At eagerWorks, our mission is bringing ideas to life. This is why we work from what the famous psychologist Carol Dweck calls a Growth Mindset: An orientation towards constant learning, questioning your current paradigm, and perpetual self-improvement. Reading and absorbing new ideas from the best minds is our favorite way to do this.
Nowadays, content consumption and learning have taken many forms. We are fans of Ted talks, Podcasts, Blog articles (like this one!), series, documentaries, you name it. However, some of our core values and most profound learnings are found in books (yes, we still read books!) that found their way to us and forever marked many of our professional and personal choices. This is why today we wanted to share with you our Top 5 books for Entrepreneurs, which have shaped our entrepreneurial profile and philosophy.
1 - "The Lean Startup" - Eric Ries (Entrepreneurial)
“The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.”
"The Lean Startup" is a seminal read for anyone in the entrepreneur ecosystem. With his monumental work, Ries has defined an entire generation of startups and provided a much-needed north for their culture, objective, and methodologies. Based on the principle of learning and capitalizing on one’s mistakes to accelerate improvement, the book urges companies of all sizes to adopt a mentality of scientific experimentation and counter-intuitive practices for some industry standards, focusing instead on learning what customers really want at all costs.
Doing away with long-term and complex business plans, Ries teaches us the value of short iterations for constant revision of our processes and work methods to adjust every detail prone to improvement. Concepts such as the Minimum Viable Product, iterative feedback loops, and agile teams are made clear so entrepreneurs from all organizations can experiment with them as they read through this incredible book.
The Lean Startup - Buy book on Amazon
2 - "Crossing the Chasm" - Geoffrey A. Moore (Marketing)
“The key to getting beyond the enthusiasts and winning over a visionary is to show that the new technology enables some strategic leap forward, something never before possible, which has an intrinsic value and appeal to the nontechnologist.”
We consider this book one of the gold standards for scalability of technological products. Many young entrepreneurs have never heard of Moore’s work, as this book was written in 1991, but it’s a seminal work on the matter which has stood the test of time and defined generations of professionals. Our favorite lesson from this book is to focus on satisfying the needs of a small niche before even thinking about targeting large groups or populations.
Moore helps us clearly visualize this and other key concepts through the entire life cycle of a company, never losing sight of their communication and the relationship with their clients. Crossing the chasm is as essential to the world of marketing as David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done” has been for the consulting environment, defining the rules by which many top consultants still work today.
Crossing the Chasm - Buy book on Amazon
3 - "Predictable Prospecting" - Marylou Tyler and Jeremey Donovan (B2B Sales)
“Learn how to articulate your company’s competitive position, actually land meetings from targeted campaigns and track prospects efficiently and most importantly, predictably.”
For almost all enterprises, sales are the primary source of revenue and produce the life force of the organization. This is the best book we’ve come across to help set transparent practices for developing ordered exploration to expand commercial efforts. There’s no static and universal formula for sales success, which is why startups could find use in the flexibility, creativity, and methodological approach of this book, which encourages experimenting with different techniques and concepts until you find what works for your company in its specific context.
Tyler and Donovan are so effective at doing this that we’d recommend their work to all types of organizations, from Cement manufacturers to Restaurant owners! They distill and explain the essence of sales in a way that illuminates the shared pitfalls and secret hacks available for any company that needs to sell a product or a service, regardless of size, audience, country, or industry. That’s a level of clarity and perspective that only true masters of a subject can reach.
Predictable Prospecting - Buy book on Amazon
4 - "Masters of Networking: Building relationships for the pocketbook and soul" - Ivan R. Misner (Networking)
“The central principle of networking is a spiritual idea common to all the world’s great moral systems: The concept of gaining through giving.”
Misner’s work has been instrumental in helping thousands of business leaders to recover the very origin and essence of networking: Affection and care for the people around us. The first human history networks began through shared interests, which evolved into the hard-wired basis for morality we innately feel today. Sadly, modern business has turned this very concept into a one-sided, narcissistic, or selfish pursuit by which we try to solely push our interests into everyone we can reach. This, Misner clarifies, is not true networking.
Quoting spiritual teachers such as Deepak Chopra, this book gives a much-needed human twist to organizations’ current state of affairs. In most cases, profit and revenue increase have become the only visible goals, at the expense of human connection, which, as always, is the real value-generator and loyalty-forming factor for any type of company. Through this book, we’ve learned how to take networking as a life philosophy of seeking to help without ulterior motives, knowing -in an almost Karmatic sense- that everything a company puts out into the world eventually comes back.
Masters of Networking - Buy book on Amazon
5 - "No More Whining: Four attitudes for success" - Enrique Baliño (Organizational Culture)
“Positive people distinguish two types of problems: solvable and unsolvable ones. They then focus their energy on the solvable ones, in talking and building the future and developing their projects. They avoid losing energy in what has no solution, talking about the past or complaining about what didn’t go well”.
Enrique’s book is short and sweet, bringing a fresh approach to managing teams efficiently and, more importantly, oneself. With no magic formulas or silver bullets but rather with intuitive and straightforward techniques and proven methods, Baliño takes back and forth from theory and practice. He teaches us how to manage people in companies of all sizes and keep them motivated and maintain the main goals in sight.
We are drawn to this book due to Enrique’s candid and open retelling of his own experience in his own management journey. Being the ex-president of IBM Southamerica and currently CEO of Xn Partners, Enrique weaves together an impressive professional-growth history with the deep insights and valuable advice of a seasoned manager, seeking to save us the pains and pitfalls he went through. A highly recommended reading for people who feel daunted by occupying the role of a boss in any team.
No More Whining - Buy book on Amazon
Wisdom is perhaps the most crucial trait in a leader, and wisdom can be earned through trial and error or, more efficiently (and "cost-free"), from the trials and errors of others. Books are the condensation of someone’s journey, philosophy, or even their life. As entrepreneurs, taking the few hours needed to digest this information is one of the best investments we can make, as long as we can choose the right sources for our mission and purpose. These are our suggestions, but we’d like to listen to yours as well. What were the books that most nurtured your professional growth? Let us know in the comments!