Most impactful books I’ve read in 2018

What is the best book(s) you read in 2018? Which books would you recommend to your friends?

What is the best book(s) you read in 2018? Which books would you recommend to your friends?

2018 marked the biggest change in my life and hence the books I read reflected the same. I ended the road most travelled and ventured into the road most loved but afraid to travel.

I read countless books on entrepreneurship, startups, leadership, and investment this year. I said “countless” as I don’t remember how many books I read.

Besides the 3 books I read annually; yes they have the staying power; I added another one (which was recommended by the ultimate coach Steve Hardison from a question I posted on facebook): The Way of Mastery.

The following books have made the most impact for an entrepreneur who just started out on the road most loved but afraid to travel:

  1. Competing against giants by Uyen Phuong Tran. I witnessed how she has been living what she wrote in the book. The book is an excellent account of how her family-owned company, Tan Hiep Phat – the leading multi-billion dollar Vietnamese beverage company, competed against powerful multinationals such as Coke and PepsiCo. The author planted the philosophy behind Tan Hiep Phat’s success in every chapter. It reads like a business case study but also a biography of her family with her father as the leading figure. They truly live their credo: Nothing is impossible.
  2. The Billionaire Who Wasn’t: How Chuck Feeney Made and Gave Away a Fortune Without Anyone Knowing by Conor O’Clery. Chuck Feeney is the billionaire founder of Duty Free Shoppers who gave away all his wealth. Feeney lives a frugal lifestyle. He’s loved and admired by his employees. He cares for everyone, especially children. Feeney started Duty Free Shoppers from 0 and made it into the billion dollar company. I didn’t know till reading this book that Feeney has been probably the most generous giver to Vietnam.
  3. The First Billion Is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America’s Energy Future by T.Boone Pickens. Pickens was a very successful oil man. At 68, his company was sold (or he was forced to sell it). He decided to start up again trading futures (oil, natural gas) with 5 employees. He raised money by calling everyone he knew. In the first two years of trading, he lost 90% of the fund. However, he made it back many times over in the next year. Pickens like Warren Buffett and other long-term investors did due diligence before taking a position. He ignored daily fluctuation and held a long-term view. He believed that great profit is in the long-term, not in daily fluctuation.
  4. Am I Being Too Subtle? Straight Talk From a Business Rebel by Sam Zell. Sam is a model of living the credo “nothing is impossible.” He realized problems and found possible solutions.When facing a No, he listened actively and presented different angles. When you are not aware there are any limitations, nothing stops you from trying.“If you are really good at what you do, you have the freedom to be who you are.”“When there’s a scarcity, price is no object.”Take risk, test your limit, and ask “why not?”Formula for success: 1+1 = 3Sam started in real estate in Ann Arbor, a suburban. He found opportunities to buy an entire block by buying all homes and lands. He then either developed student apartment buildings or sold the entire block for more money. He repeated this method: high-growth real estate, small cities… The basis is that in small cities there would be less competition. Later, Sam changed his method: buildings that are available below replacement cost, good quality, and well-located. (replacement cost is the key. It can determine the price of future competition)Then his method became generalized: supply and demand, barriers to entry, and tax considerations.Sam spends most of his day listening to people. He asks questions, probe, and raise possibilities.
  5. The Habit of Labor: Lessons from a Life of Struggle and Success by Stef Wertheimer, the founder of ISCAR. Stef was an immigrant to Israel from Germany. He was kicked out of his high school as he didn’t listen to authority and bureaucracy. Stef joined the army and fixed weapons. Stef was working for the government after his army service till he was 26 years old. He didn’t see himself as someone who could climb the government rank nor do boring stuffs. He left his government job which provided a steady income, high status; and started ISCAR with little capital. He was a lieutenant when he left. It was a tough decision since he got 2 kids and a family to take care of.  “Take action when necessary and act in an unconventional way when there is no alternative.” When ISCAR first started, Stef had no capital. He couldn’t get bank loans. He couldn’t borrow money needed to buy materials and machines that he needed.

The takeaways from those reading can be summarized: nothing is impossible; just do it; there are many roads to success; pick one and go all out; people will laugh at you at first; let them laugh and carry on.

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About the author: Hoan Do is a certified leadership coach, a value-oriented investor, and an entrepreneur. Hoan led multiple teams at Symantec Inc. across the globe delivering world-class solutions to protect consumers and businesses. Hoan is an expert in building highly performing teams. He believes that the best leader is the leader that could grow his followers to be leaders. Hoan has trained many leaders via mastermind groups, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.

