Skedsheet Blog

Where we talk about the product, calendars, organization, and business

5 unconventional business books

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Here are five books that don’t typically make it to the list of business how-to’s, but are all inspirational to me.  They’re pretty short, entertaining, and a few are free.  While each one’s a bit different, they have  underlying lessons about being persistent, methodical, and determined.

5: The Manual
The KLF’s pamphlet is a sarcastic, funny expose of how one band got some fame and fortune.  Despite the tone, there’s a lot to be learned about having an audacious goal and going for it without a safety net.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t as easy as they describe, but it is enjoyable to read.

4: Zipper: exploration in novelty
How is it possible that the zipper took so long to get from idea to being everywhere?  In today’s world where you have the feeling that your products are out of date after 6 months, it’s amazing that the it took decades for the zipper to get popular.  Even though the first “modern” zipper was invented around 1913, it wasn’t until some slick advertising and marketing in the 1930’s found the right target – kids.  It’s not always your product that needs work – you’ve got to find the right market, too.

3: The Autodesk File
This was the book that made me want to start a business.  I remember reading it while I was in grad school, and starting to dream.  John Walker’s hyper-organized documentation gives a description of a bunch of guys who just get started without a real product or strategy.  It’s a lesson in how to build a company around people.  If you changed the 80’s era technical stuff, this could be written today.

2: The Game: penetrating the secret society of pickup artists
It’s weird, but I see lots of situations as analogies to sales.  When I read this book; in addition to being amused and a voyeur, I saw some guys who apply some very specific rules of how to act in order to close the deal.  The way they get good is by practicing constantly, and trying to out-do each other.  When I’m talking to customers and prospects, I wish I had as much discipline as guys in this book.

1: Tommy Boy
Okay, it’s not a book.  Before doing this, I didn’t have much sales experience.  Watching Chris Farley take over as a business owner and bumbling his way to success was surprisingly instructional.  The real-life lessons I learned are that authenticity and persistence really do pay off.

I just re-read them all.  With skedsheet we’re doing something new, and it feels good to remember how much hard work it takes to do that.


Written by Harry Hollander

February 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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