Neuromancer, William Gibson’s first novel, was published in 1984. It helped to establish the cyberpunk genre of science fiction: a dark future where computing, communication, and artificial intelligence technologies were dominant, complemented by significant medical advances, large inhabited satellites in Earth orbit, and considerable drug use. I recently re-read it and was struck by how things have turned out differently.
Our July 2017 Newsletter focused on key insights for entrepreneurs offered by Robert Pirsig in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. If you have not had a chance to read it I would encourage you to put it on your summer reading list.
Max Gunther’s “The Zurich Axioms” is aimed at investors but also offers valuable insights and rules of thumb for entrepreneurs.
Our June 2017 Newsletter features four books entrepreneurs should consider for their Summer Reading 2017 list. I have included an additional four free books in our special offers section.
Dorothea Brande wrote “Becoming a Writer” in 1934. The book remains in print today, offering valuable tips for both writers and entrepreneurs.
Ken Iverson wrote “Plain Talk” 1997 to document the management and innovation principles that led Nucor from bankruptcy to the number three position in the steel industry in the United States. Since the publication of the book Nucor has become the number one player.
Gerald Weinberg wrote “Weinberg on Writing: the Fieldstone Method” to share many techniques he had perfected in writing more than 40 books and 400 technical articles. The method is very applicable to the exploration of a new market to find problem-solution fit and ultimately product-market fit.
P.T. Barnum wrote “The Art of Money Getting: The Golden Rules for Making Money” in 1880 at the age of 70 when he was already an accomplished businessman, politician, philanthropist, and author–after his hugely successful 1855 autobiography “The Life of P.T. Barnum: Written By Himself.” Barnum’s 21 golden rules for making money was a codification of his rules for business. Here are key excepts from the introduction and 20 chapters.
Derek Sivers promises that his slim book “Anything You Want” is a one hour read that summarizes 10 years of his entrepreneurial experience into 40 lessons for a new kind of entrepreneur. It’s a practical book that’s well organized and easy to read. It took me much longer than an hour to actually absorb the lessons he offers here–I found myself thinking about it for several days after I read it–if only because he offers profound insights not quick tips. But I knew after I read the first chapter where he summarized his key lessons learned it was a book I would be recommending to other entrepreneurs.
George Murray offers a wealth of aphorisms in “Glimpse.” 409 to be exact. You will be seeing a number of them sprinkled throughout my blog posts and “Quotes for Entrepreneurs” roundups for the next few months.
It’s a fantastic collection, and definitely worth reading if you enjoy aphorisms. James Geary reviewed Glimpse when it came out in 2011 and observed:
“The deep strangeness of the images and juxtapositions takes a while to sink in, mostly because of Murray’s deadpan delivery. Reading his aphorisms is like talking on a phone with a slight delay; you understand what’s been said a beat or so after it has been spoken. And that split-second delay, filled with thoughts and speculation, is where the wonder lies, of aphorisms in general and these aphorisms in particular. The charm of Glimpse is that so many of the aphorisms in it make you do a double take.”
James Geary in Aphorisms by George Murray
Since it’s Sunday I selected these 13 as the more spiritual ones. Those that are more directly related to entrepreneurship will show up on the blog in the coming months.
Summer is almost over. If you have been putting off reading “The Lean Startup” I have a time saving suggestion. If you have an hour and want to capture the gist I can recommend a good e-book summary for Lean Startup. If you have another hour I suggest a good summary for Four Steps.
Mary Roach’s Stiff offers a tour of the afterlife: she answers the question what happens to our bodies after we die. She explores funeral homes, autopsies, medical training, medical research, crash testing, body armor testing, cremation, brain death, natural decomposition, and organ transplants among other topics.
Is is meticulously researched. Roach visits all manner of medical, research, and funeral facilities in addition to quoting from medical texts ranging back more than two millennia.
Roach advocates for both organ donation and donating your body for medical research arguing that morticians and the natural process of decay will treat your cadaver no less roughly and provide no benefit to anyone else.
She brings a sense of humor and a willingness to ask the most candid questions to everyone she encounters, and does not shy away from observing every aspect of a medical procedure, test, or burial preparation process that her hosts would allow her to. Here is an example from a visit to workshop where plastic surgeons practice their techniques on disembodied cadaver heads.
This is a webinar replay that was recorded on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 with Massimo Paolini, Miles Kehoe, Dorai Thodla, and Sean Murphy discussing Barry Moltz‘s “You Need to Be a Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business.” They share how they personally found the courage to start their businesses and their desire to make “working for yourself” mean not only a better job but building equity.
Here is my summer reading list for entrepreneurs, 2015 edition. These six books cover a range of topics: sales and marketing, skills for innovation, cultivating expertise, giving and getting advice, pursuing mastery, and mapping the value chain for a new product.
Theodore Zeldin gave a series of six lectures on conversation that were collected in slim book called “Conversation: How Talk Can Change Our Lives.” I found it offered a number of insights on what is needed for a serious conversation. And since serious conversation is one of the primary tools for early market exploration and customer development; I have curated a list of nine excerpts I think entrepreneurs will find useful.
Some quotes from “Whispers Under Ground“, “Broken Homes“, and “Foxglove Summer.” They are the third, fourth, and fifth novels in Ben Aaronovitch’s “Rivers of London” series of novels about Peter Grant, a London Police Constable and apprentice magician.
I bought these three on the strength of his first book I had the feeling that Aaronovitch succumbed to “Game of Thrones” disease–not greyscale but “literary elephantiasis”–where he is afraid to bring anything to a conclusion because his series has become so popular–and profitable.