If you would like to have a conversation, open your email and send me an inquiry at coach@hoanmdo.com

Failure is never possible till you quit

It’s truly that a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. You can’t fail unless you quit.

As I am re-reading Think and Grow Rich, something is jumping out from the pages. I re-read several books annually.

Edwin Barnes was an unknown, poor man with no experience. Yet, he became the business partner of the famous inventor Thomas Edison. Barnes nurtured a thought/wish into a burning desire to become Edison’s business partner. Once the thought became a dominant thought, Barnes cut off everything else and set out a journey to join Edison (it sounded impossible given Barnes’ background). Barnes was so determined that he left himself no other options. It was rather a success or die. Barnes was like a great warrior facing a powerful enemy. The warrior burned off his boat, let go his horse, and left no other way to retreat but to win (Win or Perish).

It’s common that majority of mankind play safe. People stay on the job they hate or work with people they dislike because it’s safe. They maintain unhealthy relationships because it’s safe.

Fortunately, the world still has many people who burn their ships and cut all sources of retreat and leave themselves no other options but to win. More often than not, they did. Just like Edwin Barnes. Stef Wertheimer left a stable job with a good salary and a high status to start his own company with no capital. He built it into a multi-billion dollar business in a country where everyone thought was impossible. He left his job when he had a family with two young kids to take care of. It was that kind of decisions that separated the successful from the crowd who only wish to be successful.

It’s truly that a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. You can’t fail unless you quit.

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About the author: Hoan Do is a certified leadership coach, a value-oriented investor, and an entrepreneur. Hoan led multiple teams at Symantec Inc. across the globe delivering world-class solutions to protect consumers and businesses. Hoan is an expert in building highly performing teams. He believes that the best leader is the leader that could grow his followers to be leaders. Hoan has trained many leaders via mastermind groups, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.

If you would like to have a conversation, open your email and send me an inquiry at coach@hoanmdo.com

Two success habits to get yourself ahead of the crowd

There are good habits and there are also bad habits. And the great news is that we have control over which habit to form.

Habit is a regular practice or tendency, which often is hard to give up. Habit is an automatic reaction to a specific situation. Habit can be addictive such as drugs… (Dictionary)

We have many habits whether we know them or not. Something we do repeatedly long enough will become a habit. Check in your experience for yourself to see the force of habit such as which foot you put your shoe on first, your daily sleep schedule, ….even how you work.

There are good habits and there are also bad habits. And the great news is that we have control over which habit to form (yes, it’s hard and tedious and of course requires discipline to form good ones).

From my own experience as well as deep study of successful billionaires (they are often older than 80 years old and have lived long enough to prove what works and what doesn’t), these two habits will serve us and form a basic for great successes.

The first one is habit of promptness. This includes being on time to an appointment. It is to pay debt when it’s due. It is to meet an obligation or keep a promise of any kind. Essentially, promptness is being a person of integrity, a person of one’s own word. If you are what you say you are, you are much further ahead of the crowd. People can count on you and want to do business with you.

The second one is habit of thrift. Thrift element is often a deciding factor to any business success formula. By being thrifty, one will instantly recognize any opportunity to lower overhead and production cost. This will translate into increasing profit. In addition, a person of thrift will always have a reserve. A reserve will enable one to meet contingencies and carry one through tough times. A reserve will also make it possible for one to expand or make improvements without having to borrow.

Practice those two habits (promptness and thrift) until they become your second nature. They will greatly help you achieve your goals.

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Other popular articles:

  1. Life lessons from a Uber driver who was laid off
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About the author: Hoan Do is a certified leadership coach. Hoan have led multiple teams at Symantec Inc. across the globe delivering world-class solutions to protect consumers and businesses. Hoan is an expert in building highly performing teams. He believes that the best leader is the leader that could grow his followers to be leaders. Hoan has been organizing mastermind groups to share with other leaders about transformational leadership and coaching. He has trained many leaders via mastermind groups, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.

If you would like to have a conversation, open your email and send me an inquiry at coach@hoanmdo.com

Masayoshi Son: how to build a billion dollars company from a big dream

Masayoshi Son is the founder of Softbank and the richest man in Japan. He’s known to the world as:

  1. Lost 99% net worth ($70 billion) overnight in the dotcom crash.
  2. Invested $20 million into Alibaba which is now worth $140 billion
  3. Bought Vodafone Japan for $15.1 billion
  4. Bought 70% Sprint for $20.1 billion

When asked what he would want people to remember about him after he leaves the earth: “A crazy guy who bets on the future.”

