28 Entrepreneur & Business Tips from the CEO’s Bookshelf

You’ve heard you are what you eat, well we believe that you are what you read. Teach a CEO presents lessons from our bookshelf on how you can improve and grow your venture. We have taken nuggets from our library and provide them for CEO's, startups, entrepreneurs and business owners.

  1. Every startup is a moonshot. Entrepreneurs start businesses to pursue new ideas and disrupt industries, searching for breakthroughs in technology and business processes. (The Moonshot Effect: Disrupting Business as Usual)
  2. The conception of a dream is not the conception of what you might do. It is the conception of what you will do. (Are You Pregnant with a Dream?)
  3. Positioning is simple and cerebral. It s precise explanation of what you offer and to whom, why your product or service matters, and how it differs from the existing alternatives. (Get to Aha!)
  4. Eventually I realized that throwing people into real-life situations headfirst was more effective. (Permission to Screw Up)
  5. Most family-owned business (FOBs) start as an individual effort (aka solopreneuer) or a partnership between a couple of people who are related to one another. Rarely does someone actually intend to mange the people the love. (Business is Business)
  6. Once I became aware of just how powerful an advantage foresight is, I let it take over my life. These days I reverse-engineer everything. I start with the outcome I want (or don't want) and work backwards. (On the Verge)
  7. Core DNA and the corresponding genotypes offer an opportunity to narrow positing choices while at the same time ensuring that a company's position is aligned with its identity. (Get to Aha!)
  8. Sometimes entrepreneurs don't set out to build a business. The business is the byproduct of pursing the moonshot. (The Moonshot Effect: Disrupting Business as Usual)
  9. We can't just throw people in and expect they'll succeed. There has to be a balance. First people need to be aware of what's expected of them. We need to communicate the responsibility that comes along with that we are asking of them… (Permission to Screw Up)
  10. There is a very important distinction between work and struggle that, once understood, can make the critical difference between realizing your dream and realizing your struggle. (Are You Pregnant with a Dream?)
  11. A good place to start to turn those odds is to make a distinction between good and bad failure. It turns out, failure is a lot like cholesterol. Too much bad cholesterol will kill us. But we need a certain amount of good cholesterol to keep our bodies functioning properly. The trick is to keep the good cholesterol while lowering the bad. Similarly, not all failure is undesirable. Some varieties of failure are vital to progress. (On the Verge)
  12. There are plenty of good reasons to trust your instincts, but most people are so unaware of them that they stick with the old standards such as think before you speak (which keeps people from saying what they really need to say) and don't rock the boat (which leads to lack of innovation). Those mistakes are made less often in FOBs than other types of businesses. (Business is Business)
  13. The whole idea here is that when you know who you are, you begin to realize hat DNA is not simply an approach to marketing: DNA is the core of it. (Get to Aha!)
  14. Creating breakthroughs is the core business of a startup. (The Moonshot Effect: Disrupting Business as Usual)
  15. In any high failure-rate environment, singularity is the enemy of success. (On the Verge)
  16. If relatives have just failed at a job outside the FOB, they need to go somewhere else and prove their ability to succeed. Never bring someone into the business who has a history only of failing at a string of various jobs. (Business is Business)
  17. The next time you see someone struggling, remind yourself that they don't need you to save them. They don't need the answer to their problem. They need to know they are capable of solving it themselves. That they can be their own superhero. If they can take responsibility and get through the hard stuff on their own, hey will be so much better off. (Permission to Screw Up)
  18. Many entrepreneurs and startup founders suffer from the Accidental Executive Mind-Set–the belief that they aren't qualified to run a company…. Don't let that stop you…. Companies that disrupt industries aren't led by the usual people doing the usual things. It's okay to break the mold when reinventing business as usual. (The Moonshot Effect: Disrupting Business as Usual)
  19. Key advantages of being in an FOB include having the freedom to act on your instincts. Having the peace of mind that comes from working with people you trust. Finding joy in common efforts and shared accomplishments. (Business is Business)
  20. …activating positioning requires the injection of your positing and key messages into all your communication vehicles and ensuring that your internal and external audiences receive precise and frequent doses. (Get to Aha!)
  21. It is human nature to anticipate and make a judgement about how difficult something may be to accomplish. Yet the sooner you learn to trust the natural process, the less struggle you will experience as you work towards your dream. (Are You Pregnant with a Dream?)
  22. Because bold leaders operate outside of the context of business as usual, they understand how important it is to cultivate connection with people and perspectives beyond their own. To break through business as usual, expand your network. (The Moonshot Effect: Disrupting Business as Usual)
  23. An FOB because a burden if you violate two major issues…. They are glossing over problems, hoping they wont' damage family relationships. Taking work problems home with you, creating a mere facade of quality personal time. (Business is Business)
  24. Let me sing this from the rooftops: I am not infallible, and my company is not a utopia. In fact, sometimes we're both kind of a mess…. At Student Maid, despite all we've learned and how far we've come, we still get it wrong. But we will never shy away from admitting that, because getting it wrong is what helps us get it right. (Permission to Screw Up)
  25. All you have to do at the point is build a thoughtful message architecture that appeals to both the rational and emotional sides of your customers and create a compelling corporate narrative around that positioning to tell your story. Then you treat that story like a virus and inject it into every single communication channel to which you have access so that you can infect the market wit your unique position. (Get to Aha!)
  26. The last principle of adaption is about the role foresight and preemption play in adaption. It would be difficult to name two greater advantages than the ability to forsee and shape future events. (On the Verge)
  27. Making room for your dream send the message that you know it's coming. Depending on your dream, making space for it may take different forms. (Are You Pregnant with a Dream?)
  28. It will change because the future will no longer bow to speculation. It will answer to data, predictive analytics, and lightening-fast computing and be forged in the fire of preadaption. It will become the providence of those who dare to act on foresight. (On the Verge)

