5 Books Every Veteran Should Read Before Starting a Business
By Aaron Saari
Special to In Military Education – Military1.com
Okay, time to talk tools. I’ve seen articles all over the internet discussing the qualities that make veterans great business owners (I’ve even written some myself). But the question I hear the most is, “Where do I start?” Good entrepreneurs know self-education is a crucial cornerstone of their success. So, here are the five books I consistently recommend to start your self-education as an entrepreneur.
The Magic of Thinking Big (Ideation, Vision, and Inspiration)
Your last mission was to protect America and keep your battle buddies alive. That’s a pretty big mission. But the military chose it for you. Now it’s up to you to choose your next big mission. If you’re like me, that mission isn’t to work at a gas station or coffee shop the rest of your life. You want to do something massive . . . world-changing . . . epic. It all starts with the right mindset. The Magic of Thinking Big is one of those books that screams in your ear like a drill sergeant when you think you can’t do more pushups. After reading this book, you’ll want to beat Elon Musk to Mars.
The 4-Hour Workweek (Prioritizing Time & Resources)
Yes, the title sounds like an infomercial. But before you get too judgmental, take a look at the author’s track record. Tim Ferriss was one of the first investors in Facebook, Twitter, and Alibaba. He knows what he’s talking about. The 4-Hour Workweek is all about prioritizing your day to day and accomplishing more by focusing on less. Sound counter-intuitive? Read the book – it’ll all make sense soon, young Padawan.
The Personal MBA (Basic Business Principles)
MBA programs are expensive. At a top-notch school, you’ll walk out with $200,000 in debt. That’s not a good place to be if you want to start a business. The Personal MBA blows through the principles of business in a mere 464 pages. Think that’s not enough? Invest the $10 and seven days of reading before you drop $200,000 and two years into an MBA. To be clear, I’m not saying you shouldn’t get an MBA. I’m just saying you should explore all of your less expensive options first. Or at least that’s what a successful entrepreneur would do….
Never Eat Alone (Networking)
I’ve written about this before, but to reiterate, networking isn’t important in the military, but it is CRUCIAL in the civilian world. Building solid professional relationships will be the cornerstone of your success as an entrepreneur. Never Eat Alone not only teaches the principles of good relationship building, but also provides an action plan so you can start building your network before you finish reading the last page.
22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (….Obviously Marketing)
Marketing is another skill that wasn’t taught in the military. Soldiers never have to market themselves, the Army, or any particular product unless they’re a recruiter. However, good marketing can mean the difference between success and failure for any product or service. You can have the best product in the world, but no one will know if you don’t know how to distribute the message to the world. This book’s quick 143 pages is loaded with deep-diving case studies of all the crucial marketing principles. That’s about four hours if you’re reading as slow as a first grader.
So with five books, 1,741 pages, and around $50, you’ll walk away with an understanding of all the crucial principles and some of the specific tools for getting a business off the ground. That’s a tiny investment to kickstart your journey as an entrepreneur.
About the Author
Aaron Saari is a veteran and tech entrepreneur in San Francisco. He writes about military to civilian transition, entrepreneurship, and empowering Veteran-Owned Businesses. Aaron is a former Army Engineer officer and West Point graduate who served in Iraq and Afghanistan before leaving the Army in 2012. He immediately joined a tech startup and has been working in tech in San Francisco ever since. He founded Base of Fire where he helps businesses leverage technology to supercharge their growth. He’s particularly passionate about working with Veteran-Owned Businesses.
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