IC Elesson: Books that Changed Me

Like a lot of real estate entrepreneurs, I read a lot of non-fiction business and self-development literature.

And like a lot of you, most of what I read either rolls of my back without having much effect on how I live, or is so complex to implement (love ya, Getting Things Done, but can’t do ya) that any changes I do make quickly revert to the baseline.

But every so often—perhaps once a year—I’ll read a book that changes not only the way I do things, but the way I think about them.

Since many of the things you hear me say about how to succeed are based on this handful of books, I thought I’d share them with you this week.

The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling. This book came to me at Christmas time 3 years ago when I was really struggling with the question “Why is it that every year, my partner and I set big goals for our real estate business, and every year, we end up with just small incremental changes to our income?”

The answer, as it turns out, is that ALL companies, be they as large as Coca Cola or as small as Bowie Properties LLC, tend to do this. Their owners step away occasionally to think lofty thoughts about all the great things the company can be, make plans about how to be that, then go back to work to get caught in “the whirlwind” of all the day to day things that have to happen just to keep the company functioning.

The secret to “moving the needle”, according to the Four Disciplines of Execution, is to pick a SMALL number—we chose just one—of “Wildly Important Goals” (WIGs) that, if achieved, will make a big difference in the company’s profitability.

But picking a goal isn’t enough; deciding (as we did) that the WIG is to wholesale 1 deal a week doesn’t tell you what to do to make that happen. It’s the choosing of “Leading Indicators” that PREDICT whether you’ll do a deal a week, then having a robust tracking mechanism (a “scoreboard” in 4DX lingo) and an accountability method that really make it work.

Creating and following this system instantly changed the entire culture of my (already 15 year old, at that point) wholesaling business; today, there’s no finger pointing about who dropped the ball on some issue or wondering why there was no deal this week. We know that 1 deal means we have to get 20-25 call, and that to guarantee that number, 400 mailing have to go out, and we all know whose job it is to get those mailings out, process the incoming calls, get to the properties quickly, and so on.

If you can get past the fact that the book was clearly written for much larger companies than most of us will ever own, you’ll find a lot of helpful and more importantly, PRACTICAL, tips for running yours.

   Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive by Charles Duhigg. Duhigg’s last book, The Power of Habit, was on my LAST “books that changed me” list; he brings the same clarity, research and storytelling to his latest bestseller.

Setting out at the beginning of the book to discover why some people seem to be massively more productive than others, Duhigg covers 8 key concepts that make winners winners.

But this isn’t the usual, “Set goals, make a to do list, say affirmations, avoid distractions” motivational B.S.; using behavioral studies and neuroscience, he delves deep into what it really takes to create the life you want with hardcore advice and things to avoid.

There’s a great example of his smart, in-depth research on his website at http://charlesduhigg.com/resources/build-better-list/ (you’ll have to put in your email to watch it, but it’s worth it).

     10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story By Dan Harris.

There’s absolutely no reason to strive for financial and business success if you’re still going to be the same unhappy person you were when you were broke and working at a job you hated.

Dan Harris—yes, the Nightline Anchor—suffered from some of the same anxiety/fear of failure/skepticism issues that we all do, but with the twist that he also had to appear on live television every day. His search for the secret to peace and happiness is hilarious—especially for those of us who’ve explored some of the same paths he did—and inspiring.

If being happy is as important to you as being rich, I strongly suggest you read this book. His conclusions may surprise you, or they may just reinforce what you already know, but this is a book I’ve re-read every 3 months since I first bought it.

What are the books that have had the most influence on YOU over the last year? I’d love to add them to my reading list; just comment below.

7 Comments on “IC Elesson: Books that Changed Me

  1. Vena, do you listen to any of the above books? Duhigg’s first book was stellar because it broke change into components I could easily digest. I often find myself loving the content and saying, “Oh! I can do that” or “I GET this” only to get run over by the bus of life and the change is not incorporated into my habits.

    The ability to focus is definitely improving for me, it takes effort because I have to change old habits. Duhigg’s latest is in my Audible’s cue. That being said, and where my question kind of started, I find that I prefer to have a tangible object to read so that I can take notes, hihglight, etc. I appreciate having both the visual and the audio though, that’s why I appreciate your approach to education, you provide the audio and the visual. Right now, Marketing, Transactioneering, and Wholesaling books are my favorite, sprinkled with Duhigg and, soon, Harris.
    Thank you. Excellent post.

  2. Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
    No b.s. straight and to the point of getting things done and being more productive.
    When I implement the process of getting my most important task done I do feel a lot more accomplished and happier. Never realized how hard it is to find out what that biggest frog is and then eat it.

  3. Hi! This is a great post;looks like I have a lot of catching up to do. I haven’t read any of those yet. It certainly sounds like the timing is perfect though just what the Dr. ordered to help with organizing and getting things done. I am a great accomplisher in my mind I’m finding out.(smile)
    Anyway the latest book I can share with you is Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. You have probably read that if you have not then great.

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