My dad always used to tell me that the difference between the “you” now and the “you” 20 years from now will be the places you visit and the people you meet. I would also add baldness and gray hair to that, but they don’t sound as cool.
He was right. Whether you meet someone in person or read a book he or she authors, people are pivot points that enable learning and foster personal growth for others.
Since January marks the rush for New Year’s resolutions and personal “pivots,” below are eight books every entrepreneur should read in 2015:
1. The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups From Their Founding Entrepreneurs by David Kidder
The title says it all. If you’re looking for a wide array of lessons learned and entrepreneurial experiences, this book is for you. Sharing insights from 41 different founders, The Startup Playbook covers everything from leadership lessons to finding one’s niche.
2. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull
This book is a must read for any business leader, not just the entrepreneur. It is filled with valuable insights about what creates, drives and sustains an innovative culture and compels a company to attempt what no other company has done. Remarkable lessons that only a CEO would know.
3. True North by Bill George and Peter Sims
This is a great book to discover your personal leadership vision, values and motivations. The authors surveyed 125 men and women on what they believe makes them authentic leaders, and the answers may surprise you. Also of note is the personal leadership development portfolio handbook that accompanies the book, which is a personal guide to help you develop your authentic leadership.
4. Zero to One: Notes Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
The following excerpt sums up the concept of Theil’s book: “Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1.”
This bestseller is geared specifically towards the startup community as it offers invaluable advice on what to consider and what to avoid before moving forward. Additionally, the author offers his philosophy on business, which helps the reader generate new ideas he or she may not have considered previously.
5. ThinkerToys by Michael Michalko
The ability to create is just that – a developable ability – that can be learned and improved upon much like any other competency, and the author does just that in this creativity “bible.” After all, creativity and opportunity are what emboldens wannabe startup founders to take the plunge into the world of debt known as entrepreneurship. ThinkerToys, and its companion Thinkpad: A Brainstorming Card Deck, offers 33 different exercises and 56 cards that will spark your creativity and inspire the innovation monster within.
6. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
There’s a reason why this book is number one on Amazon and a Hollywood motion picture. While entrepreneurism isn’t quite the theme of this book, the lessons of personal sacrifice, survival and resiliency are. After reading this book your perspective on founding a startup may change because if the main character, Louie Zamperini, overcame the challenges and catastrophes he faced, then so can you.
7. Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by Gen. (Ret.) Stan McChrystal, Chris Fussel, Tantum Collins, and David Silverman
As head of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Gen. (Ret.) Stan McChrystal faced an enemy that was constantly changing before his very eyes. In a world of both complicated and complex challenges, how do you stay ahead of the power curve while the world and competition change? This book explains how.
8. Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
While this book is completely visionary, it raises questions and concerns about current industrial and societal trends and where they will lead in the future. From a startup perspective, the global challenges the authors envision also serve as business opportunities. Of note, the authors have a second book entitled Bold coming out in February 2015 that will “teach today’s entrepreneurs the tools, technologies and mindsets they will need to make ‘it’ happen.”
Every book has some takeaway that can be applied towards any endeavor. What were your favorite books and lessons from 2014?
Related: 25 Amazing Business Books From 2014