PreneurCast is a marketing + business podcast. Each week, author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.
This week Pete and Dom discuss the top 5 books they would recommend to someone who was getting started in business.
Pete and Dom recommends their favorite business books for starters
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Business Books for Beginners
Dom Goucher: Hello, Mr. Peter.
Pete Williams: Hello, Mr. Dom. How are you, sir?
Dom: I am very well. Hello to everyone on this week’s PreneurCast, with me Pete Williams, oh, with you Pete Williams.
Pete: I can be Dom Goucher if you want.
Dom: You want to be Dom Goucher this week?
Pete: It’s so hot over here by the beach.
Dom: It’s really cold and my legs are really sore because I’ve been running a lot. I can’t do it, dude. I’m sorry.
Pete: How’s the week been?
Dom: Good. How’s the Christmas craziness down there?
Pete: Not too bad, actually. Haven’t really done a lot of Christmas stuff, haven’t done any shopping yet. Apparently, we’re going Christmas light driving tomorrow night, I’ve been informed. The girls are dragging me out to look at Christmas lights, so I’m super excited.
Dom: I never really had that on my list of reasons not to live in the UK anymore, but I think I might put it on there. I think we’d have to drive a pretty long way to go Christmas tree light driving, you enjoy that?
Pete: Apparently, we are driving a long way to the other side of the city to go looking at lights. I’ll report back next week what they’re like.
Dom: I’m agog, I’m riveted, and I’m on the edge of my seat for that report.
Pete: So this week, anything exciting happened since the last episode? Anything major popped into the world of business, marketing and entrepreneurship? Oh, I actually do have something.
Dom: Start the new sound effects.
Pete: We’ll save it for the end of the show because it will have more context, I think, at the end of the show.
Dom: Do make a note of that, I would hate for us to not talk about it. The only grand news is the progress of our little Mastermind Group for the 7 Levers.
Pete: Going very, very well. They seem to be loving it.
Dom: Nearly at the end of the first run of that, very successful so far.
Pete: People have had some killer results, which is fantastic. Made some difference in their businesses, which has been so much fun.
Dom: I’ve got to say, I’ve enjoyed that, working with other people to improve their businesses. It’s been great.
Pete: So, let’s do some more improvening.
Dom: Improvening? Let’s make a word up for the week, shall we? Improvening.
Pete: We’ll do some more improvening, and talk in this week’s podcast which is all about…
Dom: Oh, you want me to fill in the blank? Sorry.
Pete: I was trying to build the suspense, let you step in there.
Dom: It is coming up to Christmas. It is, I suppose I should play along. I’m fitting a few things together. A while ago, we had an e-mail from a listener, a very interesting e-mail. One of the questions that they asked was, “What is a good book? What are some books to get started in business?” And you and I sat down. We talked about this. It was one of those really big questions. There isn’t any one book.
But what was interesting was because you come from this background of business and you’ve been in business for, well, longer than I’ve been working – it’s depressing. You’ve been in business for a very long time, so your perspective on what people might find useful is different to mine. I would say I’m relatively new to this business thing. I’ve worked, and I’ve had a lot of different jobs. I’ve had a number of different jobs in different sectors, and have worked for a number of companies.
But working for myself and therefore being in business is a relatively new thing to me. So it was very interesting. I just thought that we could extend that chat. I, at the time, gave you the challenge and hopefully, you can rise to this challenge. I gave you the challenge of coming up with your top five business books, the books that anyone in business or getting into business should read, devour and follow along with. Are you good with that?
Pete: Absolutely. Let’s dive into it. Now, we’ve obviously done a book episode in PreneurCast this year, which was more of a generic reading list. It was general entrepreneurship, marketing and business books; whereas, this is specifically targeted to people just starting out. Is that a fair frame?
Dom: That’s a fair frame. When I got the original question, and when you and I talked about it, it was, to me, the bookshelf episode was literally what is on Pete Williams’ bookshelf. It was a point of interest for me to see the books that had inspired and influenced you across the board. There were a lot of personal development books and inspirational books, as well as specific business development books in there.
So, yeah, this, to me, is to focus on business and business development. I’d like to see what you think are the ones for people getting started or want to improve, but more getting started because I think those two are different things and go in very different direction. So let’s stick with the getting started.
Pete: Alright. Should we start with what is on my list, because you’ve got a few books as well?
Dom: Yes, let’s start with what you’ve got to say and let’s see if I agree.
Pete: I’m going to make a prediction that on your list will be The E-Myth.
Dom: You might be right.
Pete: It was your one fallback, default book. I do love it.
Dom: If we’re going to do that, then I’m going to make a prediction that you might possibly have Influence by Robert Cialdini on your list.
