What a surprise The Kinfolk Entrepreneur was. I discovered it in the Business—Startup section of my local Barnes & Noble. I thought it was a beautiful coffee table book that profiled entrepreneurs, and it is, but not of the traditional “startup” kind often associated with technology and Silicon Valley. It’s a beautiful book. And it profiles entrepreneurs. But they are entrepreneurs of a different sort: the creatives—i.e., the fashion designers,
Zappos is known for delivering WOW service and having a great corporate culture. Customer-centricity is more prevalent (and easier to deliver) than employee-centricity so I was intrigued to learn more about Hsieh’s secret sauce. I’m a newbie to graphic novels but I admit, nothing delivers the goods or the guts more swiftly than a picture book. And that’s exactly what I wanted. There’s more than a few great sound bites
Like becoming a parent, there are no requirements or required education to becoming a startup founder. In both cases, the job starts with a “seed”—in the case of the startup, a good idea—that grows. Lack of preparedness leaves a lot of newbies in the lurch—how does one do the basics of baby raising or business building? I can’t speak to baby raising but I do a lot of business building
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz My rating: 5 of 5 stars The Hard Thing About Hard Things is a pragmatic and entirely refreshing take on business and leadership. It's one of the most useful--if not the most useful--business books I've read in ages. Easy to read and straight-talking, Horowitz provides actionable, insightful advice backed with real stories
Million Dollar Women by Julia Pimsleur My rating: 4 of 5 stars I found this book exceptionally insightful and useful. At its core, Julia Pimsleur, shows budding female entrepreneurs who perceive themselves as "Creative Professionals" to develop into "Business Professionals" because that's what's required to build a $1M + business. Building a big business means attracting investors--friends and family, angels, and VCs. And attracting investors means financial savvy, polished pitches,
Good Is the New Cool: Market Like You Give a Damn by Afdhel Aziz My rating: 4 of 5 stars The authors, Afdhel Aziz and Bobby Jones, are a couple of soulful guys who have written a soulful book that makes a strong case for soulful corporations. And there's a good reason why: our nation's resources are heavily concentrated in the hands of corporations: TOTAL REVENUE BY STAKEHOLDER, U.S.: -
Anything You Want by Derek Sivers My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is a common sense guide to building a business from a really decent, unassuming, salt of the earth guy who built a really big business, CDBaby. He focuses on all the right stuff--customers over self, rewards over punishment, action over excuses, smiles over fancy MBA stuff. The wisdom in here is incredibly subtle but exists in spades.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel My rating: 4 of 5 stars I had to get past my knee-jerk aversion to Peter Thiel’s chest-thumping style before I could truly appreciate the brilliance of Zero to One. I stuck it out though, and I’m glad I did. There’s a lot of bravadoes, but there’s also a lot of wisdom in his words—even