Crippled CEO Blog #142:
For a long time, I have considered taking on students and teaching the ways of small business in a more one on one fashion than I do in these blogs.
One of the best things I ever did for myself and my business was employing “habit stacking“ in order to start listening to educational audiobooks. Habit stacking is when you connect something you want to do with something that you already do so that you start doing the new thing consistently. For instance, if you started doing sit ups in the morning while waiting for your coffee or eggs or whatever to finish, that would be habit stacking.
Mine is a little weird, but you could do something similar. I put an Alexa on my nightstand next to my bed, just outside my bathroom. Whenever I enter my room to tinkle, I tell her to start playing my current audiobook. Due to the whole wheelchair and cerebral palsy and what not, it takes me about five minutes to go through the whole process, but you would be surprised how quickly you can get through a book just doing five minutes at a time, a few times a day. Maybe you could do the same thing, but connect it to brushing your teeth or styling your hair.
In any case, these books that really helped me a lot, and if I was going to teach my personal small business course, I would make a few of them required reading, and I think they could really help you, also.
So, which books? I’m glad you asked.
E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
For a long time, I thought that the letter E in this book title had something to do with technology or the Internet, but apparently the E actually stands for entrepreneurship. Revered with sacred reverence in certain circles of small business owners, this is the step-by-step guide book on turning your business into a well oiled machine of systems and processes, allowing your business to be successful without you burning out, or without you working at all. Some of the references are a bit dated, but the logic is still totally sound. This is a book that has to be done, not just understood or internalized, but doing it pays off. I would take this book over an MBA any day.
Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes
This one actually has quite a bit of overlap with E-Myth, and has lots of similar suggestions, but it does focus a lot more on sales (shocking), and has several alternative methods for peeling the same kitten. I recommend reading both, and picking which parts of each work best for you and combining them Bruce Lee style.
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin
If you’re going to be implementing the systems as described in the last two books, then you’re going to have to be a leader, and this is the best leadership book that I am aware of. Written by two Navy SEALs that fought in the deadliest battles in Iraq, the mix of war stories and real world leadership advice expertly gets the point across and makes you reevaluate how you view the world. Everything is your fault, and that’s a good thing.
Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk
A follow up to Gary Vaynerchuk’s initial hit, Crush It, has different lessons for different people, depending upon where you’re at. Personally, I didn’t need the inspirational stuff in the beginning or the testimonial stories, but the platform by platform guide to succeeding on social media in the latter half is tremendous. From YouTube to Facebook to Twitter, he gives you a list of steps to follow like a recipe on Pinterest, except this recipe makes your business famous on social media. The book is a few years old, so some of the stuff might be getting dated, but I still recommend it 100%.
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
Even if you’re not in business, knowing how to negotiate is essential, but if you are, it becomes even more mandatory. This is, by far, my favorite “self improvement“ book of all time, with every single sentence giving you pragmatic, actionable advice that you can start doing the moment you put it down. Incredible read, and in my opinion, a prerequisite to being in business.
And that’s it. With those five books in your brain, you will have the necessary core essentials. HOWEVER, if you want some extra credit at Cripple University, here are a few bonus ones that will add jet fuel to your fire.
The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
I always thought that the title made this book sound like a gimmick, but it’s actually really good. It will make you look at work and money in a whole new light, but the part I want you to focus on for your business is the section about hiring executive assistants in India that can do a ton of your work for you. We use the service that he recommends in the book, and it’s been a game changer.
Good to Great + Turning the Flywheel by Jim Collins
Collins and his team took a scientific approach to determine why some businesses are great instead of just good. While the focus is on bigger companies, the lessons are useful for businesses of all sizes.
Small Giants by Bo Burlingham
The author set out to make Good to Great, but for businesses that choose to remain “small” (less than 100 employees), but are still very successful while also contributing positively to their communities. Really excellent.
This is Marketing by Seth Godin
Seth Godin is one of my heroes and this might be my favorite by him. You’re not going to get a lot of, if any, specific pragmatic advice, but you will get ideas that will help you shape the way you design your business and your products.
There are so many more, but I truly feel like this set of books is as good as any college business education you might get. Let me know if you read any, and what your results are, or if you have read any of these before. I want to know.
(Do you know who was reading me like a book last night? Your mom. Your mom also gets a text from me every Sunday with a link to the latest blog post. Send a text to 561-726-1567 with the word CRIP as the message to get a link to the blog as soon as it’s up.
Did you know that I have a YouTube channel now? I do! I am putting up two videos every single week. Go search for Crippled CEO and you’ll find me. I would appreciate it if you subscribed.)