Develop a subscription service from your sunlounger.
Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg founded an online bookclub, promising to read a new book every two weeks. From Jeff Bezos to Zappos’s Tony Hsieh, many top business leaders are bound by a love of books. It can be hard to pack 400 pages into a punishing work schedule, so summer is the best time to catch up. For those needing inspiration, here are some of City A.M.’s reading recommendations.
In an age when tech is getting cheaper and developing ever more quickly, anybody has the power to disrupt and no industry is safe. This is the message of Peter H Diamandis, entrepreneur, Xprize founder and motivational speaker, and writer Steven Kotler in their new collaboration Bold.
They claim that “super-credible” projects (visionary ideas which may sound absurd) are more likely to attract support than ones perceived as mundane but unlikely to succeed. A super-credible idea “is so convincing that your mind accepts it as fact and your focus shifts from probabilities to implications.”
THE INDUSTRIOUS INDUSTRIALIST
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is the first biography to draw from interviews with the dynamic entrepreneur himself. Author Ashlee Vance charts Musk’s rise from an abusive childhood to dot-com success (including the founding of PayPal) to his work at the frontier of space exploration, photovoltaics and electric motor development. Primarily a study of Musk’s character, Vance helpfully consigns technological complexities to the footnotes, for readers with a special interest.
Around 200 interviews were conducted by Vance with figures close to Musk, offering surprising and witty insights into his ambition and sacrifice. “The list of people that would not mind if I were gone is growing”, says Musk, contemplating the impact of his SpaceX programme. “My family fears that Russia will assassinate me.”
Far from the preserve of Spotify or Netflix, building a subscription service should be a serious consideration for any company, argues John Warrilow in The Automatic Customer.
He provides a plan for keeping loyal customers in a fickle online marketplace. Taking companies like Amazon as examples, Warrilow shows how subscribed customers can be worth much more than unsubscribed customers, and provide useful data about their habits.
PUTTING A FINGER ON THE TRIGGER
Our environments are full of psychological and emotional triggers which tire and distract us, hindering our productivity and stopping us from achieving our long-term goals.
This is the view of bestselling author and leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith and writer Mark Reiter. They analyse the personal experiences of business leaders in their new book Triggers, to produce a manual for reshaping your life. Humans may have good intentions and be experts in planning behavioural changes, say Goldsmith and Reiter, but implementing them can be extremely difficult. They recommend daily self-monitoring, using “active” questions to assess effort instead of results.
Protection from procrastination
The ideal solution for tech addicts, Flipd allows you to temporarily block yourself from using your phone with a lock screen and timer, without preventing your device from receiving data. When Flipd is active, SMS messages are sent automatically to alert contacts that you're busy, and emergency calls can still be made. Moreover, you can monitor the total time you’ve spent “Flipd Off”. Perfect for parents, the app’s parental controls let you lock children’s phones remotely until their homework is finished.