6 Books that shaped the business world in 2013

There doesn’t seem to be any doubts that, in terms of business books, 2013 was a very generous and relevant year. Indeed, lots of great releases that do an amazing job at informing and educating but also at being very inspirational for our future endeavors. Below we offer you our top 6 picks – true ‘gold mines’ with reference to extremely compelling and even entertaining insight into current business issues.

1.Title: The Art of Selling Yourself: The Simple Step-by-Step Process for Success in Business and Life

Author: Adam Riccoboni and Daniel Callaghan

About the book: The book lays out the mechanisms and elements of a business philosophy proposed as the crucial key to understanding and achieving success; at the core of this philosophy we find that getting to know how to ‘sell yourself’ is probably the fundamental objective that best shapes your working life.

2. Title: The Billionaire and the Mechanic: How Larry Ellison and a Car Mechanic Teamed Up to Win Sailing’s Greatest Race, the America’s Cup

Author: Julian Guthrie

About the book: Yes, the title is long as in a tale but yes, this tale is so enjoyable. We are tenaciously pulled into the story of how billionaire Larry Ellison engaged the pursuit of the America’s Cup and how he surprisingly partnered up in his quest with a Croatian immigrant radiator-shop owner. Ellison’s struggle to win the race is described in analogy with his determination in conducting his software business.

3. Title: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

Author: Brad Stone

About the book: Jeff Bezos’s success is definitely one of the most inspiring business stories of the decade. He managed to build a giant from selling mail-order books and, along the way, also conquered the cloud computing market. Brad Stone gives abundant information about Bezos: his first steps into the business world, and how he kept himself driven while climbing the path to entrepreneurial leadership.

4. Title: The Alchemists: Inside the Secret World of Central Bankers

Author: Neil Irwin

About the book: A unique and most enlightening inquiry behind the curtains of today’s economy, casting light on the strings that linked capitalism to the state throughout history. The book is undeniably revelatory pointing to the source and origin of the mighty money but also suggesting its future route. Neil Irwin offers one of the most discerning and thorough investigations involving the central bank and its role in this game of power.

5. Title: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Author: Sheryl Sandberg and Nell Scovell

About the book: A book examining the validity behind ways women can follow to help themselves; presenting those small changes that once implemented can have a huge life-shaping impact. Sandberg and Scovell throw in and mix in a vey entertaining way a considerable volume of humor, data and personal experience to convince us to reconsider our ‘methods’ and choices both at work and in life.

6.Title: The Business of Belief

Author: Tom Asacker

About the book: ‘The Business of Belief’ shoots straight at some core issues in the business and also self-managing landscape. Asacker agilely introduces us to what belief is and how it functions with regard to our commitment to reach a goal. His work reveals what leaders apply in terms of belief to influence, improve and succeed.

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Changing habits

We are all creatures of habit; this is a good thing. So asserts Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Duhigg says that our lives are run by a cycle of repeated triggers (or cues) and rewards. These cycles can never be truly eliminated but the good news is that undesirable, self-defeating habits can simply be replaced with more beneficial ones. In his book, Duhigg explains how. Whether your goal is to lose weight and develop healthier eating habits, make more and spend less money, or build a more successful business, the key to success is to harness the power of habit and make it work for you.

Duhigg starts by explaining exactly what comprises a habit and makes it so powerful in our everyday lives. A habit is a pattern instigated by a trigger or cue – something that motivates one to take an action. Once that action is taken, some sort of reward is received. The actual action(s) needed to get that reward is the routine. This repeated cycle of trigger, routine, and reward forms a habit.

He then shares the story of Pepsodent toothpaste and Claude C. Hopkins, the man who succeeded in making it a household name. In the early 1900s, the average American did not regularly brush their teeth. After a bit of research, Hopkins, an advertising executive, identified something in dental textbooks called mucin plaque, a harmless film that covers the teeth. He called this “the film”. In his marketing campaign, he drew attention to the film and then prescribed the “cure” – a quick brushing with Pepsodent toothpaste, which contained citric acid and mint oil to prevent the paste from degrading on store shelves. These ingredients had an unanticipated side effect – they caused a pleasurable tingling sensation in the mouths of people as they brushed their teeth. This “reward” created the pattern, or routine, of brushing teeth with Pepsodent and soon the manufacturers found themselves unable to produce the stuff fast enough to satisfy demand. An interesting side note, and the reason some habits are so difficult to break is that neurologists have found that this “Trigger-Routine-Reward” cycle actually causes fundamental pattern changes within the brain, creating neurological craving.

Using these principles, positive beneficial habits can be substituted for negative self-defeating ones. First, identify the cue – the element triggering the negative behavior. Next, realize the routine – the behavior itself. Then, find a more beneficent reward to redirect the routine, thus creating and reinforcing a new habit.

The important things to remember to effectively absorb the concepts detailed in “The Power of Habit” are:

Habits are a natural part of a person’s psychological makeup. They are neither inherently good nor bad. Whether your goal is personal (e.g., eat a healthier diet) or business-oriented (e.g., double your sales output), the routines in your life are a choice and can therefore be consciously managed.