Pete: Absolutely. Let’s start with that. In no particular order, I think Influence is absolutely a must-read. I think it was Siimon Reynolds who is a big advertising name here in Australia recommended that book years and years ago. I heard it on an audio cassette presentation he made at one point. That’s how old the book was when I first came across it. I think it’s a must-read definitely from a business perspective. In that book, Cialdini, the author, covers a range of different influence factors and what actually influences human nature.
It’s so important. The social aspect in books like The Game by Neil Strauss also has a lot of the influence elements. I think it’s important for social dynamics, but more importantly, for business. As you actually grow your business – whether you are trying to communicate with staff, communicate with suppliers, and obviously trying to market to prospects and clients, being able to influence them is a very powerful skill set you can have.
It talks about things like authority, reciprocation, commitment and consistency – all of these other influence factors that you should be able to wave and weave into your marketing material, your conversations, your e-mails, your internal memos you send around. If you can get that influence factor as part of your everyday business life, you’ll find huge results by actually getting people to be on board with your ideas and your movement, and be able to help move that ship in the right direction.
So I think Influence is definitely a core book that everyone should read anyway, whether they are a parent trying to influence their children or whether they’re trying to grow an enterprise in a business way.
Dom: Yeah. We laugh about this, and we have this weekly joke that that’s your favorite book and The E-Myth is mine. But I do really like Influence because I like psychology. That is one of the reasons I got interested in marketing because marketing is psychology, let’s face it. I like that. But I do like that it is very widely applicable. It’s not a business book, it’s not a sales book. Am I right – the story goes that the book was originally written by him because he is a well-respected researcher? He’s a scientific researcher?
Pete: Yes. University lecturer, that sort of stuff.
Dom: Yeah, he’s a university lecturer. And this came from a deep scientific study, quite a big, extensive scientific study. He published it originally so that people could be aware that they were being influenced. It was more of an observation of that than a training manual as it were.
Pete: I’ve heard that story. How true it is, I don’t know. But it makes a good tale either way. But yeah, it could be the real reason. But the way it was interpreted, based on his many, many corporate speaking gigs since the publication of the book, it’s definitely been used as a marketing tool as opposed to an awareness-type book.
Dom: I definitely agree with your point that it’s applicable in so many different places. That it’s all about Influence. It’s about getting someone to do what you want or go in the direction that you believe is the right direction for the company, and so on. In a point counterpoint-kind of way, I’m going to go with that. I’m going to say, yeah, I agree with you on that one, even from my point of view which is very different from yours.
Pete: Very, very cool. Let’s fly through this. The second book I have on my list is by Guy Kawasaki. It’s probably a book that a lot of people won’t expect. He’s written about nine or 10 books now – everything from a book on database development all the way through to Enchantment, his most recent one. He wrote a book years ago called Rules for Revolutionaries, which, in my opinion was rehashed and re-released as The Art of the Start. It is a very similar book to his original one, Rules of Revolutionaries.
That book, I thought, was very engaging, very educational. It’s just a really good foundation about what it takes to make a movement. Hopefully, most businesses have some sort of movement element. Kawasaki does a great job communicating that movement. He talks a lot about his experiences with Macintosh and Apple because he was one of the first evangelists working with Steve Jobs and the Macintosh team. The Rules for Revolutionaries is a really cool book.
If you’ve read The Art of the Start, I wouldn’t necessarily say come back and read Rules for Revolutionaries. It’s basically the same book, but it’s a fantastic read. If you can pick up the presentation or speech that Guy Kawasaki gave back in ’97 or ’98 at the Million Dollar Round Table, it’s very cool, very funny, and covers the main elements out of Rules for Revolutionaries.
Dom: I’m a recent convert to Guy Kawasaki. It really was on your original booklist recommendation that I got into that. I love the breadth of his background. As you say, the guy has written a book on databases, but he was the evangelist for the Mac. I think that’s what this one’s about; it’s about the evangelism, about believing in what you do and believing in your product, and communicating that.
Pete: Exactly. Book number three on my list – and I may go over five, we’ll see how we battle, is a book by Jeffrey Gitomer called the Little Red Book of Selling. It ties back into the reason Influence is on my list, that business fundamentally is about marketing and selling. Everything else, to me, is part of the delivery. If you can’t get customers, if you can’t convert customers, you don’t really have a business; you just have a factory or a facility, or nothing.
Jeffrey Gitomer is a sales guru, for want of a better term. He is a more recent version, an incarnation of Tom Hopkins, who people may have heard of. In his book the Little Red Book of Selling, he covers a lot of sales strategies and sales processes, and different ways to communicate and sell. It’s a fun read, very tactile in a way the book is presented, with a very engaging layout of the book. I think that sales skills is a primary factor to have whether you’re trying to get funding, or sell someone on working with you, or trying to sell to the prospect or client.
