Bonus episode of the SouthFound podcast - Favorite startup books of past guests
This audio was recorded for a bonus episode of the SouthFound podcast.
This past week on my personal blog I have been talking about the importance of constantly learning new skills.
One of the ways I do that is through free, and sometimes paid online courses. Another great way is to learn from I call "virtual mentors”.
By that I mean people you may never meet in real life, but that can teach you something from a distance.
Books are a perfect example of this. In fact, I have been a voracious reader my entire life and have a few select books that have really impacted my professional life.
This is true of most of the startup founder that I have interviewed on the SouthFound podcast.
While the podcast is still on a break between seasons, I wanted to go ahead and release a bonus episode featuring the favorite startup books and apps that past SouthFound guests live by.
I hope you enjoy the resources they share. In the meantime, if you know of a startup or entrepreneur I should feature on the show please have them head here.
Eric Dobson of the Angel Capital Group, Episode #2
Book – Essentialism. It is a great book about keeping the focus on your gifts, not your weaknesses. We all have a tendency to do the opposite. It totally breaks down when you begin to talk about entrepreneurship and startups, but good lessons are there nonetheless.
If I have to pick an app, it is going to be my task list, TaskTask. I use it to manage my to-dos as well as a dumping ground for thoughts on projects, needs, action items, blogs, etc.. I put everything in there that I need to remember and access at some point in the future. I am sure there is a better tool, but this one works.
Chris Marr of the Content Marketing Academy, Episode #3
- Favourite business book: War of Art by Steven Pressfield - This book is by far had the biggest impact on me in my business. I was gifted it at the right time when I was just starting my business and I really needed that kick in the butt! It's my top recommendation for every business person.
- Favourite technology solution: Slack - For the past two years, I have used Slack to communicate with most important people in the CMA Community. Slack has made it easy to communicate with different people all across the world.
Tony Bova of Grow Bioplastics, Episode #5
I'd have to say that my favorite business book is Start With Why by Simon Sinek, and my favorite technology solution (aside from my cell phone) has to be the Gmail plugin: "Boomerang".
Start With Why is a solid book, and Simon has a really popular TEDx talk on the same topic here. I won't try and recreate his words, but the core concept of the book is that to build great products, built by great teams, that make up great companies - leaders need to start all of their messaging with why that product/team/company exists. He gives solid examples as to how a winning company culture can be built if everyone is on a unified front, and can resonate deeply on the long-term vision. The book is full of examples that outline the interesting phenomena of the big behemoth company that seems to have "lost their way" and flounder to stay relevant -- often to the point of failure and obsolescence -- and in his words, is because they have "lost their why". The same lessons go for keeping good customers, or in the case of a fledgling startup - finding (and keeping) the *right* investors, advisors, and team.
There are a lot of great personal lessons in the book and while it's not meant to be an actionable set of recommendations for how to find whatever your personal "why" is, it's an excellent description of how important it is to get there and share that effectively with everyone you're working with. He has a new book that just came out called Find Your Why that's just what the title says. I'm hoping to read that one soon.
Boomerang is a relatively simple app that lets me shoo an email out of my inbox if I don't need to immediately act upon it (say I'm waiting for a reply, or it's about an event that is in the future) and set it to come back in at some future date. I also use this to remind me to follow up on messages - they automatically come back to my inbox and I can decide then whether it needs a response or can be archived. It also has an auto-scheduler built-in for night owls like me that are up until 3-4am. I can have my emails rattle off in the morning and not worry that I appear to be some crazy workaholic and that I'm also being courteous of peoples inboxes, notifications, etc when it's really past a regular person's bedtime.
Lastly, it has a great tool built in called Respondable, that reads your emails for Subject Length, Word Count, Question Count, Reading Level and w a paid subscription advanced features like Positivity, Politeness, and Subjectivity. All of that is driven by data on their end that gives you a score of how likely you are to get a response to your email. This has been tremendously helpful for me to go from long-winded and over-explaining emails to short, pointed messages with a singular question that requires a relatively direct response. It's a tad more than I'd anticipate paying for what it offers but in perspective, I use it constantly, so it's worth it, in the end, to keep my productivity up.
Dave Seeman of Fractal Designs, Episode #23
Daves favorite book is The Dip by Seth Godin and his favorite app is Zapier.
Courtney Jones of The Mom Source Network, Episode #26
Her favorite book is The Lean Startup and her favorite app is also Boomerang.
Mac Bartine of Smart RIA, Episode #31
After some reflection, my favorite business book is "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck". It's not really a business book (obviously), but the book does a great job of getting to the heart of one of the most important business lessons I've ever learned: do your best not to sweat anything that isn't truly important.
My favorite business tool is startup accelerators. They get you access to the best tools at super cheap prices, such as HubSpot and Intercom; introduce you to the best mentors available in your area (assuming the accelerator has done the necessary work to find those people and bring them to the people who need them most); and the good ones can introduce you to the right investors for your startup when you're ready for fundraising.
Leo Knight of Neighborhood Nerds, Episode #32
I have MANY books I love and believe are required reads for entrepreneurs.
But to answer your question of ONE book that is my favorite...right now. I would have to say "The 4 Disciplines of Execution" by Sean Covey, Chris McChesney, and Jim Huling. The reason I love this one? Many books, consultants, advisors, etc. will tell an entrepreneur "what they need to do"...this book tells you "How to do it".
My favorite technology today and my most used is Slack. I use Slack constantly for communicating with my team. Communication is just the tip of the iceberg with Slack. The limitless number of extensions and integrations make it incredibly powerful! I don't have to leave Slack to create a new card in Trello, call a contact, video chat, post a CRM lead, create a note about a contact, set a reminder, create a calendar event, etc. It's amazing
*Note - some of these recommendations lead to affiliate links where I get paid a few pennies if you purchase the product. Rest assured I only link to resources I have personally used.