For some unknown reason, I’ve always been attracted to reading business books. Even at a young age, I wasn’t really keen on reading fiction books, to be honest.
But when I picked up my first business book, I found that I couldn’t put it down because of how drawn I was to it. In fact, my current bookshelf is packed with business books and self-development books.
And if you’re an avid reader like myself, whether it be with non-fiction or fiction books, have you ever come across a book that is so life-changing that it has impacted the way you carry yourself and lived your life after reading it?
For me, the answer is yes. I’ve read heaps of books throughout the years, but there are 4 books to be exact that have impacted me greatly.
The reason why they are so memorable is because the way I do things now can be traced back to all the learnings I have taken from these books.
These books are:
- The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg
- Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferris
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
If you have not yet heard of any of these books, one thing I will tell you is that despite all the lessons I will outline here, your takeaways will still be different from mine. And so, these books could definitely leave a different level of impact on you.
Well, because we are all different people and the way we see and perceive things are different.
Nevertheless, I hope the way I talk about these books will help shed some light on how they can help you in your own life.
I heard about the Go-Giver in a Facebook Group, and this is the most recent one I have read about the 4 in this blog post. I read this book around 2015 or 2016 and it immediately caught my attention when I came across it.
And for a book, as small as it was, and as easy to digest as it was, it’s profoundness is what made it stick in my mind.
Because unlike most business books that talk about earning profits and developing yourself, The Go-Giver stands out because it talks about the power of giving.
And the key takeaway of this book for me was to give freely to the point where it doesn’t inconvenience you to give. So although it does encourage you to give without expecting anything in return, you need to make sure that you take care of yourself first above all else.
This lesson really stuck with me because I’ve always been an helper, but I was more of a “selfish helper” more than a selfless one. Being a selfish helper meant that although I did love to help people, a toxic trait of mine was that I’d expect this person to do something for me as well when I have a favor to ask.
So because helping was already ingrained in my system, the Go-Giver completely changed my perspective of helping people and it all just made sense. I have learned to help people without expectation of a reward, because the mere act of helping them is a great way to build your network.
And you may be asking “But Tegs, how is giving related to business?”
Well, I understand that the idea to give with no expectation of reciprocity is really challenging when you try to apply it, especially in business. It took me a little while to get it and apply it too, however once I got it, things changed for my personal life and business.
If you have read my other articles, you are aware that I manage Coffee with Dan and Espresso with Dan, together with Dan Meredith. And it was through the lessons from the Go-Giver that I was able to land a partnership with him.
It was not an easy deal though. But that is a story I will save for another day.
There is one other story that I want to share in this blog post…
Just recently, I got tagged in a Facebook post where someone was looking for a “video guy” to help with some video edits.
I was tagged along with a bunch of other people who were more skilled and qualified than me.
So I thought to myself ” ahh those guys have it covered” and I left a comment saying something along the lines “plenty of capable peeps tagged above but happy to help if still needed.”
Around 20 or 30 minutes went by and the thread was getting a lot of traction. Thinking that my comment would not stand out in the post, I decided to slide into the dude’s DMs explaining that I believed I understood what he was looking for and if he gave me a video I would do it.
He did give me the video and 24 hours later, I completed the task and sent the final video back to him.
It was exactly what he was looking for!
The simple act of sending him a DM (with no expectations) and offering to do the job for him allowed me to have a happy new client. I wasn’t really trying to hard-sell myself, and it was through that mindset that I stood out from the rest.
With The Go-Giver, I valued the act of giving without holding any expectations or returns. My core takeaway after reading this book was to give give give and when I wasn’t quite sure to give some more.
The idea of giving led to starting a business which ultimately led to “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” So let us tackle that book next…
RICH DAD POOR DAD
You probably have heard of Rich Dad Poor Dad before and this book is famous for good reason.
Personally, this book has entirely changed the way I think about business and how I manage my cashflow.
I was lucky enough to have discovered this book at a young age — 18-years old to be exact on a rainy afternoon in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. It was a book my dad owned and it was lying around.
So I picked it up, and the story enticed and sucked me in. I loved learning about assets and liabilities and the excellent idea to use your assets to pay for your liabilities. It completely changed how I used to base my financial education, which was originally on trial and error.
I had so many ideas spinning around my head while reading this, and just when I thought this book could not get any better, it did…
The ultimate nugget revealed itself, and that nugget was
The Cashflow Quadrant
A square divided into equal quarters with the letters ESBI, where:
E = Employed
S= Self Employed
B= Business owner
Each element of the quadrant had different implications and effects on your wealth.
Having the different financial stages you go through — explained and visualized so clearly — was an eye-opener and a thought transformer.
The years that followed saw me using the quadrant as a compass to navigate and recognize where or what stage I was/am at in business.
And it was through this book that I wanted to belong to the Business Owner or Investor box, so that I can operate at the highest point of leverage. This meant that as a business owner, you can have systems and people working for you to generate income. Whereas as an investor, you have money working for you to generate income.
I also realised as I get older that while you can shoot to operate in a certain box (as a Business Owner, for example), there’s nothing stopping you from working in the Employee box or the Self-Employed box. This is especially enticing if you’re someone like me who likes to learn and do things.