Having sales skills is the real key factor for a business owner. I should put a bit of a caveat on all of these recommendations. I look at entrepreneurs and business owners as people who should be growing a business to work on their business. They shouldn’t be on the tools. And this comes back to what you talk about is The E-Myth book. A lot of people may have done an apprenticeship. They may have learned how to build a house, fix the car, be a mechanic, for instance.
They want to start a business so they can be their own boss, and all they ever do is stay on the tools. If that’s the way you want to go, there’s a whole series of books to actually read, books on how to hire a marketer to work for you and take over that side of the business. If you just want to stay on the tools, then by all means do that. Steve Jobs and Wozniak created a very, very successful company. But Apple was grown because Steve Jobs’ marketing skill set, and Woz just stayed on the tools.
If you read Steve Jobs’ biography, it talks a bit about Woz’s reluctance to leave HP to go and work for Apple full-time because he wanted to stay on the tools, so to speak. The caveat around all of these books is for someone who actually wants to work on and grow a business and be an entrepreneur as opposed to being on the tools, I think it is very hard to be someone who is on the tools and an entrepreneur in the same sentence. A lot people who try to do it very rarely succeed, so that’s a small caveat to this list.
Dom: You saved me from saying it later, but I will come back to it definitely. Because the big news from my year was that realization. I’ll talk about that in a bit. Next book?
Pete: Guerilla Marketing, Jay Conrad Levinson. Again, this marketing undertone. The current of this episode is all about marketing. So Guerilla Marketing is a great reference guide or even the Guerilla Marketing Handbook is actually co-written by Seth Godin, which is quite interesting. Either of the books talks about guerilla tactics for marketing – how to market a business, enterprise, or project using low-cost, mostly measurable, high ROI, testable marketing tools, techniques and processes.
Guerilla Marketing is a must-read from a marketing perspective. Again, if you can market your business, you don’t have any prospects to sell to. You need to have the marketing to get people into your funnel that you can then sell to. So Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson or Guerilla Marketing Handbook with Seth Godin, that’s one point one. You sort of get a bonus one with that one.
Dom: Cool. I’ve read the Guerilla Marketing Handbook. That book really does speak to your methods and your strategies. That’s really what you are all about; you’re all about marketing but with marketing with massive return on investment, massive leverage, rather than just running to stand still. That was one of my first-ever business books actually, that one.
Pete: I’d also throw in there an awesome book called How to Turn Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality, which was written purely, apparently aimed directly at people who want to start a business idea and take their idea and make it a reality. That might be worth checking out, if people are interested in that one.
Dom: Who might the author of that book be, Mr. Peter Williams?
Pete: He’s got the same name as me. Seriously, I’m proud of the book. I think it covers a lot of different concepts when it comes to turning an idea from your imagination right through to implementation. If you want to get a free version of the book, you can. It’s available online. If you head over to the PreneurMarketing.com, which is my blog, when you get there, sign up to be part of the Preneur Community.
You’ll get access to the audio version of the book. I got the rights back to the book from the publisher, and I was able to get an audio version produced. I’m just giving it away for free. If anyone is interested in a copy of that book, you can get it at PreneurMarketing.com.
Dom: I should really give you a severe kicking for pitching the book, but I agree with you.
Pete: I’m proud of the book. I wrote the book because there was a gap in the marketplace. It would be remiss of me to not help our audience out by giving them what I believe is the top five books in this space.
Dom: I have to say, all joking aside, when I went through that book, it is ironically one of the better answers to the question we got, which is, ‘Is there one book that will walk me through it? What is it?’ And you’re right. You wrote that book years ago and it is a step-by-step. You tell the story of how you did what you did, how you got where you are, how you took one particular idea and you don’t hold anything back.
You do tell the whole story about how you did things, why you did it. And you give away quite a few of your ninja secrets about marketing, sales and promotion. It’s like a miniature version of the previous four books that we just talked about really, but shown with real-world examples. I’m going to let you have that on the list, even though it’s yours.
Pete: We should have planned this better. You should have made it one of your five just to sort of not look…
Dom: Totally pimping, yeah.
Pete: Yeah. Anyway, can we edit this out a little bit and do some post?
Dom: You know you’re not allowed to say that to me.
Pete: True. It’s probably worth mentioning a couple of other books. That’s my five, but there’s a couple other ones that I’d suggest people keep an eye out for as well. A book called My Life in Advertising by Claude Hopkins.
Dom: Oh, yeah.
Pete: Again, marketing-specific, but he was one of the original gurus of advertising and marketing. This is one of his memoirs. He’s also got another book called Creative Advertising, I think it’s called.
Dom: Scientific Advertising.
Pete: Thank you very much.
Dom: Currently, a lot of the times, if you see that book, it’s actually a double book with those two titles in it.
Pete: Correct. There’s a book that I haven’t checked out yet. I’m recommending you a book I haven’t actually read.
Dom: Sorry, that just reminds me of a very funny situation in my old corporate life. Do carry on.
