5 Books Every Entrepreneur Absolutely Needs To Read

Yes, this blog post is only going to talk about 5 books I think you should read.

Not 20.

And most definitely 50.

After all, how many of you actually read those huge list posts?

I usually lose the will to live by the 35th item.

No, instead I thought it might be cool to share some of my favourite books with you – books I’ve actually read and not just Googled.

Some of them are directly related to the idea of working for yourself, but some are a bit more tangential.

But there’s value to be had in reading each of them.

That’s even if some of these authors aren’t the leading lights they once were.

1.     Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki

This was the book that made me realize something very important: the biggest trick the Devil ever played on mankind was convincing them to accept being paid enough to live on, but never enough to truly be free.

But most people never get that.

Instead, you’re forever grateful you’re paid just enough to sustain your lifestyle until you’re too old to work.

And then you retire on less money than you were barely able to survive on when you were younger.

So you get to live out your retirement years living in what is effectively poverty.

This book tells the story of a young boy with two dads: one his rich dad and the other his poor dad

The poor dad (his biological father) is an academic who believes that being educated and working hard is the path to success. His “rich dad” (his friend’s father) is entrepreneurial and understands that it’s very difficult to become financially independent when working for others.

I’d never thought about employment in those terms before, but once I did I couldn’t forget it.

It obsessed me to the point that I couldn’t focus on anything else.

And that, to me, is the sign of an impactful book.

Am I suggesting that you rush out and invest in his other products?

No.

But this book will make you think more carefully about your employment choices, and what type of lifestyle you want to have when you retire.

2.     The 4-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferris

Rich Dad, Poor Dad started my thought process on wanting to leave my daytime job.

The 4-Hour Work Week was the book that made that decision concrete.

I’m not even sure where I heard about Tim Ferris’s book, but I’ll never forget reading it.

In it he discusses the various hacks he’d used to build his health supplement business.

How he was struggling to stop this business from destroying his life.

Along the way he discovered the 80/20 Rule (Pareto Principle) and saw “the light”.

Shortly after having a nervous breakdown, he implemented new strategies in his business

And part of that was only spending an hour a week answering email, while automating or outsourcing the rest of his business.

Some people got carried away after reading this.

Everyone was suddenly using “Out of office” error messages for their entire working day.

I never went that far, because typical me, I just took from the book what I needed at that point in time.

This amounted to two lessons:

  • 20% of your customers generate 80% of your income
  • And a question: “What is the absolute worst, apocalyptic, end-of-the-world thing that might happen if you start your own business?”

Tim is a very inspirational writer – he really lights a fire under you.

Just be careful that he doesn’t inspire you to quit your job before you have at least 6 months of living expenses in the bank.

Or in other words, don’t do what I did.

3.     Deep Work- Cal Newport

I first heard about Cal Newport through YouTube, specifically his TedEx talk about something called “deep work”.

The first thing you’ll notice about Cal is how unassuming he is. There’s none of the bravado or slick Willy stuff you get with some other TED speakers.

He seems almost shy.

His talk was actually titled “Quit social media” but the core idea was the same: you can only achieve real results when you’re working without distraction.

This is something he calls deliberate practice.

Or focusing with 100% intent on one thing at a time.

In his examples of deliberate practice he shows real-world cases where people achieved amazing things by doing this.

Like the salesman who taught himself how to code to a professional level by locking himself in a room and using flash cards.

Basically, this book breaks down how productive people actually are each day, considering the non-stop interruptions people have.

Like emails, people dropping by your desk, phone calls, and being addicted to social media.

So the truth is that people aren’t that productive at all.

And for entrepreneurs, this is why you wind up “working” 14 hours each day.

Except you’re not actually working for those 14 hours.

In fact, at least 50% of the time you’re engaged in “surface” work like checking emails, listening to podcasts, etc.

So his message is a simple one: Eliminate all distractions and focus on what you’re doing.

But it’s how he delivers that message that will make you sit up and pay attention.

This is a great read for anyone who wants a better understanding of how to be productive.

To make those kinds of changes and advancements in your career or business that could change your life.

If you’re already working for yourself (or remotely) I’d suggest reading this before anything else on this list.

Yes, it’s that important.

4.     The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck- Mark Manson

We live in a time where people get trophies just for showing up.

The focus isn’t on encouraging people to be the best person they can, but to reward people for being mediocre.

The message is, “…don’t try harder…we’ll just level the playing field to suit you.”

Mark Manson takes no truck with that shit, and I agree with him.

Life is tough, and there are far too many things to give a fuck about.

Not all of these things are worthy of your fucks.

Yes, this book is irreverent, but it’s also very practical.

Mark takes you through his own journey of self-realization, and it’s a real eye opened. There were some definite “Eureka!” moments in there for me.

