What’s On My Bookshelf? 2nd Edition

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What’s the one thing that can help you move forward in life and as an entrepreneur? I would say, hands down, it’s continuous learning. That’s probably one of the simplest, yet most valuable pieces of advice I can give an aspiring entrepreneur.

Successful entrepreneurs realize “they don’t know what they don’t know.” They are however, sure of the fact that the business climate is fast-paced and constantly changing. In order to stay at the top of their game, they all have a voracious appetite for learning.

To realize our true potential, we can’t assume that we know it all – that’s one of the biggest roadblocks to learning and growth, and the most successful entrepreneurs embrace this fact.

It doesn’t matter if you have ten million in the bank or ten dollars to your name, there’s always room for improvement, and if you take a look at the most successful entrepreneurs, you’ll see a common thread – they’re constantly learning so they can improve themselves, and I’m no exception.

So, what’s on my bookshelf at home? Since I wrote ‘Good Reads’ in January 2016, I’ve added some great books to my collection and I thought I’d share two of them with you, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout, and Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big by Bo Burlingham.

Here’s a little about these two fantastic books:

1. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

Positioning is a marketing classic that was recommended to me by Perry Marshall. This is the first book of its kind to address a media-blitzed public who’s become increasingly skeptical. Positioning takes a revolutionary approach to creating a “position” in the mind of the prospective customer, one that reflects the strengths and weaknesses of a company.

Advertising gurus Ries and Trout use their fast-paced, witty style to teach readers how to:

  • Create an industry leader and position it so its name and message enter the subconscious of the market and stays there,
  • Position a follower so it occupies a niche not been claimed by the leader, and
  • Avoid releasing a second product that rides on the coattails of its predecessor.

Positioning also teaches readers how to analyze the latest trends that affect positioning, how to build their own strategy around competitors’ weaknesses, and how to use their current position to their greatest advantage.

One of the things I like about this book is that it provides numerous case histories from some of the most phenomenal successes and failures in the history of advertising. I believe this book should be required reading for all entrepreneurs.

2. Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big

Bo Burlingham, an editor at large for Inc., authored Small Giants after writing an article about Zingerman’s Community of Businesses and how they were different in their approach to growing a business, The Coolest Small Company in America.  

In the Inc. article, Bo tells the story of how the founders of Zingerman’s Delicatessen were looking to expand, and how they could’ve followed the traditional model – you build one deli, expand your empire, and duplicate the first business – but they chose to take a unique approach and departed from the usual path.

What began with a deli, partners Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw went on to build a whole community of local businesses in Anne Arbor, Michigan, including the deli, ZingTrain, Zingerman’s Bakehouse, and Zingerman’s Mail Order.

Bo’s inspirational article on the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses wound up being well-received, ultimately becoming the catalyst for Small Giants.

The story is that Bo was never planning on the article leading to a book, but that’s what happened. A publisher approached Bo and said it was a great topic for a book, but Bo had his doubts. Bo said that while it was a great topic for Zingerman’s, he wasn’t sure if other companies had a similar mindset. As it turned out, his doubts were short-lived.

The Inc. article became popular and after receiving correspondence, Bo learned of other companies with a similar perspective and that’s when he was inspired to write Small Giants.

In his research, Bo dissected each company and found that they all rejected the traditional mindset – growing business with duplication. Instead of growth on steroids, these companies took a fresh approach by focusing on both employee and customer experience.

In Small Giants, Bo takes a close look at 14 remarkable companies, all who chose to blaze their own, unique trail of success. Bo shows us how these “Small Giants” pursued greatness by prioritizing other goals ahead of growing as big as possible as fast as possible.

After reading this book, you’ll find yourself questioning the conventional definition of “business success.”

Read All That You Can Starting Now 

One of the best ways to mold yourself into the successful entrepreneur you want to be is to read everything you can get your hands on about business success, and you can start with Positioning and Small Giants – two must-reads for entrepreneurs.

If you need advice on choosing or funding your dream business, don’t hesitate to give me a call directly. I’m always glad to help!