I guess it is now impossible to find the real source of this statement but it seems that an average CEO of the Fortune 500 companies reads four-five books per month, which adds up to 50-60 books per year. I guess many people are wondering how an average CEO has enough time to read a bit more than a book per week. I think it comes down to making that decision and doing it consciously.
So, I'm going to start a 60 Books per Year Challenge and read 60 business books in the following 12 months. I will continuously update the list of the books I've read here in this blog post. Since I am now starting a new business project I will need to read up on certain things I have little knowledge about. Specifically I will cover the following topics:
- Retail, merchandising and e-commerce
- Experiential retail
- Fashion - fast fashion and luxury fashion, sustainability in fashion
- Sharing economy
- Customer service, delivering the WOW experience
- Branding, marketing and sales
- Running and growing a business in general
So here is my little list:
- Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos. Favorite quotes:
"Envision, create and believe in your own universe and the universe will form around you"
"Never outsource your core competency"
- #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal. Even though it's not exactly a literary masterpiece, it is an inspiring book about how to turn a eBay page selling vintage clothing into a profitable million dollar business with no starting capitals or loans. The story of Sophia is a real rugs to riches story, the New York Times has even named her "a Cinderella of tech". Main takeaway from the book is that if you show up and get the things done - it will take you a very long way in life. Some of the quotes I love from the book:
"Money looks better in the bank than on your feet."
"...but what I have realized over time is that in many ways, money spells freedom. If you learn to control your finances, you won’t find yourself stuck in jobs, places, or relationships that you hate just because you can’t afford to go elsewhere. Learning how to manage your money is one of the most important things you’ll ever do. Being in a good spot financially can open up so many doors. Being in a bad spot can slam them in your face."
"The last thing I’d ever subscribe to are fashion rules. However, I do think that you should put effort into what you wear. Clothing is ultimately the suit of armor in which we battle the world. When you choose your clothing right, it feels good. And there’s nothing shallow about feeling good. Owning your style, however, is much more about your attitude than it is about what’s on your back. But don’t underestimate the transformational possibilities that getting dressed can afford you."
"It takes a lot more than just knowing how to put an outfit together to succeed in the fashion industry, so more power to you if this is where you want to be; just don't expect it to be an extended trip to the mall."
Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell.
The Startup Owners' Manual Strategy Guide by by Steven Gary Blank, Bob Dorf. The book actually consists of three parts and the Strategy Guide is the first one. The other two parts are probably meant to be more of a reference book than something you would read over night. The books explains why a startup is not a small version of a large company and why it shouldn't be run like one.
The Peter Principle by Laurence J. Peter, Raymond Hull. Truly interesting read, even though it didn't have to be this long to explain the main idea. (Also the author seems to have some kind of problems with women and gay people, which was really disturbing for me). The idea is, however, a very interesting one, especially since I had earlier been working in a large hierarchical organization and left it. Reading the Peter Principle made me once again remember why I left.
In Fashion: From Runway to Retail, Everything You Need to Know to Break Into the Fashion Industry by Annemarie Iverson. How to make it in the world of fashion, whether you want to be a designer, a stylist, a makeup artist, a graphic designer, run your own business or be a model.
Fashionista by Martina Bonnier - the editor of one of the most prominent Swedish fashion magazines. The book has a very personal style of writing and is based on unique knowledge and experiences. Apart from that it is also very visually appealing :)
Säker stil. 101 stiltips by Ebba K. von Sydow and Emilia de Poret. Another extremely visually appealing book about styling and building a wardrobe of things you actually wear. After reading it I realized that over all of my years of shopping I never actually though about whether what I was buying would fit with the rest of the wardrobe. Reading it (and looking at the beautiful pictures) made me go through my wardrobe and throw away/give away/sell about half of the clothes I own.
Reingeneering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World by Doug Stephens. This book is a must read if you are working in retail and are into futurism. Or actually wait, this book is a must read if you are in retail and still want to be in business in the world of tomorrow. An interesting peak into the future of the retail in the post-digital world, where media becomes a store and store becomes media.
Säker stil. Guiden till den perfekta basgarderoben by Ebba K. von Sydow and Emilia de Poret. The book number 8 on this list is actually the follow-up on this one. Ebba and Emilia have done a fantastic work on how to build your basic wardrobe, on the Swedish fashion, on why it looks like the way it does, on Swedish brands and most important, on how to be confident in your style without letting shopping take over your life.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
The Book of No: 365 Ways to Say It and Mean It--And Stop People-Pleasing Forever by Susan Newman.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. This book is a must-read for anyone who has an ambition to achieve something great in their lives. I think it's also useful if you are looking for the answers to the questions like how to find your passion, how to nurture your interests, how to find your purpose in life and by pushing yourself to constantly improve become the best possible version of yourself.