The Two Greatest ‘Business’ Books
The wisest people in any discipline rarely give us all the steps to get to where they’ve gotten.
Why is that?
Seth Godin, the great marketer, does not teach you how to use Facebook Ads.
I read Poor Charlie’s Almanac but did not gather much from the great Charlie Munger on how to invest like him and Buffett – but more so about life, and then I realised that was the same thing.
Naval Ravikant is famous for his How to Get Rich (Without Getting Lucky) Tweet-storm and podcast stream, yet even this was a big picture view, and provided the fundamentals. He didn’t tell us what buttons to push on our keyboard tomorrow.
The Discipline. The Frameworks.
What the wise masters of a discipline normally provide us is the direction to point ourselves in. They show us how to think from first principles… to think Without-The-Box.
What point is there being productive or effective in the wrong direction? And how can you change the game if you don’t understand it?
If you tried to mimic Buffett and Munger as investors for example, you would fall short in 2021. They have never understood technology companies, let alone cryptocurrencies – new technologies normally become the advantage of the young.
So the investor in 2021 will not thrive if trying to invest in Coca Cola or GEICO. That is, they won’t be able to retrace their steps or mimic their investments. But the Munger principle of being conscious of what you do and do not know is eternally useful. It is fundamentally wise.
Following their principles will put you in good stead.
Those who know the discipline to a low degree tell us how to play the game we’re in.
They tell you what to do currently, how to hop, skip and jump to grab the latest trend and thrive short-term. But this advice is rarely sustainable, and only applies in very narrow cases. Those who know the discipline to a low degree talk a lot more than they think and listen.
The Wise, on the other hand, get us to zoom out and pick the right game.
The wiser someone is, the greater their ability to zoom out – that’s not to assume zooming out is always beneficial, or that it should be done constantly. But it is advantageous in picking the right games to play.
Why win at a trivial game? Why thrive to a lower degree?
The Two Greatest Business Books
For this reason, I have carefully selected what I think to be the best ‘business’ books of all time. In line with the argument of this article, neither of them would typically be classed as a business book on Amazon. So they’re not Lean Startup or High Output Management…
In fact, the first is Anthony De Mello’s Awareness and the second is The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. These two texts force you to zoom out and pick the worthwhile games to play. And, you will learn to play them with a healthy energy.
Awareness gives you a healthy perspective on life and a way of avoiding unnecessary and emotionally charged attachment. This helps improve your judgement, which is a skillset you can leverage in countless ways.
The Celestine Prophecy gives you a deeper understanding of the parts of our existence that are not so understandable. As such, it will help you guide yourself and determine which course to take.
If you’ve read either of these two books, I’d love to know your thoughts on this.
A final message from the Tao Te Ching.
I will leave you with this somewhat cryptic but incredibly powerful post from the Tao Te Ching by Laozi today. Written somewhere between 400 BC and 600 BC, it’s wisdom has been sitting there for quite some time – yet we have rarely picked it up and observed it.
(Those who) possessed in highest degree the attributes (of the Tao) did not (seek) to show them, and therefore they possessed them (in fullest measure).
(Those who) possessed in a lower degree those attributes (sought how) not to lose them, and therefore they did not possess them (in fullest measure).
(Those who) possessed in the highest degree those attributes did nothing (with a purpose), and had no need to do anything.
(Those who) possessed them in a lower degree were (always) doing, and had need to be so doing. (Those who) possessed the highest benevolence were (always seeking) to carry it out, and had no need to be doing so.
(Those who) possessed the highest righteousness were (always seeking) to carry it out, and had need to be so doing.
Would this open a Door For Someone You Know?