Entrepreneurship is one of those experiences that’s impossible to prepare for completely.
It’s not as though you have to start your business on the fly, though. There are plenty of people who’ve gone through the trials of what you’re about to attempt. And a good number of them have written about their successes, their failures, and what you can expect.
Every month at ThirdLove, someone from our team chooses a business-related book for our book club to read. The group then gets together for lunch and talks it over.
It’s definitely interesting to see different perspectives on books, especially those by founders, and I often hear points of view I wouldn’t have considered on my own.
Everyone gets something a little different out of their reading, but there are some books that stand out in my mind as being perfect for aspiring founders.
So, if you’re looking for a place to start learning, here are five books to put on your list:
Magdalena Yesil is an entrepreneur-turned-investor who’s been working in Silicon Valley for over 25 years — and is well-known for being the first investor in Salesforce.
Her book, Power Up, is about her experience working in the Valley, acting as a guide for other women pursuing a similar path.
The main focus is on her personal story and the struggles she faced as a woman in tech. But she also interviewed a number of different female founders for the book, and she layers their stories in with her own.
It’s a great look at what it takes to make it as a woman and an entrepreneur in a traditionally male-dominated space, and some of her experiences still feel familiar 25 years later.
Most leadership books focus on knowing your strengths and weakness and how you lead best, which is pretty useful knowledge.
But Mastering Leadership is a next-level leadership book. Anderson and Adams argue the world is so complex today — and what’s expected of a leader is so different than it once was — that you have to be working at the top of your game just to keep pace with the world around you.
The main point they make is that in order to be a successful leader, you must go from being reactive to creative.
It’s easy to react, to spend all your time putting out fires. But creative leadership is about making sure people are inspired, collaborative and strategic enough to execute at a high level.
One thing about women working in Silicon Valley as entrepreneurs is that they often have very business-oriented backgrounds. They likely got their MBA at Harvard or Stanford, and there’s a good chance they worked in banking or consulting before striking out on their own.
Amoruso is unique because she doesn’t have the typical background.
Her experience was non-traditional, but she was able to find success in a unique way, building a company from the ground up. It’s certainly one of the more relatable books you’ll read by an entrepreneur.
I believe absolutely everyone should read this book, not just entrepreneurs or business school students.
It doesn’t matter what you do, how creative you are or what your position is within a company – you have to be comfortable with negotiation.
At ThirdLove, we actually have a policy that the team is required to negotiate everything. No one is allowed to say yes to the first offer someone puts on the table. Ever.
But getting comfortable with negotiation requires practice.
You may not initially be confident with this back-and-forth, but there’s no way around it. Getting to Yes will help you understand that negotiation doesn’t necessarily require an “us against them” mentality. It’s about working together to find a common point that’s agreeable for both parties.
I enjoyed reading this book in business school because it has several different recommendations on how to be an effective leader.
However, the one that resonated with me the most is the idea of being proactive and making things happen. In fact, “make it happen” is one of our company values, and it’s become a personal motto of mine.
The idea is simple — if you see something that needs to be done, you go do it.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an opportunity to do something new, or an old process that needs to change; you don’t talk about it or complain.
You take action and get it done.
It’s about being proactive and taking ownership. And I think that’s one of the most important lessons any aspiring entrepreneur can learn.
No one’s going to do it for you. You have to go out and make it happen.
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Originally published at entrepreneurs.maqtoob.com