Self-improvement is a big theme considering many people see the start of a new decade as an opportunity
to push themselves harder. By Christina DesMaraisContributor, Inc.com@salubriousdish
Self-improvement is a big theme considering many people see the start of a new decade as an opportunity to push themselves harder. Want ideas on how to sharpen yourself? Check out this selection of inspiring books, curated by high-achieving founders and executives.
1. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull"Culture trumps everything. What I love about this book is that it gives you a peek under the hood of one of the most innovative movie studios out there. Through numerous stories about Pixar, it becomes very clear how crucial culture is in creating a company that constantly pushes the boundaries. I also love the transparency the author brings to the stories to illustrate how challenging the creative process actually is. It's so easy for us as a consumer to see the final product and just assume it's the result of a spark of brilliance, but the reality is that the process of innovation is often very messy and full of missteps and detours towards the final output."
--Matt Hornbuckle, cofounder and co-CEO of Stantt, a men's apparel company which offers men's clothing in over 99 sizes and is sold in over 400 retailers across the U.S., including Nordstrom, Rothmans, and Richards
2. The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julie Zhuo"This book is a pleasure to read because it gives future managers and leaders a glimpse of some of the factors that influence how an organization functions, such as team culture, trust, feedback, and self-development. Oftentimes as leaders of our organizations, we forget that the foundation begins with us. Julie talks in raw depth about her personal development and growth as an individual before she was comfortable assuming the role of a true manager. Without a good understanding of yourself, you will have a hard time understanding what you want in a team. From what I've gathered, her focus is on culture and finding the right people to weave seamlessly into the company fabric. I've implemented some of her strategies and suggestions into my businesses and the change in company output is immediate."
--Lewis Chen, restorative dentist and cofounder of Beam Street, a New York City dental studio which has more than quadrupled its clientele within six months of opening and has been featured in a variety of media outlets, such as Well+Good, SHAPE, and MSN
3. All about Them: Grow Your Business by Focusing on Others by Bruce Turkel"In marketing, it's easy to get caught up in talking to your customer about the company and [the] product. However, [this] book does a great job of outlining practical insights on how successful companies can shift from being company-centric to customer-centric. From afar, the premise of this book seems simple and trivial, but the takeaways are complex and vital."
--Kevin Escalera, digital marketing director at RSP Nutrition, an all-natural active nutrition brand distributed at retailers such as Amazon, Bodybuilding.com, Whole Foods, GNC, and Vitamin Shoppe, in over 5,000 U.S. retail locations and over 80 countries
4. The Originals by Adam Grant"This book showcases how to create and champion original, powerful thoughts and concepts through testing and experimentation. Anyone can be original, but it's calculated risk taking (rather than reckless) that is the most rewarded and successful. The challenge and opportunity with creativity is selecting the right ideas, not just having them. Building breadth and depth of experience is paramount. Having diverse interests, experiences, and hobbies enhances creativity. Also, procrastination isn't bad. Strategic procrastination lets you incubate thoughts and ultimately come up with a better solution."
--Ricky Joshi, cofounder and chief strategy officer of online luxury mattress brand Saatva, which has more than $200 million in annual revenue
5. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown"This story serves as a reminder that the path to success is littered with significant challenges and obstacles that need to be overcome. We like to celebrate successes, and for good reason, but it's easy to only see the end result and think that it was a forgone conclusion from the start. Perseverance and perspective are critical characteristics for a start-up founder's peace of mind while on the journey. Also, having been a rower as well as a history instructor in the past, I appreciate how the author interweaves the sporting narrative with the broader historical significance of the time."
--Matthew Zarracina, founder and CEO of True Tickets, a mobile ticketing start-up that has established commercial partnerships with numerous major live theater organizations
6. It Starts With You by Fred Stuvek"[This] book is a three part success-with-integrity how-to that lays out reasons and strategies for becoming more mentally disciplined, cultivating a goal-supportive community, and developing resilience via the opportunity of failure."
--Andrea Marcellus, fitness expert, author of "The Way In: 5 Winning Strategies to Lose Weight, Get Strong and Lift Your Life" and CEO of AND/life
7. Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries by Safi Bahcall"I recently read this book and loved it because it brings together physics, organizational structure, and company culture. Loonshots are innovative ideas -- some would say crazy ideas -- and this book talks about how an organization's structure can impact and foster a culture that nurtures these ideas and drive innovation and breakthroughs. At a time when we're moving faster than ever, this book is a great reminder to take risks, challenge conventional thinking, and learn from failure as we seek to do things better and drive innovations."
--Erin Hutchinson, CMO, Americas at Merkle, a marketing agency with more than 9,200 employees, and more than 50 offices around the world
Read on to the rest of 8 more Great Books for you...