On the Bookshelf: Empower Yourself to Win

UPDATED: May 11, 2024
PUBLISHED: February 6, 2012
On the Bookshelf: Empower Yourself to Win

Success is never an accident. An unexpected boon without work isn’t really success, but rather a happy coincidence or luck. Indeed, success requires forethought, planning, evaluation and persistence.

In the books on the bookshelf this month, you’ll learn how the right plan and the right attitude separate the triumphant from the frustrated; the happy from the dissatisfied; the successful from the failures. Why not start planning for your success today?
Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen
HarperCollins, 2011

It may come as a surprise to learn that the most consistently successful leaders are not extreme risk takers. Rather, they are extreme planners who persistently work to anticipate worst-case scenarios, practice constantly for success, and base their actions on sure foundations of established research and data. In Great by Choice, Jim Collins and Morten Hansen reveal that companies they refer to as “10Xers”—those that consistently outperformed comparative firms by at least 10 times over a period of 15-plus years—are actually more driven by discipline, empiricism and paranoia than their counterparts.

By following business leaders and watching how they handle everything from recession to terrorist attacks, they discovered the core characteristics that helped their companies thrive. “Studying leaders in an extreme environment is like conducting a behavioral-science experiment or using a laboratory centrifuge,” the authors explain. “Throw leaders into an extreme environment and it will separate the stark differences between greatness and mediocrity.”

Although Collins’ and Hansen’s book follows the stories of major companies, the tenets of consistent strong performance they uncovered can be applied to any business or any entrepreneur. Through case studies and solid presentation of data, as well as chapter-by-chapter summaries and “take action” questions, the authors lead readers through the processes to help them ensure stability and even build success in the most challenging of economic times. “By embracing a myriad of possible dangers,” the authors write, “[10Xers] put themselves in a superior position to overcome danger.”

—Deborah Huso

A few things you’ll learn from this book:

Which characteristics help companies thrive in uncertain times.

How to make productive use of luck.

How to channel ambition into meaningful work that inspires others to follow you.

Noteworthy Quote:

“Getting a high return on luck requires throwing yourself at the luck even with ferocious intensity, disrupting your life, and not letting up.”

The Zigzag Principle: The Goal Setting Strategy that will Revolutionize Your Business and Your Life

by Rich Christiansen
McGraw-Hill, 2012

In The Zig Zag Principle, serial-entrepreneur Rich Christiansen explains why driving headlong toward a goal isn’t always the best choice. Having founded or co-founded more than 30 companies, Christiansen says he has learned that deliberately altering your course, zigging or zagging at certain stages of growth, actually enhances your chances of success in the long run. Based on real-life experiences, The Zig Zag Principle offers a step-by-step guide for building a profitable business and a successful life.

—Marilynn Hood

A couple things you’ll learn from this book:

Your values serve as your foundation for everything you do.

Your relationships are one of your most valuable resources.

Noteworthy Quote:

“Money cannot build intelligence, relationships or passion. But intelligence, relationships and passion can always yield money.”

Affluence Intelligence: Earn More, Worry Less, and Live a Happy and Balanced Life

by Stephen Goldbart and Joan Indursky DiFuria
Da Capo Press, 2011

Having a high net worth doesn’t always equate to happiness, but personal satisfaction can lead to acquiring more money, say the authors of Affluence Intelligence, who offer strategies for simultaneously increasing your emotional and financial wealth. The book’s quizzes reveal your Affluence Intelligence Quotient, or AIQ, and show you how you may be sabotaging your financial well-being. You’ll also learn about four key areas the authors claim are necessary for unlocking your Affluence Intelligence: priorities, behaviors, attitudes and financial effectiveness. By addressing both the psychology and practice of money management, Affluence Intelligence will help you assess your current level of prosperity and create a plan for acquiring the kind of financial and emotional wealth you desire.

—Jenna Lang

A couple things you’ll learn from this book:

How to become more financially effective.

What to do in the next three months to become more affluent.

Noteworthy Quote:

“People with financial ease feel empowered in their relationship to money: They can make the necessary and sometimes difficult lifestyle choices in order to gain or maintain their security and peace.”

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