Here is the continuation of that list, in chronological order, from my first encounter with each book:
4. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber
When our business was smaller, I could have my hand in everything. As we grew, the need for systems became more prevalent.
The overall premise of Gerber’s classic book is that every business should document and operate by systems, as if it were going to become a franchise, even if it has no plans to become a franchise.
This book inspired us to create an operations manual for every department in our company.
Every area of your business should be so well-documented, with step-by-step procedures, that in theory, you could grab anyone off the street, hand them the manual, and they can do the job.
It’s a major step in growing from the technician, to the manager, to the entrepreneur.
3. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
This is another book that could be dangerous if used for evil and manipulation.
Dr. Cialdini is an expert in the field of psychology and persuasion. Influence examines why people say “yes,” breaking it down in to these 6 fundamental principles:
- Reciprocation – if someone does something for us, we feel obligated to return the favor
- Commitment & Consistency – when we have publicly committed to something, we will alter our behavior to continue appearing that way to others
- Social Proof – if 100,000 other people like something, this signals to me that it must be good
- Liking – the more we like someone, the more likely we are to say “yes” to them
- Authority – we tend to follow people who are dressed with authority – uniforms, lab coats, badges, 3-piece suits, etc.
- Scarcity – we are more attracted to things that are difficult to possess, because we assume they must have higher value
I’ve had my team study this book. We use these tools to constantly improve our sales/marketing language, brand image, customer service, and company culture.
This book is a lot of fun. The author speaks with high energy, and he truly lives and breathes the efficient lifestyle that he teaches.
2 Second Lean is all about doing things in the most efficient way possible, and the continuous ongoing improvement (Japanese word: “kaizen”) of those processes.
If you look around our office, you’ll see posters of The 8 Wastes that plague every company:
Every reduction of waste makes your business more lean, more efficient, and more profitable.
We implemented this in our company, and asked every team member to commit the first 30 minutes of every day to making some type of improvement (sweep, sort, standardize) that will shave 2 seconds off the time it takes to complete a routine task. It might be as simple as moving a trash can from one side of the room to another, thus reducing wasted motion. Those 2-second improvements add up, and before you know it, one person is able to do the work of two people, without feeling overwhelmed.
One major effect this had for us: just by rearranging our production department, we were able to increase output by 40%, without needing to hire more people, work more hours, or buy more machines.
2 Second Lean applies to more than just business. You can also adopt this lifestyle in your home and travel.
1. The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed on Your Own Terms by Vishen Lakhiani
Reminder, this does not mean Code of the Extraordinary Mind is my #1 favorite book. It is simply the most recent book that I’ve found myself reading 3 times now, and I have recommended to several others.
Vishen is the founder of Mindvalley, one of the world’s top education companies, with over 500,000 students.
My key takeaways:
- Transcend the culturescape. The culture we were born into imposes many “brules” (bullsh*t rules) on us that, if we simply chose to ignore them and realize they are BS, we can unlock our fullest potential in life. Make good grades, get a good job, work long hours, etc. There’s no true right or wrong way; it’s just what’s your culture or society says is true. That doesn’t mean it’s true for you.
- You can rewrite and bend reality. Visualize and assume the future you desire, as if it has already happened. Recode yourself.
- Model the habits and routines of high performers.
- Become “unfuckwithable.” When you are truly at peace with yourself and you have embraced your quest for this life, no negativity can affect you.
- The 10X Rule, by Grant Cardone
- Good to Great, by Jim Collins
- Emotional Equations, by Chip Conley
The common themes I’ve noticed while writing this are:
- independent thinking
- breaking beyond societal rules/norms
- designing your best self
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the books that have impacted me. There are countless others. I narrowed the scope of the question to books that I’ve read more than once, recommended to others, or given as gifts. These 8 made the top of the list.
What are some books in your life that fit this criteria? Let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for good book recommendations.