31 Business Tips From The Top 4 Business Books

Lucas Vilsen
Apr 4 · 9 min read

I believe I can change the way you do business. Do you have 10 minutes?

Building a business can be difficult in many ways. 3 months ago, I started a business myself, and it is harder than anything I have ever done before. It is called Leafy, and I sell microgreens and lettuce. Two weeks ago, I stopped for a second to truly think about, how I was doing business and realized, I needed to completely rethink my business model.

I then decided to get some inspiration from 4 of the top business book on the market. I took notes all the way through, and in the last 2 days, after completely reshaping my business, I have already made more sales than I have ever done in a single month.

For that reason, I decided to share my notes, so you could learn a thing or two from them too. I would always suggest people read these books themselves, but if you only have a few minutes to spare, use this post to get 31 business tips from 4 of the top business books: Zero to One, 4-Hour Work Week, Think and Grow Rich, and The Lean Startup.

4-Hour Work Week

Image supplied by the author

The 4-hour workweek is a book by the New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferris. He is an author of 5 #1 New York Times and The Wall Street Journal bestsellers

The 4-hour workweek is truly a masterpiece. In short, the book teaches you how to escape the 9–5, live anywhere, and join the new rich. Now, who is the new rich? The new rich are those whose currencies are time and mobility, and they use this to achieve full lifestyle design.

Here is a list of the most important lessons learned from this business book:

  • Make sure you write out your dreams with timelines and written-out steps and make them visible and obvious to your employees.
  • Do everything to make your staff excited — ask them “What makes you excited”, and convert that into goals connected to your business that they truly want to achieve.
  • Follow Parkinson’s law, and make deadlines for yourself to finish the tasks faster. Parkinson’s law is the belief that work expands to fill the time available for its completion.
  • Use the 80/20, that 80% of your outcome will come from 20% of your input, to use more time on the tasks that impact your business’s success the most, and eliminate the ones that do not.
  • Outsource tasks, that others can do better than you. You do not have to do everything yourself — outsource tasks that you struggle with. This can actually be much cheaper and eliminate unnecessary frustration.
  • When outsourcing tasks or when hiring people make sure to define clear rules and processes for your staff to follow. This makes them able to do the tasks without you, and this is the exact reason you hired them.
  • You can outsource your life too, to give you more time to work on your business. This could be doing laundry, cleaning your house, and making food.
  • Get a virtual assistant for yourself (and maybe other important people in your business) to take care of interruptions such as email, phone calls, personal errands, and fixing customer problems.
  • You should have 2 phone numbers — one should be for urgent calls and one for non-urgent ones. Make the one for non-urgent calls on silent, so it will not distract you.

Note that this book’s main theme is gaining freedom, and setting up a business that can work completely without you. But this book offers many tips on how to run and grow your business as effectively as possible. If you want a more detailed description of the main takeaways from this book, you can view my other post:

Think and Grow Rich

Image supplied by the author
Image supplied by the author

Think and Grow Rich is a best-selling book based on the author Napoleon Hill’s research on what makes a successful person successful. He studied over 500 self-made millionaires such as Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Thomas Edison for 25 years.

The book teaches you how to create a burning desire through auto-suggestion, how to come up with new ideas, and how to overcome your fears. This can be used to improve your employees and business.

Here is a list of the most important lessons learned from this business book:

  • If your desire is big enough, and you are persistent enough to keep going no matter what happens or how hard it is going to be, your success will come.
  • “Weak desire brings weak results” and a strong, burning desire brings success.
  • To create and maintain a burning desire you should use auto-suggestion. An auto-suggestion is a tool that involves reading a sentence out loud for yourself to convince your subconscious mind that you can achieve your goal.
  • You should not only convince yourself but also your employees. Make your goals visible to every employee and remind them of your business’s goals daily.
  • Be aware of the six ghosts of fear, the reason you are too afraid to try new things. The six ghosts of fear are the fear of 1) poverty, 2) criticism, 3) ill health, 4) loss of the love of someone, 5) old age, and 6) death. Most people have at least 5 of these 6 fears.
  • All these six fears only exist inside our heads. Make sure to frequently talk with your employees about these fears, if they are fearful or scared when taking on new, important projects.
  • “One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. No one ever is defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.”
  • Every defeat is temporary unless you give up and allow it to become permanent. According to Napoleon Hill, every defeat brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage, which will show itself when you have shown enough persistency and hard work.