The audiobook version of this is excellent – the voice actor is so good I wound up laughing in public at several points.

So if you want to figure out what matters in life, and what doesn’t, then this particular book is a great place to start.

Because when it comes down to it life is shit but, “…the point isn’t to avoid the shit but to only deal with the shit you care about.”

Did this have any impact on my life?

Yes, because I’ve learned to not let other people’s drama interfere with my day – not my zoo, not my monkeys, as it were.

I’ve become a stoic, and almost entirely without really trying that hard at all.

You might not realize it at first, but there’s a lot of emotional and psychological healing to be had in this book.

You can find Mark’s blog here.

5.     Digital Minimalism- Cal Newport

And finally we have another book by Cal Newport.

I’m really starting to sound like some kind of super-fan, aren’t I?

Well in a way I am, because Cal shows what’s possible when you actually apply yourself to a task.

And his work methodologies combined with Mark Manson’s stoicism, for me are the perfect match.

So what is “Digital Minimalism” about?

It’s no secret that people are literally addicted to their smartphones. And it’s not just a case of it interfering with your 9-5 job.

We’re seeing kids and teenagers who literally feel they can’t survive without their phones.

The best example of this is a recent article in an Irish newspaper (I’m Irish so…there), about how new recruits to the Irish Naval Service are quitting the armed forces because they can’t use their phones while at sea.

The British Navy are experiencing similar problems.

So the people who are being paid to defend their countries are so addicted to their phones that they pack in their career.

That means our constant state of connectedness to multiple sources of input (mostly crap) is doing us more harm than good.

And especially young adults.

Digital Minimalism follows the same format as “Deep Work” in that Cal interviewed and/or analyzed people who have figured out a way to either eliminate or drastically reduce their reliance on digital communication.

It can be something as simple as just removing all social media apps from your phone, and replacing them with something else.

Which is what I did, and I swear to God it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

I no longer check Facebook the split second I wake up. And instead of checking it every 5 minutes on my phone (a distraction from my “deep work”) I now only check it on my desktop computer.

Yes, I know – how quaint!

So when I’m away from the PC I am disconnected from everything except email, Slack and WhatsApp.

What’s the big deal?

Well for me I replaced those utterly pointless apps like Facebook, Twitter, etc. with the Kindle app and an Audible account.

I now read or listen to an average of an extra 40 books per year.

And that’s without refining the process further (less distractions), so my goal for next year is an extra 60 books.

So, yeah, you absolutely do need to read “Digital Minimalism” – you’ll get a big chunk of your life back.

The End

And that brings us to the end of this blog post on the books every entrepreneur should read.

There’s a little bit of overlap with some of them, but they all inspired me in their own way to forge my own path in life.

Working for yourself isn’t for everyone, but if it’s even a tiny spark of interest related to it inside you, then you owe it to yourself to read these books.

 

 

Should You Add Plants To Your Home Office?

If you are lucky enough to be able to work from home, then you want to make sure your office space is conducive to the task. You probably have made it quiet, away from others, and have all of the needed equipment close by. All of this will ensure that you are productive and get your work done.

However, in addition to being productive, you should also be happy in your workspace. This means adding items that make you smile. You probably have pictures of your family and/or pets and other personal items. In addition, you might also consider adding desk plants to your space.

Why Are Plants Good for a Home Office?

If you are wondering why you should add office pot plants to your space, there are many benefits to doing this. There have been several studies conducted that show the benefits of putting plants in your home office. Below are some of the benefits.

Remove Toxins from the Air

Plants are natural filters. They can remove toxins from the air, making it cleaner and better for you to breathe. You may think that you don’t have any toxins in your home because you do a great job cleaning and maintaining it, but you would be surprised.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t get rid of all of the dust in the air. Some plants are able to remove this from the environment. There are also chemicals and contaminants in your furniture, printer and inks, and your carpets. Even your pets come with their share of contaminants. Removing as many of these from the air can be beneficial.

A plant’s main purpose is to take the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, use what it needs to grow, and then get rid of waste, which comes in the form of oxygen. Thus, if you have plants for home office, you can increase the amount of oxygen in the room. This can help you breathe easier and improve your brain function.

Improve Health

When you add plants to your home office, not only are you improving the air quality, but this has a direct impact on your health. When the contaminants are removed from the air, this reduces the chances of you getting sick, developing a cough, getting a headache, or having dry eyes. Plants are natural humidifiers, so they can also put moisture in the air, leaving your skin feel soft and smooth.

Enhance Your Mood

When you add plants to your office, this can be a great way to reduce stress and boost your mood. For many, the beauty of plants is enough to make them smile and want to be in the same room. Finding some plants that you like to look at can make you excited and willing to go to work.