Pete: I’m giving the disclaimer here. It’s a book called Business Model Generation. It’s a book that only crossed my path in the last few weeks. I haven’t had the chance to fully devour it. I have had a flip through book. I actually have touched it, so there’s some credibility there. But a lot of people that I know, that I respect, very highly and strongly recommend checking this book out. From their recommendation, I am passing it on to our listeners.
It’s not coming from me; it’s coming from my mastermind group – associates, mentors and people in my circle who strongly suggest checking this book out, Business Model Generation. I think you can find it at BusinessModelGeneration.com. For starting out in business and actually trying to develop the model for your business, from what I’ve heard, this book is unbelievable. It’s worth checking out.
Dom: Just to fill you in, because you deserve this, there was one situation in my old corporate life; a second-level manager received an e-mail from his direct manager, and the e-mail had an attachment on it. The body of the e-mail was as follows, ‘This looks interesting, I haven’t read it.’
Pete: ‘This looks interesting, I haven’t read it.’
Dom: Yeah. Just to give you a little bit of background as to why I laughed at your recommendation there.
Pete: Fair enough to.
Dom: But I do say, knowing your mastermind group, if they recommended it, I’ll go get a copy and give it a good scour definitely.
Pete: And anything by Jay Abraham or Dan Kennedy, two great authors when it comes to marketing. Jay Abraham is a bit more towards business fundamentals and structures and a little bit of modeling to a certain extent as well; whereas, Dan Kennedy is purely about getting that person to open their wallet and throw money at you.
Dom: I’ve not heard it put that way before, but I completely agree with you. Do you have any other specific books? I’ve got your top five, and I would be happy to stop there and say I pretty much agree with you; that from the perspective that you come from and the way you do things, that those top five are good start for anybody getting started or wanting a little bit of direction for their business.
Pete: Those are definitely my top five. Let me have a look at my bookshelf while I’m actually sitting here and see what else I can find that might be a potential fit.
Dom: While you do that, let me pitch in from my side of the fence. I cast myself as a relatively recent businessperson, so I’ve got the perspective of that. Whereas, you’ve been in business and you are coming from the perspective of knowing what works and knowing, from that point of view, why it is important to know. From my point of view, I think the biggest change in my business and in my attitude toward business did come, all joking aside, from reading The E-Myth. It’s not so much that I think it is the be-all and end-all of business books, I don’t.
I’m quite realistic about it. It’s got a lot of flaws in it, it’s not perfect, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea from the writing style, some of the examples don’t map easily to other people, and things like that. But the core concept that I can distill this book down to, and it’s repeated all the way through and there are some very good examples, is exactly what you said in your breakaway, which is about being a technician versus being a businessperson.
As you say, being on the tools. In the book, Michael Gerber talks about being a technician, anybody that has technical skills. In my industry, that could be anyone that is a good video editor, or a good graphic artist, or somebody who is good at more of the advanced tools like Photoshop, which a lot of people will have heard of, maybe even After Effects, which is something everybody will wave their arms about and say, “Oh, yes, you need to use After Effects.” OK, folks, don’t.
And this is the point about being a technician. After Effects operators or even Photoshop operators, or even video editors, are highly skilled professionals that have done their 10,000 hours or even their 100, 200 or 300 hours. They’re good at what they do. But what makes them good at what they do with that doesn’t make them good at being businesspeople, and it won’t make you good at being a businessperson.
When I read The E-Myth, having been an absolutely classical technician for a long time in a lot of the roles that I’ve done, it really made me stop. And now I identify everything that I do, every task I’m going to do, I look at it and say, “Am I being a technician,” or, “Is this going to move my business forward? Can I get someone else to do this?”
This is on the big problems, and he talks about it in the book. Albeit, “Could someone do it not quite as well as I would do it myself?” and that is the harder thing for a classic technician to face. He talks about that in the book. Because when you’re good at what you do, from a technician point of view, delegating it to somebody else is a very difficult thing.
Pete: That’s why I never will install a phone system.
Dom: Don’t get started.
Pete: That’s it. If you don’t know how to do it, you can’t tell someone they’re doing it wrong.
Dom: That’s true. And from my perspective as a technician, it is an important book. From a businessperson’s point of view, the flip side of that fence, is don’t try to be a technician. This is very common for people getting involved in the online space. People see something like WordPress and think, “That looks really easy.” So they won’t outsource or hire somebody to handle their WordPress pages. “I won’t pay somebody, I’ll update my podcast website myself. I will publish the audio files myself. I will publish my own video myself.”
There comes a point that, even though you can, it doesn’t mean you should. And that’s probably the message I would pass on, probably more from The E-Myth than the original message of, if you’re a technician, you need to stop being a technician. The message for most people is, if you’re not a technician, don’t start being one, from that book. This is where some of my books, my recommendations are coming from: if you start out, as you said from your last example, with the right business model or the right mindset, you’ll go in the right direction.
