The books I listened to this summer have been diverse as well. I’ve renewed my Audible.com membership and am really enjoying listening to good content while I take walks, sit with the kids while they fall asleep and obviously, in the restroom.
I listened to a book called “The Real Book of Real Estate.” I started it on the plane. It’s compiled by a guy named Robert Kiyosaki and apparently his teachings are focused on the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which I haven’t read. I understand his teachings are valuable, but a little sketchy. I found that to be true with The Real Book of Real Estate.
Enis pointed out to me that the first chapter, although very interesting is written by a man who is currently in jail for running Ponzi Schemes. That led me to take the teaching of the book with a grain of salt. The other thing I didn’t like about the book is that it was very materialistic in it’s approach – full of phrases like “He has helped me close a lot of deals and make A LOT of money.” It was clear that the goal of this author is to get rich, for his own sake.
This is a sharp contrast with Dave Ramsey, who also strongly encourages wealth building, but for the sake of one day living like no one else (having “financial peace”) and giving like no one else.
That said, listening to over 20 hours of content about real estate investing really helped me to get inside the mind of real estate, and to start thinking about a field where we’d like to be operating as a family in a couple years when our home is paid off.
I bought this book because it was $.99 on Audible.com a long time ago, and I finally listened to it. I really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it, but I wouldn’t recommend it, while at the same time – I’m just sure there are better books out there on the subject. That said, I’m sure I’ll read Rich Dad, Poor Dad some day. The book tickled my interest just enough.
One book that is regularly praised by two of my heroes, Dave Ramsey and Michael Hyatt is Good to Great by Jim Collins. I’ve shied away from this book because I know it’s about large organizations, but I finally gave in and purchased it on Audible.com. I wasn’t disappointed, and listened to it through twice.
Good to Great focuses on a handful of companies that went from being a good company to being a great company, defined as a company that greatly outperformed the stock market for a streak of 15 years or something like that after years of fair to good returns.
The focus was on the question, “what caused these companies to make such a drastic leap, and how can those findings be duplicated?”
The big things he observed were that these companies were led by what was called “Level Five Leaders.” These leaders were highly competent while being selfless and humble, unmotivated by the perks of leading a Fortune 500 company and focused on hard work and exemplary character.
The two other things I took away were the concepts of “First Who, Then What” and “The Hedgehog Concept.”
“First Who, Then What” is the idea that these leaders and their boards focused huge effort on finding the right people. More effort was focused on getting the right people than on deciding what direction to take the company. They spoke of first getting the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus, and THEN deciding where to take the bus. A large focus was on finding the type of people who don’t need to “be motivated” but are motivated by a level of character that demands quality work of one self. Once those types of people are assembled, the team can accomplish anything it sets its mind to.
“The Hedgehog Concept” is the idea that these great companies found areas to focus on where they could be the best in the world at it, they could be passionate about it and there was a viable market for it. Once these areas of focus were determined, they approached these specific areas with extreme discipline focused, on being the best at these areas.
The challenge for me is how to use these concepts in the very small company that I lead. I believe the challenge of being a level five leader to my team and being disciplined in hiring only people who are self-motivated and ambitious learners is very salient, although I question how much this applies when hiring for an entry-level position like “warehouse guy.” I intend to give much thought to this in the fall.
The Hedgehog Concept is more difficult to apply because I don’t know what we could be the best in the world at. Perhaps this is a concept best applied to future ventures – what are areas that I can be passionate about, that have a viable market and about which I can be highly proficient at? That’s the question for my career long term.
This is already quite long, so I’ll have to write about The Obstacle is the Way, The Resilient Farm and Homestead and How to Win Friends and Influence People in a future post.