Category Archives: billionaires

Books For Entrepreneurs

5 Must Read Books For Entrepreneurs Recommended By Billionaires

We recently published a few articles on how billionaires across the globe stay productive through the day and what all aspiring founders and working professionals can learn from them. When studying the habits of these successful people, we came across one thing they all had in common: They are well-read.

Successful entrepreneurs are at their best when they squeeze in some meaningful time to read in their busy schedule. Sure you can’t read 50 books a year as Bill Gates does, but you can certainly grab a copy of any book from this handpicked list, recommended by successful people before the year ends.

These books have just the right balance of facts and stories, inspiration and actions that will make you look at things with a new-found perspective.     

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Recommended by: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Naukri’s Founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani

Bezos once said in an interview that he usually buys around ten books a month.  Aside from sci-fi novels, one of the entrepreneurial books which soon became his favourite was ‘Built to Last’ by Jim Collins. Similarly, for Bikhchandani, CEO of India’s largest job portal site, Naukri.com, Built to Last has been an inspiration to create the business he has today.    

The New York Times bestseller, Built to Last, is filled with hundreds of real-life examples and frameworks to help entrepreneurs of all levels build a prosperous organisation. The authors draw upon a six-year research project examining the common practices of the most outstanding companies such as Hewlett-Packard, 3M, Motorola, Procter & Gamble, Merck, Nordstrom, Sony, Disney, Marriott, and Walmart.

It must be worth a read if it helped Bezos become one of the richest people in the world!

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

Recommended by: Tesla’s Elon Musk

Authored by PayPal’s co-founder, Zero to one is THE book for entrepreneurs, innovators and doers.  

The book explores how companies can better predict the future and take action to ensure that their startup is a success. It forces the aspiring entrepreneurs to think ‘what valuable company is no one building’ and if the company they are thinking of will show a diminishing rate of return or higher rate of returns.

The book also has four interesting rules that are common in every ‘zero to one’ idea.  In Musk’s words, “Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and ‘Zero to One’ shows how!”

Business Adventures by John Brooks

Recommended by: Bill Gates, Warren Buffet

When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffet, he asked for a business book recommendation. Without a doubt, Buffet recommended his favourite book, “Business Adventures,” by John Brooks.

Compiled in 1962, the book has used 12 stories from the world of wall street to describe the success and failures of buzsinesses during that era, which stands true even today. Unlike various business books, you won’t find any listicles in Brook’s book. The book consists of long articles that frame an issue, explore it in-depth, introduce a few compelling characters, and show how things went for them.  

Although the 12 tales date back to the early days of wall street, it remains to be the best books for entrepreneurs as the rules for running a strong business and creating value haven’t changed much at all.

Autobiography of Yogi by Hindu guru Paramahansa Yogananda

Recommended by: Apple’s Steve Jobs, Games2Win’s Alok Kejriwal

During Steve Jobs memorial service in October 2011, each attendee received a brown box as a farewell gift. Inside the box was a copy of “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Hindu guru Paramahansa Yogananda.

This acclaimed autobiography presents a fascinating portrait of one of the great spiritual figures of our time. The book is a beautifully written account of an exceptional life and a profound introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and its time-honoured tradition of meditation.

Instead of business, numbers, and profits, the book emphasises the importance of ‘Self-realization.’ Translated into more than twenty languages, it’s a modern spiritual classic and must-read book for entrepreneurs who deal with stress, confusion, and aloofness on a daily basis.  

Gandhi: An Autobiography by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi

Recommended by: Apple’s Tim Cook, Former USA President Barack Obama

First published in installments in the late 1920s, the book recounts the life of Mahatma Gandhi, as well as how he developed the concept of civil disobedience.

While for Obama this book is his most famous forever favourites, Cook got interested in the book when he visited a museum during his trip to India.

According to Cook, this book has helped him to grow Apple’s business. Another business executive who’s a fan of Gandhi’s autobiography is Siemens India CEO, Sunil Mathur. Mathur said that the book had inspired him “to run a value-based business that is sustainable.”

No matter how crazy the schedule, one can always find time to delve into the depths of a good book.  Do drop in a comment here after you read any one of these. Or just tell us about any book that has had the most profound effect on your thinking.  

Happy reading!

productive office space

4 unusual productivity hacks by 4 billionaires

Besides their astronomical net worth, what do Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have in common? Some traits, habits, actions and hacks that have helped them become the success they are today.  

At times, your work life can get overwhelming. You have a thousand things to do: client meeting, internal reviews, sales and target presentations, etc., but what makes a real difference is how effectively you manage everything and succeed.

Although our last few blogs have focused on productivity hacks for office, home and managers, this particular  blog features the unusual productivity hacks of four billionaires that can transform the way you work.    

Sack the sit-down meetings

Let’s start by stating the obvious- Meetings waste a lot of time. Agendas get forgotten, topics go amiss, and people get distracted. Barring few circumstances, a normal meeting on a single topic or client shouldn’t last for more than 5-10 minutes. That’s precisely why the Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson prefers walking meetings.  

Richard feels that decisions get made pretty quickly if you stand up or walk during the meetings. Of course, you can’t walk around in a meeting that involves ten members, but you can stand, huddle and get the ball rolling. It’s also a great way to fit in a bit of exercise and stay focused on a busy day.  

Focus on ‘signal over nose’

As the CEO of three companies — Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink — Elon Musk has a lot of things to stay on top of things on a day to day basis. As per several reports, Musk’s jam-packed schedule often sees him darting back and forth between SpaceX’s LA headquarters and Tesla’s base in the Bay Area.

That’s why he starts his day with his most critical work, or in his own terms, things that send “signal over nose”. For Musk, this means dealing with essential emails that he needs to address in order to unblock other people’s work and progress.

In addition to this, he also breaks his entire day into a series of five-minute slots, even eating his lunch in five minutes or less, usually during a meeting.

While dividing a day into five-minute slots might look difficult to execute, you can identify your most critical work and start your day by completing that.   

Fit in ‘do nothing’ time

Sometimes being too busy can get in the way of doing a business or a job well. How many of you reach a point in a day where you feel that your day is so packed with back-to-back meetings that there’s barely any time left to process what’s going on around you or just think? Almost everyday, right? But fret not, even the most successful people in the world face the same issue.   

Which is why, Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, schedules “do nothing” time on his calendar. In fact, leaving gaps in his schedule is the “single most important productivity tool” he uses.

He creates 90 minutes and two hours buffers in his day where he keeps no meetings, no calls and no one can even disturb him during this time. This blank gray slot on his calendar gives him enough time to think and do his job well.

So, no matter how busy you are, try adding these buffers in your day. Use that buffer time to think big, catch up on the latest industry news, read things you were saving in your phone or iPad, or just take a walk. After all, there’s a big difference between being productive and being busy!

Seek negative feedback

As unusual as it sounds, incorporating and accepting negative feedback is an important part of Elon Musk’s work ethic.  

As per Musk, seeking negative feedback might be hurtful at first, but you normally end up getting a lot more out of it.

All you have to do is gather your team and solicit feedback about a particular product, feature, management style, business process, or anything that you are currently trying to improve. Ask them to give their honest feedback and make an effort to apply it.  

You can do the same exercise with your friends and family too. And while the negative feedback may be wrong, you know they are simply trying to help you, and it’s all in good spirit!

So, the next time you find yourself chronically short on time, try giving these five proven productivity hacks a try. You can even come up with a few experiments on your own. It may take some time to find the perfect formula, but the more you optimize your work schedule, the more productive and satisfied you’re going to be!