4 Essential Summer Reads for Entrepreneurs

By Sebastián Vidal, Executive Director Parallel18

I invite you to do an exercise: think of how many books you read in a year. For practical reasons, let’s say 6 (be honest), one every two months. Now think that the readers we’re talking about are 35 years old and will be able to read until they’re 85 years old. If you do the math it adds up to 300 books in a lifetime! It doesn’t sound like a lot, right?

Well, now that summer and vacation time are close, I challenge you to change the numbers. Let’s take those dusty books in the corner of your room that a friend, teacher or boss recommended, and throw yourself to the task of exercising that part of the brain that you don’t make time for. For those more avid readers, it’ll still be a good opportunity to surf Amazon for the latest in innovation and entrepreneurship (or any other area) and catch up with the latest trends.

If you are still undecided about what to read, here are some books that have helped me, mainly for two things: first, as a professional goal, I like to read and then apply what I think fits; and also to keep my mind off what I do daily, but close to its trends. Here’s my list:

1. From Zero to One, by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters

Although it's fairly new, this book is definitely a classic. With historical details of how startups and investment in Silicon Valley move, this book is an “eye opener” to anyone who knows about startups, innovation and technology. As a bonus, it includes very good advice on how to negotiate, raise capital, team building and more. Have your pencil and paper to take notes.

2. Who, by Geoff Smart and Randy Street

Another essential book if you believe that people are the driving force of any organization. How to hire people who fit my working culture and level of work? What to ask? What a bad hire means for your company? How to take care of your co-workers? While focusing on the world of startups, the truth is that is that this read is useful in any industry.

3. Essentialism, by Greg McKeown

I enjoy practical books and this is one of them. In my experience as an Executive Director, I rarely focus on doing one thing. I’m usually everywhere (and the truth is that I love it.) However, we have to let go of activities that distract us from our main goal or priorities. This read helps you getting there and stop procrastinating. Once you’re done, you’ll realize that it is much more efficient to work smart than to work hard.

4. Conscious Capitalism, by John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia

Most things in life and at work have to do with the purpose, why we do what we do. This book challenges the way capitalism has been implemented in recent years, giving a broader and transcendental view of what we do every day in terms of the impact that we generate as a company, organization or employees. In many cases, organizations only focus on a specific objective, which often is “profit maximization”, without realizing how they socially affect others. This book explains how companies create the ecosystem in which we are immersed and, at the same time, how we are capable of generating value for each link in the chain. Written by the founder of Whole Foods Market, it is definitely a favorite.

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