You won’t veer off the path. You won’t dilute your attention. And focus is really important. Running a business takes a lot of energy. If you’re trying to run a business and work in the business at the same time, you’re on a losing streak a lot of the time. It is a very rare person who can do both.
Pete: Absolutely, could not agree more. So, enough foreplay, let’s see your list of books.
Dom: Yeah, The E-Myth is my top one. I would tell pretty much anybody in business, or thinking of being in business to go get that to get your head right. It is as simple as that – get your head right. Look at The E-Myth. Another one about getting your head right, and I read this in its first incarnation a while ago, it’s a book called Rework. It comes from a bunch of software developers called 37signals.
Before you go running for the hills because it is about software again, it’s not. They rewrote their original book…
Pete: Getting Real, which I prefer.
Dom: Getting Real, which you prefer, but it’s a bit too software-y.
Dom: I do prefer it too. But I can map the examples. So it doesn’t really matter if it’s Rework or Getting Real that you get. But 37signals is the gang that built Basecamp, which is team project management cloud-based internet, online, web-based project management tool of incredible popularity.
Pete: And developed Ruby on Rails.
Dom: And part of the project to develop Basecamp, they developed the programming language which is going to lose 95% of the audience called Ruby on Rails. This enabled them to really quickly react to the requirements of their customer base and enhance Basecamp and its other sibling products. The point of Rework or Getting Real is that they talk about their ethos, the way they built their system. Building what they built in the time that they built it with the resources they had was a phenomenal achievement.
You need to have a good plan if you’re going to do something like that; you need to be very sensible about how you allocate the resources and how you do the work. So, it’s a good parable, if you will, about how to set up a distributor business with a very big goal and about how to get there. There’s a lot of talk about things very similar to Minimum Viable Product, which we talked about last week, about JFDI and also about hiring people, what type of people to hire.
It crosses a lot of things, and a lot of people would avoid this book or not really pick it up because they think it is about software. But I think it’s a good mindset, business-model book, especially if you are starting out. If you’ve got a clean sheet – this is something that occurred to me this week when I was talking to other clients. If you’ve got a clean sheet, you’ve got a good opportunity to do it right. If you’re already in the middle of it, it can be quite daunting to stand back, take a look at it and determine how to fix it.
If you starting out, if you start out with the right mindset, or if you decide today is the day you are going out into a new direction, the right mindset is a good thing. So those are my two mindset books. I do have a third mindset book, and this is definitely about business models and setting up, and it is Built to Sell. This is another one I got via you, actually via an interview that you did with the author.
Pete: Did I publish that?
Dom: You haven’t, no.
Pete: I should publish that.
Dom: You should publish that.
Pete: I have a back catalog of interviews and conversations with various authors and marketers; I need to get them out to the world.
Dom: Yeah. So Built to Sell is a mindset book because it is about working out what you are going to do with your company from the start, i.e. are you going to sell it? It is similar to The E-Myth in that you are encouraged throughout the book to create a business entity that isn’t anchored on you as the superstar; it isn’t anchored on your skills. You build a team, you build a business, and you build processes for that team to run that business.
It then becomes an entity, that if you want to, you can sell as an entirety that doesn’t need you to keep spinning the plates to keep it going. It is a very high-level look at the book. There’s a lot of detail in there and I actually like it. It was written well. It’s another one of those mindset books. That’s my three mindsets, and then I’ve got some, on the other side of the fence, customer-mentality books. One of those is Why We Buy by Paco Underhill.
Pete: Nice, nice.
Dom: This, I think, was the very first business, marketing, sales-oriented book that I ever bought. Ironically, it was recommended via someone talking about website usability, which is something I’m very interested in. This is another scientific book. This team has done a lot of scientific studies, and they come back with hard data on the most fascinating topics about what makes people buy or not buy goods and services.
They did a lot of studies about things like physical retail stores, the arrangement of things in the store, even down to the width of the aisles between the shelves, the height of the shelves, the placement of things on the shelves, and even where to place shopping baskets within the store. They proved, statistically, the difference that these things make. It is one of those books that once you’ve read it, you will walk around in your daily life and see so much more of the world because they identify things that you just either missed or take for granted.
Again, it is a bit like Influence, in that once you know about them, you might spot somebody doing them. It’s a fun book, but is also important from a marketing and sales perspective that you understand what affects people’s buying, the psychology of buying in people. So that is one that I really like. Another one is a relatively new book which has been doing the rounds, and everyone has been saying it is a fabulous, awesome book of the insert-time-period.
And within a context, yes, it’s a very good book. It is Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff. I really enjoyed reading this book; I’ve gone through it twice and made a bunch of notes. It is one of these books, it is a blueprint book. So many people bandy that word about and I really don’t like it. In fact, it turns me off. If I see any marketing material that says ‘blueprint’ in it, I usually know that it’s not going to have a blueprint in it. We used to have an old joke that if you have to put quality in the name of a product, it probably isn’t.
