Everyone out there has good days and bad days. On a bad day, all your ideas start sounding stupid, self-doubt creeps in and you don’t know why you’re still trying in the first place. This is where you can look upto people who have gone through the same pain. People who have held on to their ideas and passions and executed them regardless of how difficult it was to keep going and hopefully by reading some of these, you will know exactly where your passions lie and figure out just what you need to keep doing to make them happen.
Well, since you can’t meet or talk to them in person why not read their inspirational biographies / stories / learnings and get back to life?
1. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
The extraordinary and inspiring account of both the professional and personal life of Steve Jobs. Based on three years of exclusive interviews conducted by Isaacson with both Jobs and his family, colleagues and competitors. A great insight into Jobs’s life and thoughts making it a very motivational and inspirational read, one of the best inspirational biographies out there.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
2. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson
Richard Branson followed a very interesting ideology that gained him, in slightly more than twenty-five years, successful ventures all around the place from Virgin Atlantic Airways to Virgin Megastores and nearly a hundred other myriad ventures. Reading this tale of someone doing business his way will surely encourage all you closet-entrepreneurs to just “screw it, let’s do it” in the words of Branson himself.
“I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive then I believe you are better off not doing it. A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”
3. Shark Tales: How I Turned $1000 into a Billion Dollar Business by Barbara Corcoran
Many of these books happen to be about business successes but that is the key to pushing ourselves to implementing all the ideas we have in mind. This book is Corcoran’s best advice for anybody starting a business but it’s also beyond that because despite failing at 22 jobs by the time she was 23, she borrowed a 1000 bucks form her boyfriend and started a tiny real estate office in NYC. This developed into a $6 billion dollar business. Now that is enough to keep me persistent!
“Taking chances almost always makes for happy endings.”
4. Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-Founder of Microsoft by Paul Allen
Paul Allen was a world-famous billionaire by his early 30s and Time has named him one of the hundred most influential people in the world as the cofounder of Microsoft. Rushed into sharing his story by a diagnosis of lymphoma, this memoir was created filled with his passion, rigor, thoughts and most importantly his endeavors; both the triumphs and the failures. This will emphasize the importance of ideas in all of our minds and we could all use a little of that.
“For the most part, the best opportunities now lie where your competitors have yet to establish themselves, not where they’re already entrenched.”
5. One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com by Richard L. Brandt
Richard Brandt has brought us the intel behind the creator of the world’s most popular online shopping site, Amazon.com. With its super easy and convenient layout, Amazon has helped Bezos rise from computer whiz to a world-changing entrepreneur. Through interviews with employees, competitors and observers, we get an insight into how Bezos thinks enabling us to sharpen up our decision making skills and maybe, finding something that gives us a higher meaning to our lives.
“… working at Amazon was not just a job — it was part of a visionary quest, something to give higher meaning to their lives.”
6. The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup — practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.
While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.
“Hard things are hard because there are no easy answers or recipes. They are hard because your emotions are at odds with your logic. They are hard because you don’t know the answer and you cannot ask for help without showing weakness.”
7. Delivering Happiness Paperback by Tony Hsieh
After debuting as the highest-ranking newcomer in Fortune magazine’s annual “Best Companies to Work For” list in 2009, Zappos was acquired by Amazon in a deal valued at over $1.2 billion on the day of closing. In DELIVERING HAPPINESS, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares the different lessons he has learned in business and life, from starting a worm farm to running a pizza business, through LinkExchange, Zappos, and more. Fast-paced and down-to-earth, DELIVERING HAPPINESS shows how a very different kind of corporate culture is a powerful model for achieving success-and how by concentrating on the happiness of those around you, you can dramatically increase your own.
“Things are never as bad or as good as they seem.”
8. By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop by Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis-Wilson
Alexis and Alexandra went to Harvard Business School and while they were learning all they could at the top training ground for future Wall Street titans, they had no idea that 5 years on the line, they’d be famous at the intersection of fashion and technology. Gilt began with one bold idea: to bring sample sales online and change the way millions shop. The quintessential lesson is that anything is possible if you have the confidence to embrace your creativity, spontaneity and ability to recognise an opportunity and just go for it.
“The reason we wrote our book, By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt And Changed The Way Millions Shop, is to inspire entrepreneurship — especially among women. We want to help increase the chances of success with more startups.”
9. Things a Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone
From GQ’s ‘Nerd of the Year’ to one of Time’s most influential people in the world, Biz Stone represents different things to different people but he is known to all as the creative, effervescent, funny, charmingly positive and remarkably savvy co-founder of Twitter, the social media platform that singlehandedly changed the way the world works. Now, Biz tells fascinating, pivotal and personal stories from his early life and his careers at Google and Twitter, sharing his knowledge about the nature and importance of ingenuity today. In Biz’s world:
- Opportunity can be manufactured
- Great work comes from abandoning a linear way of thinking
- Creativity never runs out
- Asking questions is free
- Empathy is core to personal and global success
In this book, Biz also addresses failure, the value of vulnerability, ambition, and corporate culture. Whether seeking behind-the-scenes stories, advice or wisdom and principles from one of the most successful businessmen of the new century, Thinks a Little Bird Told Me will satisfy every reader.
“Once true passion hits you, you can recognize all the times in your life when you were chasing the wrong dream. And after you´ve experienced that sustained fulfillment , you´ll never want to settle for anything else”
10. Giants of Enterprise by Richard S. Tedlow
The pre-eminent business historian of our time, Richard S. Tedlow, examines seven great CEOs who successfully managed cutting-edge technology and formed enduring corporate empires.
With the depth and clarity of a master, Tedlow illuminates the minds, lives and strategies behind the legendary successes of our times:
- George Eastman and his invention of the Kodak camera;
- Thomas Watson of IBM;
- Henry Ford and his automobile;
- Charles Revson and his use of television advertising to drive massive sales for Revlon;
- Robert N. Noyce, co-inventor of the integrated circuit and founder of Intel;
- Andrew Carnegie and his steel empire;
- Sam Walton and his unprecedented retail machine, Wal-Mart.