So you are an hyperactive entrepreneur on lockdown due to Covid 19. You’ve cleared most of your inbox with the exception of the many useless Covid 19 related emails. You’re now completely ignoring the misinformation your parents have been forwarding on Whatsapp. How are you going to cope with being at home now?
This is the perfect time to catch-up with the reading that you never had the chance to do. It’s the perfect opportunity to read, learn, think and go back into the office a better leader. There is only one problem. The majority of the business related books are not worth the paper they are written on. There are too many “me too” and that makes it difficult to identify which books are really worth your time.
So here is a recommended list of business books I’ve read between stepping down as CEO of SyndicateRoom (my previous startup) in the Summer of 2019 and starting Rnwl, my newest InsurTech startup and mostly still in stealth mode.
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Leadership / Management
– ‘Start with why’ by Simon Sinek – this book became a classic as soon as it was published. It is one of the most amazing business books I’ve read. You can also watch Simon’s TED talk, which now counts nearly 50 million views. The book goes into a considerable greater detail than the TED talk and is undoubtfully worth the time.
– ‘The coaching habit’ by Michael Bungay Stanier – this book is a masterpiece in bringing in knowledge from other bestselling books and to keep the information concise and extremely efficient to absorb. It’s a very quick read that you won’t regret.
– ‘Six thinking hats’ by Edward de Bono – this book was initially recommended to me by a great mentor and for a good reason. It will help you avoiding preconceived ideas blocking great decisions when analysing problems. The framework works beautifully when discussing situations with a limited number of options by forcing the team to think from different angles. It’s a short book but to be honest it probably could be even shorter and it would be just as, if not, more brilliant as a result. The author also has other exceptional books such as ‘Lateral Thinking’.
– ‘No! The only negotiation system you need for work and home’ by Jim Camp – this book is intensely powerful when it comes to your performance at the next round of negotiations. You will never look at negotiations the same way again. Unfortunately the book is far too long. It could have been a quarter of the size and just as powerful.
– ‘Coherence’ by Alan Watkins – I read this book after reading an online review about it and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a book that is likely to be more appropriate for leaders of growth businesses rather than entrepreneurs with a small team. A good book to read if the lockdown extends for longer than it takes you to read other books on this list.
– ‘This is Marketing’ by Seth Godin – this is a must read for any entrepreneur. Seth is a quasi-god in the Marketing circles for a good reason. He is also the author of “Purple Cow”, one of the best Marketing books even 15 years after it was first published.
– ‘Marketing, a love story’ by Bernadette Jiwa – this book is how every business book should be: concise, to the point, avoiding repetition and made up of a collection of useful stories that will stick to your mind. A very quick read that will give any busy entrepreneur a great deal of value in exchange of a couple of hours reading.
– ‘Oversubscribed’ by Daniel Priestley – this book is so good that made me wonder whether to include it in this list or hide it from our competitors. The author also has two other very good books, particularly “Key Person of Influence”, but ‘Oversubscribed’ is by far the best of them when it comes to marketing.
– ‘Selling the dream’ by Guy Kawasaki – how is it possible that a business book first published in 1993 is still one of the top recommendations? Well, because if you want to read about sales, this is an excellent book that is still worth it. There are more recent books by the excellent author Guy Kawasaki such as Wise Guy but I haven’t read it yet and therefore cannot judge it.
– ‘The automatic customer’ by John Warrillow – this book only applies if you want to learn about subscription businesses. If that’s your case, don’t hesitate, this is an epic book on how to build and grow a subscription-based business.
The list above should keep any entrepreneur on lockdown busy for a little while. They are all excellent books that are worth the time. Many of my ideas behind Rnwl and how to manage insurance renewals were and still are inspired by the books above.
Which books would you recommend me to read now? Let me know on Twitter. I’d love to know which books have shaped your business and why.
Enjoy your reading, stay at home, stay safe and save lives.