Let’s pretend you are in a difficult maze, and given two options:
Option 1: You can run directly into the maze, and try as hard as you can to reach the end.
Option 2: You can study a map of the maze for as long as you want, and THEN try as hard as you can to reach the end.
Seems like a no-brainer, right?
When it comes to business, though, many people don’t see this logic. In fact, some well-known entrepreneurs say the “only way” to learn is by doing. There are a couple of problems with this absolutism. First, these people might be unintentionally lying thanks to narrative fallacy. Second, even if there ARE people who learn only by doing, it’s a small percentage. Chances are, if you’re one of those people, you wouldn’t have made it to this paragraph.
If you’re a type who only learns by doing, you wouldn’t have read this far.
I was never a person who was going to find my way into exclusive meetings, blindly message people on LinkedIn trying to connect, or be in dedicated service to a mentor. I’ve learned it all from books. Through doing so, I’ve been able to make a healthy side income online, reach millions of with my writing, demand attention from CNBC, Inc. Magazine, TIME, and — oh yeah — double my salary at my full time job.
I don’t know if that is success. If it is though, it’s because books paved the way. They can do the same for you.
In other words, if there were a “map” available for business… why WOULDN’T you read it?”
The Big Picture on Reading
We live in an age where maps to business are on every shelf. In addition to avoiding failure, you can also find ideas and strategies to help you succeed faster. Reading might even give you the exact blueprint to a successful business. This may seem like a strange concept if you’ve never been an entrepreneur.
“Isn’t that just copying?” you’ll ask.
Whether it is or it isn’t, seasoned entrepreneurs don’t hesitate to copy another business model, product, or service if it’s working in the market. Besides, you aren’t really copying the whole business idea, just pieces of it. Reading gives you those pieces.
Reading can obviously be great for business. But studies have also shown no matter what you’re reading, your brain can get a boost. (and maybe even your chances of living longer).
Time and time again, studies have shown voracious readers enjoy the benefits of not only being better in business, but of being more creative in general, according to a University of Toronto study.
According to the study, people who read a lot have less of a need for “cognitive closure,” meaning they will pursue a problem for longer instead of giving up and coming to oversimplified (or just incorrect) conclusions.
Says the study:
“The effect [of decrease in need for cognitive closure] was particularly strong for participants who were habitual readers (of either fiction or non-fiction). These findings suggest that reading fictional literature could lead to better procedures of processing information generally, including those of creativity.”
It’s simple, really — read more, learn more, be more.
Here are the best books I’ve found to help my side hustle:
#1 Cashflow Quadrant
This book blew me away on many levels, starting with this simple but powerful fact I never learned in school: Income can come in all different forms, not just employee wages. What’s more, those different incomes are taxed in different ways.
After reading Cashflow Quadrant, I’ve committed to increasing my efforts in earning multiple streams of income (preferably those who don’t get their legs chopped off by taxes). As with any Robert Kiyosaki book, there is plenty of fluff and repetition in this one. However, the insights are so powerful, it’s worth putting up with a little redundancy.
#2 Tax Free Wealth
“Not pay taxes?! Surely that’s unpatriotic!”
Maybe. But if you could pay less taxes, wouldn’t you? I’m still not 100% in the “nobody should pay income tax” camp, but this book is full of ideas on reducing taxes both in a personal and a business sense. Flat out — if you’re trying to start a business, even a small one, you’ve got to have a baseline understanding of taxes.
If nothing else, it doesn’t hurt to at least understand why you’re paying what you are. (And no, you don’t have to be a genius to get it.)
#3 The 10 Day MBA
University is pretty terrible, and it isn’t getting any better. Unless you’ve got the connections to get in one of the world’s top 10 schools and securing your social status for life, you’re much better off getting this book. As a bonus, you will save approximately $120,000 and 4 years of your life.
Although it’s a bit dry, The 10 Day MBA will give you all the little secrets most people never get to know (like the “copy your competitors” nugget I mentioned above).
You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you incapable of making a decision, the sheer speed of business will flatten you. This is especially true if your time is limited by another job.
Chip and Dan are two of my favorite writers. This book boasts an incredible framework for making good decisions (the WRAP structure). More importantly, you’ll also find top tips on avoiding bad decisions, which I’ve found terribly freeing.
Although Jeff’s method might be slowly sinking in the era of email overload, there’s no question this system still gets results.
One simple reason the Product Launch Formula works is because it is a system. When you’re strapped for time, you need structure to help you figure out what to do when you’ve got a few short minutes in your already cram-packed schedule. A good system with 50% effort always beats no system with 110% effort. I hate making systems. So I take them from books like this one.
#6 The Rich Employee
Hands down, this will be one of the more powerful reads you can consume as a Wantrepreneur.
Altucher writes with his usual candor in this one. His lines can be shocking at times. However, it’s rare to find a person who has made and lost millions multiple times, and who is still around to tell the tale. Specifically, this book is a great guide for how to excel in a full time job AND successfully make an “evil plan” to leave it.
#7 Sleep Smarter
Oh, you think your health doesn’t contribute to your business?
Then explain, who takes over your side hustle whenever your body gives out?
As a company of one, a full-time employee, and a freelancer, I have to be in prime shape at all times in order to reach the dreams I have for myself and my family. Sleep is just the starter.
(I’ll let you in on a little secret of the book. You DON’T have to do “8 hours a night.” It’s the QUALITY of your sleep which matters much more).
What’s missing from this list?
Respond to this story with your favorite read from 2019
Much love as always ❤
— Todd B