No textbook can replace real life experiences, especially when it comes to running a business - the hard judgment calls, the late nights, rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty down in the trenches with your team. Remember this though, it is possible to pave a smoother path for yourself by looking to the successful founders who came before you. After all, when aiming to make it big, who better to learn from than those who’ve already been put through the wringer and come out on top? Read about their experiences and study their failures, then consider how you might approach similar challenges.
Proactive learning like this can change the way you think, improve the way you work, and transform the meaning of success for you and your business.
Not sure where to start your research? Check out these fifteen books every entrepreneur should read.
Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz, offers up a brutally honest look not at what’s needed to start a business, but what it takes to run one. Readers can appreciate the equally entertaining and shrewd descriptions of his journey from software engineer to venture capital CEO. His no-nonsense approach and relatable wisdom are characteristics I consider to be invaluable for anyone in a leadership role, whether at a startup or a Fortune-level corporation.
Whether you’re doing the dog and pony show for funding, seeking to effectively communicate with your team, or looking to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, you’re going to need to learn to make and give stellar presentations. Ask any business owner and he or she will tell you, strong in-person presentation and communication skills are the difference between the remembered and the forgotten.
In her book Resonate, presentation expert and Harvard Business Review contributor Nancy Duarte explores a number of proven techniques for transforming any presentation into what she describes as "an engaging journey" for audiences. As the leaders of our companies, it's imperative that we maintain a thorough command of the spoken word in such a way that elicits any number of desired responses from clients, investors, and colleagues alike. This book spells out the how-tos behind these key communicative skills.
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