Each person’s road to success is going to be different. Each will face his or her own setbacks and difficulties and their own triumphs. One of the greatest ways any of us learns about what works and what doesn’t is through the experiences of people who came before us. Everyday you learn from the people around you, but it’s often helpful to get a completely different perspective.
Biographies of the very successful are a direct line into minds and experiences of people who managed to break out of ordinary into extraordinary. By reading different biographies of different sorts of entrepreneurs with different attitudes and expectations you can pick and choose the sorts of things you might like to incorporate into your own and life and business.
There is no shortage of amazing biographies out there. Offering a wide variety of perspectives, these five, in no particular order, are all highly inspirational and motivational.
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
From Paypal to SpaceX to Tesla to SolarCity, it seems like Elon Musk has had a hand in more forward thinking technologies than anyone else. What drives a guy like that? What inspires him? Biographer Ashlee Vance spent over 30 hours interviewing Elon Musk, and interviewed over 300 people while creating this overview of one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our generation. The book is a window into Elon Musk’s personality, his motivations and what it is about him that has inspired so many to do so much.
From success to failure to even more spectacular success, Steve Jobs’ story is legendary. By the time he was 30, he’d turned Apple, a company he’d started in his garage with his friend Steve Wozniak into a $2 billion dollar enterprise with 4,000 employees. In between being fired from the company he’d built, to being invited back to take Apple into unprecedented success with iPods, iPhones and iPads Jobs started Pixar – which went on to become the most successful animation studio in the world. Jobs may have been a difficult man to work with, but his drive and passion for perfection completely revolutionized the tech industry. According to Time Magazine, “This books should be required reading for future M.B.A.s.”
The subtitle of Martha Stewart’s book is 10 Essentials for achieving success as you start, build or manage a business. Using her own person passions as a starting platform Martha Stewart went on to build a billion dollar business and here in Martha’s rules she shares everything she learned along the way. In the words of Quincy Jones, “Martha’s candid look at how to succeed in business is for everyone. Whether you are just starting out or working for a large company, The Martha Rules is an indispensible handbook for business leaders of all levels on how to elevate creativity and maintain a competitive edge.”
Before dropping out of school, Richard Branson’s headmaster told him he’d either end up in prison or become a millionaire. An entrepreneur from the get-go, Branson’s first business venture was a magazine called Student that he started when he was sixteen. Today Richard Branson’s Virgin Group controls more than 400 companies. In July 2015 Forbes listed his estimated worth at $5.2 billion. The blurb on Amazon.com describes the book thus: “Losing My Virginity is the ultimate tale of personal and business survival from a man who combines the business prowess of Bill Gates and the promotional instincts of P.T. Barnum
The Mary Kay Way Timeless Principles From American’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur
Inspiring and highly readable, Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay cosmetics shares timeless success secrets as relevant today as they were back in the 1960s when she broke new ground both as a woman and as an entrepreneur.
From the back cover of the book:
“Recognized today as America’s greatest woman entrepreneur, Mary Kay Ash stepped out in 1963 in a man’s world to blaze a new path for women. She grew her business based not on the rules of competition, but on the Golden Rule. By ‘praising people to success” and “sandwiching every bit of criticism between two heavy layers of praise” this energetic Texas titan opened new opportunities for women around the world and built a multi-billion dollar corporation.”
In Mary Kay’s own words, “Leaders teach. They motivate. They care. Leaders make sure that the way to success is always broad enough and straight enough for others to follow.”