Tag Archives: john brooks

Improve Yourself with Books to Read in 2015

If you did a search right now on the top ten books to read for 2015, you would probably find tons of lists already out there. The challenge with this is that there are so many genre of books now that the lists are endless. Twenty years ago things were not as complicated because most “Must Read” book lists came from large chain book stores and newspapers. Now we have so many different sources on what to read, including this blog right here, that it is hard to narrow down just what all is good to read.

Goodreads is a good place to start if you don’t already have an account. If you love reading you need to open yourself an account and use it. I use that website just about everyday when I update everything I am reading. They have tons of lists to follow, groups to join, book reading challenges, and more. I enjoy reading the reviews to get a better idea of what it is about I’m to read so I know I will get something out of it.

In the meantime the books selected all come from authors who have already written some amazing books. A few of the books I look forward to reading this year are Clay Water Brick, The XYZ Factor, and Work Rules.

Try to always take at least an hour a day to read, 30 minutes when you wake up, and 30 minutes before you go to bed or 4 15 minute breaks throughout your day. If you are a real go-getter in life than you can have 8 15 minute breaks throughout your day. However you decide to read, make sure to take some time also to include the classics, self-help books, and adventure books, either in physical form or audiobooks. Always check your public library first to see if they have a copy available.

In the list I have included those from the list but also some classic business books everyone should read.

Top Business Books to Read for 2015
1. Clay Water Brick – Jessica Jackley
People wonder how anyone can make a successful business happen without having money to support everything. This book here shows you how some of the most innovative individuals created something great with the least amount of resources. This is a good one to start with to get out of the mindset that you need X – Y- Z before you can get started. If you think that is true, read the Kids who are exceptional article.

2. How to Fly a Horse – Kevin Ashton
You would think training a horse to fly would be easy but then again you probably have no idea where to start. The author takes the reader on a journey through history to show how some of the best creations came from challenge situations. Creating something from the ground up is never easy so with the world we live in today where costs for starting a business has dropped to near zero, why is it still hard? This book was on the list of Amazon’s best books of 2014

3. Getting To Yes with Yourself – William Ury
This is the same guy who brought you Getting to Yes, which is ranked as the number one best seller in Business Negotiating category on Amazon. The author explains that all the challenges that happen in life all take place in your head. When you think a deal is going wrong because you emphasized the wrong word, chances are you are probably wrong, or maybe you shook his hand longer than you should have, making you seem desperate. These are all mental games you play with yourself so when you begin to realize not to take life so seriously you can then see how easy it is to make yourself agree with what you are saying. A great movie to watch to help you understand why you should not take life so seriously is called “Being There.” Considered one of the best philosophy movies ever made about Life.

4. Bold – Peter Diamandis, Steven Kotler
This book explains the power of exponential entrepreneurship. When you bring people of life mind together to work on a task you double, triple, or even quadruple the power that goes into solving a problem. This is the idea behind XPRIZE, a program that uses crowdsourcing to it’s ultimate power by asking people all over the world to solve their problems posted on their website, Singularity University, in return for a large cash prize. This book explores all they have learned about this impressive program about how ideas are solved through the help of exponential power.

5. Yes, And – Kelly Leonard, Tom Yorton
The power of Improv acting has helped changed so many people’s personal and business skills for the better because it changes how a person thinks in any given situation. Improv is a form of acting that encourages no sensor thinking and to accept everything thrown at you and learn to think in the moment. Many companies hire theater companies to come in and provide Improv training with their sales staff because of how important it is to learn. If you want to learn more about this skill and join a program, read my previous article on the art of storytelling.

6. The XYZ Factor – Nancy Lublin, Alyssa Ruberman
This is a book about learning to empower people to see the benefit of their actions when they put them to good use for others. This can be very challenging for companies when they work with younger generations that are only interested in instant gratification and isolated circumstances, most of which they have grown up in. The DoSomething.org program is meant to get kids out of this habit of waiting, which many grew up in homes where they had to wait to be told what to do and when, and start getting out there and making a difference on your own. For any kid who grew up in a restrictive household, the transition to learn how to think for themselves is very difficult, which is not fair to companies that have to deal with that, and so teaching younger individuals how change is possible through their actions is a good skill to learn.

7. Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader – Herminia Ibarra
This book takes on a different approach for leaders. There are many management books that say to find your style of management and leadership in order to guide your department or people. This book here says to listen to what the people are looking for and take guidance from how they need to be managed. When you don’t over think a problem and dwell on it you can then work from the insight your team gives you.

8. Better Than Before – Gretchen Rubin
Changing habits can be hard but when you learn how to find the little tricks to turn small little actions into bit time change that is when results start to show. The author here talks about improving your life with changing your habits and routines. Humans are creatures of habit so it is important to understand how to make new habits work. Chip Heath also wrote a great book on the subject as well called Switch – How to change things when change is hard.

9. Work Rules! – Laszlo Bock
Imagine being the HR manager for one of the best companies to work for in the world? How much pressure would you have to know that you have to hire people that are extremely intelligent but also creative at the same time? That is a lot of pressure, in that, you have to design and create interviews to weed out the fakes and still find the ones that are hard to see the first time. Then after that you have to learn how to create an environment that encourages people to grow and increase productivity, all of which can be challenge, but brought together in this richly packed book of data examples.

10. Surprise – Tania Luna, Leeann Renninger
This element of surprise is important for many reasons but none more so than in the business world. Surprises happen all the time so being able to anticipate that surprise can keep you on your toes but also understand that change is constant. When you learn to accept things as they come, training from Improv acting, you won’t feel threaten by what is happening every time something new comes up.

11. No One Understands You and What to Do About It – Heidi Grant Halvorson
Why do people know who we are? Isn’t that what makes people want to work with other people, because they think different and act different? People who really studied psychology in college, and when I say really studied, I mean they went way beyond the required readings and read more than your typical grad student, you would know that how a person walks, the words they use to speak, the actions they take says everything about a person already. Not everyone studied psychology in college or graduate school so books like this are important to read because it helps people connect with others when they understand them. Engineers have the worst record when it comes to social and people skills so a book like this might help them to learn that when talking about a project of their their’s it is important to include personal identifying properties of themselves with how they created it instead of just the dimensions and costs and benefits of the projects. If you want to read another book on the subject and learn more about a person by the words they speak, “The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us,” is a great book to read.

12. The Eureka Factor – John Kounios, Mark Beeman
Do you remember the time you came up with that amazing idea that someone has already come out with? Why did you beat them to it? And why can’t you have more moments like that? This book explains how those moments come about and how to have more of them. They spark imagination, ideas, and bring about change so if they are so important why are they so few of them? Learn more about how the brain works with this book about how great insights are achieved.

13. The Road Character – David Brooks
Ever wondered why Robert Moses lead the life he did, or why the Men Who Built America, had such deep rich self-fulfilling lives? The challenge with creating a rich fulfilling life is not just the doing part but the upbringing part; people of character are built upon a solid foundation of morals, beliefs, and values, which guide them in everything they do. When you have no guidance in which to follow, then why would it surprise you to learn that your life has no purpose? The men who built america found their purpose because they had the keen sense to see what others couldn’t and put it into action. This book takes a look at ten lives and examines them for all these traits to learn how to create a life worth living.

14. Triggers – Marshall Goldsmith
Behavior Consultant Mr Goldsmith looks at how to change behavior for the good and how to make them into certain habits. He takes a look at how behavior works and why we behave differently when we are in groups and when we are by ourselves. This book helps explore all that in order to find the right behaviors that will lead to a successful life.

15. The Misfit Economy – Alexa Clay, Kyra Maya Phillips
Did you know that Pirates in the Indian ocean make millions stealing huge oil tankers and cargo ships in the area? Or that hackers cause millions, if not billions in loses every year to companies, but encourage the growth for many more industries? The growing behavior of misfits is creating whole new industries to come about because the reality is when someone acts bad, you need another to fix it. This book examines the history of people that did things unconventionally and how it turned out for them and what you can learn from doing that. The reality is, business has no rules, so once you learn that rule, all bets are off for anything you do.

16. Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter – Cass Sunstein
This important book contains the very reason you don’t want to surround yourself with people of like-mind. But if you have too, this book will teach you what you need to be aware of to keep from falling into the trap of staying with status-quo. Cass showed that when people of like-mind get together their values strengthen because each member reinforces what they already know or believe in. This is very dangerous because this is how progress is slowed down because if everyone thinks the same way and they all agree with one another then there is nothing to change or improve.

Cass also shows that similar minded groups make less dramatic changes than groups that are composed of different mindsets. He talks about this in the new elected Congress that is very one-sided and how dangerous this will be for policy making and America. You can watch his interview on The Daily Show to learn more about what happens when people who are conservative get together with similar minded individuals, and vice versa. This is a very important concept to learn so you don’t fall into the same mental trap. This is why the phrase, “Keep Your Friends Close, but your Enemies Closer,” is important to learn because your enemies will keep you on your toes and learning all the time. This book is ranked number 1 in Business & Organizational Learning.

Here are some Additional Books to read

Zero to One – Peter Thiel (Number 1 in Economic Policy and Development)
The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz
The lean Startup – Eric Ries
Business Adventures – John Brooks (Number 1 in Commerce)
Influence – Robert Cialdini (Number 1 in Marketing and Consumer Behavior)
22 Immutable Laws of Branding – Al Ries

To find more business books to read, check out my previous article and Book Page
This book changed this billionaire’s understanding about Business
Business Books

News Article

15 New Books to Read in 2015

This Book changed this Billionaire’s understanding about Business

There are many business books out there to read and not all of them are great. Some, infact, are just there to get the authors name out there but contribute nothing useful to the field. What makes a great book stand the test of time is not how much information it can pack in between its pages but how relatable the information is regardless of the year. When a book is able to showcase examples of situations that people have to deal with on a day-to-day basis then that information becomes relevant very easily to anyone reading it. An author who is able to capture those moments and write it in a way that highlights why and how those situations work the way they do is able to show people what kind of mindset they should have anytime they run into those situations.

Regardless of where technology and science take us we will forever have to deal with people on a daily basis and what makes a business book great is not how well it can show us how to balance a budget or how to raise money but how to handle complex situations that humans bring upon themselves. All those situations deal with office politics. They will forever plague work environments and any business book that can showcase what to do about them will have a longer shelf life than most other books out there that try and tell you how to be a better leader.

Why Read this book when they are new ones coming out everyday?
How you view business should not be based off of how much money your business can bring in but how well you treat everyone you deal with. The first part is easy for anyone who studied finance in college but the second one is a real challenge when trying to please everyone all the time. Those that understand people know that it simply can not be done. You must understand that in any business there will be people you hire who will cause more trouble to the company than give back. Any employee that wants more money for less work shouldn’t be working for your company but those situations get tricky after you have too many employees who feel the same way.

In a world now where there is a new business book coming out everyday why read a book that is no longer in print? (That is is about to change) Doesn’t that mean the information is outdated and old? Most who believe that you should only read information that is current miss out on the trends of the world. History repeats itself and will forever do that because humans are creatures of habit and habits are everywhere. The same can be said of companies, once a routine is established and people get comfortable with that routine it becomes very difficult to break up that routine after while.

If you were to pick up a business book today chances are you will see a lot of micro-stories, lists, how-to’s, and personal stories but what you won’t see are essay style articles that go in-depth as to why certain situations arise. These type of discussions are key to understanding the troubles that companies do not pay attention to. If you fill a company with a lot of yes-men then it is very easy, from an outside perspective, why a company would become a sinking ship but if you were on the inside you would believe that all the talent around you, given their high titled degrees and university names, would alert you if there was ever any danger but what you don’t realize is that the higher you go on the corporate ladder the harder it is for people to say no to you.

Business schools try to teach this by using their old method of using case studies, where students are given profiles of companies with situations that are happening and told to offer a solution. They believe that this method is the best there is but the reality is that only the market can tell you what the best method is for fixing something. Throwing money at a problem never fixes anything except giving people a job worth coming back to. The market in which a company exists will tell you whether or not it is something people or businesses want. If the market does not want it then the company is simply wasting it’s time and money.