A habit is a result of a “Trigger-Routine-Reward” cycle. Identify the trigger, alter the reward, and you can easily change that routine.

Habits cause fundamental changes in brainwave patterns, reinforcing repetitive behaviors and creating cravings. Awareness of these cravings allows one to make better choices.

By understanding Charles Duhigg’s ideas about the nature of habits and how to utilize them to institute changes in your life you empower yourself to become the person you’ve always wanted to be. Embrace the change.

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My favorite book on success

I am an avid consumer of books. I have read hundreds of books business and success. There seems to be a more lasting impression from a book rather than a speech. Its more personal (depending on the author). It feels more like a conversation than a set of lessons. (more…)

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Book Summary of Start with WHY by Simon Sinek

Why do some companies succeed while other similar companies fail? Why do some managers excel at getting their employees into high gear while others garner yawns? Questions like these are at the heart of the discussion in Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

Sinek, a business consultant, says that instead of concentrating simply on “what” – for instance, what products or services a company offers or “how” it should accomplish these things, an organization should instead examine the “why”. This is the basis of inspiration, both from a company’s operational standpoint as well as from a consumer’s viewpoint. In other words, why do people choose to buy from Company A as opposed to Company B?

As the foundation of his theory, Sinek explains that companies and their leaders should operate according to what he calls the Golden Circle, a series of three concentric circles prioritized in importance from the center out. At the center is “Why”. Why does a company exist? Beyond the obvious goal of business success and gain, what does it hope to accomplish? Around that circle is “How” or the operational details of doing what it does. The final outer circle is “What”. He says the most successful companies and leaders take a contrarian point of view, focusing on the why and letting the how and the what fall into place.

He uses Apple Corporation and its founder Steve Jobs as an example. From the “what” perspective, Apple computers are comparatively more costly than similarly appointed PCs, require proprietary parts when repairs are needed, have less software available for use, and are not necessarily the fastest computers on the market. That said, the choice of purchasing a Mac or a PC is basically apples versus oranges. The swaying factor, in Sinek’s view, is the way that Apple portrays itself to the public. Their slogan “Think Different” conjures images of the rebel or the individual – all of which speak to the purpose of why Apple, as a company came into being in the first place. When a consumer understands and believes in a company’s “why” they will buy the “what”. People are loyal to companies they identify with and with whom they feel represent their own nature. Furthermore, it is Apple’s “why” that allows them to successfully branch out into other markets. The iPod, iPhone, and iPad are all innovative products matching the company’s image as a trailblazer.

Sinek goes on to explain how “why” not only helps a business itself, but also its employees. By having a clear vision of its purpose, a CEO or manager of a company inspires its workers toward clear-cut goals and responsibilities. Keeping this vision at the forefront of all actions and dealings inspires employees to look beyond the mundane day-to-day operational concerns and elevate themselves and the company to the next level.

While “Start With Why” doesn’t offer step-by-step plans of action to duplicate Apple’s success, it does give a thorough explanation of the conceptual lessons needed to follow in the footsteps of many successful organizations and leaders. These include:

The theory of the Golden Circle – the what, how, and especially why of doing business.

Reasons a company or leader should focus primarily on “why” instead of “what” and how this impacts future success and growth.

Details on why customer loyalty follows certain patterns and how to take advantage of it.

How “why” influences a leaders effectiveness in inspiring workers in all levels of an organization and how this can make or break it.

Utilizing the principles outlined in “Start With Why” can create the necessary inspiration needed to take your leadership style or organization to new heights. This translates into greater stability, a bigger bottom line, and most important of all, a clearly defined vision of why you do what you do and the satisfaction it brings.

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New book release: The Art of Hacking

I am glad to share with you my latest book “The Art of Hacking”!

The world as it exists today is barely recognizable as the same world that existed on hundred, or even fifty, years ago. The last century has seen innovation after innovation reshape and revolutionize almost every aspect of human existence. Far from bringing us to an end point – a settled state in which no further innovation is possible – the rate of change has increased exponentially in recent decades. It seems that we a set firmly on a path of endless enhancement. This leads us to ask: where does innovation come from, and how does it happen?

The answer, quite simply, is people. People have ideas. People strive to make their ideas a reality. Through this, people create change. We call these people hackers. A hack is a small change to the recognized way of doing things, which leads to a large-scale increase in efficiency, success, or achievement. Hackers break the rules and change the game. Hackers are the most important members of our society, of any society, as they hold the power to shape the future.

This book celebrates the lives and achievements of some of history’s greatest hackers: from Tim Berners-Lee to Jack Dorsey, from Leonardo da Vinci to Steve Jobs. Learn about who they were and how they functioned. Discover the characteristics that allow hackers to keep pushing forward, innovating, revolutionizing industries and changing the world.

Enjoy it!

Order now as E-book on Amazon Kindle.

Order now Paperback on Amazon.

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