Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath
I began reading this oddly prescient book on March 8th, just a few weeks before Governors across the country closed schools and businesses, forcing millions of people out of work.
It is a discussion about why societies continually deal with problems downstream, putting out fires that are already ablaze instead of preventing them from starting in the first place. The primary problem remains that you cannot mandate upstream action in a free society. Unless you are the leader of the Chinese Communist party or a member of the Kim Family in North Korea, you do not get to decide what is “good” for others and force your worldview upon them, no matter how much you believe you know best.
To his credit, Dan Heath does not try to use his cry for upstream, preventative action as a rallying cry for big government overlords. His examples are, for the most part, local, voluntary, and effective.
This is one of many great reads by Dan Heath and his brother Chip.
Fix This Next: Make the Vital Change That Will Level Up Your Business by Mike Michalowicz
Mike Michalowicz (Author of Profit First) understands what it’s like to build a business from a crazy idea into a real thing that exists in the world.
If that’s your dream and your struggle, go out and get yourself a copy of Fix This Next.
As entrepreneurs, we see many challenges and opportunities all at once. The question (or problem) is which one to tackle first.
Mike has adapted Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to business and given entrepreneurs a quick, effective decision-making framework to help you figure out what’s next. Being an entrepreneur is a lonely job. Even when you have a great team around you, the ultimate responsibly lies with you and you alone. So a framework like this is like having a trusted mentor and friend, like having a Yoda on your shoulder in those important moments. Let Mike be your Yoda. You won’t be disappointed.
If you haven’t read Mike Michalowicz’s other books, you should check them out. If you are just getting started, read The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. If you are spending every penny that comes into your business paddling like a dog underwater just to stay alive, try Profit First. And if your business is running, but all the gears require you to spin them, stop EVERYTHING you are doing and read Clockwork. Check out my review here.