CEO Bookshelf

The Moonshot Effect: Disrupting Business as Usual – What's the best way to transform teams, elevate leaders and catapult careers? Launch a Moonshot — a game-changing project that disrupts business as usual. Drawing on the seminal 1961 Moonshot story of President Kennedy as well as real-life stories from the authors' work, The Moonshot Effect steps you through the elements of a successful moonshot, from assembling a high performance team, selling your vision and executing the plan. The Moonshot Effect is a must-read for leaders and includes 24 critical practices that are not only essential to leading and managing a successful moonshot, but can benefit executives and entrepreneurs on a daily basis. With Lisa and Kate as your guides, you'll be ready to launch your own moonshot. Kate Purmal and Lisa Goldman were members of extraordinary moonshot teams early in their careers and have since inspired, led or guided countless moonshot projects. Today, they speak and write about the power of moonshots and challenge CEOs, leaders and their teams to launch projects that will transform their businesses and careers.

Business is Business: Reality Checks for Family-Owned Companies – Balancing the benefits and burdens of a family-owned business. Working with family complicates the already daunting task of owning a business, and it's tough not to take work problems home with you. The best approach is to realize that family is family . . . and business is business. Business is Business: Reality Checks for Family-Owned Companies is a common-sense manual for survival that dispels myths such as the power of teamwork and gender or birth-order differences in ability.

Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (Almost) Everything Wrong – The inspiring, unlikely, laugh-out-loud story of how one woman learned to lead–and how she ultimately succeeded, not despite her many mistakes, but because of them. Permission to Screw Up dismisses the idea that leaders and orga­nizations should try to be perfect. It encourages people of all ages to go for it and learn to lead by acting, rather than waiting or thinking. Through a brutally honest and often hilarious account of her own strug­gles, Kristen encourages us to embrace our failures and proves that we’ll be better leaders when we do.

Get to Aha!: Discover Your Positioning DNA and Dominate Your Competition – Get to Aha! shows how to establish the kind of foundation world-class brands are built on. Too many business leaders fail to ask the most basic questions about their company―Who are we? And why do we matter?―before they leap right into branding. Big mistake. A company must first know itself (establish its position) before it can express its identity (execute its branding). 

Are You Pregnant with a Dream? How to Birth a Dream: Conception to Age 5 – Regardless of sex or age, we are all fertile dreamers. Are You Pregnant With a Dream? is a whimsical, detailed guide that offers numerous tools, breakthrough exercises, inspiration, and personal narratives to support every phase of the dream birthing process. Unlike a lot of maternity clothes, when it comes to a labor of love, one-size-fits-all does not apply! The metaphor of pregnancy offers rich, timeless wisdom and universal symbolism to support you in bringing your dream to full term. This book will have you wearing those stretch marks proudly!

On the Verge – In the spirit of the best in popular science, On the Verge is a landmark examination of big-picture forces affecting society today. Costa's unique sociobiological perspective, combined with her ability to blend humor, breaking science, and insightful personal stories, distinguishes her as one of the most important female thought leaders of our time.


CBNation helps entrepreneurs and business owners succeed with visibility, resources and connections. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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