Could reading books on being a billionaire make you a successful entrepreneur?

01/13/2017 06:25 am ET Updated Jan 13, 2017

I know I'm not the only one with books on how to become more successful or how to think like an entrepreneur. Recently, I was gifted a book called ‘The Billionaire Mindset', and after reading a few pages; it really had me thinking. Could all these books really improve how well we do as entrepreneurs?

Some of the most popular books out there were written by entrepreneurs, who have been there and done it, so it would make sense to get a birds eye view into their mindset. I'll be honest though, I have never been one for reading all the 'become successful' books, but I am an avid reader and maybe it's something I should start doing. To give an even wider perspective on the question at hand, I reached out and spoke to a few entrepreneurs, to find out what they thought.

I spoke to Amy Jordan, founder of POP Content and this is what she had to say:

“I love reading success stories; I think it's especially helpful if you read about a billionaires full journey, including all the mistakes they've made along the way. No one's perfect and I think the key to a lot of success is to learn from mistakes, rather than shying away from them and pretending they didn't happen. I personally just hope reading about other entrepreneurs mistakes will help me avoid making the same ones!

A particularly good read is 'Delivering Happiness' from the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh. I think where billionaires are very honest in their writing, let you know the way they think and their experiences, can not only serve as an inspiration to entrepreneurs, but also helps to keep you motivated to work harder towards your goals.”

This has been a very popular consensus on the topic. Maybe if we take some time to read and learn from successful entrepreneurs, we could perhaps decrease the amount of mistakes we make, and of course benefit from the inspiration that, success is not impossible.

Danny Matthews from The Actual Danny, shares a very interesting perspective:

“How to become a Billionaire books don’t sit well with me most of the time. Until a few years ago, the only book I read was ‘The Hobbit' when I was 11 years old. Saying that, I think if you’re looking for motivation (and you’re optimistic?) you can find it anywhere. In your favourite recipe book, that Stress journal you keep and especially The Hobbit.

A guy which I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone; Bilbo, (well it’s a silly name for a start isn’t it?) was a little guy with big feet and even bigger ears. More importantly The Hobbit is one of the most relevant metaphors for the entrepreneurial journey I’ve ever come across.

You’ve heard it before but let’s make it simple: Rising from adversity, fighting a dragon (self-sabotage/self-doubt), the ring (could be any goal, support network), Golem (procrastination) and finally, the fact that it was a sequel/prequel shows that Bilbo wasn’t in it for a quick buck – he loves the game! On the whole, strategy can be given in many ways but its about the mind-set and taking action. Whether you win or lose you have to love the process – a product will only get you so far.”

Being a Hobbit fan myself, I completely understand how one can gain inspiration from Bilbo. By persevering through all the trials and winning, is a great lesson for entrepreneurs to hold dear. It was never going to be easy and yes, once you create your product, what next? We need to learn how to pivot, how to be the accountant and content writer as entrepreneurs, so should things get a little sticky, we can find a way out.

Then I spoke with Ashanti Bentil Dhue, Director at Female Foodpreneur Collective:

“I think executing and implementing is time better spent. Lots of people spend years just reading and being a spectator on other people's lives and supposed success.

The bottom line is you need to focus on leading your own life, and crating your own version of success. I read to learn and implement - I do not waste time just simply reading. I make sure I am learning what is specific for my needs and my business goals.”

Again, this is a great point and one that feeds into the idea of being the reader, as well as going out there and actually doing something about that business idea, (that’s been bobbing around in your head for a while). Although we have a plethora of books written by very successful entrepreneurs, no matter how many times we read them, the real value comes from actually getting our hands dirty and learning lessons that you just cannot get from a book.

Lastly, I spoke with Scott, co-founder and CEO of Tutora, to hear his view:

“We've grown rapidly over the last 18 months, from launching to being the third largest tuition company in the UK, but I've always avoided reading business books. 

Mark, my Co-Founder, is of the opposite opinion in believing that there's lots of useful snippets to be had, but I feel that a key characteristic of being an 'entrepreneur' is to look at things differently - to be able to see new, and improved ways of tackling problems. I've often been to events where presenters have been aghast at founders not having read the more seminal books, but, however sceptically we read, the guidance offered will alway seep into our thinking and, in my view, potentially stifle new thinking.”

At the end of my discussion, it was obvious that success doesn’t only come from picking up a few books, and inspiration can come from anywhere. The number one thing I would urge any budding entrepreneur to do is just go out there and get started. It doesn’t have to be perfect, getting started is more about getting your feet wet and making a few mistakes, you’ll then learn what works and what doesn’t. Are success books necessary? No, I don’t think they are, but they can teach us a few things here and there. A very popular quote comes to mind; “I saw further by standing on the shoulders of giants”.

What do you think?

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