3 Inspiring Books for Creative Solopreneurs
There's nothing like a good book. Books have the potential to change your life.
I have read a few that have changed mine.
When we pluck up the courage to become a solopreneur, we open up a vault of information to sort through.
What's best to learn?
Who to trust and listen to?
Are these advice up to date and relevant to me?
There are many questions and even more answers.
I have found some books that literally have changed my direction in life, and so I want to share them with you.
Perhaps they might do something for you too :-)
3 inspiring books for creative solopreneurs
I'm going to pick out some wonderful quotes from the books. Obviously there are thousands of them, but I'm picking lines out that I underlined when I first read the books.
I love me some neurological facts, and these 3 books come with those.
I find it such a relief, and super fascinating, that so much of what I have always known to be true, but have been unable to articulate, is proven with biological facts.
The books are picked at random order.
Book 1: Start With Why - Simon Sinek
I believe this book has become such a success because Simon put into words for us how we've always felt about work, businesses and careers:
There has to be a meaning. There has to be a why.
He talks a lot about businesses and leaders, but I think this book at a MUST for everyone. Because even if you're not a business owner, or leader, and don't want to be either, you're a consumer. And that makes this book just as relevant.
He explains what he calls The Golden Circle as having 3 components:
WHAT: Every company knows what they do.
HOW: Some people and companies know how they do what they do.
But there is one missing detail:
WHY: Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. It's not money - that's a result. By WHY he means what is your purpose, cause or belief. WHY does your company exist? And WHY should anyone care?
People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.
The power of WHY is not opinion, it's biology.
And the part of the brain that controls the WHY doesn't control language.
The Limbic brain controls the WHY and the HOW, which is feelings and decision-making, but not language
The Neocortex controls the WHAT, which is rational thought and language.
This explains why we love some brands and not others. Because they make us feel a certain way, and that we are willing to pay money for.
This next bit is a great inspiration for you and me as solopreneurs:
"The struggle so many companies have to differentiate or communicate their true value to the outside world is not a business problem, it's a biology problem. And just like a person struggling to put her emotions into words, we rely on metaphors, imagery and analogies in an attempt to communicate how we feel. Absent the proper language to share our deep emotions, our purpose, cause or belief, we tell stories. We use symbols. We create tangible things for those who believe what we believe, to point to and say, "That's why I'm inspired". If done properly, that's what marketing, branding and products and services become; a way for organizations to communicate to the outside world. Communicate clearly and you shall be understood."
How good is that? I keep reading that paragraph over and over.
And the last thing from this book I'll pull out is how he explains how we find our WHY:
"The WHY does not come from looking ahead at what you want to achieve and then figuring out an appropriate strategy to get there.
Finding WHY is a process of discovery, not invention. It is born out of the upbringing and life experience of an individual or small group. It starts with: you."
There is your biggest mission, your biggest and most important job in your life and business:
Why have you taken the roads you have?
Why have you started the blog/business you have? Or why do you want to?
I find this so hard to articulate, and pinpoint, but I now know from Simon there's a biological reason for it.
Book 2: "A Whole New Mind" - Daniel H. Pink
This book is one of the most important books I've read to date. It's literally YES, I knew it! YES, I knew it! - all the way through it.
It's an AWESOME book.
Daniel H. Pink explains why Right-Brainers will rule the future.
"The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind - computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBA's who could crunch numbers. But the keys to the kingdom is changing hands. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind - creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers. These people - artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers - will now reap society's richest rewards and share its greatest joys."
Pink says we are moving away from the Information Age to The Conceptual Age.
"The Conceptual age is an economy and a society build on the inventive,empathetic, big-picture capabilities."
He talks about six essential aptitudes on which personal satisfaction and professional success will increasingly depend:
He goes into interesting details in each chapter and also gives suggestions to how we can learn these aptitudes.
Pink argues (with facts) that we are, and should be, moving away from focusing on IQ - left-brained - learning and toward right-brained learning and EQ.
Pink quotes a study done by Daniel Goleman from his book "Emotional Intelligence".
The question was: How much IQ accounts for career success?
The answer: just 4-10%!
What's more important is imagination, joyfulness, and social dexterity.
Seth Godin says of this book, that it's one of those rare books that marks a turning point, one of those books you wish you'd read before everyone else did.
I couldn't agree more.
Book 3: One Small Step Can Change Your Life - Robert Maurer, Ph.D.
This small gem of a book is by Bob Maurer. I have spoken to Bob in connection with my creativity coaching training. He is also a very nice man.
Kaizen is Japanese and means "Continuous improvement with small steps"
Creating any change is biologically difficult. Some degree of fear is inevitable. Change is hard.
How you bypass the amygdala - which is the part of the brain that alerts parts of the body to prepare for action - and get access to the cortex, the thinking part of the brain, is by using small steps, asking small questions, having small thoughts.
Kaizen strategies include:
asking small questions to dispel fear and inspire creativity
thinking small thoughts to develop new skills and habits - without moving a muscle
taking small actions that guarantee success
solving small problems, even when you're faced with an overwhelming crisis
bestowing small rewards to yourself or others to produce the best results
recognizing the small but crucial moments that everyone else ignores
"By asking small, gentle questions, we keep the fight-or-flight response in the "off" position.
Asking questions like "what's the smallest step I can take to be more efficient?"
"What is the smallest step I can take to be more healthy every day?"
This approach to creating a lasting change of any kind is far more realistic and kind than saying I want to lose 10 pounds in 10 days. Or I want to start running.
Most of us don't create lasting change by jumping from 0 to 100.
But by asking a small question and taking really small steps, change becomes less threatening and scary, and that is exactly how our brain reacts. We bypass the amygdala and access cortex, which is thinking, creativity and action.
Kaizen asks us to be patient and trust.
That is the hard part, but why the kaizen approach to life is healthy and kind.
I love these 3 books and my copies are full of bend corners and scribbles.
My hope is your curiosity has been peaked by what I've written here.
Maybe you already have one of all of them. If you do, I'd LOVE to hear what you think of them.
Please leave a comment to share, and if you know other great books for solopreneurs, I'd LOVE to hear about them too.