I am a library junkie. I can admit this right out in the open. One of my favorite tricks these days: browsing in a big box bookstore with my iPhone at the ready and open to the LA Public Library page. When I find something I want to take home, I just type the ISBN into the search on the library site and request it. I can pick it up at my local branch, it's free, and I still get to browse in bookstores. It's my favorite game lately.
However, I was falling prey to a deadly disease for the entrepreneur. It's one people don't talk about nearly enough in the business world. It doesn't have a name yet, so I will call it the "Reading Far Too Many Business Books Disease." This disease is deadly for a number of reasons.
Let's go through them one by one and discuss the cure...
Reasons the "Reading Far Too Many Business Disease" is deadly to your business:
- It starts out so well... You read something classic, like The E Myth, or Good to Great, and think "Wow!" I really can use this information. It's so helpful. I love this! But wait...
- Instead of doing the exercises in the original book, or simply applying those principles, you read ANOTHER book. More is more right? Well, we saw what happened to the poor guy in SuperSize Me, right? Not pretty.
- We then begin to panic, thinking we know far less about business than we thought and keep checking out or buying business book after business book so that we can learn that ONE THING that is missing, so we can be certain that we are going to have the best business ever...
- We collapse in a crying heap in the middle of a chest crushing pile of books. I've seen it happen.
Here's what the real problem is: most entrepreneurs did not get MBAs. We started out in business with an idea and a passion. We dreamed of being in charge, of making our dream a reality. This passion carried us along through preliminary steps like getting business cards, setting up a blog or a website, going to some networking meetings and generating initial business, but then...
Woah. It was a business.
Suddenly this wasn't a dream anymore. It was becoming something. And all those insecurities about what we are and aren't capable of came to the surface.
One thing I've noticed with myself and fellow women entrepreneurs is that we never feel ready. We always need to gather more information, we need to know more before we are really ready to start.
Wrong. Better to start now, because as we're reading all these business books, more are getting written or published. We could be on hold forever.
What's the antidote? Books that have absolutely nothing to do with business. What we need to learn is how to get inspired by one business book every once in a while. Then we need to put a very business savvy person on speed dial who can answer sticky questions that we MBA-less types might get stuck on.
Then... get on with your life.
I challenge you to read something this week that has nothing to do with business. My favorite category choice? Biography.
I read My Life in France by Julia Child last week and am on to Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver this week. Are they business books? Not at all. Are they helping my in my business? Absolutely.
Stories about women who achieved success are just what the doctor ordered. And when these women achieve success in areas other than the one I currently work in, I have even more I cna learn, all while I enjoy a vacation from stressing about business issues.
What are you reading now? Please share with us in the comments below.