Five must-read business books for ambitious entrepreneurs.
Halima Khatun, 8 SEPTEMBER 2016 • 3:00PM
Members of the Small Business Connect community suggest the best books for entrepreneurs and describe the lessons they took away from each.
1. The E Myth, by Michael Gerber
“As a chef who’s set up a business, for me this book brought home the importance of realising that having a passion for doing something is not enough to be successful.
“If you’re mad about baking, for example, you might be better off going and working for someone else – setting up a cake shop or bakery will mean that sooner or later you will have to bake less and do more marketing, accounts and so on. It’s likely that you will not be baking at all. This is true for many trades and craftspeople.
“The best lesson I took from the book? Plan ahead and start with your eyes wide open.”
Simon MacDonnell, chef and owner, Papadeli
2. Getting Things Done: the art of stress-free productivity, by David Allen
“If the idea that you have a million things to do is always rattling around in your head, this book is for you. It’s great for boosting productivity. It gives you a way to get everything you need to remember out of your head and into a more memorable system by organising your tasks and breaking them down into digestible pieces.
“The key principle I’ve taken away from the book (and passed on to colleagues) is the concept of the ‘next action’. Project and task lists can often be overwhelming. The book teaches you to focus solely on the specific next action that needs to be taken to move a task or project forward. This prevents you from being overwhelmed by large tasks and helps avoid procrastination.”
Matt Deighton, managing director, Sofas By Saxon
3. Women and false choice: the truth about sexism, by Dr Muna Jawhary
“Being a woman in the male-dominated world of business, I’ve heard plenty of advice on what women should do to be successful. But I always felt the conclusion was that I had to hide my aggressive, cage-fighting side and wear an acceptable female mask.
“This book helps women (and men) celebrate both their masculine and feminine sides. Muna Jawhary says that fulfillment in our business or personal lives will always be stressful if we don’t unleash our true selves.
“She also writes that society’s strong stereotypes bind us all to ‘false choices’ – for example, women who don’t demonstrate a caring personality will attract general disdain. The best lesson it taught me is never let anyone criticise you [for being yourself].”
Karen Jones, founder and owner, Citywealth
4. Matchmakers: the new economics of multisided platforms, by David Evans and Richard Schmalensee
“As the authors note: ‘Many of the most dynamic public companies – from Alibaba to Facebook to Visa, and the most valuable start-ups, such as Airbnb and Uber – are matchmakers that connect one group of customers with another group of customers.’
“The book provides thought-provoking insight into what’s behind the exponential growth of the companies in whose footsteps we’re following. It’s a portal through which to view the economy of the future.”
Matthew de la Hey, chief executive and co-founder, inploi
5. The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod
“It details some simple activities to do first thing in the morning, such as meditation, journal writing and affirmations – and essentially sets you up for your day.
“The basic principle is: how you start your day dictates how your whole day will go, and I firmly believe in this concept. It has really helped motivate me while running my fledgling PR consultancy business.”
Halima Khatun, director, HKCommunications