Recently a friend has asked me if I had time to read all the books I should. The thing is that I read only the books I want to read. There are way too many great writings on the market and the time is so scarce (especially for a working wife and a mother of two) that I do not want to focus on books that should be read. I graduated from high school long, long ago.
Therefore, I read what gives me either emotions (have you read “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara?) or useful knowledge. You can find some recommendations from both categories in my recent article on 5 top books I read in 2017. I decided, however, to write another piece devoted to business books that I have been recently reading in a big number, too – even though I am not an entrepreneur. Some of these books are a pure waste of time. But others are so inspirational and so ready-to-use that I decided to share their titles here.
I have been thinking of setting up a blog for months (if not years). And yet, it took me very long before I decided to eventually lean in and become a content provider in this huge and rich online world. The following books provided me with inspiration, practical advice, as well as side information that literally blew my mind away. Here they are.
“Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg
An absolute classic for, I believe, every professional woman of my generation. If there was no Sheryl Sandberg, I would not be where I am now. I discovered her and her book some 4 years ago and since then have listened to tens or hundreds hours of podcasts with her, watched tens or hundreds of hours of videos with her. A podcast after podcast, a video after video – she still surprises and inspires me to lean in, to speak up, to fight the impostor syndrome we – professional women – still suffer from.
When I read her book I realised that there is something more than my hard work that matters – my voice at the table. I started to raise my hand during discussions and, what a surprise, was never laughed at. I started to encourage my female colleagues to do the same and to believe in themselves.
Reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book was a breakthrough for me. After her, I discovered also recordings of Arianna Huffington, Melinda Gates and Oprah Winfrey and other women empowerment moguls. I hope that every shy girl and woman heard the Golden Globes Ceremony speech of the latter. The new day is on the horizon!
“Start Up Nation” by Dan Senor and Saul Singer
In October 2017 I was invited to participate in the Deloitte’s and Israel Embassy’s in Warsaw discussion with Saul Singer, one of the authors of this best-selling book. I do not know any other reading that tells the story of a country so well and so effectively. After reading “Start Up Nation” it is really hard not to believe that Israel is a Promised Land for every contemporary, innovative, start-up thinking entrepreneur.
What inspired me the most is the motto underlying all the start-up endeavours, the one stemming from the Israeli experiences – it is even more than OK to try; failure is just another experience you can build on; if you don’t try, you don’t learn – and in contemporary world probably everyone, every employer and every employee should incorporate life-long learning. It is OK to fear failure but it is even better to act despite this fear. And it is OK to build around oneself conditions that make these risky attempts possible and less fearsome.
Launching a website may be perceived as a very small thing, incomparable with Israeli start-up enterprises worth billions of dollars. Correct. But I try to build on inspirations from the big players. They all were little once. And they also feared to launch their little endeavours. And yet, something made them try, made them make this first step. And then the second, the third, and many more.
“Reinventing you” by Dorie Clark
I first heard of Dorie Clark just several weeks ago when she was a guest of my favourite podcast series “Harvard Business Review Idea Cast”. She was interviewed on the premiere of her new book “Entrepreneurial you” on monetizing expertise. I bought it straight away and since then read all Dorie Clark’s books. Here I am focusing on “Reinventing you”, but should mention also “Stand out” and, to some extent “Entrepreneurial you”.
In her books, Dorie Clark gives practical tips and hints on how to become an expert in your field and how to let the world know about it. She writes about finding your niche and about building up on your uniqueness. Her books are bestsellers in the leadership category, but do not treat them as coaching stuff. They are manuals, they are guides helping every expert in discovering and building their unique place in the jungle of the offline and online worlds. You can see them being implemented in my step by step endeavours.
In Polish: “Jak zostać Panią Swojego Czasu? Zarządzanie czasem dla kobiet” [“How to become the Lady of Her Time? Time Management for Women”] by Ola Budzyńska
I truly hope that my readers from 28 countries (for now :)) have an equivalent of Ola Budzyńska. And if you don’t, you really should. Ola is a Polish blogger and an entrepreneur, building up her empire, as she is often saying in her FB lives and webinars. Her field is teaching women on how to manage themselves in the time they have, but she does so much more than that. I have been following her online business (established only in August 2014) for long and have seen her community on her fanpage and in her FB discussion group constantly grow. I have been observing the way she inspires thousands of Polish women off all ages, professions and backgrounds, to start focusing on what is really important to them and then – planning it precisely and implementing it with passion.
Ola is not a coach (as she often underlines), but her expertise plays a coaching role, too. She says – think of your priorities, do not put too much on your plate, try not to satisfy everyone around you, divide your big visions and great ideas into small steps so that it makes these vision more possible to realise (as a strategic planner, I love this concept so, so much!). She provides her community – in her book and through her online business – with (just as Dorie Clark) many practical tips and hints that one should really feel ashamed if they do not realise their plans after meeting Ola 🙂
As I wrote above, Ola has been building an empire. I like this side of her, too. I like to follow and analyse the ways her online business grows, I like to listen to her podcasts devoted to running an online business, and after setting up my blog I have joined her FB group for bloggers and online entrepreneurs. I see passion, but I also see discipline in serving with content and in developing a big-scale business. Very inspirational!
In Polish: “Finansowy Ninja” [“The Financial Ninja”] by Michał Szafrański
Michał Szafrański is another author I wish my readers have an equivalent of in their countries. He is one of the most popular bloggers and podcasters in Poland and publishes in the field of saving/investing money, running a home budget and everything around these spheres. He has been present in Polish blogosphere since 2012 and has built up a huge community ever since. In 2016 he published “The Financial Ninja” that blew all the readers away. For now, he has sold 55 thousand pieces of the book – a huge achievement in the Polish reading market. This achievement shows clearly that Polish people need and want a high-quality knowledge on private finances, on running their personal budgets. Only after reading his book I realised what I should do with my finances so that the future has some brighter colours J Michał Szafrański in his financial manual write also about becoming a well-known expert in one’s field, about setting up a blog, about activities in both online and offline worlds. Learned a lot from him and keep learning from his articles and podcasts.
And now I am reading Satya Nadella’s (the CEO of Microsoft) “Hit Refresh”, a bestselling business book of 2017. I am wondering where this book is going to lead me. My blog is just the beginning, a warm-up. More and more ideas are already buzzing in my head. Stay tuned!
Disclaimer: no sponsored content, just my personal choices 🙂