The shelves of bookshops are groaning under the weight of a huge number of business books, so how do you discern which ones are worth your time and effort?
In our continuing series “3 Business Books that Changed My Life” we ask some of Australia’s top business bloggers and business owners for their recommendations.
In this post we feature Naomi Simson, who decided she wanted to run a business based on fun, and founded RedBalloon in 2001 to do just that. RedBalloon has now made the BRW fast list six times. Naomi is the 2011 winner of the Ernst & Young Industry Entrepreneur of the Year and a Telstra Businesswoman of the Year.
We thought it was perfect timing to feature her this week in the lead up to Christmas since RedBalloon has so many great gift ideas that are unique and are perfect for that hard-to-buy person in your life.
Here are the three business books that changed her life:
Mastering The Rockefeller Habits – Verne Harnish
In 2003 Kirsten Munachen, RedBalloon’s then business development manager and I attended Verne Harnish’s first Rockefeller Habits seminar in Sydney. Both of us were inspired by the discovery of the amazing resources available to RedBalloon in its start up phase. It made us realise we were not alone – others had travelled this path before and we could learn from other great businesses. Verne’s key message was about vision, values and alignment (though he might not have used that language). It was reading the book and attending the workshop that helped us identify RedBalloon’s sense of purpose and the values that guide us. Our values are such an integral part of life at RedBalloon: without them I do not believe we could have built the brand and the business that we have.
The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
I am a big believer in being present. Many women in business approach me asking me how I juggle my hats of businesswoman, mother etc. I always answer: by being present. If I’m with my children, I’m with them 100% and engaging with them – not trying to talk to them and answer emails or write blogs! What I love about this book is it clearly explains why the power of now is so important to all of us. There’s no point playing the guilt game. You can’t change what happened yesterday and you can’t control with any certainty what is going to happen tomorrow. But you can enjoy every moment and be present in it.
Go Dog Go – P.D. Eastman
You may wonder what a children’s book is doing on my list, but the last page, the big dog party on top of the tree, was one of the most exciting images I ever saw as a child – and I would look at it for hours. Part of being a success in business is giving yourself permission to dream, to keep that childlike enthusiasm alive.
It also resonates in business. One of RedBalloon’s values is being a little dog with a big dog personality. We love to play big games, having a far away goal and celebrating when we achieve it. Much like having a big dog party on top of a tree!
The book also has a lovely simplicity of message that is a good reminder in business:
“One dog in the house – two dogs over the house – three dogs under the house”.
And the innate honesty that children share is portrayed by two of the dog characters:
“Do you like my hat?”
“No I do not like your hat.”
Sometimes a bit of straight talking is what good business – and good leadership – requires.
What business books have made your list of must-reads?
Learn how to write your own business book with our seminar, How to Write a Business Book.