Increased Productivity

If you are happy and stress-free, then you are likely to be more productive at work—and plants can help with that endeavor. Since plants add so much to the work environment, you might consider adding some to your space and taking advantage of all the benefits they have to offer.

What Kinds of Plants Are Good for Your Office?

When it comes to plants for home office, there are many different options to choose from. The final decision will be based on personal preference, but if you are looking for some suggestions, check out those listed below.

Spider Plant

Source:Wikimedia

This plant come with leaves that are striped with white and green. They can thrive in small spaces, but they will need to be placed in a hanging pot or on a high shelf, as the leaves will dangle down. They don’t need a lot of sun or frequent watering. Thus, they can be a great low-maintenance plant to add to your office space.

Chinese Evergreen

Source: Wikimedia

If want a plant that has a bit of color, then you should look at the Chinese Evergreen. These leaves are green with a red accent. This plant is hearty and can thrive in low light. It also doesn’t require frequent watering. However, this plant does not like the cold, so you’ll need to keep your office above 55 degrees to keep this plant alive.

Philodendron

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/joedesiderio/

Never had a plant in your life and you are worried that you might kill it? Then consider getting a philodendron. These plants are incredibly hearty. They are lush and green and come in a vine or non-climbing variety. It may not take much to keep them alive, but they enjoy being in bright, indirect sunlight. Thus, if you have a sunny office, this plant will thrive in your space.

Peace Lily

If you’re looking to add some flair and your office is on the dimmer side, then you might want a Peace lily. This plant has white flowers that can add something extra to your office. They don’t require a lot of maintenance, but you will need to keep the soil moist. You’ll have to check it often to ensure that it doesn’t dry out. Otherwise, it will die.

Boston Fern

Source: Wikimedia

Ferns are incredibly common house plants, and they add something unique to any space. A Boston fern can make your office space look fantastic, but it will require a bit more care and maintenance. They don’t like dry air or excessive heat. They prefer humidity, so in addition to watering them often to keep the soil moist, you should also mist the leaves once a week.

What Are the Best Desk Plants?

Many of the plants listed above require more space or need to sit on shelves or hang from a hook. If you prefer to have a plant sitting on your desk, then you’ll want to consider some of those listed below.

Dracaena

Source: Wikimedia

When it comes to desk plants, this is one of the toughest options out there. They are incredibly hearty and can survive in various conditions. If you’re the type of person who forgets to water their plants on a regular basis, this one can stand up to it.

This plant may be able to stand up to drought conditions, but it also looks amazing. It has thin, colorful leaves that will look fantastic on your desk. They are also really good at removing contaminants from the air.

Snake Plant

Source: Wikimedia

These plants are easy to care for and maintain. In some cases, they can go up to a month without water, and they prefer low-light conditions. This plant has tall, pointy leaves that shoot straight into the air. They are often dark green with yellow or lighter highlights, so they can add color and style to your space.

Cacti

If you always forget to water your plants, then get a cactus. They can go for incredibly long periods of time without need water. There are many different types and colors to choose from, so you can find one that will match your style and décor. Make sure you have a bright office, as these office pot plants enjoy bright light.

ZZ Plant

Source: Wikimedia

This plant has a name that is hard to pronounce, but it is not hard to take care of. With fat stalks and green leaves, this plant can tolerate low light and infrequent waterings. It will add something extra to your desk and will help clean the air and boost your mood.

Devil’s Ivy

This plant is good for all types of different office environments. It has leaves that are broad and often heart-shaped, and it comes in a variety of colors, from light green to dark green. It can thrive in low light levels or in bright light.

What Plants Create the Most Oxygen?

If you are looking for plants that create the most oxygen, there are several you can choose from. Two that were listed above include the Chinese evergreen and the snake plant. Some of the others include those listed below.

Areca Palm

Source: Wikimedia

This plant can grow on the larger side, so it may be a better in a larger space in your office. It creates a lot of oxygen, but it’s also good about removing toluene, formaldehyde, and xylene from the atmosphere.

Gerbera Daisy

If you’re looking for a plant that can add some beauty to your desk and create a lot of oxygen, then you’ll want to add a Gerbera daisy. It can remove chemicals such as trichloroethylene and benzene from the air.

Money Plant

This plant is really good at creating oxygen and removing toxins from the air. Again, it can be on the larger side, so putting in a pot might be your best bet. This plant is best in homes that don’t have pets or small children, as the leaves are toxic if ingested.

Finding the Right Plant

When it comes to finding the right plant for your home office, you will have to decide how much space you have, your ability to care for the plants, and what you like. There are many options for any level of green thumb you might have. Adding plants to your home office comes with many benefits, including increasing your productivity.