If you know me, you know about my serious (some may say obsessive!) reading habit. Years ago, I promised myself that I would read one book per week, and I’ve kept that promise. Even during my busiest weeks, I stick to my commitment and continue to read daily.
Why, you ask? Easy. I believe a constant quest for self-learning and development is absolutely essential to my success and happiness. It should be for yours, too.
Reading Helps Me Learn from Others
My voracious reading habit started when I was young. I’m a middle child, sandwiched between two very talented brothers. My older brother is an incredible athlete, and my younger brother is quite possibly the most philosophical, charming and intelligent person I have ever met. On the other hand, I was much more focused on academics, reading and understanding myself.
While I played sports and had great friendships, I was always more introspective. I spent all of my summers watching documentaries and reading everything that I could get my hands on. Then — because I have always had tremendous amounts of energy — I would head outside for a run to focus my mind and use my energy well — something I continue to do today. Now that I think about it, my mother was a superwoman for raising all three of us.
My love for entrepreneurship came at a young age as well, and by that time I was already in love with reading. I didn’t see hard work as being the opposite of reading and downtime — instead, I thought they complemented each other. To build a business and be successful, I knew I needed to continue reading and learning from others.
Through dedicated reading, I am able to connect with others and their stories. I can study their journeys and identify lessons that are applicable to my life — whether they are overcoming certain obstacles, building a startup or traveling to a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Reading allows me to codify my learnings and connect them to a bigger picture.
Reading Helps Me Write
One benefit of reading that I didn’t anticipate was its connection to writing. It may sound obvious to some, but it hadn’t occurred to me. I never set out to read with the intention of becoming a better writer and communicator, I read simply because I enjoyed it. But after years of working as a tech CEO, entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I wanted to share my own story with the intention of helping others in the way that books have helped me. As you probably know, I just published and released my first book, and I know that the only reason I was able to write a book was because of all of the years I have spent reading and learning from others.
I know that there are other entrepreneurs (or entrepreneurs to-be) out there that just need to read one story or connect with one person to push themselves to the next level. I hope that in writing my book, I can be that person for someone.
The Books That Helped Me Succeed
In my book The Way of the Growth Warrior: 7 Non-Negotiable Skills to Scale Your Business in Uncertain Times, I share tidbits of some of the books that heavily influenced me. They helped to shape me, my leadership philosophy and my entrepreneurial journey. I won’t share all of them with you here, but instead, I’ll let you in on my top twelve books. These books were all invaluable to me in one way or another.
Antifragile inspired my concept of antifragility in relationships, Never Split the Difference taught me how to discern between trying and doing, and Start with No helped me learn negotiation techniques that are needed, not only in business, but in all aspects of life.
I could go on and on about each of these books and their genius authors, but I don’t want to take the fun out of reading them for you.
- Relentless by Tim S. Grover
- Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters
- Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
- Trillion Dollar Coach by Bill Campbell
- The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
- The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey
- Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
- Principles by Ray Dalio
- Start with No by Jim Camp
- Strategy, A History by Lawrence Freedman
I believe that books come to us when we most need them. Some of these books I sought out, some were recommended to me and some were gifted. No matter how I found them, each of these books came into my life when I needed them, and impacted me significantly.
Funnily enough, my favorite book list is always rotating. Some of the books stay the same, but as I grow and change, so do my favorites. That said, I can safely say that these are my top books for March 2020. Check back with me in a year and I’ll let you know if anything has changed!
Why You Should Read
The easiest reason to do anything is because you love to do it. If something brings you joy, you want to do it — everyone knows that. I started reading because I loved it, and I continue reading because the more I do, the more I love it and benefit from it. But now I know that reading brings me so much more than joy — it brings me codification, connectivity and life lessons, and it allows me to invest in myself as a human and as an entrepreneur.
Hopefully, you share the love for reading that I do. Even if you don’t, you, as a leader and an entrepreneur, need to take the time to invest in yourself, too. Whether that’s through reading, podcasts or face-to-face conversations, don’t dismiss the value of investing time in yourself and learning from others. We are always facing uncertainty — it’s human nature. You can’t eliminate uncertainty, but you can build practices that allow you to be mindful and self-manage in ways that turn your obstacles into lessons learned. Reading and learning from others will help you do this.
Looking for a new book to read? Check out one of the books on my top twelve list. If those aren’t for you, I share more in my book, The Way of the Growth Warrior: 7 Non-Negotiable Skills to Scale Your Business in Uncertain Times. My hope is that one of these books, or any book, will impact you in the way that they have impacted me.