Tag: Book Reviews

The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs

The best are the best for a reason. The most wealthy, most ambitious, most successful entrepreneurs in the world—Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, Sara Blakely from Spanx, Mark Pincus from Zynga, Kevin Plank from Under Armour—have all oriented their perception in order to be as successful as possible. They have changed their very way of thinking; they have developed The Entrepreneur Mind.

The author, Kevin D. Johnson, of The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs has boiled down these characteristics to their very essence in his insightful landmark novel. After running his own multi-million dollar corporation, Johnson Media Inc. in addition to founding and investing in a host of other entrepreneurial ventures, Kevin Johnson has developed the wherewithal, the resilience, and the motivation that has driven the planet’s most successful capitalists over the course of history.

Written specifically for both emerging and established entrepreneurs, the book concisely articulates one hundred key lessons that aid the new and the experienced alike. Restricted to seven categories, Strategy, Education, People, Finance, Marketing and Sales, Leadership, and Motivation, this valuable advice makes the bumpy road to true fiscal freedom a smooth path free from hiccups. Relying on his own experience, Johnson delves into detail on several particular points in his life, potentially the most captivating of which is a life-changing visit to Harvard Business School.

Yet, these life experiences merely support his main points and illustrate how to change, and the value of changing, your perception of the contemporary economic climate. Some of his tremendous tidbits of advice include but are not limited to: learning to think big, understanding who makes the best business partners, knowing what captivates investors, comprehending when to let go of an idea, and figuring out where to avoid opening a business bank account. Perhaps one of his most engaging ideas is his belief that too much formal education can actually hinder your entrepreneurial growth, a seemingly paradoxical idea that, in reality, largely rings true.

For those looking to dip their toes in the water of entrepreneurial instability, The Entrepreneur Mind is a wonderful introduction to the groundwork of capitalism.

Hashmi’s Innovation Thinking Methods

People usually think that world-changing ideas are rare and can only come about like a lightning bolt of inspiration or a stroke of genius. However, according to Osama A. Hashmi’s “Innovation Thinking Methods,” that’s not the case at all. According to Hashmi and his book, finding or creating ground-breaking solutions is something that anyone can do.

Hashmi’s entrepreneurial career spans over 15 years. Currently he’s the CEO and Product Architect of the revolutionary CDF Software. He’s helped build numerous product-based companies, startup communities in emerging markets, and enterprise companies on product strategy. His aim has always been the same: try to solve some of the big problems of the world. Here’s where “innovative-thinking,” as he likes to call it, comes in very handy.

In his book, Hashmi explains that being a true innovator and a product visionary is all about adopting a simple thinking discipline he calls “innovative-thinking.” He defines this discipline based on the different methods and techniques he’s used throughout his career to build strong innovation cultures and help entrepreneurs refocus their company goals on more impactful endeavors.

The problem with today’s entrepreneurs is that more and more we see how startups and larger companies are pressured by investors and founders to innovate while maintaining the level of risk involved as minimal as possible. This pressure becomes very stifling for companies that have the ability to reach new heights and ultimately leads them to create mediocre improvements to already existing solutions, rather than creating something people don’t even know they need yet. To make things worse, with the world becoming increasingly interconnected, innovators are required to act fast; the goal is always to be the first, not necessarily the best.

After presenting the issues that are currently limiting everyday-people from creating transformative things, Hashmi presents a series of suggestions on simple ways people can use innovative-thinking to their advantage. One of the methods he mentions is thinking, talking, and essentially behaving like a human. According to Hashmi, often times when we focus on product or service development delivery we think and act like a business to a business, instead of a customer to another customer. According to Hashmi, the simple act of putting ourselves in the shoes of a customer can bring about innovation in ways you wouldn’t expect. It allows you to genuinely approach a problem as a human looking for a solution, not at a company looking for success. When you do this you open yourself to truly understanding the needs that must be solved and become more creative in your solution search.

Another great thing about Hashmi’s book is that it’s an easy read. It’s written in a conversational style with no technical jargon that may discourage a wider audience from reading it. It’s full of sustained examples, powerful questions, and realistic criticism of today’s entrepreneurial industry. If you’re looking for a good guide on how to be substantially innovative, this is a good place to start.

Misbehaving, The Making of Behavioral Economics

Richard H. Thaler has brought humanity back to economics with his wonderfully entertaining novel, Misbehaving, The Making of Behavioral Economics. In the academia of economics, humans are perceived as rational individuals, making proper decisions founded on logic. Yet, as we all know, human beings are hardly perfect.

