promote—sans arrogance—is crucial for business professionals. Klaus offers real-life examples of how people who once downplayed their talents and achievements have overcome that behavior. Kelley Briggs, former owner of DesignWorks, an integrated marketing firm, says: “I think women, more than men, have a tough time ‘boasting’ about their successes. This book shows how to do that with authenticity.”
- “The Road to Character” by David Brooks. Building character and careers is the takeaway, says PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi. Brooks’ writing provoked her self-reflection, Nooyi says. “It [also] sparked a wonderful discussion with my two daughters about why building inner character is just as important as building a career." Nooyi believes the two go hand in hand. “The moral compass of our lives must also be the moral compass of our livelihoods,” she says.
- “Shark Tales” by Barbara Corcoran. The real estate mogul—and one of the stars of TV’s entrepreneur-focused reality show “Shark Tank”—shares how her mother’s lessons growing up have shaped her career. Corcoran’s mix of self-deprecating humor and moxie are rooted in New Jersey, where she lived with nine siblings—and one bathroom. The self-made billionaire’s coming-of-age lessons about being a resourceful, intuitive negotiator and communicator have laid the foundation for success. “I’ve trusted my gut in every business decision I’ve ever made,” writes
- “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor. SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan says she’s so impressed with Achor’s book that it’s become a resource for her entire company. Achor offers seven principles to “reprogram our brains to become more positive, and ultimately more productive at work.” Whelan says SoulCycle has long been “an inherently positive experience.” She adds: “One of the things Achor’s book validated for us is that a meaningful commitment to employee well-being is a huge part of why we’re successful.”
Have you read any of these books? What’s on your reading list? Please share your favorites in the comments section.