I read a lot. I’m typically reading several books at the same time and often wonder what is the best type of book to read. I’m concerned with productivity and maximizing the output of time invested.
Since reading requires a significant amount time, what books are best to read?
It’s an important question, especially for entrepreneurs. This is because books can, and should, turn into money. If the books you’re reading aren’t turning into money in your bank account, you’re not reading the right books, or you’re not implementing what you’ve learned.
Thinking back through the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that biographies have had the greatest impact on my overall productivity and success. I’ve read biographies on Warren Buffett, Sam Walton, John Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Donald Trump, John Astor, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Felix Dennis, Walt Disney and many more.
One of the books I’m reading now is titled, “King Larry – The Bizarre Road of a Billionaire.” It’s the biography of Larry Hillblom, who started DHL and used it to fund multiple empires. Hillblom was a strange dude, but the story of his life delivered many valuable lessons. With each biography, we get to peek inside the lives of some wealthiest people in the world. We get to see how they thought, what they did and why they did what they did. This is so incredibly valuable for those of us building one or more businesses.
More importantly, we get to see the various challenges they faced building their businesses. In many cases, these challenges were far greater than anything you or I have experienced in our businesses. Seeing how these wealthy individuals adapted to each challenge is extremely motivating. You walk away from each book with a different perspective and begin to see challenges as opportunity.
Building a business requires “thick skin,” and for most of us experience is what thickens our skin. Here are common experiences we go through that thickens our skin:
Having financial issues/bankruptcy
Losing key employee with no notice
Competitors stealing clients
Employees stealing from you
I’m sure you’ve experienced one or more of these skin-thickening events on your journey. Each event we go through makes us a little stronger because you realize it’s not so bad. A close friend of mine just went through bankruptcy and he said it was the best thing that ever happened to him. He is no longer afraid of losing money.
Milton Hershey filed for bankruptcy multiple times. Henry Ford, Donald Trump, Walt Disney, P.T. Barnum, H.J. Heinz…all also filed for bankruptcy. Oddly enough, Mr.Larry Hillblom (King Larry) who I’m reading about now, was fascinated by bankruptcy and filed bankruptcy to win a BIG court case against a competitor.
Bankruptcy as a business tool?
I honestly believe we can short cut the “skin-thickening” process by studying people who built large businesses or significant wealth. The reason why is because our skin thickens as we “see” what they went through in their lives.
I’ve often thought about setting a goal to read the top 50 “classics.” These classics would include “Wuthering Heights,” “Moby Dick,” “The Count of Monte Cristo,” “Anna Karenina,” “Ulysses,” etc.
I honestly believe these classics would change my life. However, they may or may not change my business(es), income or wealth. A better option might be to read the biographies of the 50 richest
people throughout history. How about one biography a month for the next 50 months?
How do you think your perspective would change if you read one biography a month for 50 months? Don’t know until you try.