New Year, New List: Entrepreneur “To Read” List

As one might expect, since the business side of my current world is focused on entrepreneurialism and business growth, so is my entreprenureading list.

As I negotiate my way through another holiday season filled with family, friends and fun, and enter another new year, I find myself reflecting on the year gone by, and contemplating the one before me. Typically I pause to enjoy my successes and consider my failures, although I tend to think of the latter as lessons I can learn from and challenges yet to be conquered. 2015 was a good year, especially if measured in terms of the acquiring of intellectual capital! Each year I endeavor to experience as much as possible, hopefully learning more than the previous year and adding significant “IC” to my intellectual tool box.

However, 2015 was also a difficult year. Despite my adding considerable “IC” to my tool box, I found myself re-learning, yet again, the lessons of my past. In simple terms, the more I learn, the more I realize just how much I have yet to learn; the list just gets bigger!

Long ago, it became obvious that this is a losing battle. But I am not deterred. For in 2016, like in the past, I find myself considering actions that will help me develop and further grow my “IC”. Hopefully some of these learnings will enable me to successfully address those unconquered challenges, making space for new ones in the future.

One way I accomplish this is to consider my reading list for the upcoming year.

As one might expect, since the business side of my current world is focused on entrepreneurialism and business growth, so is my reading list. Notwithstanding the focus, I demand breadth within it. This year’s list is long. However, the following abridged version typifies it including one to challenge my vision, one on strategic approaches to business, one on leadership, two on marketing including one with a focus on social media and online marketing and one, just for fun!

BOLD – How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World

by: Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
This is the book I have chosen to help me challenge my perspective; to think outside of my box. With a focus on exponential technologies, wealth creation and positively impacting the lives of others, this one is a “can’t wait”!

Good Profit – How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World’s Most Successful Companies

by: Charles G. Koch
This is the book I have chosen on strategic approaches to business. While the brilliance of the Koch brothers is obvious based on their clear business success, the strategy deployed to build this success appears less obvious. While to some, the term “good profit” may be a bit of an oxymoron, it is not to me as it’s all about how the profit is made, and how it is utilized. Regardless, I expect this book will challenge my strategic perspective and provide an opportunity to learn more about the Koch family.

Extreme Ownership – How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

 by: Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
This should provide the necessary intellectual challenges and potentially answers on the subject of leadership. This book was on my list early as my personal experience from the corporate world revealed veterans to be some of the strongest players I have encountered. Is this the result of values, discipline, training or all of the above? I don’t know, but hope to get at least a glimpse into the reasons such individuals enter the corporate world with more maturity, focus and yes, leadership skills than their peers. Finally, as a member of my early list, Extreme Ownership ended up as a holiday gift to me from my children, which can only add to my enjoyment of the read!

The Art of Social Media – Power Tips for Power Users

 by: Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
Created by one of the visionaries of today’s startup world. It is my first marketing related read of two. Years ago I attended Kawasaki’s Boot camps for Entrepreneurs and Investors, met him and have been a fan ever since. Enough said!

Meaningful – The Story of Ideas That Fly

 by: Bernadette Jiwa
This is my second read on marketing. Based on the title, and the profound manner in which Ms. Jiwa can challenge one’s mind and way of thinking, it may also turn up providing additional challenges to my visionary side. I am a subscriber to Ms. Jiwa’s newsletter / blog, and I read it regularly. They are typically thought provoking and concise. If you’re not currently a subscriber, it’s worth a look!

ABOVE THE LINE – Lessons in Leadership and life from a Championship Season

by: Urban Meyer and Wayne Coffey
This is my “for fun” read. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of Urban Meyer. However, Meyer is a winner and has developed Ohio State into a winner. I love to learn about how and why people win. Who knows, maybe Mr. Meyer will convert me to being a fan; as did his Florida predecessor Steve Spurrier.

As I work through the last of these and 2016 winds to an end, I expect to have added considerably more intellectual capital to my tool box. I also expect to re-learn my lesson once again, realizing I have even more to learn about life than I perceive today, despite all my significant new “IC”. It all appears to be part of the process. I hope your reading selections for the year will help you enjoy and benefit from the process as much as I do!

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Tony Lettich

Tony Lettich has previous corporate venture capital experience and currently serves as Managing Director of The Angel Roundtable. He is a co-founder of FundingSage, which provides valuable information, tools and resources to entrepreneurs seeking to start, grow and fund a business.