I am an avid reader. I read because there is so much incredible material out there to learn from, but I also read to stay inspired. In the same way movies and YouTube montages and podcasts inspire, books can have a tremendous impact on the way we see the world — and what we believe is “achievable.”
Along my own journey, I have gone back to these five books time and time again as reminders that struggle is part of the journey, and dream-chasing is all about remembering why you started in the first place.
1. Good to Great by Jim Collins
A must-read in the business world, Good to Great tells the tales of companies that made specific adjustments within their organization that produced exponential results. What do I mean by “exponential”? I mean these companies went on to become market leaders and industry powerhouses.
Why this book is such a great reminder to “just keep going” is that it truly doesn’t hold back. It breaks down how even the smallest parasite in a company’s DNA can be destructive, and how sometimes you need to take one step back before you can take two steps forward.
2. Drive by Daniel H. Pink
Where most people go wrong, either in the leadership of their own companies or in the day-to-day habits of their own goal setting, is they fall into infamous trap of motivating through a carrot on a stick.
Drive breaks down the science behind motivation, and how humans are much more likely to work harder when they are driven by mastery and the pursuit of skills and knowledge, instead of the constant dangling of titles and money. Purpose, Pink claims, is the true driver, and if you want to motivate yourself or others, then you need to pinpoint your purpose.
3. Start With Why by Simon Sinek
Similar to Drive, Start With Why spends a considerable amount of time explaining the power of intention. In short: Anyone can explain the “what” and the “how,” but the people and the companies that have a very clear understanding of the “why” are the ones that ultimately succeed and do unimaginable things.
This book is a fantastic reminder that our motives in life have to be rooted in the “why.” Why are we doing what we’re doing? Why are we heading in that direction? Why are we working really hard, or why aren’t we taking advantage of every opportunity?
The “why” matters.
4. You Only Have to Be Right Once by Randall Lane
This is a fascinating read breaking down some of the most forward-thinking companies of the past two decades: Spotify, Airbnb, Twitter, Instagram, Tesla, and more.
In each example, Lane tells the story of the company’s humble beginnings and its rampant rise to fame. The narrative leaves no stone unturned, and makes it very easy to visualize how such iconic ideas came to life.
Especially if you are an entrepreneur in the tech space, this is a must read, if for no other reason than to see that even the famed companies of our time started as tiny ideas with hopeful futures.
5. The Self-Made Billionaire Effect by John Sviokla
And, of course, what is more inspiring than a book explaining how regular people turned themselves into billionaires?
This book covers the likes of Mark Cuban, John Paul DeJoria, Sara Blakely, and more. These are people who, in many cases, left the safety of their corporate jobs and went off on their own — and struck gold.
What makes this book fascinating is how it raises the question: Why couldn’t companies keep these extremely talented individuals? What did these self-made billionaires see that nobody else could?
Any of these five books should reignite the motivational fire.
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Have other book suggestions? Tweet me @nicolascole77.
Originally published at Inc.com.