Feed Your Business Head

Fractions by Violette Brogan If you intend to build your business, it’s important that you keep your head well fed. I do this in a variety of ways, including reading, watching informative video podcasts, listening to audiobooks, attending events, connecting with intelligent people, and testing out ideas in various labs.

The other day I released my Escape Velocity Bookshelf, as yet another effort to help give you ideas on what to read. You can click into the bookshelf, but don’t forget to check the comments on the post, as there’s even more meat there.

When I want to learn the best in Internet marketing, I spend more time with Third Tribe. The people in there (the not me people), are so smart, have so many ideas, and because there are thousands of them, they can “lab” some of my ideas for me without me having to try each one out. They are always trying, always pushing, and it’s powerful stuff. I’m getting more out of Third Tribe than I am most conferences I attend. Why? Because we can engage and iterate. Speaking is just hearing something and taking notes. (However, events are much better for making new relationships and starting business.) I wrote about pulling value from your investments already.

WHAT to Eat

This is the thing. I think that marketers tend to read too many marketing blogs. I think that social media types stay too wrapped up in each other’s work.

We need to branch out. We have to read stuff way outside the norm. We have to go back and read the old basics. I found more meat in Think and Grow Rich (amazon affiliate link) than in most modern self-help books. The past is still alive and well, especially if you’re good at extrapolating and applying.

That’s the secret trick, by the way. You can’t just read what’s on the page, or listen to what’s on the podcast. You have to try and extract it from the direct story they’re telling and see if there’s a frame you can apply to what you’re doing. For instance, in reading How to Get Rich (amazon affiliate link) by Felix Dennis, I learned a lot about his business, but then I immediately set to extracting parts of his ideas and applying them to the tasks at hand.

So, when faced with WHAT to eat, consider finding things far afield of what your main focus would normally suggest. What could you learn about your business by reading the biographies of Olympic-level athletes? What could you learn about your business from reading stories of 1900s Russia? How could you find a whole new perspective by reading books about how China might not be as big a factor as people think in tomorrow’s economy?

Change Your Head

I’ve been reading books that push my comfort zone. Lately, that’s been about money and wealth. I used to hate these books. I still feel a bit weird about reading them. And yet, when I read them, I see a VERY different perspective than my old perspective, which was very much informed by being a cubicle farmer. When I read Winning by Jack Welch, I started to realize that not everyone could be saved, that some employees had to go. Before that, I thought everyone had to be saved. But changing jobs is part of growth.

If you read from your own perspective all the time, you’ll certainly reinforce what you already know. If you read from outside your comfort zone, watch the other side of the coin’s TV news, read materials from other countries about their own country, but more interestingly about your own, you’ll see things you never thought about before. It’s almost a given.

Whatever you do, keep branching out. Keep finding ways to bring in new material to inform your opinion. Keep learning and spreading and sharing information that’s not the norm, because if we all go out and find new things, and then share them, we’ll all grow faster and more rich in our learning.

What are you eating these days?

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  • http://garybloomer.com/ GaryBloomer


    Branching. It's the thing that pushes the world of discovery and it's the thing that drives humanity. And at its core are two things: exploration and chaos theory.

    Without exploration (a willingness to go beyond, a curiosity to get off the same trail that everyone else is treading) there can be no discovery. Without chaos theory (deviation, attraction, branching) there can be no desire to explore.

    By fueling the fire of our brain we keep pushing, we keep branching, and we keep embracing chaos. The very name of chaos though summons up images of uncertainty, doubt, and irregularity of structure. Odd how that's not really the case, at least, not from the 10,000 feet high viewpoint because chaos is driven by three rules :

    1. sensitive dependence on initial conditions (this drives our curiosity and makes us seek change);
    2. rapid divergence of nearby trajectories (this partitions us from the people we need to leave behind);
    3. strange attractors—(the gravity that pulls us toward the things, ideas, people, or thoughts we're meant to embrace along the way).

    Although I'm NOT a scientist, I'm a huge, huge believer in neural pathway creation and its dependence on chaos. It's the stimulus to new ideas that creates our new or imagined “realities”, the electrical and chemical mixes we eventually come to look at as memories.

    And the more we're exposed to those newer and more challenging realities or experiences, the wider and deeper those neural pathways become. Neurons that wire together FIRE together. Ever seen a PET scan of a brain that, over time, is exposed to positive influences? It's a thing of beauty: whole sectors of the brain light up like a Christmas tree. And if the same brain is exposed to negative influences, those areas of the brain that were lit, fade.

