The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There are No Easy Answers. A young, first-time entrepreneur CEO recently reminded me of this gem. There isn’t a better operating manual for the rough-and-tumble of starting up a company, clawing a way to survival, and (if you’re lucky) thriving. The reminder is timely, as Ben Horowitz has a second book coming out this month.
When Mastery: Taking it Home by George Leonard hit the pages of Esquire’s May 1,1987 “Ultimate Fitness” feature, along with John Poppy’s The Keys to Mastery, it went the viral equivalent of its time — lots of letters to the editor, requests for copies and reprints, and CEOs disseminating it widely within their organizations. “A navy carrier pilot . . . wrote that he had been having trouble landing the F-14 Tomcat on an aircraft carrier . . . ‘Insights from Mr. Leonard’s outline of the master’s journey gave me the extra 10 percent of mental discipline that I needed to make the trek down this portion of my path a relatively easy one.’”
It has happened several times in the last few months — young leaders I’ve encountered calling out Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People as inspiring, guiding, and causing them to change how they are navigating the world. The book even served as the basis for one company’s core values. Of course I’d known about it for decades, though I’d not read it — it seemed dated and sales-y — a sort of “to seem rather than to be” thing.
The first thing I’ll say about Mindset: The New Psychology of Successby Carol Dweck is this is a must read if you’re raising kids. I read it after raising my kids. I offer a blanket apology.
In the decade plus since this research was published, what Dweck calls a “growth-mindset” vs. a “fixed-mindset” has influenced school curriculums, organizational thinking and practices, parenting, sports, and relationships.
Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived Joyful Life is a field guide for living an intentional life — for you to do life, instead of life doing you. While it’s just the thing for the stuck, the about-to-be college grad, and the baby-boomer eyeing retirement or an encore career, it’s really for all of us at all times in our lives.
My first week on the job at Heath Ceramics, I stopped by the showroom and picked up a copy of a business book I’d never seen, by an author I didn’t know, who co-founded and led a business I’d never heard of, yet it boasted endorsements from some pretty major names. I was pretty sure I was at least familiar with all the business books you’re supposed to read: from the classics, to the wave of stuff from the 90’s that has held up, to the sea of current influencers. What was this?