Easter is almost here and we hope you'll be using the time off work to get away on a holiday! To me, the keystone of a good holiday is a good book – something to get your teeth into while you lounge on the beach (or on the sofa). If you're stuck for ideas on what to read, here are five books to give you food for thought over the break!
1. Freakonomics by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
An oldie but a goodie, Freakonomics takes everything you thought you knew about economics (amongst other things) and flips it on its head.
Key quote: “An incentive is a bullet, a key: an often tiny object with astonishing power to change a situation.”
2. The Business Romantic by Tim Leberecht
Leberecht was the keynote speaker at Xerocon UK last year and truly hit the nail on the head with his musings on why it pays to be human in the age of automation. He highlighted a study by Forrester which found that emotion is the number one factor in determining customer loyalty and advocacy. That’s why it’s so important to go beyond the minimum, since tasks that might at first seem unnecessary could go a long way towards creating truly personal relationships with your clients.
Key quote: “What is the biggest need in the world that you might have the passion and the capacity to address?”
3. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: your accounting firm is a business, and you need to run it as such. Horowitz highlights the importance of struggle in your business and how to handle setbacks effectively. If the CEOs of Google, Twitter, Facebook and Paypal are all fans, Horowitz must have got something right!
Key quote: “Every time I read a management or self-help book, I find myself saying, “That’s fine, but that wasn’t really the hard thing about the situation.” The hard thing isn’t setting a big, hairy, audacious goal. The hard thing is laying people off when you miss the big goal. The hard thing isn’t hiring great people. The hard thing is when those “great people” develop a sense of entitlement and start demanding unreasonable things. The hard thing isn’t setting up an organizational chart. The hard thing is getting people to communicate within the organization that you just designed. The hard thing isn’t dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.”
4. Think Small by Owain Service
Knowing where to start to achieve a mammoth goal can often seem an overwhelming task. In Think Small, Service breaks down nudge theory – essentially a high level version of the “little and often” approach. The book is a must-read for anyone who has ever felt powerless in the face of a big project.
Key quote: “We usually assume that when we set ourselves a goal we will probably pursue it with focus and attention, drawing heavily on our slower, reflective system. This wouldn’t be a problem if we had unlimited processing power. But we don’t. We have a limited budget of attention that we can allocate to activities.”
5. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
This one seems particularly apt as, after all, accountants can be creatures of habit. This book gives you the tools to understand your own habits – and then break them. If you’re looking to make a leap in your professional or personal life, make sure to pick up a copy.
Key quote: “Habits are powerful, but delicate. They can emerge outside our consciousness, or can be deliberately designed. They often occur without our permission, but can be reshaped by fiddling with their parts. They shape our lives far more than we realize—they are so strong, in fact, that they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.”
If you're looking for more reading material, we've put together our very own (e)book too! 6 Steps to $100k will show you how your firm can up its profit margin this year, with a step-by-step plan to hitting that goal. Don't miss out on fantastic insights into the money your firm could be making – and how to make it!