Pete: What happens if you put like ‘2000’ in the product?
Dom: You know Gateway Computer?
Dom: Look what happened to them. They used to be Gateway 2000. It’s one of those things. Don’t put the word in just because, it doesn’t make it. The thing about Pitch Anything is it’s a blueprint for pitching. I’ll give some background. The book is written by a guy called Oren Klaff who has a big background in pitching, financing deals, getting funding for really big projects from venture capital companies. The guy moves millions of dollars around every day, does deals that are ‘worth millions.’ If you’re in that industry, you know that that’s a relative term.
But the point is, what he did was took his experience and knowledge, took that to a couple of scientific researchers, and had them analyze it and redefine it in psychological terms. He wrote this out in a very interesting, very engaging, very entertaining book that lays out the process, the key steps, and the key areas to focus on when you’re trying to pitch to somebody. Before we even looked at this book, you were very big on context and framing.
Framing is a huge thing in that book for him, and it’s a very important part of any kind of negotiation or pitch. So this is a book that’s applicable across the board, not just in selling high-stakes investing, or getting lots of venture capital, or things like that. It is applicable across the board whenever you’re trying to talk to somebody and get them to buy. Although I’ll caveat that by saying you can’t get someone to buy. Make sure you’ve got what they want, make sure there’s water there.
That’s my top five. My little extra one on the side is a book I’ve literally just picked up called Flinch, a book that’s been published by Seth Godin’s publishing project called The Domino Project, which is something he’s doing in partnership with Amazon. They are leveraging the power of the Amazon Kindle platform in that they publish on Kindle because it’s digital media, the cost of publication and distribution is massively reduced.
So they are trying to focus on time to market, accessibility to a large publishing platform by smaller authors or less-known. It’s a great project, I’m right behind it; I think it’s a great thing to do. He’s got some really good authors. I believe Steven Pressfield’s second book went through The Domino Project as a publication, Do the Work. But this book called Flinch is a really interesting concept. It’s another book on psychology, but it’s the psychology of you as a person in business. The core of the book is very simple, we all flinch.
There are things that make us all flinch, that make us back away from something that we consider to be dangerous, that might do some harm, or that we are uncomfortable about. It is a bit of a built on the Seth Godin concept of the lizard brain; this thing inside of you deep down in your psyche, the origin of the human brain that’s just reacting to things. It talks a lot about the kind of things you might not being doing because somewhere inside of you is a voice you might not even notice that says you might get embarrassed if you do that, or you might fail if you do that.
It’s all about that little voice in your head that stops you from doing things. It’s just a great book that spends the entire book identifying that, getting you to admit it, getting you to spot it, and realizing it is not the end of the world, whatever it is. We’ve talked about this before, about ‘going for no’, about ‘failing forward’, about ‘so what if that person didn’t buy what you offered them, call somebody else.’ I think, from my point of view, being a person new to business, I like the idea of the book Flinch because people starting out can be afraid of the unknown.
It can stop them from making big bold steps. Back to your book, the [How to Turn Your] Million-Dollar Idea [Into a Reality], that’s something that if you stand back and look at, it doesn’t exist in the Million-Dollar Idea. The concept that you might fail, the concept that somebody might laugh at you, the concept that you might look silly if you stand on a piece of carpet in the car park outside Melbourne Cricket Ground with a big cheesy grin on your face for a photograph opportunity in the local newspaper. That never occurred to you, you just went and did it.
This is one of those perspective things that it’s important to admit that there are people out there who might feel a little bit silly doing that. And so, Flinch is a good book to help people get over it, I think; to just realize that yes, you’re going to have to do it. If you want to get on, you’re going to have to do it. You’re going to have to identify the things that are really going to cause you harm and the things that you just have a bit of a flinch about, and press on. So that’s me and mine. Did you come up with anything else?
Pete: I like it. I had a bit of a look. There are plenty of other books that I recommend reading; but specifically to get started, not really. There are books like Topgrading that you should read when you start hiring staff. I’m definitely not the person to speak to or talk about successfully hiring staff, that’s really not my forte. That is a great read about a process for hiring staff. That’s a few steps down the path of starting a business. There are plenty other books that I could recommend once you’re up and running, but that could be another episode of PreneurCast in the future.
Dom: Yeah, let’s keep it sane. Let’s keep it sensible. I really like your five and I agree with them. I’ve put my five in, as I said, from the other perspective, from the not-everybody-is-Pete Williams perspective. Sorry, mate; but it’s true. On that Topgrading thing, I got that recommendation from Dave Jenyns.
Pete: Tough read. It was a big book.