That is why the book, Business Adventures by John Brooks, is one of Warren Buffet and Bill Gate’s favorite business book they have ever read. Warren Buffet says that that book is the best he as ever read on investing. Infact, Warren Buffet is the one who introduced Gates to the book after Gates asked him what was his favorite book to read. Mr. Brooks does not give you a formula in which to go by or a step-by-step process in which to follow. He lays out the story and highlights the key parts that show when something started to go wrong or when something started to go right and why that was. They both learned how they needed to look at situations and how they needed to stay focused on the big picture.

Business books today are created in a way that tell stories and then give you the bite size chunks of what it is you need to know so you can get back to what you were doing faster. I have read many business books already and very few read like a novel in which they tell about events that took place within companies. Instead, books today tell you personal stories about what someone had to deal with and how they overcame the problem but nothing like how good investigative writing should be.

Business leaders and entrepreneurs need to be aware of conditions that arise in every business regardless of the field they operate in. This is why so many entrepreneurs who have read business books today say that they want to stay in control of everything, thus, making it harder to let go of control when they have to because they feel they will not be aware anytime something goes wrong. The other reason entrepreneurs do not want to hire more people in the beginning is because they worry bringing in someone new might make decisions on their own that might hurt the company later on. It no longer becomes their pride and joy but a collective experience of what a group of outsiders what to do.

Pick Books that Explain Habits and Situations
If you are looking to read some new business books and would like to avoid reading the bad ones then an easy search online of, “best business books to read” will lead you to a few lists. If you need quality material you might want to consider links from sources that talk about business and keep up with the trends. Here are a few to help you get started.

99 Best Business books by Personal MBA
Best Business books to read in 2014 Stanford Business School
Amazon list of Business Books
10 Best Business Books
20 best Business Books to read for the Summer by Business Insider

Business School Self-Learning
They say that if you want to go to business school you are better off going and starting your own business and using the money you would have for school and applying it to your first company. The experience you will learn doing that is more than what the best business schools can teach you. And this is all true from experiences. If you combine the efforts of reading a new business book once a week on top of trying to launch your company you will have gained more experience than sitting in a classroom waiting to start your own company. At best, you will pitch to so-called “investors” for your senior project to see if it is worth investing in. The whole idea though is that you are selling your idea to get it off the ground. Great businesses are started and kept by their founders. That is hard work enough so if you are just looking to get rich off of your idea then you are wasting your time, effort, and money in general.

What the best business books offer that you will not get from sitting in a classroom is experience in the palm of your hands. A classroom will only give you theory to work on and not only that but there is absolutely no connection between getting straight A’s in business school and business success afterwards. The people who are the most successful in business are the ones who have created tons of companies and learned from their failures. Reading “How to Get Rich” By Felix Dennis will not give you a golden ticket to success but will give you a wake up call to realize how hard it is to become rich. For ever second you spend in class you lose in experience with starting a business.

If you are absolutely dead set on starting a company but too afraid to start, just try starting a blog and managing that everyday. If the task of writing just one article is hard enough then what makes you think you can handle a dozen different things everyday just to start a business and then if you hire people, having to deal with all their issues on top of that? Yea, it’s not easy so getting realistic about the whole process right away is more important than sitting in some class listing to theory concepts that you may never get to use. But if being realistic is your thing then you should at least know that if you plan to work for yourself or someone else in the end that way you are not wasting your time.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s Influence
After Bill Gates released his article on the Wall Street Journal website about the best business book he has ever read I am glad to report that that book has shot to the top of bestseller lists. Infact the company that once printed John Brooks book is now in plans to release a paperback version in the fall. They released an ebook version on Amazon (link at the bottom) which many people have already downloaded, including the free chapter that Gates released on his website (link below). The son of John Brooks, Alex Brooks, said he was very pleased to hear about the sudden interest in his dad’s book and was glad to see that Bill Gates was a fan of his father’s book. It just goes to show that with the right influencer anything can happen to someone, including bring back a good thing.

If you read the reviews now on Amazon you can see the many people who have already read the book, after only a few days ago Gate’s wrote his article, and how they name Gate’s as the reason for reading that book and how great it really is. All the links are listed below if you would like to read the article Bill Gates wrote about the book and the response the book has gotten since it came out.

News Articles and Links

Bill Gates Story on the best business book around

Business Adventures by John Brooks

Bill Gates Creates Instant Book Hit

Download Chapter from Business Adventures