We’re prone to mistakes, to misperceptions, to mishaps. Thaler, a distinguished economist himself, has recognized this fallacy and is seeking to change that perception in his field, thus bringing economics back down to Earth. His clear and often comedic prose breathes life into the pages, engaging readers’ interest while teaching them at the same time.

By identifying with human nature through our universal inclination toward mistakes, Thaler touches upon something many educational novels miss, humanity. He realizes that the standards of rationality which have characterized economics through the centuries is not fool-proof, and he is exploring an oft-neglected though necessary facet of market behavior.

Incorporating recent psychological discoveries with a clear comprehension of broad economic behavior, Thaler is able to shed light on how we, as individuals, should behave in the current marketplace. He offers insight into how to make smarter economic decisions despite our natural predisposition for impulsive, irrational, emotional behaviors. However, his advice is not merely limited to personal finance, for it also encompasses general trends in commercial building, in the NFL draft, and even in current ride-sharing behemoth Uber.

What’s more is that this book could, quite frankly, indicate a paradigm shift in economic theory. His findings pose interesting possibilities for the science, potentially bringing it roaring back to life in academic circles. By acknowledging the very real possibility of human foible in economic discretion, Thaler is being a realist. The fact that he is able to introduce such an intriguing and innovative perspective with such a candid tone is merely an added benefit.

While I’m not saying this book is entirely comprehensive, or even entirely accurate, I am saying it poses questions that need to be asked, that need to addressed. All science should reflect contemporary thought, and contemporary evidence. Thaler does just that with a gusto that simply cannot be ignored.

By combining anecdotal evidence with market theory, Richard Thaler remarkably brings economics to life. His engaging prose, direct manner of speaking, and outright hilarious memories offer any reader a memorable and valuable literary experience.

Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck

Des Hague, Book Reviews, BusinessIn today’s incredibly competitive marketplace, it is commonplace for us to become too comfortable with our current positions. Spending 40+ hours a week doing something we don’t like is not only irrational, it’s hurtful for your mental health. You deserve to do something you enjoy for a living. Just because you may have to branch out from the security of a stable job is no excuse to deny yourself happiness. Jon Acuff’s “Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck” does a fantastic job of illustrating just how to accomplish taking back control over your job.

Utilizing his own experience, the author ensures that it’s not something you need to start a new career, it’s merely putting what you already have to use. He claims that each and every one of us has what it takes to succeed in any profession (minus the obvious educational requirements for higher tier executive positions). Essentially, he claims that four aspects of character we develop in every job from scooping ice cream to evaluating astrophysics are responsible for our success or for our failure. By building upon our relationships, skills, character, and hustle, we are able to overcome any professional obstacles that may hold us back. Such professional obstacles include but are not limited to: Career Ceilings, Career Bumps, Career Jumps, and Career Opportunities.

In regards to Career Ceilings, Acuff speaks to the possibility of getting stuck at your current company. At times, we ascend to what we think is the highest position we can reach in a company, yet with sharp skills, we should be able to ascend past that seemingly insurmountable obstacle.

Career Bumps refer to an unexpected change of events, like losing your job for instance. While these events may at the time seem to be tragic, the truth is they can in fact be turned into very lucrative opportunities. By developing relationships as mentioned previously, you will be able to rely on the professional business connections you have already made.

Career Jumps describe when we jump to a different role. While chaos and uncertainty will undoubtedly characterize any such transitions, we will be able to emerge unscathed so long as we develop the proper character. Remember the resilience that allowed you ignite your career in the first place in order to overcome any unforeseen circumstances.

Career Opportunities are a bit more self-explanatory; they’re career opportunities. At times, when opportunity meets preparation, we are lucky enough to be offered a chance to take advantage of an upcoming job position that will further cultivate our professional lives.

While it may have taken Jon Acuff sixteen years to realize how to “do over” his career, it only has to take you however much time it takes you to read his book. Even if you’re not interested in changing careers or reorienting your professional track, the book is still worth a read for the insightful advice, if nothing else. Ultimately, I would not say it’s the best book out there, but it’s certainly beneficial for perspective. Remember the character, the relationships, the skills, and the hustle that has gotten you to where you are today. Never stop developing your core skills. Never stop innovating.