April Book Reviews
For the year 2023, I'm reading or re-reading 52 books (1/week). I did this a few years back after hearing what was most likely a false statement, "The average CEO reads 52 books per year". That year, my life improved immensely which is exactly what I'm hoping to recreate. So, if you're an avid non-fiction, business, or self help reader, come back each month to see which books may be up your alley. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
Good to Great
By Jim Collins
Mar. 26th - Apr. 1st
21% of businesses fail within the first year. After five years, 49% fail and after ten years, 65% fail. There's plenty of speculation on to why this happens but the reasons why businesses succeed is consistent. In Good To Great, Jim Collins dives in to the transition that good companies make to become great.
Throughout this book, the most consistent themes for great companies is narrowly focusing their objective, industry competence, and focusing on their strengths. This may seam obvious but you'd be surprised on the number of companies that do business outside of their wheelhouse. An example that comes to mind is when the covid-19 pandemic hit, everyone and their mom started to produce and/or sell hand sanitizer. In the moment, this probably seemed like a good idea. It was probably even profitable... in the short term. However, the resources and time taken away from regular business, may not have been good for their long term success.
If you own a business, plan to start one, or are a decision maker in a business you work for, I highly recommend reading this book. It's packed full of business knowledge and case studies from successful businesses as well as some that failed to become one.
Start With Why
By Simon Sinek
Apr. 2st - 8th
I like to consider my self a leader and those around me would attest to that. However, as a leader, it's important to consistently grow your knowledge and skillset. I love reading books like Start With Why because they challenge previous thinking and force personal growth.
Simon Sinek is a leadership coach, in a sense. He does his coaching through books, talks, and videos on various platforms. I've been following him for quite some time and have been recommended this book year after year. After reading this, I understand why... which is ironically what this book is about (in case you didn't catch that from the title). Start With Why is about just that, learning your and other peoples why and using that to inspire action.
"There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it"
I have personally used both of the previous routes to achieve an influence but with experience comes maturity and understanding which has allowed me to see the difference. Manipulation will achieve influence but it will entail an endless amount of additional manipulation to continue changed behavior. Inspiration, on the other hand, allows the influenced person to take matters into their own hand by truly understanding why they should change their "ways". Why you're doing anything is the most important reason for why anyone will continue doing it which is exactly why this book has been successful. If you're a leader or want to be one, this book will aid you in your growth journey.
Built To Last
By Jim Collins
Apr. 9th - 15th
Like Good To Great, Built To Last is about the reasons for company success. The habits of these companies is consistent among some of the longest lasting and most successful companies in the world. With over six years of research to create this book, it is absolutely jam-packed with knowledge.
With topics such as "More Than Profits", "Good Enough Never Is", and "Cult Like Cultures", every successful business owner could attest to their importance. Too often employees and owners focus on profits, hours worked, and numbers-number-numbers. However, this lacks emotion which is truly what inspires and motivates people. I'm a salesmen and I can tell you that it's a great feeling when my numbers are up (as they are right now) but it ultimately doesn't motivate me. What motivates me instead is that my customers are happy with the service that I provide them and that I and valuable to our company. There's nothing better than genuine appreciation of how my work is positively effecting people.
So, I recommend taking the time to build your skills to last not only for your business or the company you work for but for yourself. This will in turn positively impact everyone you come in contact with and open doors that you never imagined opening.
How To Win Friends & Influence People
By Dale Carnegie
Apr. 16th - 22nd
This is on my Mount Rushmore of books. It's a yearly read for me and for good reason... which is definitely not from the tacky title. How To Win Friends & Influence People should be read by every human in the world, in my opinion. If you're a parent, It will make you a better one. If you have friends, it will make you a better friend. If you have a job, it will make you a better colleague. It's an easy read, so there's no excuse not to read it. Do it for the people you love.
In this book, Dale dives into relationships and what it takes to be great at them. Whether it be simple topics like smiling or being a good listener to more difficult topics like avoiding arguments, there's no way you won't improve your social and relationship skills after reading. Although the topics may be "obvious", we all get caught up in life and need reminding. Again, this is why it's a yearly read for me.
One quote from this book that defines the entire book perfectly is "Every person I meet is superior in some way...". Understanding this alone will allow you to respect and value people more. Check this out and positively impact the people around you.
Taking People With You
By David Novak
Apr. 23rd - 29th
Why become successful if you're all alone in the end? The answer to this question, for me, has changed my life for the better and is ultimately now what drives me. When I graduated college, I was selfish. I was more worried about my success than others because I didn't understand that the people around you effect your growth. The old saying "You will end up like the 5 people you spend the most time around" could not be more accurate. When I was poor and depressed, so was everyone around me. When I started to realize success, so did those by my side. It's not a coincidence.
David Novak, a 15 year CEO at Yum! Brands, explains the importance of getting people on your side to collectively achieve big goals. Year after year, he and his team grew their business by growing together and taking everyone with them. Use this as a workbooks to find where you are lacking as a team to strategically advance towards a collective goal. if you're a manager or owner, I would urge you to give this book a read. Be sure to take notes and implement.
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Greg is a Grand Rapids, Michigan native with a passion for personal growth.