Staying up-to-date on your industry doesn’t just mean reading articles and blogs, watching videos, or even going to conferences and participating in webinars. In fact, ‘old-fashioned’ ways of learning are still hugely important, even for those in the tech and digital industries.
I try to make sure I not only stay in the loop by the above ways, but also by slowing down, putting my feet up, and diving into a good book every now and again.
Lucky for me, I’ve been making time to read a lot this year, which is why I want to share some of my personal favorites with you, tell you why I loved each, and maybe even pique your interest in reading a few, too.
1. “THINK AND GROW RICH,” BY NAPOLEAN HILL
Conceive and believe, this is the main takeaway of this awesome book by Napolean Hill. It talks in-depth about how your thoughts are powerful and that you can help or hurt yourself just by thinking a certain way.
If you focus on what you want, then you can help yourself get there not only by your beliefs, but also by strengthening your resolve to get what you want. Hill calls this strengthening a ‘definiteness of purpose’ and it simply means you believe you’ll achieve something, so there really is no alternative in your mind.
Of course, thinking positive is no substitute for hard work, as you have to continue on even in the face of obstacles or growth-inhibiting events. But at least your own mind won’t be one of those obstacles.
Hill researched many successful individuals before writing this book and sharing his philosophy. “Think and Grow Rich” is mainly about encouraging people to reach their own personal goals, whatever they may be, but it can be easily paralleled with success in business, as many of the examples are from business professionals.
2. “MARKETING LIKE JESUS,” BY DARREN SHEARER
This book changes gears considerably from “Think and Grow Rich” as it doesn’t look as much at success in business, as it does at marketing. Darren writes about how to serve, connect, lead, and increase your impact by following along the life of Jesus and learning from his speaking and actions.
Additionally, this book has questions at the end of each chapter for you to consider before moving on. If you are looking for a book that meshes your faith with business and marketing, then take a peek at this one!
3. “THE 22 IMMUTABLE LAWS OF MARKETING,” BY AL RIES AND JACK TROUT
Marketing and sales aren’t all about the products, instead, Ries and Trout talk about perceptions and their importance throughout their 22 laws.
One of the areas that Ries and Trout touch on is the mentality of being ‘1st’, and though not all successful businesses were the first of their kind, many consumers look to the innovators and ‘firsts’ of the community as the companies to follow or stick with. Sometimes you can make yourself first in a new area completely, just by making a few key changes to your business principles.
In many ways, this book points to how to set yourself apart in a world that is inundated with businesses clambering for customer attention and loyalty.
4. “HOW TO WIN FRIENDS & INFLUENCE PEOPLE,” BY DALE CARNEGIE
This is an oldie, but a good one, and it is still just as relevant today as it was in 1936 when it was first published. And though this is a classic best-seller, smiling, being a good listener and making others feel important is still rare in many industries. Make sure you take these tips to heart, especially in sales and marketing, or any industry in which you deal directly with others, as it can never hurt to gain a friend (or influence) in any age.
5. “THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE,” BY STEVEN R COVEY
Still going back in time a bit, but not quite so far as Carnegie, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been influencing the masses for over 25 years. And for good reasons too, as I was reading this book (for the first time, mind you) I realized that the habits aren’t all that difficult or life-upending as you might expect. Sure, some are outside of your regular comfort zone or ask you to think a different way, but it’s not like it’s asking you to wake up at 4 am to start your workday.
The simplicity of the 7 habits make this book a classic, and one that can be applied to many, in many situations, and for many years to come.
6. “GOOD TO GREAT: WHY SOME COMPANIES MAKE THE LEAP AND OTHERS DON’T,” BY JIM COLLINS
I don’t want to give too much away here, but some of the key takeaways are probably the opposite from what you were taught in business school. Many seem to fully contradict what modern business culture says we should do.
Of course, this isn’t to say we should break every rule and expect success to, therefore, fall into our laps, but it does showcase the patterns that many successful companies have followed and how it led them to greatness.
7. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: WHY IT CAN MATTER MORE THAN IQ,” BY DANIEL GOLEMAN
Not only is Goleman a great writer, but he also systematically walks you through five necessary skills that require emotional intelligence more than ‘traditional’ intelligence, and how they just might be the deciding factors in your business’ success.
By giving examples, Goleman makes his book easy to follow and apply to your own life, work, success, and relationships. And who knows, maybe he’ll even make you second-guess what you think you know about intelligence and emotions.
Want to know what I’ll be reading next? Business Insider has a great list for tech industry leaders and innovators that I’ll be working through this summer – read with me!
And be sure to check back weekly for more articles on business, marketing, management, and more!