I Read 23 Business Biographies. These are the Essential Lessons

Lesson 1: The successful don't think the rules apply to them.

I Read 23 Business Biographies. These are the Essential Lessons
Photo by Md Mahdi 

Lesson 1 of 5

The successful don't think the rules apply to them.  

  • They try to get in the news (go viral) even if it makes them notorious.
  • Steve Jobs famously thought that the laws of physics didn't apply to him so he'd often speed while driving.

Lesson 2 of 5

Everyone doubts them before they are successful. Geniuses are indistinguishable from normal people early on.

  • Jeff Bezos was an engineer and he worked at a hedge fund. At age 30, he quit and told his boss and coworkers that he was starting a business (Amazon). Everyone laughed and said he'd be back in a year.
  • Elon Musk was a self-taught rocket scientist and had made 2 successful businesses (Zip2 and PayPal). But when he started SpaceX and Tesla, everyone thought he was insane and would fail.
  • Peter Thiel graduated from Stanford and then worked in the finance industry. He was average at work and had no friends. At age 31, he left and started PayPal. Nobody would have suspected that he'd become a billionaire.
  • In the early days of Apple, Steve Wozniack's dad told Steve Jobs that he didn't do anything and that his son was the real genius of Apple. Even Steve Jobs was underrated by the people around him.

Lesson 3 of 5

You don't have to be great when you first start. But you have to keep improving.

  • Elizabeth Holmes was visibly nervous when she started giving investor presentations at age 19. Over the years, she developed her speaking skills and was able to convince Henry Kissinger and Jim Mattis to join the board of her company, Theranos.

Lesson 4 of 5

Successful people read a lot.

We read a lot. I don’t know anyone who’s wise who doesn’t read a lot. But that’s not enough: you have to have a temperament to grab ideas and do sensible things. Most people don’t grab the right ideas or don’t know what to do with them. – Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett's business partner)
You could try to pound your head against the wall and think of original ideas or you can cheat by reading them in books.Patrick Collison (CEO of Stripe)

Lesson 5 of 5

Successful people always take action. They invest or start a business.