August at Positive Luxury is about big ideas. During the scramble of the last 18 months, it has been almost impossible to come up for air and think about strategy and the long term. But now, with some semblance of normality slowly returning, we are putting the spotlight on the books that have shaped the thinking of the Positive Luxury community and can inspire you and your business.
To continue our month of Summer Reads, we turn to Ayotunde Rufai and the Jendaya leadership team for their recommendations on how to build a business. With their e-commerce site set to go live next month, the team has been hard at work building solid foundations for an innovative organisation and this is the research they found the most useful:
What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, Stephen A. Schwarzman
If anybody knows how to create a successful institution, it’s the Blackstone chairman, CEO and cofounder Stephen A. Schwarzman. Of particular interest is his focus on culture, and how he hired great talent and established processes that allowed Blackstone to become the world’s premier financial institution. Schwarzman’s simple mantra ‘don’t lose money’ is typical of his relentless pursuit of excellence and this book gives any aspiring entrepreneur a new and systemic way to think about achieving the same thing.
No Rules – Netflix and The Culture of Reinvention, Erin Meyer and Reed Hastings
As this book explains, the Netflix company culture is not what you would expect of a hugely successful multinational corporation. With rules like ‘hard work is irrelevant’, ‘be radically honest’, ‘adequate performance gets a generous severance’, and ‘never, ever try to please your boss’, they have completely reinvented the way we can think about building a business.
The Lean Startup, Eric Ries
This book is a classic of the genre for a reason. In this book American entrepreneur Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty – and that applies whether they have 5 employees or 500. In the book Ries unpacks ideas like ‘validated learning’, scientific experimentation, and accurate measurements in order to help businesses be truly agile and innovative.
Shoe Dog, Phil Knight
Nike Founder and CEO Phil Knight is a true visionary and this book is the first real insight into his personal history, his philosophy, and his unconventional approach to business. In Shoe Dog he takes you on the journey from selling shoes out of the back of his car to $30 billion in annual sales, introducing you to the ragtag misfits that were his first partners and employees, and the unconventional route that he took whilst building his business. Even if Nike is not your favourite brand, it is almost impossible not to be inspired by the man’s story and find an understanding of how there is no one right way to build a business.
Am I Being Too Subtle, Sam Zell
Sam Zell has a preternatural understanding of how to be successful in business. He is a born disruptor and entrepreneur, and his years of extensive experience prove to be invaluable for anyone looking to build a business today that is truly innovative. A self-made billionaire, Zell is the kind of unconventional thinker that can guide us through our cultural current moment and show a route to sustainable success.
Written by - Jacob Corner