Tag Archives: BusinessBooks

Book Review: The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

“Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love And Work Better To Live More.”

Depending on where you are in your life and career, this book could be positive and inspiring or it could be insufferably ambitious. I found it to be a brew of both. Here’s how.

In a world where we are constantly discouraged by the arduous, harsh and dark journey starting and running a business is, it’s pleasant to read a book that simplifies it and makes it look achievable. The $100 Startup shows how you need three important ingredients to start – a service or product, willing payers and a way to get paid for it. It talks about how you don’t need a lot of money or exceptional training to start a business. Guillebeau advices that what you need is to merge passion and skill with something that people can use. He does, however, warn that not all passions are to be pursued as business because there are passions that people are not willing to pay for.

In the book you’ll find help to outline your business ideas quickly, helping you to solve the challenge of creating the elusive business plan that leaves many stuck. There are also steps to market testing as well as strategies to launching. Guillebeau uses case studies throughout the book; stories of people who quit their jobs and took the leap to start a business that ended up successful, and people who packed their bags to travel the world while making money.

The advice and stories are great but if you’ve already read a number of business or self-help books, this one can sound like a repetition of everything you’ve heard before. The emphasis on combining passion and skill with something people can use is at times dissatisfying and the many case studies are exhausting.

At times, a book has the pure intention of showing the reader all the possibilities out there by focusing on a lot of successful stories but that can make the book stale and create that too-ambitious element. Readers don’t want a book that says, “Sit your butt down, you will fail at this”, but they also don’t want a fairytale-esque self-help because it’s challenging for many people to square that kind of information with their realities.  

I’d recommend it for people with no baggage, no spouse or family to look after. You can’t just up and leave to globe-trot while running a business from your laptop and cafes when you have kids and a spouse with a steady job. Younger people who are still finding themselves and who can afford to make the shittiest mistakes while growing and learning their way to generating income, will probably appreciate it. Also, older people who want to finally do the things they had sacrificed to have a stable family, would appreciate it and take on this kind of journey.   

It can get you going at first but halfway through the book you can easily take a bow, put it down and say, “I get the gist, thank you.” However, the simplicity of how taking the leap and starting, making changes and learning as you go along are some of the gems you’ll walk away with.


Title: The $100 Startup

Author: Chris Guillebeau

Published: 2012

Genre: Self-help

Review: The Art of War for Women by Chin-Ning Chu

“It’s About the Art, Not the War.”

After reading this book I had to admit that I had not understood Sun Tzu’s The Art of War at all. Could it be that the original text had been written for a male audience and I had failed to interpret it from a female point of view? Whatever the reason I’m happy to have read Chin-Ning Chu’s version.

Whether you want to move up the ladder, get that senior position you’ve been eyeing, break the glass ceiling, deal with a difficult colleague or boss, be a better parent or homemaker, or become a successful entrepreneur, this book will help address some of the things that are holding you back and help you with the way forward.

Before you think that this is some raging feminist book, stop. It’s certainly not anti-men and I think that men can also benefit from reading it. Chin-Ning Chu takes all the principles from ancient text and breathes contemporary life into it, and addresses it to women. Something we need more of.

This book is about effective strategies and how we women can see ourselves as leaders, which a lot of times we shy away from because throughout history we have been misrepresented in a lot ways – too emotional and not built for leadership. A good example of how Chin-Ning Chu applies Sun Tzu’s principles is how with regards to this misrepresentation of women she suggests the art of deception and how we can use this illusion of weakness to our advantage.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, all of it. There are many gems she shares about repackaging womankind and selling the world a new image of womanhood. This encourages you to change the way you see yourself, how you see the roles you play in your personal life and in business. After reading The Art of War for Women you will change the way you think, the way you act and the way you manage yourself, people and situations.

I’d recommend this book to women who have been losing on the battlefield of career and home because they’re women and because they have been fed the lie that they can’t win. The book will teach you about taking a holistic approach to winning. I would also recommend it to people who, like me, have read the original The Art of War by Sun Tzu but couldn’t grasp it or apply it anywhere.

Title: The Art of War for Women

Author: Chin-Ning Chu

Publisher: Broadway Books, New York. 2007

ISBN: 978-0-385-51843-7

Genre: Business & Economics

Money Monday – Lessons from ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki

“Great opportunities are not seen with your eyes. They are seen with your mind. Most people never get wealthy simply because they are not trained financially to recognize opportunities right in front of them.”

― Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Not having enough income or no income at all can make becoming wealthy a dream that’s only afforded the elite few. We’ve been taught that only super high income earners and people born into money, can become wealthy. Yes they can get richer, some lose their wealth, but it does not mean that you cannot create your wealth too.

“Rich Dad Poor Dad’ challenges these misleading beliefs about wealth and demonstrates how you can start your way to creating your own riches. He illustrates this with a story about his real father, a teacher who made a good living but struggled to make ends meet, and his friend’s father who had little education but ran multiple businesses. The latter opened up a new world to him by introducing him to financial education outside of school.

