Books for Entrepreneurs listed by Damir Perge


The following list books are mentioned in Entrepreneur Myths by Damir Perge :

  1. Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, & the Economic World by Kevin Kelly. This book will change your way of looking at the world. And yes, you are not in control no matter what you think.
  2. Bionomics: Economy as Ecosystem by Michael Rothschild. Every entrepreneur needs to read this book. It’s genius. You’ll be humbled by its brilliance. It will change you forever.
  3.  Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution byPaul Hawken.  This is the Bible for Green Business. A revolutionary book even today.
  4.  The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell.  This is the bible when it comes to understanding anything viral.
  5.  The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems by Fritjof Capra
  6.  Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos by M. Mitchell Waldrop.  Running a company is chaotic. You can learn much about management from this book.
  7.  Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production byTaiichi Ohno.  Forget Henry Ford. The real genius behind manufacturing and operations is Taiichi Ohno. Must read for operations of any business.
  8.  A Study of the Toyota Production System: From an Industrial Engineering Viewpoint (Produce What is Needed, When it’s Needed) by Shigeo Shingo.  Shigeo Shingo and Taiichi Ohno are absolutely brilliant. They have changed business forever.
  9.  Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono.  Re-wire your brain and use your six thinking hats to become a better entrepreneur. Most seminal book on how to use your brain.
  10.  Developing Products in Half the Time: New Rules, New Tools byPreston G. Smith and Donald Reinertsen.  Must read for any entrepreneur. If you haven’t read it, you’re losing money and market share.
  11.  The Entrepreneur’s Master Planning Guide : How to Launch a Successful Business by John A. Welsh and Jerry White.  The book that started me on becoming a member of Entrepreneurholics Anonymous. I took their class when I was a newbie entrepreneur.
  12.  Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth by Lester R. Brown.  This book will inspire you, depress you and make you want to change the world by becoming green.
  13.  Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore.  If you don’t read this book, you’re not an entrepreneur. This is a classic.
  14.  The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production by James P. Womack.  One of the most exciting books to read if you’re a serious entrepreneur.
  15.  Hidden Order: How Adaptation Builds Complexity by John Holland.  Must read for entrepreneurs who manage people. You can learn much from nature.
  16.  Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by Michael Braungart.  Revolutionary book on changing the way everyone does business. You’ll go green afterward.
  17.  Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries.  I read it in college. Still one of the best marketing books ever written. Must read.
  18.  Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius by Marc Seifer.  One of the three greatest scientists and inventors of all time.
  19.  Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature by Janine M. Benyus.  Business can learn much from nature. This book is a classic.
  20.  Mass Customization: The New Frontier in Business Competition by B. Joseph Pine.  One of my favorite books of all time. I’ve read it three times.
  21.  Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  Your mind is the most powerful asset you have. Never forget it.
  22.  Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer or Venture Capitalist by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson.  You have to know the art of term sheets if you’re going to get money from a VC.
  23.  The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler.  Everyone needs to learn to tell a story. Write one too. This is the book that teaches you fundamental principles of storytelling.
  24.  The Richest Man in Town: The Twelve Commandments of Wealth by W. Randall Jones.  You want to know how the rich got to be rich. This book provides the secrets of how some of the richest men in town got there. Entertaining and inspirational.
  25.  Unleashing the IdeaVirus by Seth Godin.  Anything Seth writes, you must read it. Although this is one of his earlier books, it’s a classic. Buy all his books – you’ll thank me later.
  26.  Profit Patterns: 30 Ways to Anticpiate and Profit from Strategic Forces Reshaping Your Business by Adrian J. Slywotzky, David J. Morrison, Ted Moser, Kevin A. Mundt and James A. Quella.  Enabling entrepreneurs to detail some of the possible patterns and scenarios in any business sector.  At the end of the day, a venture —whether a startup or not, has to figure out how to make money.
  27.  Competitive Strategy by Professor Michael Porter.  The best strategy business book; a classic that should be read every year. This book is painful and wonderful at the same time. It is painful because it forces you, whether you want to or not, to think about competitive strategy for your business, and wonderful because you can get ideas on how to compete in the market.
  28.  Competing Against Time: How Time-Based Competition is Reshaping Global Markets by George Stalk, Jr. and Thomas H. Hout.  You’ve only got so much time to launch your venture, launch your product or service, raise that money and make it big. Sure, you may think you’re competing against other competitors in the marketplace but you’re also competing against time — time of the market.
  29.  Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams by Mitchel Resnick.  The best way to learn the distributed way of thinking is by studying turtles, termites and traffic jams.
  30.  Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones.  This book stands the test of time. It is highly inspiring and educational because it teaches entrepreneurs how to become lean and efficient using the principles of the great Taiichi Ohno.
  31.  Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life by Mihaly Csikszenthmihalyi.  In Finding Flow, one of the key points that you learn is that life is not about happiness but actually achieving flow in your personal and business life. Don’t worry — this is not a self-help book based on hype. It is more of a guide to achieving optimal flow.
  32.  Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan.  No matter how great of an idea you have, at the end of the day, you have to be able to execute.
  33.  Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actionsby Guy Kawasaki.  I’ve met Guy a few times. He’s a likeable guy and this is a cool book. And that’s the point of this book but let me not ruin it. Buy and find out yourself.
  34.  Blur: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy by Stan Davis and Christopher Meyer.  This book will keep you thinking. The authors look at how three factors in the wired world —speed, connectivity, and intangibles —are driving the increasing rate of change in the business marketplace.
  35.  Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins. This is a book about visionary companies. Much can be learned from studying it.