If you want a complete guide on how to apply auto-suggestion to your life and business, you can view this post of mine:

The Lean Startup

Photo by Andre A. Xavier on Unsplash

The Lean Startup is a revolutionary book by Eric Ries. Ries explains the principles he and his teams have used and developed over a long career of working in, advising, and leading many startups and innovation engines within large companies.

These principles and management techniques should make your business more lean, effective, and efficient. The Lean Startup is a new way of looking at the development of innovative new products that emphasizes fast iteration, customer insight, and great ambition, all at the same time.

Here is a list of the most important lessons learned from this business book:

  • No matter how good your plans are and how much money you use on marketing, a sustainable and profitable business model is essential for your business to succeed.
  • Answer these questions to find your business model: Does anyone want what I can provide? Can I make money from it? Is it sustainable — will it work in the future as well? Every question should be answered by potential customers — not you just guessing and hoping!
  • Adopt the value hypothesis when developing new products. You should be able to sell your product to early adopters, which should find value in your product. If you can’t sell to anyone, or they do not find value in your product, you need to ditch your product and develop another one.
  • You should also adopt the growth hypothesis. This presumes that the product will only appeal to a certain type and number of people to start with, but that over time, a larger market will open up. You should ask yourself: Are my methods scalable? Can I effectively get new customers?
  • Every product sold is a possibility for you to improve. You should follow every sale with an invitation for the customer to give feedback on how you can improve. This is crucial to constantly grow your business.
  • Make sure your business does not become stagnant by having 3 different growth engines in your business. The sticky engine works to retain the existing customers by providing great service and updating your current product with new features.
  • The viral engine gets your existing customers to market your product for you. It should be easy for your current customers to become an
    ambassador and tell friends and family about your product or service.
  • The paid engine is your paid marketing. This engine focuses on bringing in new customers and making sure, your costs per acquisition are less than your user lifetime value.

This book is mostly about what to consider when starting a new business, but the techniques could also be used in a larger, more established company when doing product development or trying to make your company leaner.

Zero to One

Photo by Oscar Nilsson on Unsplash

Zero and One is a book by Peter Thiel. Thiel is an entrepreneur and investor. He co-founded Paypal and Palantir and was an early investor in both SpaceX and LinkedIn.

His book, Zero to One, is written with the goal of helping startups “see beyond the tracks laid down” to the “broader future that there is to create”. Zero to One is a book about thinking — about asking questions and rethinking how your company can create a better future

Here is a list of the most important lessons learned from this business book:

  • Finding ideas most people don’t know about or agree with, is key to being successful.
  • Going from zero to one means going from nothing to something. This is greater than going from 1 to 10 or even 1 to 100. You want to create something completely new rather than just doing something other people do better.
  • Each moment happens once. The next Bill Gates will not create an operating system, and the next Mark Zuckerberg will not create a social network. You should not copy them, but study how they came up with this idea, and how they made it successful.
  • There is no formula for innovation — for the simple reason that innovation should be fresh, new, and unique. According to Thiel, the most powerful pattern is that successful people find value in unexcepted places, and think about business from first principles perspective rather than formulas.
  • The best interview question is “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?”. This can be extremely hard to answer. This is a great question to rethink what you believe and become innovative.
  • The most important strength of startups is the space and the ability to think. You should use this to be innovative and constantly experiment with new ideas in your business.

I would recommend reading this book if you are interested in building something from nothing, to make something completely new and unique, and maybe, someday, be a part of a better future.

Hopefully, this post helped you change your business, make it more innovative, effective, efficient, and maybe bigger. Use the tips you think are relevant to your current situation and leave the others out.

To read more about book reviews, life experimentation, mental health, and productivity follow me. You can also follow me on Twitter, where I frequently post tips to help you with your personal development journey.


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Lucas Vilsen

Written by

Hi, I am Lucas Vilsen. I am: Studying biotechnology | Founder of @LeafyDK | Writer om medium | Triahtlete | Personal growth enthuasiast. Say Hi @LucasVilsen


We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

Lucas Vilsen

Written by

Hi, I am Lucas Vilsen. I am: Studying biotechnology | Founder of @LeafyDK | Writer om medium | Triahtlete | Personal growth enthuasiast. Say Hi @LucasVilsen


We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

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