Here are the lessons you’ll learn from this book:

Lesson 1: The rich do not work for money but rather it is money that works for them. He explains how greed and fear affect our financial patterns and how they can make us work so hard for so little just for security.

Lesson 2: Teaching financial literacy is of supreme importance and it should start at an early age. It’s not about how much you make but how much you keep (This reminds me of ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’). We have many professionals and highly educated people who are excellent at their jobs but are not so good with personal finances. He stresses that one needs a strong financial foundation and in addition, an education on how to manage money.

Lesson 3: We spend time minding other people’s businesses and less on our own. You could spend a lifetime working for someone, making them money and end up with nothing for yourself. Here he introduces Assets and Liabilities and the importance of acquiring assets, and reducing liabilities and expenses.

Lesson 4: It’s crucial to understand tax and its advantages. Business owners earn, spend and pay taxes, while employees earn, pay taxes and spend what is left. If you want to earn wealth you should make it your business to know as much as you can about your tax legislation.

Lesson 5: Financial IQ allows you to see opportunities where others don’t and to act on them. Wealthy people create their own luck and end up inventing money. Whilst money may seem like the greatest asset you can possess, it’s actually your mind that is your greatest asset.

Lesson 6: He points out how when it comes to money, the only skill that most of us know is to work hard. A lot of people work hard at a secure job and focus on the pay and benefits, which is short-term vision. He suggests learning another skill, one that will help increase your income.

Lesson 7: Robert lists five main reasons financially illiterate people may still not have abundant cash flow: fear, cynicism, laziness, bad habits and arrogance. How these are managed makes a difference between people with wealth and those without.

Lesson 8: How do you start?  Some of the things advises us to do are to find a reason greater than reality. Make a daily choice to be rich, associate yourself with the right people, and be aware of the power of learning quickly. Master your self-discipline and pay yourself first (‘The Richest Man in Babylon).

Lesson 9: Some few more things to do:

  • Take time to assess what’s working and what’s not.
  • Learn from someone who has done it before.
  • READ! Take classes and go to seminars.
  • History has good lessons, learn from there.
  • Take action.

There’s a whole lot more in the book that you can read, the above are merely to show you the kind of knowledge you will gain from it.

Overall, this is an easy book to start on your financial literacy journey. I would recommend that people read it as early in their lives as they can. Give it to a younger person as a gift or someone with little to no financial IQ. You can use it as a tool to gaining financial freedom. I’ve read other books on the same subject and this is one of the easiest to understand.

I hope this helps you on making a financial difference in your life. Enjoy!

‘Start With Why’ to Create Loyalty and Authenticity.

Title: Start With Why

Author: Simon Sinek

It is so refreshing to read a business book that doesn’t recommend ways to get customers and employees through some form or manipulation. There is something inspirational about Simon Sinek’s way of creating better relationships with customers and within organisations. In Start With Why he points out that organisations, as well as individuals, operate on three levels – what we do, how we do it and why we do it. What we do is our product, service or job. How we do it is what sets us apart. Why, which is the focus of this book, is what drives us and the reason our businesses exist in the first place, or the reason we wake up to go do what we do.

Once we answer the ‘why’ we are able to move on to the ‘how’ and the ‘what’. There are great examples of prominent figures who started with why, such as Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers and successful companies such as Apple. Sinek shows the importance of looking inwards, of being true to your vision and how that can draw people to your business and keep them. He emphasizes the need for this if what you seek is customer loyalty.

“The only way people will know what you believe is by the things you say and do, and if you’re not consistent in the things you say and do, no one will know what you believe.”

― Simon Sinek

This business book is absolutely great especially in today’s world where people are more aware of the reasons they’re buying from a business. More people are being drawn to something that is aligned with their beliefs and values, or they seek a sort of culture to belong to. Your ‘why’ helps to inspire people, it draws them to your business’s culture and helps people understand and be interested in your story, and want to be a part of it.

Start With Why is perfect for employers, job seekers, entrepreneurs, team leaders…just about everyone seeking to operate with purpose and passion, and knowing your intention and sharing it with the rest of the world.

‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ Is A Worthy Investment In Your Journey To Financial Prosperity

“Where the determination is, the way can be found.”

― George S. Clason, The Richest Man in Babylon

Title: The Richest Man in Babylon

Author: George S. Clason

The Richest Man in Babylon is a famous classic that gives exemplary financial advice. It uses parables that one can easily adopt and apply. In the book, Arkad is the richest man in Babylon who shares his journey to wealth.

He shares ‘the seven cures for a lean purse’, which are:

  • ‘Start thy purse to fattening.’ This reminds us how there are many trades with which we can use to earn money and how to use that source of wealth that one already has. From what you earn you can start fattening your purse by saving one-tenth of your earnings.
  • ‘Control thy expenditures.’ Budgeting for the necessary expenses will help to put away one-tenth of the money you make.
  • ‘Make thy gold multiply.’ Making money work for you means that a stream of wealth will continue to flow into your purse.
  • ‘Guard thy treasures from loss.’ It’s wise to consult with people who have the knowledge to help with protection from unsafe investments.
  • ‘Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment.’ It highlights the important distinction between renting and buying, and also how you can use your property to establish a business.
  • ‘Insure a future income.’ It’s prudent to provide in advance for your needs as you grow older and for the wellbeing of your family.
  • ‘Increase the ability to earn.’ It is smart to develop your skills and sharpen your investment knowledge to increase your earnings power.