Dom: It’s a big old book. What about we chase old Dave down in the New Year, see if he wants to come on and talk to us about hiring people?
Pete: We can get him on easily. Let’s make that happen.
Dom: I think hiring people is a big thing, a big important part of growing your business and just in general, outsourcing, no matter how big or small your business is. Dave is a bit of a ninja at that, isn’t he?
Pete: Absolutely. His office is inside my office now, so I can definitely just ring him up, tie him to a seat and make it happen.
Dom: Cool. Let’s get that booked in. Alright, mate; that’s good. I’m pleased that we went through a little bit of a smaller list this week, a bit more focused and did a little bit more about why we think those are good books. That’s Pete’s top five and my top five business books for people getting started out. Now, I’m going to remind you Pete, see if you can remember what it was that you were going to talk about at the beginning. You said there’s something relevant to this, something exciting has happened this week.
Pete: Absolutely. Very, very cool. An awesome amazing service is coming out of alpha or beta, or whatever it might be termed these days.
Dom: So a new service then?
Pete: It’s been around, but it hasn’t really had a formal public launch, so to speak. That’s happening this week, I’m very, very excited about it going public. It’s a service that you can check out over online at ReadItFor.Me/PreneurCast. What the service is, is it’s a book-summary service. That’s how it relates to what we’ve been speaking about today, but does it with some awesome flair. It’s not your typical three or four-page, black and white text summary of a book.
They actually adopt what’s referred to as the LEMA learning method, which is learn, experience, memorize and act. Basically, what Read It For Me does is it takes a book every week and applies this LEMA process to it. You’ve got the Learn section, which is just an overview about the high-level concept of what the book is about, what the book’s core tone and message are. Then it breaks it down and allows you to experience the summary of the book.
Let me go back a step. The Learn actually gives you the summary in a visual way. They actually produce a 10 to 15-minute video of the book in summary format. So you can sit there and learn through multimedia, which is a way a lot of us devour our content these days and have been doing so for years. Our body has adapted to learning through visual stimuli and audio-based stimuli. So they’ve done this with video. It’s a very cool, engaging video they produce every week.
They also put together a very visual and enticing PDF summary of the book. So again, rather than just being two or three pages of just text-heavy, they actually make it very visual, which is very engaging. There’s actually a book inside the members’ area called Multimedia Learning which talks about this principle and those principles I mentioned there. There’s a summary of the book called Multimedia Learning, which they have taken and applied throughout the entire process of the book summary.
They have that in the Learn section of this LEMA section. Then, in the Experience section, it actually had to go away and let you experience it, engage with the book. So they produce a summary workbook, which is some of the core key action steps based on the book. From there, you go and fill out this workbook and interact with the book summary itself, and experience what the book is all about. Then the imminent section is Memorize.
This reinforces every week the memorization principles spoken about in Moonwalking with Einstein, which is one of the books I suggested at the very first book-summary episode. It’s all about memorizing and making sure you take away some of the key principles from the book summary. Finally, the final element of LEMA, the A, stands for ‘act.’ This is about encouraging and pushing you to take some form of action sooner rather than later from what you’ve learned throughout the book summary.
This allows you to internalize that key concept and make it part of who you are, moving forward. It’s a very, very unique but truly awesome. Could not recommend it highly enough, book-summary service. There are plenty of book-summary services out there that are very much non-tactile, is one way of putting it, where it’s just words on the page as a summary. That’s sort of the abstract-type of books you probably remember from high school in English class, in literature class.
These guys have taken it to the next level. I’ve been playing around with it for quite some time and have been really, really happy, elated, engaged, motivated by their service and I’m super excited that they’ are opening it up for a public launch. There’s a whole range of books already inside, and they release one on a very, very regular basis. Do the Work, Steven Pressfield’s book that you spoke about, Guy Kawasaki‘s most recent book, Enchantment, is in there.
A whole bunch of other books worth checking out that we would have mentioned, I’m sure, in our initial episode on books such as The 4-Hour Body, Crush It!, Brain Rules, Evil Plans, Moonwalking with Einstein (which I just mentioned), Neuromarketing (which is a great one) Getting Things Done, Linchpin, Made to Stick, Positioning, Steve Jobs‘ new biography, The 8th Habit. Seth Godin has some books in here. Rework, which is a book you recommended today is in here.
Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup book, which is the guide that you spoke about last week in our podcast; the Minimum Viable Product concept process comes from The Lean Startup, which is summarized inside here. There’s also The Thank You Economy, Think Better, Tribal Leadership, Trust Agents, UnMarketing. There’s a whole bunch of books already available in here when you come and sign up, and then become a member.
They’re going to be pushing out a lot more books on a lot more regular basis now that they’ve got this public launch happening this week. ReadItFor.Me/PreneurCast is where I’d suggest you go to check this out. Sign up, check it out. They’ve got a free trial running at the moment, so you get to experience the awesome LEMA learning method they apply here to the book summaries. It’s something I’m super excited about.
