I would never imagine I was going to write a blog about books one day. I would never imagine one day I was going to be teaching a class called “Academic Reading and Writing” at an international university in Asia with students from 15 different countries. I would never expect myself to set a goal that had to do with books (I said I was going to read at least one book every month this year). So, believe me when I say: I just recently learned to like reading.
Back in high school, I was the typical student that will go and search for the summary of the book, read it, do the homework and get a good score. Back in university, even though I pursued a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication I tried avoiding every class that had to do with reading and writing. I always saw reading as a chore, something teachers were forcing me to do… so, I obviously didn’t want to do it. I think finding the pleasure of reading comes when you “need it the most”. Maybe you have just not found what kind of books you like reading (that’s what happened to me.)
I now personally like reading biographies, books that are written by entrepreneurs, maybe some self-help, and I definitely hate reading anything fictional (I think it is a waste of time and that I won't learn anything). I’d die before someone asks me to read something like Harry Potter or Twilight.
Anyway, the cool thing about books written by entrepreneurs is that when I read them, I imagine the author (a very successful entrepreneur) speaking to me. When I learned to see books like that, I instantly started enjoying spending time holding a
book and underlining some sentences (what a nerd Camila).
Grab a book, imagine the person writing all their thoughts, all they’ve learned from experience, basically writing a journal with all their tricks, tips, and failures…. That’s what a book is, it is a shortcut of useful things for you to put into practice. Once I changed my relationship with books, I tried reading at least 10 pages every night before I went to sleep, sometimes the book was so good that I didn't stop, sometimes I am too sleepy and I manage to read only one page, sometimes I feel lazy and I don’t read anything at all. But believe me, 10 pages every day can make a huge difference.
Here are the 6 books that have taught me about entrepreneurship more than I learned during my MBA:
This book taught me how to stand out when maybe other people have certain biases or stereotypes towards me. I am a woman, I started a business when I was 23 years old, I am trying to do business in my third language (Chinese), I have no connections whatsoever because I am on the other side of the planet…. so many other things could’ve stopped me from doing what I do or from even just trying to do them. But instead of seeing them as something negative, I learned to switch the perspective people might have of me and make it a positive one. The author teaches entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School, if you read this book is basically like if you were taken her course (that’s how I like to see it). Also, she has a Ph.D. with plenty of real research on entrepreneurs and investors, so the advice given is so trustable because it is backed by science.
This book has a short TED talk that you can watch and learn the basics of the book. But the book has sooooo many more examples that it can make it very specific for you to understand and put all of her tips into practice. I watched the TED talk a while ago, but my younger brother, who is a musician and music producer, told me I should read the book. It is great, not only if you are an entrepreneur but just in general with everything you do in life.
It can teach you how to be successful without giving up too quickly. It reminds us that everything takes time and practice. I don't have a lot of patience, so this book really talked to me.
#3 Pick Three
When you become an entrepreneur your life becomes hectic. You have SO MANY things you need to balance at the same time that you can easily feel burnout (often), I didn’t even know what that was until it happened to me. Feeling burnout basically happens when you haven’t had a break and your body and mind just can’t take it anymore. This book taught me that you can actually split your days by picking 3 priorities per day. Family, friends, fitness, sleep, work… these are the “5 pillars” of life, so the author describes and teaches you how can you actually balance your life better by picking 3 every day instead of 5. As you can tell from her last name, she is Mark Zuckerberg's sister, who can give you better advice than the sister of the guy that runs Facebook?
(Thank you, Gabi, for the recommendation).
#4 Think Like a Monk
This might be more in the self-help category. But the author, which you probably follow on IG already was a regular Indian-born British guy that had a very normal life until he decided to become a monk, for I don’t remember how many years. Later on, he basically built an empire in social media with what he learned living life as a monk. This book taught me to deal with my emotions and my past better, and I think both things greatly impact your journey as an entrepreneur. I also liked it because most chapters have short “exercises” for you to practice and I could personally relate to many of the examples he gives. I think entrepreneurship has a lot to do with your ego, your ego can stop you from trying new things because of the fear of failing or because you care about what others might think of you. This book taught me how to deal with those better.
#5 The Power of Habit
I bought this book almost by accident at the airport in London because I had a long flight ahead. I bought it thinking it was going to teach me how to create healthy habits because it is really hard for me to stick to new habits. Once I started reading the book, I realized it had not much to do with that, it is more business-related and it tells so many cool stories about how business-like toothpaste and Lysol became so successful because they managed to create a habit in their customers. It was so interesting to read and I had a “wow” “what” “no waaayy” moment almost on every page I read. I definitely learned how to manipulate some actions in order to get positive results and a healthier lifestyle in the end.
10 Extra books for you to pick the one you think you might need the most. I believe certain books make more sense if you are going through a specific situation, a book can sometimes have the answers you are looking for.
A woman makes a plan by Maye Musk (Elon Musk’s mom) – Super inspiring! Her family started from 0, basically living in poverty, now Elon Musk is the 2nd wealthiest man in the world.
· Tim Cook by Leander Kahney (Apple CEO (Thank you Rushi for a great birthday gift)). Everybody knows about Steve Jobs, but what about Tim Cook? Apple runs because of him!
· #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso – Super cool story, if you still refuse to read you can watch the series on Netflix.
· Nice is a place in France – I read this book while backpacking around Europe, it is just a fun book and easy book to read, nothing to do with entrepreneurship but has some funny and useful life advice for girls. (Thank you Heidi for forcing me to start reading years ago).
· Figureoutable by Marie Forleo, very easy to read and it teaches you how to find a solution to everything. Her YouTube channel is AMAZING, you can spend hours watching and learning for free.
· The Secret by Rhonda Byrne - It became almost my religion when I was 16 years old, there’s a movie too. It’s all about the law of attraction and how your mind can get you whatever you think. I strongly believe it works because that’s how I got my first boyfriend (he knows but doesn't believe it), my first fully funded scholarship, and got to travel around the world.
· Start with the WHY by Simon Sinek – Before starting a business you should read this one if you still don’t want to read you can watch the TED talk
· Rich dad, poor dad – Robert T. Kiyosaki. I did not read this book, I listened to the e-book because I was still on my “I hate reading” stage (you can do the same, download the Audible app). It taught me a different way to see money and I learned a lot; I think every single entrepreneur has read this book at least once.
· F. U. Money by Dan Lok – I also listened to the e-book, I follow Dan Lok’s Instagram and I think it is great to learn about money mindset and business.
· Think again by Adam Grant – I am currently reading this book and I love that I am learning things about our mental blindspots, cognitive biases, and thinking errors (things I didn’t even know that existed before I started reading it.)