The following is the except from Son’s interview with HBR in 1992 when Softbank was 10 year old. This is how Masayoshi Son started Softbank:

For a year and a half, I did research and made business plans. While I prepared, I had no income. I spent money, I had a new baby. My wife was worried. All my friends, my father, my mother, everybody was worried. They asked me, what are you going to do? You spent years studying in the United States, and now you aren’t doing anything. I spent all my time just thinking and thinking, studying what to do. I went to the library and bookstores. I bought books, I read all kinds of materials to prepare for what I would do for the next 50 years.

I came up with 40 new business ideas—everything from creating software to setting up hospital chains, since my wife’s father is a doctor and has a hospital. Then I had about 25 success measures that I used to decide which idea to pursue. One success measure was that I should fall in love with a particular business for the next 50 years at least. Very often, people get excited for the first few years, and then, after they see the reality, they get tired of the business. I wanted to choose one that I would feel more and more excited about as the years passed.

Another factor was that the business should be unique. That was very important to me. I didn’t want anyone else doing exactly the same thing. A third was that within 10 years I wanted to be number one in that particular business, at least in Japan. And I wanted to pick a business where the business category itself would be growing for the next 30 to 50 years. I didn’t want to choose a sinking ship.

I had all those measurements, about 25 in all, and 40 new ideas. I took a big sheet of paper, and I drew a matrix and put down scores and comments for each. Then I picked the best one, which turned out to be the personal computer software business. That was the start of Softbank.

…….

I thought about making software myself and starting a software business, like I had done while I was at Berkeley. But, I thought, if I make good software, who would sell it? Making software and selling software are entirely different businesses. Even if I make good software, if there’s no one to sell it, I’d have to close the business.

I looked around for someone who was selling software, and I couldn’t find anyone. So, I thought, if no one is going to do it, I should do it. I made a list of the software producers and went to see them to find out what kind of software was available.

………

I had a very long-term vision. I didn’t have any evidence, but I believed in myself. I believed that someday I would have a very big company, a global business, and a very successful company.

While in college, Masayoshi Son wanted to become financially independent as soon as possible. He started looking for jobs that only required 5 minutes working and would pay $10,000 a month. His friends thought he was crazy. There were illegal jobs such as selling drugs but Masayoshi Son did not want to do anything illegal.

Masayoshi Son learned from Konusoke Matsushita, the god of management, that inventions can generate money. He set out to do inventions. His goal was to have a new idea for inventions every day. He would set his clock to go off in 5 minutes and in these 5 minutes he would come up with one invention. He wrote all those ideas in a notebook. This notebook has 250 ideas logged.

Through this process, Masayoshi Son chose one idea and created a patent which later sold to Sharp for $1 million. This was when he was still at University of California Berkeley and 21 years old. When also in college, Masayoshi Son create video games and later sold for $2 million when he returned to Japan.

Reference: https://hbr.org/1992/01/japanese-style-entrepreneurship-an-interview-with-softbanks-ceo-masayoshi-son

Quotes from Masayoshi Son:

“Life is short. I will regret if I don’t act boldly when I am young.”

“Because time is limited. We must live life to the fullest.”

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Other popular articles:

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About the author: Hoan Do is a certified leadership coach. Hoan have led multiple teams at Symantec Inc. across the globe delivering world-class solutions to protect consumers and businesses. Hoan is an expert in building highly performing teams. He believes that the best leader is the leader that could grow his followers to be leaders. Hoan has been organizing mastermind groups to share with other leaders about transformational leadership and coaching. He has trained many leaders via mastermind groups, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.

If you would like to have a conversation, open your email and send me an inquiry at coach@hoanmdo.com

 

A way to keep yourself up: billionaires who came from nothing

Everyone must start from somewhere, more often than not from nothing.

Alan Gerry kickstarted a TV network that went on to become Cablevision.

Net worth: $1.4 billion

The son of Russian immigrants, Alan Gerry dropped out of high school in order to pursue a career in the Marines.

In 1956, Gerry made the decision to take the $1,500 he earned from his small business, and found a cable company. The company went on to become known as Cablevision, which sold to Time Warner for an estimated $2.7 billion in 1996.

Kenny Troutt, the founder of Excel Communications, paid his way through college by selling life insurance.

Net worth: $1.4 billion

Troutt grew up with a bartender dad and paid for his own tuition at Southern Illinois University by selling life insurance. He made most of his money from phone company Excel Communications, which he founded in 1988 and took public in 1996. Two years later, Troutt merged his company with Teleglobe in a $3.5 billion deal.

Montpellier rugby club president and Entrepreneur of the Year Mohed Altrad survived on one meal a day when he moved to France.