I highly recommend everyone check out the service there. And yeah, subscribe and become a member and devour books. Obviously, we love them. We speak about them almost every week in our podcast, and I think this is a fantastic service. I’m going to be pushing Steve and the team behind Read It For Me to push through a lot of the books that we’ve recommended into this service so you can get the summary version and the core message in a very engaging way through PDFs, workbooks, and videos.
Dom: OK. While you just take a breath and everybody can now put their players back on double speed, you are so excited. You know what though? Pete called me the other day and he said, “You’ve got to see this. I’m a bit over-hyped this year. I’m a bit bored with hype. I’m a bit bored with everybody telling me that this is the best thing they’ve ever seen, blah, blah, blah.” Pete is one of the few people that I listen to. If Pete says it’s good, it’s going to be good.
He was so excited, I really didn’t believe that anything was that good. I thought he was still on adrenaline from the Ironman. But I have to say, I’m going to just try to stay calm. I was absolutely blown away by this service. We recommend Audible because Audible is an awesome service for you to consume big-name business books and other content, all kinds of audiobooks in your downtime because they come to you as audio and you can listen to them at different speeds and things like that. If you can do that, that’s great.
Audible is a really good service, an absolute bargain per prescription. I highly recommend it. But I know a lot of people can’t cope with that. I know a lot of people find spending three or four hours on some of these business books, just hard to concentrate and they can’t make notes because they’re driving or cycling. It just doesn’t seem to go in, and I appreciate that. I’m a big person for the different learning modalities.
So when I saw this, I was just absolutely blown away. They do address all of the modalities. And it’s not just that they address all of the modalities from a learning, psychology point of view, which I know a fair amount about; the LEMA model has been proven to be very effective. It’s the quality, that’s what got me. It’s the absolute quality of these videos, the PDFs and the extra materials that they produce to build this entire learning environment. So I also strongly recommend that you take up this current free offer they have going on.
Go and have a look, check it out, sign up for a free go. See what they’ve got for you. See the range of the books and the quality and the depth of the material, and see if it’s for you. It might not be. You might like Audible. You might do a lot of cycling for no better reason than you want to go cycling, Peter, or that you’ve got a new bike, Peter. Whatever floats your boat. But do have a look at it because it’s completely different modalities, it’s an excellent learning resource, and it’s done so well.
By the way, I have nothing to do with these guys, genuinely. Pete showed me this, and I’m telling you this as a person who in the past has struggled with learning and so understands the power of it. Definitely check that out and give us some feedback. Let us know what you think about it. Let us know if there’s a book on there – not a book that’s missing; as Pete said, we’re going to try to talk to these guys and get a bit of a relationship with them, and suggest some books off our lists that we think are important. Definitely, give it a go. I think Pete, we should do a bit of the video tour at some point and let people have a look at that.
Dom: Some people just literally might not want to sign up even though it’s free. So maybe you and I can do one of those, a little video tour inside and show people the quality of this stuff so they can get an idea.
Pete: Sounds like a good idea. We’ll throw it up on the PreneurMedia.tv website, which is where you can get all of our back episodes, leave feedback, get all the show notes as well for those who aren’t completely au fait with iTunes and how they sneakily sometimes hide the show notes. All of the show notes, transcriptions, and downloadable audios, all that stuff is available for this podcast and all the previous episodes over at PreneurMedia.tv.
Dom: Awesome. That’s an excellent episode wrapped up. I do like how you brought it all back with a little just ReadItFor.Me/PreneurCast service, which I’m signed up too. I’m into that. Hopefully, people find this one useful. Do give us some feedback either on the iTunes Store, pop over there now and sign in and give us some feedback on this episode. Or, pop over to PreneurMedia.tv and experience the different modalities there.
Pete: So, we’ll see you all hopefully next week for our final episode of this year, which is going to be a really cool one. Last year on my blog, for the Preneur Community, I put out a video which was fundamentally my picks of the year – my favorite tech, my favorite book, my best documentary, my favorite products, all of that jazz, the best of the best, the awards season, so to speak.
We’re going to turn that video last year into a podcast episode, which is what Dom and I are doing next week. Make sure you check that one out to finish up this year, and then we’ll see you back here for 2012. But next week, don’t miss the show. It’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be our ‘Best of 2011.’
– Pete’s Top 5 Business Books for Beginners:
Influence – Robert Cialdini
The Art of the Start – Guy Kawasaki (Based on Rules for Revolutionaries)
The Little Red Book of Selling – Jeffrey Gittomer
Guerilla Marketing – Jay Conrad Levinson
How to Turn Your Million Dollar Idea into Reality – Pete Williams (get this for free at http://preneurmarketing.com)
– Dom’s Honourable Mentions:
Flinch – Julien Smith
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