You’re well acquainted with change.
Tomorrow, you’ll need to put out a fire for your business that you’ve never dealt with before — someone will quit, a deal will fall through the cracks, or private investors won’t provide the promised funds.
You might get discouraged. You might lose hope for a few moments. But you won’t quit. Because you’re an entrepreneur — you’ve chosen to be an entrepreneur — and it isn’t supposed to be easy. You know that.
You also know that you are the determiner of your fate, of your business’ success. You and you alone get to choose whether your business will succeed or whether it will fail. Which means that the way you think, the motivation you roll out of bed with, and the tenacity with which you approach new challenges will not only influence the future success of your business, but single-handedly decide it.
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned as the CEO of Call Porter, it’s that a great book can change the way you think, the way you behave, and the way you perceive the world.
Here are 9 books that have changed me into the man I am today and could change you into the man you’ll be tomorrow.
Book #1: The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield
“We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.”
“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
“It’s better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot.”
“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
“It costs nothing to ask wise advice from a good friend.”
“When no buyers were near, he talked to me earnestly to impress upon me how valuable work would be to me in the future: ‘Some men hate it. They make it their enemy. Better to treat it like a friend, make thyself like it. Don’t mind because it is hard. If thou thinkest about what a good house thou build, then who cares if the beams are heavy and it is far from the well to carry the water for the plaster. Promise me, boy, if thou get a master, work for him as hard as thou canst. If he does not appreciate all thou do, never mind. Remember, work, well-done, does good to the man who does it. It makes him a better man.”
“Proper preparation is the key to our success. Our acts can be no wiser than our thoughts. Our thinking can be no wiser than our understanding.”
Book #3: Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
“The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”
“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”
“Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.”
“Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”
Book #4: Grit by Angela Duckworth
“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”
“Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.”
“…there are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time―longer than most people imagine….you’ve got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people….Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it…it’s doing what you love, but not just falling in love―staying in love.”
“as much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”
“Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.”
“You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get fucked.”
“This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes.”
Book #6: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
“In school we learn that mistakes are bad, and we are punished for making them. Yet, if you look at the way humans are designed to learn, we learn by making mistakes. We learn to walk by falling down. If we never fell down, we would never walk.”
“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.”
“If you’re the kind of person who has no guts, you just give up every time life pushes you. If you’re that kind of person, you’ll live all your life playing it safe, doing the right things, saving yourself for something that never happens. Then, you die a boring old man.”
“The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth in what seems to be an instant.”
Book #7: What Doesn’t Kill Us by Scott Carney
“With no challenge to overcome, frontier to press, or threat to flee from, the humans of this millennium are overstuffed, overheated, and understimulated.”
“Ten thousand or more years before that our species migrated between continents on rafts of seaweed and surmounted mountains in little more than animal skins and leather soles. Those ancestors probably didn’t think of themselves as different from the environment at all. They knew what we are learning again today. That we are all just here.”
“There are companies out there that literally make fortunes by selling suffering. How did pain become a luxury good? Could it be that there is a specific sort of pain that might serve a hidden evolutionary function?”
Book #8: The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg
“Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.”
“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.”
“Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.”
“Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.”
Book #9: The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
“For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.”
“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”
“But you are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.”
“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”
Don’t underestimate the power of a good book.
Reading for even just 15 minutes per day can change the way you see the world and increase how impervious your mind is to setbacks. And, you know as well as I do, your own determination has everything to do with how successful your business will be tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year.
So do your business a favor and pick up one of these books. You’ll be glad you did.