A good read…to refresh and revitalise your business

I love summer! Who doesn’t? With the (generally) better weather meaning we spend more time outside and holiday time spent with family and friends.

However, I really like summer because it offers not just a chance to refresh ourselves physically (I have written about the importance holidays for startup founders and business owners before) but the chance to refresh ourselves mentally too. Lying on a beach or by the swimming pool is greatly improved if you also have the company of a good book – and if that book offers you new ideas, challenges your thoughts and offers new approaches to try, so much the better! 

It’s all too easy to get in “head down” mode, to be busy working in the business rather than working on the business.

I’ve been doing what I do for 5 years now and I really recognise the need to refresh and revitalise my business and I’m taking a 6 week sabbatical to do just that. Whilst I will be allowing myself some time off with my family, I will also be stimulating my business brain through reading.

To develop a wide-ranging reading list (not too focused on the things I automatically lean towards), I asked around my entrepreneurial contacts and founders of other businesses to hear what they recommend. 

In case you’d also like to do some revitalising reading this summer, here’s what they recommended – and why:

Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us by Daniel H Pink

Given motivation is at the start of everything, this feels like a good place to start.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E Gerber

The E myth books have been around for a while but they are still an essential read for business owners demonstrating really clearly why you have to have more than a good idea to make a business work.

24 Assets by Daniel Priestly

If E Myth gets you thinking, then this book provides a methodology for building the components that make a business scaleable and sustainable.

Zero to One by Peter Thiel 

Is another book particularly recommended to me for its methodology for startup businesses. The founder who recommended this has used the 7 point thesis outlined in the book to shape his own startup. The book has almost 300 reviews on Amazon (not all positive) but most seem to agree it offers a different perspective – which is what I’m looking for!

Dear Female Founder: 66 Letters of Advice from Women Entrepreneurs Who Have Made $1 Billion in Revenue by Lu Li

I’m really interested in the particular challenges facing female founders so this book had to be included in my summer reading but, looking at the reviews, I’m expecting that some of the insights will cross gender barriers and offer advice to all startup founders.

High Growth Handbook by Elad Gil

If you are beyond the startup phase and going for growth then this recommendation is for you.

Inspired by Marty Cagan 

Is also for those working through the challenges of scaling. It came recommended to me as “a fantastic book on product and scaling” and looks at the role of the product manager and product teams in meeting customer needs, and developing a product that does this. Its particular focus is on software products. Find the book on Amazon

Another software product focused book – but which came recommended from two different sources – is Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps by Nicole Forsgren and Jez Humble. What the person recommending this book liked is that the book uses evidence to create best practise – it’s not just another person’s theory.

ReWork: Change the Way you work forever by David Hansson and Jason Fried 

Is certainly not a new book but in the opinion of the friend recommending it to me it’s “outstanding and important” – and you have to accept the title tempts you to read on!

If you happen to suffer from “long hours syndrome” you might also fancy It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work also by Jason Fried. Find the book on Amazon

Don’t have time to read a full book?

If, like so many founders, you are struggling to find sufficient time to read an entire book why not try some of these shorter blog posts to stimulate the grey cells instead?

The Do’s and Don’ts of Rapid Scaling for Startups by Bob Sutton
Read the blog

Is Drag Holding Your Business Back by Kevin Sheldrake
Read the blog

Traction Is The Very Heart of a Startup by The Startup Team
Read the blog

Why We All Need to Invest in Female Founders by Sacha Waters
Read the blog