He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.
by Leonardo da Vinci
A quote is just a quote. However, I wanted to start this list with Leonardo da Vinci’s quote because it raises two important points. First, Leonardo da Vinci was not an entrepreneur, neither a businessman. However, as a Renaissance man, he was a polymath; someone who had profound understanding and expertise in several disciplines.
In this era where we go toward extensive specialization, it is vital to remember how important is to develop an understanding of several subjects. In fact, if you want to undertake a career in any field, specialization is for you.
Instead, if you’re going to become an entrepreneur you need to have an understanding of several disciplines at ones. That makes sense because as an entrepreneur you will also be managing people and projects that span across industries and disciplines. If you don’t develop a mindset of lifelong learning, it becomes quite hard to keep up with that.
Therefore, having Leonardo da Vinci’s attitude and mindset means just that. Being open to learning anything that can make you become a better businessperson. Also, this quote from Leonardo da Vinci emphasizes another crucial point. As entrepreneur or businessman, practice is crucial.
In fact, only from practice you can create, build and grow successful businesses. On the other hand, without study and the right amount of theory – as Leonard da Vinci points out – is like sailing without a rudder and compass not having an idea where to cast.
Therefore, theory, which I don’t mean as education, or academic degree but instead of understanding is crucial for any businessperson. That is why – I argue – it is essential to devote part of your daily routine to reading.
There are millions of books out there. Choosing the right one is very hard. I spend hours each year just to pick the right books. Among the books I’ve read that truly affected my thinking in the last years. The list below comprises the ones which shaped the most my understanding of business in an unconventional way.