Recent Readings

Always the bibliophile, I recently threw down some cash for a a few books, which I hope are really investments. So far they seem to have been good purchases! I'll list them and write a bit about why they make for good reads.

My intention with these books was to try and keep my education going, particularly on topics related to running businesses, since that's something I was never trained in but is vitality important that I do well. To that end I went looking around the business section of Borders and picked a few books I thought sounded interesting and were varied enough that I wouldn't run into the same edicts again and again.

The first book I want to mention isn't actually one I bought by myself but I thought I'd list it here for completeness. Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play by Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig was a book I read a few weeks ago that had a profound impact on me. If you are in the consulting or "sales" arena then this is a necessary purchase. The ideas outlined in this book are crucial for anyone who wants to win, and keep, new business. It's core principle is that your intention must be for the client to succeed, for if that happens then you succeed as well. Everything else then is using this principle, combined with communication techniques, to cut through the usual fear and bullshit that surrounds negotiations and get to the heart of why the client is looking to buy your product or services and what value they are looking to get from it. I really can't recommend this book enough – invest in a copy now.

Secondly, I finally got around to reading Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki, which I've wanted to read for a while now. Overall it's a good book but quite repetitive and seems to oversimplify the process of acquiring assets. It does make plenty of excellent common sense points though and I quite enjoyed reading it. Things like "owning a house or car is a liability not an asset" is rather obvious, and something I realised a while back, but it's good to stress crucial things like this that many may not understand, or may not have really taken to heart. Just because a bank lets you borrow against your house, doesn't mean it's not a black hole for your money! This was more about personal finance but understanding money is always an important skill to have.

Currently, I am reading through Business Stripped Bare by Richard Branson. I quite like the style of this book, as its very casual – something it seems Branson values over ‘stuffy business suits'. It's quite enjoyable to read and many of the points he makes are excellent suggestions for any business. His initial explanation that businesses are there to help people, by making things, does seem a bit too altruistic to me but I can't really argue with the logic. Something I like to think we do well at work is operate within good ethical rules and that we follow the rule of "don't be evil" extremely well. It'll be interesting to see what else come out of this book and whether there are lessons that I could apply directly.

Finally, the book I haven't gotten to as of yet, The 80 Minute MBA by Richard Reeves and John Knell. From my read of the introduction it seems like this may be useful, particularly in my desire to increase my knowledge of "business topics".

If any of the above books interest you, I've included links to where they can be purchased on Amazon. I'd also love to hear if any readers have further suggestions for books to read along these lines! Is there a book you've read that you found useful?