When I check my credit card balance every month, my first exclamation is “damn it…Amazon!”.
I actually do love Amazon but I just have that love-hate relationship with books some many girls probably have with their shoes. You spend so much but you just can’t live without them. Books just pull me, they want me to buy them, and the 1-click Amazon button is simply irresistible.
All this to say that books (99% it’s non-fiction) are a huge source of knowledge and the reason I have been living without TV for the last 5 years.
Now I have read tons of books about startups, entrepreneurship, starting a business etc. The only problem is that when I do some research about the best books to read, people keep on mentioning the same few titles over and over again (I will probably write a post “Three Books Every Web Entrepreneur is Expect to read”).
Here I want to tell you my three of my favorite books. People never mention them but they will really inspire you.
Anything you want by Derek Sivers
What: Derek Sivers is the eccentric founder of CDBaby, a company he “accidentaly” created in 19… and later sold for $20 million. The book is not about raising VC money, doing PR, get covered by tech blogs (well, they didn’t even existed at the time). The book chronicles how he started the company, including all the usual first-time entrepreneur’s mistakes, up to the point where he cashed in…oh no wait, here’s another Sivers-style move: he donated all the money to a music foundation.
If you are into the startup world, read TechCrunch/The Verge/ The Next Web everyday, this book will a like fresh air. Sivers has totally different approach from the usual startup game. If you don’t trust me, trust Forbes magazine:
“One of the best hours you’ll ever spend will be reading Derek Sivers’ new book, ‘Anything You Want’.”
Setting the table by Danny Meyer
What: what does a restaurateur has to do with web companies? Well, startups has a huge chance of failing and only the best ones succeeding. What’s the secret formula? Now, in a city like NYC 80% of restaurants fail, Meyer has opened 25 and closed only one. He really seems to have a recipes for success. The chapter I liked the most is chapter 10 “The Road to Success is paved with mistakes well handled” which is all about customer-service and how his group manages clients’ feedback. Meyer shares with the reader the “Five A’s for Effectively Addressing a Mistake”. This is all about the restaurant business, but it’s not hard to imagine they could work in any kind of industry.
- Awareness = Many mistakes go unaddressed because no one is even aware they have happened. If you’re not aware, you’re nowhere.
- Acknowledgment = “Our server had an accident and we are going to prepare a new plate for you as quickly as possible”
- Apology = “I am sorry this happened to you”. Alibis are not the Five A’s. It is not appropriate or useful to make excuses (“We’re short-staffed”.)
- Action = “Please, enjoy this for now. We’ll have your fresh order out in a few minutes”. Say what you are going to do to make amends then follow through.
- Additional generosity = Unless the mistake had to do with slow timing, I would instruct my stuff to send out something additional (a complimentary dessert or a dessert wine) to thank the guests for having been good sports. Some more serious mistakes warrant a complimentary dish or meal.
The whole chapter is worth reading but I guess this part really encapsulates the essence of it.
When I’ll stop talking you know I am dead by Jerry Weintraub
What: if you know Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley or if you have seen The Karate Kid and Ocean’s Eleven (all three), then you already know part of the work of Jerry Weintraub. He is a Hollywood producer and legendary deal maker.
The stories in the book are so many, it’s difficult to pick a favorite one. However, it’s epic the way he convinced a depressed Frank Sinatra to do “Sinatra – The Main Event”, his live, legendary Madison Square Garden performance. Read the book, you gonna love it!