    Want to light up your brain (and your success)? Think beyond your current points of view and frames of reference.

  • http://mydarabell.com/ Dara Bell

    First off your dad has the best beard around. Serious as they say in Jamacia, to say cool. What can I say I dipped into a bit of Raggae to cheer me up. Also classical music helping me write blog posts, and great content.

    Breaking down Guy Kawasakis work is giving me alot of joy, because he seems to love Psychology and so do I. He seems to be Gatejumping in his human approaches also seems to understand the passion thing maybe better than GaryVee.

    I liked the Element by Ken Robison although the TED talks are better as he is a great speaker. Made me realise the importance of a tribe (maybe Third Tribe) of people who share your love of Marketing and Communications.

    In terms of food cannot recommend more oily fish, frajitas with lots and lots of gaucomole. The Gaucolole just cheers people up. Serious! Some needs and nuts good for lifting the brain cells-mood-the day up abit.

    Some cultures put the Gaucomole on their faces (Peru) as a as beauty ritual.

    Will get the pencil out to jot all these great books down. Might get the Jack Welch book, he seems like a ballsy sort. He is right that everyone cannot be saved some like are not ready to be unplugged yet. Right off for some curry with my Dad.

  • http://www.mindadventure.com/ rob white

    The way to fill your mind with good business principles is to become awake to your inward self-talk, and direct it toward what you want your mind to believe. Drip, drip, drip – one inward conversation (pointing in the right direction) at a time. Soon you have your whole mind cooperating with your business aims and aspirations.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Great post Chris!

    I'm currently reading Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach. It's very outside my comfort zone. But the message is powerful; I highly recommend it!

    Can you recommend some video podcasts to check out?


  • darrenlcarter

    Hey Chris,

    Interesting post. I still haven't read think and grow rich but I keep hearing about it recently.

    Personally I'm a fan of Tony Robbins. I read his stuff and have found it helpful no matter what I'm doing and trying to accomplish in life. I also pull out Atlas Shrugged quite often.

    Thanks for the intruiging post!

    Darren L Carter

  • http://www.vmrcommunications.com Hugh Macken

    I really enjoyed Winning by Jack Welch but I think what I most enjoyed was listening to the audio book version because of the fact that it was narrated by Welch himself. For business books in particular, I like audio versions that are narrated by the business people themselves. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan is another business book along these lines that was really enjoyable to listen to for me because of the narration by the authors themselves.
    I've been trying to improve upon my sales, speaking, and goal setting skills and I have found Ziglar's Success 2.0 to be a diamond in the ruff. It's $17 a month, it's not an MLM, and you get unlimited access to the Ziglar vault, which includes video presentations and occasional live webinars.

  • http://corporatecosmo.com/ Nan Ross

    So true! Until a few weeks ago, I dislikes watching evening television. My remote control was not working for some unknown reason, so I was forced to sit through all the commercials.What do you know? I learn how to implement some creative call to action for my website. Hmmm! Maybe I could fit a hour or two a week of television in my schedule.

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    I do not know if the change is an easy boss. I rather like its stimulating benefits.

  • http://www.coloradobusinessformation.com Mastercleanse01

    Thanks for the ideas and recommendations, I don't know if I will follow it easily. Hope some other time I will read How to Get Rich if I have a spare time.

  • http://www.Twitter.com/TheGirlPie @TheGirlPie

    MAN! I get more outta your posts-by-email than 90% of the others… when I saw/loved your Bookshelf last week, I felt the same melting away of a prior bias you mention here, in 'change your head.'

    Thank you for feeding my mind, and not just my head, yapper, tummy or ego.

    Your pal,

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  • http://twitter.com/graemefraser graemefraser

    Thanks for the list Chris, it should keep me going until at least 2015 ;) What about non-fiction? Surely a bit of escapism can feed your business head. I'd be surprised if people weren't inspired by the likes of Michael Chabon. It's amazing what a break from 'reality' can do to getting you thinking about 'reality'. So do you think you could add some non-fiction books to that list?

  • http://ksstorms1105.wordpress.com/ KyleS.

    As always, great insight Chris. Surprised to see the p90x workout douche bag shamelessly promoting his product in your blog comments section. Does this happen often?

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