In the same way a student of yoga might be influenced by their instructor (in style, belief, or something else), I've been influenced by people when it comes to business.
These are not your boring cookie-cutter business books. They remind us that we're living in a magical time in which insightful individuals can compete with global corporations, and that anyone can build and sustain a business that makes them happy.
They help us see that business isn't something to be afraid of or intimidated by, but is instead a creative outlet we can use to explore our ideas and a vehicle that can help us reach our dreams.
If you're in the business of yoga, you should read these books:
1. Anything You Want by Derek Sivers
Derek reminds us that the whole point of starting a business is so that you can be happy. Find out what makes you happy, build a business that can help you with that, and live the life you want to live. Derek comes from the music industry, but there are a ton of similarities between the music industry and the yoga industry when it comes to things like competing for gigs, fear of business, sensitivity around money, and a host of other things. Derek's writing is humble, open, honest and provides a glimpse of what it would be like to accidentally be running a $25 million company.
2. Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin
In a world where social media is the whip cream and candy, you don't figure out how to make it taste good on a meatball. You figure out how to make ice cream. This book more than any other has influenced my worldview about how the internet changes the way business works. The central theme is that the internet doesn't just change how you advertise the same product to the same people in a different way. It changes what we make, how we produce it, and how we tell our stories.Valuable for anyone trying to understand how the internet is affecting your business.
3. REWORK by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Jason and David are the founderpartners at the popular software company 37signals. REWORK is their book about how to simplify business, make things less complicated on yourself, and the importance of leveraging your 'smallness' to move faster and care more than your bigger competition. This book is a fast read with valuable and clear business advice by two people have built a multi-million dollar software company with millions of users. Whether you run a studio, plan retreats, or are an instructor, there are nuggets of wisdom for you throughout.
4. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Often times we are our own worst enemies. Afraid of failing, and afraid of what might happen if we succeed, we hide away in an effort to seek safety. Steven's book provides priceless insight into what it takes to create something, how our own minds try to thwart our best efforts, and how we can overcome our fears to 'win our creative battles'. For anyone trying to build something, whether it's a yoga studio, a website for your instructor business, or a following to take people on retreats, Steven's book will help you overcome the resistance that we all face.
5. Tribes by Seth Godin
Every yogi that's been successful in business has built a tribe. Tribes reminds us that with all the power, connection, and value that the internet offers, it is still powered by people. In a world where anyone can lead, yet only a few still do, Tribes explores why this is and is a pep talk of sorts that you can indeed be a leader. A quick but important read.
None of these are manuals or 'how-to' books.
They help us see more clearly the current economic environment we live in, understand how new technology has changed things, and inspire us to take action. The impact these books have had on me cannot be overstated, and I'd encourage anyone building anything to read them.