Monthly Bookmarks –
154th Edition – April 23rd, 2023
Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself.Derek Sivers, Anything You Want
1. Read the Fine Print
Each new year, I make it a point to reread books I’ve enjoyed in the past. One of those is the 88-pager, Anything You Want by Derek Sivers.
Derek never intended to build a business selling music CDs for independent authors until a friend asked if he could create a sales page just like he did for his own music. Derek ultimately sold his company for $22 million.
One of the most bizarre stories is when he explains why he had to buy his own business from his dad for $3.3 million stemming from a $20,000 loan he received from his father.
Lesson learned: always read the fine print before signing any legal document.
2. Flawless Execution
About every two months, I typically recommend a book to CEOs in my inner circle, and the picks are always situational. The title I’ve recommended the most in the past two months is Flawless Execution by James Murphy.
I call it the book David Allen of Getting Things Done would write for small teams and even larger organizations.
The author is a former fighter pilot, and he says every plan starts with a future picture, that is, “A view of the future as we’d like something to be.”
Chapters 8 and 9 are my favorites and the content on the brief is excellent. My only gripe with the book is that the images in the physical book are hard to read.
3. A Vision of Clarity, Brevity, and Simplicity
Mass production of tractors in the U.S. did not start to scale upward until the early 1920s. However, iron power on the farms didn’t outnumber horses until the mid-1940s. A business student could say Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm insights applied to this new industry.
In 1921, John Deere sold an anemic seventy-nine tractors, according to the author of Tractor Wars. The Board would not roll with a price cut. They held firm with the following vision that kept Deere on a solid financial footing for years to come:
- The International Harvester Titan and Fordson are “our main competition.
- A new tractor should be a three-plow tractor meeting the requirements of 75 percent of that trade, based on the same way that the Fordson met 75 percent of the two-bottom plow trade.
- A new tractor should sell for $1,000 “under normal conditions.”
4. Is The Wager Any Good?
I pre-ordered The Wager, which came out this past week. The reviews are mixed, and a movie is coming out with Leonardo DiCaprio as the lead actor and Martin Scorsese directing.
Julia Flynn Siler at the WSJ says, “The Wager … is the most gripping true-life sea yarn I’ve read in years.”
“It’s the kind of inspiring chronicle that would make for a rousing maritime adventure,” according to Jennifer Szalai at NYT.
This will be one of my summer reads, and I’m happy to share my notes when finished.
5. A Travelogue for Business Readers
I’m confident that the number of bloggers and vloggers is well into the thousands, with that count glowing daily. I’ve read one stat that 59% of these content writers have more than one site, and many have up to four.
I just finished another book that was also a reread. I loved Investment Biker the first time. I loved it the second time too. Jim Rogers tells the story of his 22-month journey touring 52 countries on a motorcycle with his traveling companion.
One of my favorite sections of the book was his description of Australia. He described Ayers Rock as a “magnificent sight (page 284 in the physical copy).”
However, he states, “If a traveler wants to drive in Australia and New Zealand but has time for one, New Zealand is the country to choose because it is so compact and beautiful.
Also, the tacit knowledge he shares about investing and local economies is excellent.
Recent CFO Bookshelf Podcast Playlist:
Would you like to write a book review? Let me know on LinkedIn.
Thank You For Reading. Thank you for making this a successful newsletter.
If you like the content above and the posts at CFO Bookshelf, may I ask a favor? Feel free to share this with other readers and comment on your favorite blog posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.
Always be learning and growing.