What do recruiters look for?


A recruiter needs three types of skills

1. Subject matter expertise

This is the main thrust of most MBA programs. The professors are aggregators on knowledge and they cram it into the students. Most B-schools teach the same subjects. Different students retain this knowledge at different levels based on their capability and interest and sometimes the ability of the professors. Given that there are 4500 B-Schools in the country, the quality of the teachers cannot be uniform.

2. Attitude

If a new recruit has the right attitude, to work and to learn, he can be moulded. If he thinks that he should determine the type of work he should do, then the company has a problem. Recruiters look for a ‘can-do’ attitude, the ability to remain focussed and in balance and ability to learn.

3. Interpersonal, team-building and presentation skills.

If the new recruit does not blend with the culture of the organisation, cannot work in teams and cannot present his ideas, he is more of a liability than an asset.

You should look for an MBA college that teaches you all the above in equal proportions. Any college with a heavy weight on academics but not enough weight on other things cannot create an ideal candidate for recruitment.

Double Standards and Hypocrisy


Talking to some students, I realised that a person has a different set of rules for how they should be treated and for how they should treat others.  For example, we expect that juniors should obey our rules, but we should not obey any rules.

A corollary to this is the expectation that if person A treats person B well, then person B should treat person A well (Law of Reciprocity). If I have helped someone, that person should help me when I need it. Funnily,  this law should not hold good when treating a person badly.  I am allowed to shout at a person, but the person is not allowed to should back.

This is having double double standards.  This is not just among students, but also among teachers,bosses and our expectations in corporate life. We expect that if we are good to our colleagues, they should be good to us. We want a theory Y boss (nurturing boss), but we treat our subordinates as lazy good-for-nothing fellows and therefore follow theory X. If we are bad to someone, the person should understand why we are doing this (for their own good, obviously) and thank us for it.

I first thought this was hypocrisy, until my wife pointed out that hypocrisy is about saying one thing but acting in a different way. So when students or teachers advice others about the need to good time management, but come late, or if a boss professes to be Theory Y and having an open door, but actually uses the stick more than the carrot and is never available, this is hypocrisy.

Isn’t having two rules of behaviour more confusing to self and to others? You may argue that different situations call for different types actions. True enough. But is it different stimuli creating different responses but the beliefs are consistent, or are we also changing beliefs based on the situation?

If the second one is true, and if beliefs define the person, will the real person please stand up?

Promotions simplified


You have two types of customers.

  • External customers to whom you add value by selling your products.
  • Internal customers, like your boss, who you convince to give you resources and rewards.

If both are happy with you, you are promoted.

If either one is happy with you, you retain your job.

If neither is happy with you, you lose your job.

And if you do not have external customers, you really, really, need that internal customer on your side.

Actions and Consequences


If I did not do well in the exam today, I want to know why.  It is possible that it is a consequence of two actions:

  1. I did not (or chose not to) understand what the examiner wants as answers
  2. I did not prepare well.

Both of the above are critical of me and therefore not acceptable to my self-esteem. I need another answer.

I suddenly remember that, today, I did not pay respects to the deity’s photograph in my room. Boom! I know the reason why I did not do well today in the exam. Tomorrow, I will pay double the respects to the deity.

The above is  is an example of a coincidental association. Sometimes an action (A1) was taken (or avoided) long time ago in the past and its consequences (C1) are happening now. Coincidentally I perform another action (A2) now. Since  C1 occurs just after A2, we believe that C1 is a result of A2.

Suppose I have been living in a hedonistic lifestyle for the last 20 years, enjoying food and wine, and not taking care of my health. I have blocked arteries. Today, someone cursed me in office, my blood pressure went up and I had a heart attack. The other person now has a sense of guilt, because he believes that his cursing caused my heart attack. He thinks he has a ‘black tongue’ and his curse came true.

Suppose, as a salesman, I did not get any orders for a week. I went to a temple and prayed for an order. The next day I got an order. I would immediately conclude that it is because of praying in this temple that I got an order. The following facts (among other facts) do not come to mind.

  1. Sales cycles have a time gap between lead-generation and getting an order.
  2. It takes time to build a relationship.
  3. Orders are determined by the cash flows of the customer.

All the three reasons are not in my control, but going to the temple is. Therefore, I would rather believe that it was going to the temple that helped, rather than my efforts or the customer’s needs.

Our powerful and imaginative mind wants answers.  When it cannot find acceptable facts, it creates a reason from its imagination, linking unrelated actions to consequences. Because I have created this link, my mind justifies it as true, and therefore refuses to look at other reasons. Once I have created a belief, I do not accept an alternative.

It is very important to understand the root causes of a consequence. It is sometimes important to understand that we do not have answers right now, and that we are jumping to unrelated conclusions.