So yes, you can optimize all your systems up to the point whereby they don’t need you, but what do you do with all of your free time (if free time is the ultimate goal)?
Once I had the Cashflow Quadrant as a foundation, and I moved from E to S, I realized that I need to do more to make the jump to B.
That is when I found the next book on my list of 4…
THE 4 HOUR WORK WEEK
If you tried working double shifts, running around like a headless chicken in a busy restaurant waiting tables, then a book titled The 4 Hour Workweek can seem like mana from the heavens…
Alas, this is the situation I was in when I picked up the book.
Rich Dad Poor Dad made me realize that I did not want to have a traditional job. I wanted to own a business, and yes, just work 4 hours a week. So when I saw a book that says you can work only 4 hours a week, you bet your extra hot Nando’s chicken that I picked it up.
It wasn’t until I started reading the book that I learned I was looking at things the “wrong” way.
The biggest lesson I picked up from the 4-Hour Workweek was that to grow a successful business, you cannot do it on your own. Even if you work all the hours under the sun, you will still not be able to get everything done.
And as much as I would like to think that I can do everything myself, I really can’t.
It opened my mind to the wonders of outsourcing and the benefits of delegating the things you were not good at to someone who loved doing those things. This means that there will be tasks that will take me around 2-3 hours, but if I hire a specialist, it will only take that person 30 minutes.
This is where the seed was planted that I could have freelancers or contractors who are skilled and experienced doing my work for me.
My journey learning how to hire the right contractors and freelancers did pose some challenges and risks. You can read about my experience in managing a virtual team HERE.
And one thing I have learned that in order to effectively manage a virtual team, or any team for that matter, I needed to have the proper systems and documentation in place. This is where my next and final book comes in.
This one I have read and reread a few times.
The reason for this is because the first couple reads were quite difficult to digest. Primarily because try as I might, I just couldn’t see how to apply/implement what was being talked about.
I persisted however and as my experience grew, so too did my capacity to understand what the book was talking about.
The old adage, “when the student is ready, the master appears” seems apt.
At its core, in my opinion, the E-myth is about how to build a business and put systems in place, so that you do not become a prisoner of the business.
Like most books, it is written with a view of getting you to explore how Michael Gerber and his company can help you implement what the book is talking about. And this consisted mostly of broad strokes and some general explanations of the concept of systems.
What did I take away from the E-myth?
I learned that the key to freedom, regardless of what that means for you my dear reader, is creating systems and establishing proper documentation of those systems.
And before I read this book at the young age of 25, I was already into systems and processes, but what I was missing was documentation. It was through E-myth that I learned how important it is to document my systems, and was especially helpful when I started bringing on people to the team.
This book was such a game-changer for me because it served as a bridge which connected the lessons I learned from Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and the 4-Hour Work Week.
The reason for this is because E-myth is the middle ground that people don’t really think about when it comes to growing a business and outsourcing. Everyone talks about outsourcing, but they rarely talk about the idea of abdication versus delegation, which I talk about HERE.
Typically, outsourcing is sold in a way that when you hire someone, you can just put them in, give them the tasks that they have to do, and then you don’t have to worry about them.
But through my experience in outsourcing, I think a little bit differently from most people and my business is a bit different. It’s not unique, but it’s a bit different overall to how other people run their businesses.
When I hire someone to run Facebook Ads, for example, I don’t simply hire that person and expect him/her to run the ads without any system in place. Because I know the importance of systems and proper documentation, I know that these need to be established so that when I bring someone in, they are aware of the things that they need to be aware of.
Some things that they need to be aware of (in my experience, at least) include market knowledge and customer knowledge. Anyone can train to be a FB Ads specialist, but knowing things specifically related to your business can only be taught by people experienced in the business.
So, if you bring a specialist into the business without any proper documentation, they will still be able to do the job no doubt, but there are always going to be holes in what they do due to their lack of knowledge.
And that is why E-myth was the bridge that connected the Cashflow Quadrant in Rich Dad Poor Dad to how you find freedom through the 4-Hour Workweek. E-myth became the manual on how to build systems and document processes so that whenever I decide to outsource, I am able to outsource effectively.
But one thing that I found was missing in E-myth is the simplicity to explain things. Because I personally did find E-myth to be quite dense and overwhelming.
I’d like to give an honorable mention to a book called Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz because it simplified a lot of the things that were covered in E-myth.
Clockwork enhanced my knowledge in creating systems and allowed me to give the right amount of freedom to my team to do the tasks their own way without stifling their creativity, but still following the general framework that I outlined for them.
And because I value the creative freedom of my team, I was able to properly document the things that need to be documented so that they have a general framework and desired outcome to work towards without being too restricted or controlled.
And there you have it. The 4 books that have left a lasting impact on my life.
All of the lessons that I have learned in these 4 books can be seen all throughout the other blog posts I have written as well. The lessons here are what have created a strong foundation for me and my team, and we are still learning as we grow and scale.
If you decide to read any of these books, or have already read them, you will most likely have different key takeaways from me and have also applied these to your own life and business.
How about you? What impactful books have you read?