Net worth: $2.6 billion

Born into a nomadic tribe in the Syrian dessert to a poor mother who was raped by his father and died when he was young, Altrad was raised by his grandmother. She banned him from attending school in Raqqa, the city that is now capital of ISIS. Altrad attended school anyway, and when he moved to France to attend university, he knew no French and lived off of one meal a day.

Still, he earned a PhD in computer science, worked for some leading French companies, and eventually bought a failing scaffolding company, which he transformed into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of scaffolding and cement mixers, Altrad Group.

John Paul DeJoria, the man behind a hair-care empire and Patron Tequila, once lived in a foster home and his car.

Net worth: $3.2 billion

Before the age of 10, DeJoria, a first generation American, sold Christmas cards and newspapers to help support his family. He was eventually sent to live in a foster home and even spent some time in a gang before joining the military.

With a $700 dollar loan, DeJoria created John Paul Mitchell Systems and sold the shampoo door-to-door while living in his car. He later started Patron Tequila, and now invests in other industries.

Forever 21 founder Do Won Chang worked as a janitor, gas station attendant, and in a coffee shop when he first moved to America.

Net worth: $3.3 billion

The husband-and-wife team — Do Won Chang and Jin Sook — behind Forever 21 didn’t always have it so easy. After moving to America from Korea in 1981, Do Won had to work three jobs at the same time to make ends meet. They opened their first clothing store in 1984.

Forever 21 is now an international, 790-store empire.

At one time, businessman Shahid Khan washed dishes for $1.20 an hour.

Net worth: $7 billion

He’s now one of the richest people in the world, but when Khan came to the US from Pakistan, he worked as a dishwasher while attending the University of Illinois. Khan now owns Flex-N-Gate, one of the largest private companies in the US, the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, and the soccer club Fulham.

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum emigrated to the US.

Net worth: $9.1 billion

Koum was born in Kyiv, Ukraine. At the age of 16, he accompanied his mother to California, where they secured an apartment through government assistance. In order to survive, he swept floors at a local store.

According to the Independent, Koum taught himself computer skills. In 2009, he cofounded the world’s largest mobile messaging service WhatsApp, which was purchased by Facebook for $22 billion in 2014.

Leonardo Del Vecchio grew up in an orphanage and later worked in a factory where he lost part of his finger.

Net worth: $23.5 billion

Del Vecchio was one of five children who was eventually sent to an orphanage because his widowed mother couldn’t care for him. He would later work in a factory making molds of auto parts and eyeglass frames.

At the age of 23, Del Vecchio opened his own molding shop, which expanded to become the world’s largest maker of sunglasses and prescription eyewear with brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley.

Luxury goods mogul Francois Pinault quit high school in 1974 after being bullied for being poor.

Net worth: $32.7 billion

Pinault is now the honorary chairman of fashion conglomerate Kering (formerly PPR), but at one time, he had to quit high school because he was teased so harshly for being poor.

As a businessman, Pinault is known for his “predator” tactic, which includes buying smaller firms for a fraction of the cost when the market crashes. He eventually started PPR, which owns high-end fashion houses including Gucci, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Today, he owns Christie’s, the world’s top art business.

After his father died, business magnate Li Ka-shing had to quit school to help support his family.

Net worth: $33.1 billion

Ka-shing fled mainland China for Hong Kong in the 1940s, but his father died when he was 15, leaving Ka-shing responsible for supporting his family.

In 1950, he started his own company, Cheung Kong Industries, which manufactured plastics at first. The firm later expanded into the real estate business.

 

Reposted from https://www.businessinsider.com/billionaires-who-came-from-nothing-2013-12 as a reminder that everyone must start from somewhere, more often than not from nothing.

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Other popular articles:

  1. Life lessons from a Uber driver who was laid off
  2. How to get your dream job with no experience – Lessons from Bill McDermott
  3. This simple skill is worth millions, helped many become millionaires, billionaires
  4. A SPECIAL GIFT FOR YOU – WHY SHOULD I HIRE A COACH?
  5. Making 6 figures #2? How to avoid being one of 29% of American households with no retirement savings
  6. 20 minutes that can change your life
  7. How to guard yourself against negative influences
  8. Leaders are readers
  9. Making 6 figures? How to avoid being one of 69% of Americans who have less than $1000 in the bank.

About the author: Hoan Do is a certified leadership coach. Hoan have led multiple teams at Symantec Inc. across the globe delivering world-class solutions to protect consumers and businesses. Hoan is an expert in building highly performing teams. He believes that the best leader is the leader that could grow his followers to be leaders. Hoan has been organizing mastermind groups to share with other leaders about transformational leadership and coaching. He has trained many leaders via mastermind groups, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.