Some people learn entrepreneurship from their family business; others learn it by studying entrepreneurship in school. I did neither. Instead, I was enrolled in the “learn while you burn” program of entrepreneurship.
When my partner and I started our first two businesses we were clueless. All we had was the ambition to build a business and enough naive confidence to believe we could. It was pure baptism by fire. Looking back at just how much we had to learn I’m amazed we were able to get through the first year much less build a business that spanned five continents and ended up being acquired by a multibillion dollar corporation.
So, yes, I earned my stripes, but not without making more mistakes, enduring much more grief and embarrassment, and spending far more time and money than was needed.
But in the process I’ve built a curriculum of sorts that I use as my own bible of entrepreneurism. At its core are four books that have been incredibly influential in shaping my own thinking about building businesses that have significant potential.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” Be forewarned, these books are meant to stretch minds.