Guest post by Sal Vilardo
Review of Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur
The Brave may not live forever—but the cautious do not live at all! – Richard Branson, Virgin Group
Every great entrepreneur and thought leader grew into the role due to advice from other successful people. Leaders are not born, or made. In fact, they are grown from a combination of success and failure and a heavy dose of reading.
Take a look at any of the greats, and you can almost bet there is a list of books as long as the zeros in their bank account. Donald Trump, for instance, is a voracious reader.
And his bank account shows it.
Leaders read for one main purpose.
Whom do you associate?
What small business owner wouldn’t want to rub elbows with top entrepreneurs? Sure, it would be amazing to get to hang out at extravagant galas and drink wine and taste cheese. But who has the time for that?
As a small business owner, I know I have about as much time as it takes to breathe in and out (on a good day), much less get dressed up and socialize with the elites. But that doesn’t mean I can’t associate with the greats.
Richard Branson would be considered one of the greats in my book. As a matter of fact, anyone who can break most of the rules of business and still come out on top, well, that is just ludicrous.
As the founder of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson has his hands in every aspect of the business pie. From planes and trains to music, money, and now outer space, what I wouldn’t give to spend some one-on-one time with the brilliant mind behind the Virgin brand.
When I had the chance to pick up Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur, for a small business book club, I snapped it up in a hurry. And I must say, from page one, the association has been incredible.
How do you associate by reading?
Do you have a business coach or mentor? If so, what do they do most often?
They make you think about your company, how your customers’ perception matters and how to move and shift with the changes in your company.
Now, imagine being in a room with a brash global empire-maker with a British accent. Intimidated? I sure as heck would be. But that is what coaches are supposed to do. They push you to become better. To think more and challenge your old ways.
Here are a couple thoughts from the book to give you a brief insight to the uncomfortable nature you should commonly expect:
“Business has to give people enriching, rewarding lives, or it’s simply not worth doing…We run our companies professionally and we make sure that everyone does their job to the highest standards. But the way we make sure is to see that people are having fun. Fun is not about acting stupid. It’s the feeling you get when you’re on top of things.”
Kind of stings a little. Doesn’t it? Well, how about this doosey?
“When you’re first thinking through an idea, it’s important not to get bogged down in complexity. Thinking simply and clearly is hard to do. It takes concentration and practice and self-discipline.”
What does this association do for my business?
What would you do with that kind of thinking in your company? How much would you grow with that kind of concentration, practice, and self-discipline?
How much would your company improve if you had the chance to get into the head of your role model? Believe it or not, a simple book can provide that insight. Not to mention, you can pick up a book for a fraction of the cost it would take to actually hire them for coaching.
By reading through the physical manifestation of a leader’s thoughts, you can apply what you need to your business at any given point in time. Plus, since you have the book, when you choose to associate at a later time, your business will be in a different place, and you may actually take something completely different away from the same wording.
It is a constant association that evolves as your business grows.
Sal Vilardo is an avid reader. His reading wish-list contains at least 20 books at any given time. He loves rubbing elbows with the elite—except when the ink rubs off the page. He also loves to brainstorm ideas and help people move forward in their business. Check out his blog at Prolific Studios and join the community.
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