Leaders are readers, right?

Billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are epic consumers of books. And I mean epic.

They allocate huge chunks of their calenders to consuming knowledge from a wide variety of sources. I reckon it's paid off for them, don't you?

Steve Jobs encouraged his staff to have a 'beginner mindset'.

This means approaching every situation thinking you can learn more than you already do, to make the outcome better than you thought it could have been.

Remember, success lies at the edge of your comfort zone.

I find in the design world that it's all too easy for graphic designers to get caught in the trap of learning trends and styles, rather than developing a marketing and business brain that will actually allow them to add far more value to their clients.

Filling your mind with a diverse stimuli is a great way for your subconscious to make unique links between what initially seemed like unrelated or disparate information... In a nutshell, this is how great ideas are formed.

So, I wanted to share a couple of books that I found hugely interesting, and ones that have improved the quality of my work and the efficiency of my business... And they're probably ones that won't appear in typical design blogs or journals... So here goes:

1. Antifragile - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

This book is about developing grit. But really it's a system for life.

Something that is fragile breaks when it is dropped, kicked or attacked.

So what is 'anti-fragile'?

You could say, something that DOESN'T break when when dropped or kicked... Right?

Nope, not exactly.

Being anti-fragile means GETTING STRONGER when being dropped or kicked... Sounds impossible doesn't it? It's not like there is a special type of glass, that when you hit it with a hammer actually becomes as strong as a diamond. But with people, it's a bit different.

Thai boxers will roll glass bottles up and down their shins to kill the nerve endings and toughen the skin.

Comedians get better by putting themselves in front of challenging crowds and realising hecklers aren't so scary.

We can all apply these ideas to our own lives.

At the heart of this book is the message to seek out situations that make you suffer, and push you to your limits... Because this is where growth happens.

Taleb writes with a swagger that will put off some readers... But don't let that put you off.

I read this book 3 times last year, and think it's one I'll revisit again in the future.

As Alan Partridge said about 'Bravo Two Zero' - "It actually improves with every read".

2. Start with why - Simon Sinek

Ok, at its core this book is like a sales manual. It shows you how to get people to come round to their way of thinking.

Look at it this way, if I told you that you need to read this book, I've told you WHAT you should do. It's not very convincing, is it?

For the most part, people don't care what you do or how you do it. They want to know what it can do for them... They want to know WHY?

So, if I said that this book will open your eyes to the psychology of what influences people to buy, then that's already more compelling.

You won't need to sell product features any more.

You'll now begin to look at emails, blog posts or any communication really, in a totally new light.

Looking at things from the customers' perspective is a hugely powerful tool to have in your arsenal.

When I tell people what I do, I don't just say I'm a logo designer; I tell them that I help companies to be noticed, recognised and remember. I help them improve their customer perception by aligning their message with what their customer is looking for.

Since I've been communicating in this way I've found I don't need to 'pitch' to people as much any more.

People start to want what you have and don't try to haggle you down on price...

If you're still not convinced, watch this video where the author Simon Sinek explains how one of the biggest brands in the world applies this principle.

I'd love to know your book recomendations too. What books have changed the way you think? What key takeaway did you get? Leave a comment below.

Oh yeh, if you don't already have an Audible account you can get a free book when you sign up. Use the link below to get some life changing knowledge that won't cost you a penny.