Weekend Reads: Zero to One, Mighty Midsized Companies & Biology of Beating Stress

Do you need a spark of creativity? Thinking about turning your idea into a sustainable business? Already have a business and you want to grow? All of these questions can lead to stress and all three books in this week’s edition of Weekend Reads can help.
Zero to One book coverYou can give good customer service. You’re good with numbers and people. You have more know-how than you know what to do with, and you can do this – on your own, for your own passion. So, you’re thinking of stepping out and founding a startup. But before you close one door to open another, read “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel (with Blake Masters). Think about it: since the mid-20th century, “only computers and communications have improved dramatically….” While there are a lot of conflicting tenets in business, one key to building a “valuable company” is to figure out what nobody is doing, and do it. Another key is to create a monopoly, but not the illegal kind. Instead, you want “the kind of company that’s so good at what it does that no other firm can offer a close substitute.” That is the mark of a successful business but, to achieve it, you must know what a good one looks like. Then, start small and scale up carefully. When founding your startup, hire people who enjoy working together – people you like, and that are alike in their interests. Much like a marriage, pick partners and board members carefully. Purchase Zero to One here
Mighty Midsized CompaniesYour startup days are long behind you. And boy, that’s a relief. It was a struggle, for sure, but you made it – and now you’ve got your eye on making the Fortune 500. To do that, your business has to stay alive and maintain its mid-level status, and in the new book “Mighty Midsized Companies” by Robert Sher, you’ll find out how. In the past few years, a lot of press has been given to small businesses. Even politicians focus on them, but Sher says that midsized firms – those with revenue between $10 million and $1 billion – make up a third of the GDP. Wasting time – or letting it slip away – is the Number One growth killer. Messing with your core business or straying from your original plan is killer Number Two. Keep an eye on assets (including staffing numbers) as you grow, to ensure you’re able to handle the extra work and can avoid an “operational meltdown.” Watch your cash flow carefully, to shield yourself a little better from problems beyond your control. Become good friends with your bank, but think twice before asking investors for money. And finally, hire with an eye toward leadership. Good leaders in all levels of your firm will give you a leg-up on the competition. Purchase Mighty Midsized Companies here
Biology of Beating StressThese days, antacids are your most-efficient office assistant. Aspirin is your co-worker. Sodium bicarbonate, your best friend. And stress? It’s your roommate and constant companion. Your environment, the people in it, and how you feel about those factors is what makes you seize up and grit your teeth in anxiety and irritation. You need to read “The Biology of Beating Stress” by Jeanne Ricks. In order to start ridding your life of stress, you need to first acknowledge that you’re fed up. “Be in the moment,” says Ricks, “and not on auto-pilot.” Next, learn to use the “STOP Technique,” which requires that you tell yourself to STOP whatever you’re doing, “absorb the scene around you,” relax, and breathe. On that note, learning to breathe properly (which Ricks says “most of us” don’t know how to do) is imperative. Get outside and go for a walk; studies show that being outdoors eases stress. Know which foods are the healthiest for you when you’re feeling on edge. Talk to your doctor about taking nutritional supplements and digestive enzymes. Think like a cat: stretch and move. Write down your feelings and make an “attention list” every night, so you don’t fret about forgetting something, and can sleep better. Look for time to exercise; Ricks says all you need are 20 minutes, three times a week. Forget about perfection (“a myth”), learn to forego blame when mistakes are made, and remember that change is out of your control. Purchase The Biology of Beating Stress here
For AZTB’s past Weekend Reads click here
Contributions from Terri Schlichenmeyer | The Bookworm SEZ, LLC