Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My List

I have seen several articles and posts lately regarding reading lists, and I just happen to have one of my own. Mine is slightly different, however, in that I am more specific than just a list of books, I have a list of favorite Chapters. As soon as I get a new book, I immediately stick an envelope in as a bookmark, and I take notes throughout the book on it. It has become incredibly useful, in that I can go back to my envelope/bookmark at any time and use it as a reference. So I don’t have to skim TOC or indexes if I need to go back over something for a refresher, or need to recommend some reading to someone.
It does irritate my fiancé, Kelly, more than a little, as I keep my books at her house, therefore I use her envelopes, making sure she runs out at the most inconvenient of times. I dare say that isn’t the toughest ‘Nick’ issue she deals with, but you’d have to ask her.

Anyway, on to my list of chapters, and this is in no particular order:

Chapter 3, What’s Your Mission, in “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. Good book regarding networking and the impact it can have on your success, but probably the best chapter in the book is Chapter 3, on Goal Setting. The book describes in detail how to set effective goals, and how to hold yourself accountable with his three steps. I have used a lot of information out of this chapter. Aside from that chapter, if you didn’t meet enough people at the bootcamp, or are a ‘wallflower’ in general, get this book. Tons of tips on how to meet and make the most of your relationships with people. Chapters 1-14, Dan Kennedy’s No BS Time Management for Entreprenuers. Yes, that’s the entire book, because hands down it’s the most important book I’ve ever read. And incredibly easy to read. It’s over in no time, and you are much better for it. If you ever want to become a true entrepreneur, start here.

Chapter 5, The Hedgehog Concept, in Jim Collins’ “Good to Great”. The Hedgehog Concept is basically an illustration of three circles each partially overlapping one another, with each representing an element of your business; 1) What you are passionate about? 2) What you can be the best at? and 3) What drives your economic engine? It gets a little deeper into the explanation of successes and failures of similar businesses, as does the entire book. An important read for any entrepreneur who wants to see beneath the surface of business success and failure. Later in the book, he also mentions a ‘Stop Doing” list (as opposed to a ‘to-do’ list) as a means of shedding unproductive tasks, and restoring discipline to our working lives.

Chapter 4, Strategy of Preeminence, “Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got”, Jay Abraham. This is a strategy that we took and immediately impressed upon our staff at our health club and PT company, it’s so simple, and so true. The soul of your business, he calls it. The Strategy of Preeminence is simply described as shifting your focus from ‘me’ to ‘you’. When doing so, you will stand out in the minds of your clients, employees, employer, or anyone else as the best at what you do. The preeminent choice. I always revert back to this particular chapter (and book) whenever I feel we need to refocus on customer service.

Chapters 6 & 7, Identify Blocks, Destroy Blocks, “Power of an Hour” Dave Lakhani. Two chapters that will help you identify and get past any obstacles that may slow your progress towards your goals. The true insight was in realizing that I was incorrectly identifying my blocks, making it difficult to eliminate them. This book, and in particular these chapters, along with Dan Kennedy’s Time Management book, have increased my productive time probably tenfold. It’s amazing how much time you can spend dealing with distractions if you don’t identify and eliminate them. A great resource for productivity.

Chapter 11, How to Manage Your Cash Flow, Dan Kennedy’s “No BS Business Success” Of course he has two books on my list, he’s Dan Kennedy. Reducing and controlling expenses, getting financing leverage, getting paid for your service or product, and increasing cash flow by increasing sales are a few of strategies Dan explains in detail. His books are such easy reading, large type, small words……..just kidding. They are easy to read though.

“The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber.
Ch. 2 The Entrepreneur, the Manager, and the Technician
Ch. 6 Maturity and the Entrepreneurial Perspective
Ch 9 Working On Your Business Not In It
Ch 11 Your Business Development Program
Ch 14 Your Organizational Strategy
Ch 17 Your Marketing Strategy
Ch 18 Your Systems Strategy
Needless to say, tons of info here. Tons.

Freakonomics, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. This entire book is the polar opposite of conventional, exploring the economic reasoning behind debates such as: How the KKK resembles Real Estate agents, similarities between sumo wrestlers and school teachers (I know what each one of you is thinking, and that’s not what he means – but I thought it too!), and what makes the perfect parent. The one chapter that makes this book required reading is Chapter 3 Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live With Their Moms? And it explores underground drug ‘businesses’ and how their hierarchy and systems are put into place. I promise you will learn something from this! Read it.

These are the books which have influenced my and my businesses the most. And you can see they are pretty inexpensive. This list should be on everyone's shelves, they are what we look at as mandatory reading.

Nick Berry
This list does not include ebooks and/or info products, otherwise the Dan Kennedy's and Michael Gerber's would be pushed aside by the Lee's, Labadie's, and Cosgrove's out there. Those guys get their own list.


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