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Productivity / Professional development

Member must reads, part 6

Bjorn Behrendt and John Christian share the books that have had the most influence on the way they run their business.

John Christian

The book that has had the most influence on the way I run my business is The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins.

This book highlights the incredible journey of evolution over the ages. How we’ve come to be where we are as the human race and inhabitants of this planet. Is there a better analogy in the business world that the intricate journey of evolution? Business is all about evolution, survival of the fittest.  Finding those symbiotic relationships, escaping the toxic mutations, finding groups to evolve with, and learning new paradigms and so on. It’s a wonderful analogy and one that has given me true inspiration in running my business. I’ve learned it’s ok not to be perfect, but there is also no excuse for not striving for perfection over time.

Bjorn Behrendt

Since I listen to so many audiobooks in my car every week, there are many books that have influenced me in business. The most important ones were Delivering Happiness, Start with Why, Purple Cow, Richard Branson’s biography and Good to Great.

Here’s what has inspired me about each one of those:

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh – Zappos created an amazing culture that was not only highly focused on customer service and going the extra mile in order to wow your customer, but they also have a very strong internal culture making sure that employees come first. This internal harmony reflects and filters through – even into their social media channels. You’ll find some amazing random acts of kindness on Youtube.

Start With Why by Simon Sinek drives you back to the fundamental questions of why you do things and why a product exists. This gives great guidance for marketing and culture. It also can define the core vision and strategy of a company. Marketers should stay away from addictive price or promotion strategies and rather focus on communicating why their products are unique. Employees should all want to use the product themselves, because it is so good.

Purple Cow by Seth Godin provided inspiration around making a product really remarkable. To focus on the essentials that make customers happy and how to be genunely different to the competition. Viral effects and significant ROIs can be achieved from marketing if a product is made remarkable and if the whole organisation aligns to the core features. This will help you cross the chasm to win over those influencers and early adopters.

Richard Branson is simply a fascinating individual and the way he approached all of his businesses is unique and inspiring. He was never afraid to break monopolies and to attack the Goliath as the David. He proved again and again how selecting the right people, having great customer focus and a great corporate culture can become the winning formular to disrupt an industry.

Good to Great by Jim Collins gives interesting insights into why some companies went into hyper growth mode where other comparable companies barely grew with the market. It comes down to selecting the right people first, then figuring out the what and then creating a long-term culture and strategy around something that the company could be best and world-class at. The book includes tons of research and data. It inspires every business leader.

Want to share your book recommendations?

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