Can you sell yourself to a recruiter?


The interview is the place where your buyer and you, the seller, meet. A bad salesperson is one who harps about the features of the product, a mediocre salesperson will talk about the advantages of the product and a good salesperson will talk about the benefits of the product to the customer.

What is the process of coming up with the best sales pitch?

This document has a list of questions, which if answered, will help you create the sales pitch about yourself. Remember, however, that the pitch changes with each customer, and trying to use the same pitch on all customers is counterproductive. Do not try to sell yourself in the same way to all companies.



To understand the market and how you fit in, you need to do an analysis of the placement scenario, the trend, and how you can sell your services. It will be worth your while to download the following document.

This answers to the questions in this document are not readily available. You need to make an effort to get the best possible answers. Human tendency is to take shortcuts, and ask the nearest amenable person for the answers. Please ensure that the person giving you answers is knowledgeable about facts, and not opinions disguised as facts.

We create our own limits


“Flea trainers have noticed a repeatable, predictable, and unusual habit when they put their specimen in a cardboard box with a lid on it.

The fleas will jump as high as possible while hitting their little flea heads on the lid that is keeping the box closed.

Now these fleas are not as stupid as you might think. They eventually figure it out and adjust the height of their jump so they no longer hit the lid.

When the flea trainers take that lid off, the fleas will not jump out of the box because they have conditioned themselves to jump only to a certain height.

It is this conditioning that keeps them in the box and prevents them from ever getting out.”

The above quote is from the Internet. The word “conditioning” triggered some thoughts in me.

What is the “lid of the box” that prevents me from achieving more?

  1. Is it my fear of rejection by the customer, or the person I am trying to convince?
  2. Is it my complacency of having done the bare minimum to survive?
  3. It is extrapolating my past or current success to the future and therefore believing that I do not need to do anything extra?
  4. It is my boss – who has a negative attitude towards me and my contribution?

For anything that we want to achieve in life, we create our own limits. Maybe these beliefs have been created inside us based on our past experiences or our fear of the unknown future.

Once we know that our beliefs are our worst enemy, we need to get them out of the way, to achieve our potential.

Excuses for not doing work


Whenever we, as students, think that study or an assignment is burdensome, our minds go into overdrive how to avoid the work. The following rationalisation statements comes to mind

  1. It is of no use, in a job or in an interview.
  2. No one else is doing it.
  3. There are other pleasurable things to do.

Not a problem. We can live our entire life making excuses. But remember, that when success eludes us, we should also use the same rationalisation statements:

  1. Success is of no use in a job or life, as we cannot take it to the grave.
  2. No one else is being successful. We should start hanging out with other failures; all of us together can complain about unfairness in life. Successful people will shun us because of our negative attitude to life.
  3. There are more pleasurable things to do, like spending money on material possessions, and pressing the remote button of our TV for hours at length.

The purpose of assignments is to create a disciplined approach (remember that discipline means being a disciple, or following a path) to the various paths that we will have to follow in life. People who cannot follow any path to completion, reach nowhere.

Habits and the Comfort zone


When we seriously start thinking about our MBA, we realize that we do not possess the skill sets required for corporate life. For example, handling procrastination, thinking less emotionally, managing relationships etc.  Therefore we realise the need to change.

In the initial stages, we are enthusiastic about the change and go for it with “vim, vigour and vitality.” Over time, this enthusiasm fizzles out and we revert to our comfort zone, and then rationalize our inaction.

What is this comfort zone?

As we develop a habit, neuron paths are created in our brain, as the habit moves from the conscious into our subconscious.  This becomes a convenient path and familiar path, a path of least resistance. The more we use it, the smoother it becomes. The psychological reasons for using this path also become ingrained.

When we change the habit, we are trying to create a new path, through a jungle. we need to cut down trees (overcome resistance from self and others) we need to smooth the path (try the new method enough numbers of times) and become familiar with it.

This is tough, and in most cases we give up, as the other, familiar path is there.

Even if we create a new path, we now have choices. The new, untested one, and the old tested one. We take the old one.

How do we handle this?

  1. Before making even the first path, decide if it is the right path. My friends in the IAS say that agreeing to the politicians the first time is tough, but it gets easier. The first time you pay the bribe, you feel bad, and then it becomes easier. A path is created.
  2. Create the new path only after you understand the benefits, so that you are motivated to take the new path. Walk on it enough number of times.
  3. Close the old path, so that even if you want to go on this path, you are unable to do so.

Take addiction as an example.

  1. Decide not to smoke.
  2. If you do start and it becomes a habit, then, since smoking is also an emotional desire, you need to find an alternate emotion, that is more powerful than the current emotion.
  3. Make sure that your friends and family are supportive and stop you from smoking, reward yourself for not smoking for a certain number of days, etc. Work in a smoke free zone.
Sometimes, teachers are trying to create new habits in you. To create the new path, they force you to do things which you do not like because they force you to get out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you ask the purpose of the change – which is a right approach – and sometimes you try to avoid doing what they recommend.
Either you know more than the teachers, or you need to trust them to do the right thing on your behalf.
The choice is yours.