All small business owners and entrepreneurs understand the hard work, stress and utter joy that come from running your own company. To put it simple: It takes a lot.
So how do business leaders navigate through all the ups and downs and somehow find their footing? Many find their way in the pages of a book.
There are so many business books out there, but there are a few that have a reputation for being especially helpful. We asked some of Kansas City’s small business owners and entrepreneurs to tell us what their favorite business books are, and why. Here are a few books worth picking up for some summer reading.
Connect: How Companies Succeed by Engaging Radically with Society
by Lord Brown
Sloane Simmons, co-owner of Stuff: “I just started reading this book and am getting a lot out of it. And I never thought I would.”
Lunchmeat & Life Lessons
by Mary Lucas
Scott King, Co-CEO, CFO of Kendal King Group: “It is a very simple, yet powerful, book about basic business lessons taught to her by her late father, a butcher named John Bichelmeyer. I had my whole company read this book and discuss. Mary even came into my management team to lead a book discussion. It is a spot-on and emotional read filled with stories and lessons learned that any entrepreneur can benefit from. I’ve personally read it three times now. My favorite takeaway from the book is a slice of Butcher Wisdom: ‘Remember the Comeback Sauce.’ It’s a reminder to always give the customer just a little extra in an effort to foster a long-term relationship. Plus, Mary Lucas is such a great lady — of course I am going to recommend a book by a KC author!”
By Dave Ramsey
Scott King, Co-CEO, CFO of Kendal King Group: “It’s on my radar for summer reading. Dave is coming to KC on October 19 to do a one-day seminar on this topic, and I want to read his book prior to that event. I am an avid Dave Ramsey listener (his nationally syndicated radio show on personal financial responsibility), and I even got to meet him one time in person in Nashville on a Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program (HEMP) trip. He is a stand-out guy, and he has quite the entrepreneurial story. I think his book will be very relevant for any entrepreneur.’
Zero to One
by Peter Thiel
Chris Cheatham, CEO of RiskGenius: “I took two points from this book: (1) Create a monopoly; and (2) make sure your solution is 10 times better than everyone else. You need a monopoly, and you need to make sure your monopoly is clear in the mind of your consumer. For RiskGenius, we are the only Technology Enable Policy Review platform for insurance professionals. At least that is how I tell it.”
The Big Short
By Michael Lewis
Richard Wetzel, partner at Centric Projects: “I’m not a huge fan of traditional ‘how-to’ business books. But throughout my career, I have consistently gotten more out of the books by Michael Lewis, some about business (‘Liar’s Poker,’ ‘The Big Short’), some about technology (‘The New New Thing,’ “Next’) and even some about sports (‘Moneyball,’ ‘The Blind Side’) than any other author. I will read anything by Lewis. He is a thorough researcher but a great storyteller, which don’t often mix.”
Or if you want to take a break from reading, Tim Sylvester of Integrated Roadways recommends video games. His favorite are RPGs–role-playing video games. Here’s his take on how they can help business owners.
“This may sound strange, but I find video games, RPGs in particular, to be a rich source of guidance for business strategy. The entire point of these games is to figure out what people want, and figure out how to give them that in a way that supports the realization of your own goals. In a way, I look at video games as being small-scale business simulators that guide you through complex situations with sometimes ill-defined goals, conflicting objectives and nonlinear progress. Instead of just reading someone’s advice, you’re living a small-scale version of reality and figuring out how to navigate through it. After all, business is just complicated horse-trading, and horse-trading is what RPGs are all about.”
Have a favorite business book you think other entrepreneurs and business owners would enjoy? Post it under the comments section of this post on our Facebook page.