Amongst other parables, the book also shares five laws of gold which Arkad considers to be greater than the gold itself. These detail how gold works, whom it favours and whom it slips away from.

This book is a wise investment when making your way toward building your wealth or increasing it. After reading books like Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Tony Robbins’s Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom, I could already understand where most of their advice comes from and how many wealthy people practise the same financial habits that are in Clason’s book.

It will teach you a lot about how a great desire for wealth can be a good place to start, even when you don’t have much else to begin with. It will also emphasize why you should take advantage of opportunities available to everyone. You will learn how luck favours those who act and those who grab opportunities.

The Richest Man in Babylon is short and featherweight and despite some of its language being rather archaic, it’s still heavily loaded with beneficial advice. Its size and ease also help when you want to go back to its pages for a reminder, to find something that you previously missed or simply to clarify something along your journey to wealth.

Seth Godin encourages us to ‘stop advertising and start innovating’ in Purple Cow.

“The old ways of marketing are dead – and being safe is now too risky.” – Seth Godin

Seth is an acclaimed marketing and leadership guru and his books have been hailed as revolutionary and inspiring. This is my third read by him and I will confess that I’m officially a Godin disciple.

He first gives an example of driving past grazing cows and spotting a purple one, and how that would be unexpected and extraordinary. This Purple Cow is that extraordinary and special thing that companies need. It is a new P in the established Ps of marketing.

In the book, he indicates how we have moved from word of mouth pre-advertising to mass media when advertising came along and back to the similar pre-advertising where we are moving information through a population. This dissemination of information is done by early adopters, who he calls ‘sneezers’ and advises that a company focus on because they’re the people who spread your idea or message about your product. Godin uses very good study cases of companies like Logitech, Dr Bronner’s, Curad and many others who have used successful techniques for their products and services.

In terms of readability, this is a very easy and to-the-point book. You don’t have to be a marketer to understand it because there’s no barrage of hard-to-digest marketing jargon to swim through while trying to get the gist of the book. His style of presenting information is simple and clear.

I found it quite useful because of this age of social media that we live in and the way it has made it possible to distribute ideas and information. This is the age of influencers and it works, and so the book is relatable and relevant. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting off or have been in the game for a while, Purple Cow is worth a read and will provide you with applicable strategies that you can apply to your business.

If you want to know more about Seth Godin’s work, visit www.sethgodin.com


Get Your Copy of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

We’re giving away two copies of Think and Grow Rich. If you want to find out what the book’s about, read the review here.

Here’s how to stand a chance to win a copy:

  • Comment here on this post, or
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In your comment, tell us how often you read or how often you’d like to read. That’s it.

Winners will be announced on Friday, 21 June 2019. Good luck.

This applies to Kenya and South Africa.

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” 
― Napoleon Hill

Hill shows us how “our only limitations are those we set up in our own minds” in his widely applauded book – ‘Think and Grow Rich’

This is one of the most praised self-help books I know. It showed up on a lot of my searches for ‘books for entrepreneurs’, ‘books for business owners’, ‘books for creating wealth’ and similar searches. Some of the motivational speakers and life coaches I follow on social media also recommend it, and advise that it be reread in order to gain as much as one can get from it.

I read it and found that it really isn’t a once-off read, you don’t consume it once and throw it back on the shelf, unless you hated it, of course.

Think and Grow Rich stresses that thoughts are things, that we create that which we focus our thoughts on. Do you get the title now? The book contains principles that guide you to grow rich. He begins with our burning desires and how we can translate those into reality. He then goes on to faith and the belief in attaining that which we desire. With auto-suggestion, we can influence our subconscious and he adds that the knowledge and expertise we have will not make us wealthy unless it is all intelligently organized, planned and action is applied.

“There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge. Both poverty and riches are the offspring of thought.” 

― Napoleon Hill

Hill talks about the importance of using the imagination and how to make practical use of it, followed by organised planning and decision making. Other steps that he explains are using persistence in the accumulation of fortune, attaining and applying power and the way that sex can be transmuted into creative effort. The last one’s interpretation might need you to go over it more than once so as to not get the wrong message. The last steps talk about the subconscious mind, the broadcasting and receiving station for thought which we call the brain, and the last one is the sixth sense.

The above thirteen steps are linked in a way that makes perfect sense, but you can also read them individually. Think and Grow Rich is fat with advice and guidance on creating wealth and how to maintain it. It is easy to read and most of the parts are obvious things you’ve probably always known but now you get the benefit of learning the ‘how’ part.

This book can be a turning point for you if you go in with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Try it, keep it and revisit it as often as you need to.

Enjoy. Learn. Grow.