Successful business leaders read. Whether it’s the leaders of behemoths like Google or a one-woman HVAC company who is dominating her market, the most effective leaders read. So with over 16,000 business books published each year, where does an aspiring leader find good books to read or listen to?
Start with Your Purpose
Why do you want to read? Are you interested in knowledge that will shore up areas of need in your company? Are you in pursuit of something that is interesting? It’s possible you are not sure right now what that your purpose is right now.
Areas of Need
The number one method is to ask someone who shares a similar position, say another business owner, for specific recommendations. For instance, you are struggling to understand the profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and cash flow. You ask your contractor friend Bob, who seems to be a financial encyclopedia, for a book recommendation. He points you to Ruth King’s The Courage to be Profitable.
It might be helpful to use these category headings when analyzing areas of need:
- Human Resources
- Business Technology
- Personal Development
Areas of Interest
When it comes to reading, start out with something that interests you. I follow the fields of psychology, neuroscience, marketing, design, behavioral economics, leadership, and some other social sciences. A common interest would be psychology and studying top authors. Martin Seligman is commonly thought of as the founder of Positive Psychology. I read Marty’s book Flourish. In the book, Marty references many other books and authors in his field. One in particular, Angela Duckworth, led to one of my all-time favorite books, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Authors like Marty are my primary source of book recommendations in my areas of interest. You might need to explore a little, but that’s part of the fun!
- Magazines that cover your area of interest
- Online magazines
- Amazon’s “Customers who bought this item also bought,” located in each book listing
- LinkedIn groups
Still Not Sure What to Read?
If you’re still unsure, read Matt Michel’s Contracting Business article “27 Books Every Contractor Should Read”. As you peruse Matt’s list, look for books that call out to an area in your company or in your personal development that needs improvement.
If you’re a contractor, the following three books will dovetail into your areas of need and interest. The potential financial and educational gains from reading and applying what you learn from these books are staggering.
- The Power of Positive Pricing by Matt Michel
- HVAC Spells Wealth by Ron Smith
- “More and New” HVAC Spells Wealth by Ron Smith
Biographies and or Autobiographies
Which business people, scientists, researchers, and or leaders are of interest to you? Much can be gleaned and learned from people who have found success. Books in these categories are also an excellent source of additional books to read.
Divide and Conquer
When teaching contractors how to optimize their learning experiences at trade expos like the Service World Expo, Matt Michel, CEO of the Service Roundtable, says to “divide and conquer.” If you are attending an expo with fellow co-workers, split up and attend different learning sessions. Exchange and compare notes afterwards.
This is also an excellent strategy with books. Whether it’s with your mastermind council, coworkers, or fellow contractor alliance members, form a group and have everyone read a different book. Some groups read the same book and discuss it. This method exposes you to more books in a shorter time period. Simply meet on a predetermined time schedule and share snippets from the books you are reading.
But I Don't Have Time to Read!
Actually you do. You are just prioritizing something else first. What you really do not have time to do is read books that do not specifically meet your needs. So formalize your intention, perform due diligence, and begin your reading journey.
Your most powerful ally in your quest to obtain book recommendations is curiosity. Be curious a follow the framework that I’ve outlined here.
Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!