This month Ultimate Library have had the pleasure of speaking to a fellow bibliophile, Jennifer Janson, about her brilliant new company, My Business Book Club. Jennifer’s book centric scheme is aimed at entrepreneurs and business owners alike, showcasing the crème de la crème of business books that provide thought provoking and original insights into the complex and often overwhelming world of running a company. My Business Book Club is there to aid a forward-thinking generation of business owners who require an independent and a learned voice to push them in the direction of a game changing book.

 


It is such a pleasure to meet a fellow bibliophile, when did you first discover the pleasures of reading?

I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember. Reading is my escape and inspiration in all aspects of my life. It’s like oxygen for me. Until I started My Business Book Club, I would read at least one fiction book a week and usually one business book per month. That balance has tipped a little lately.

 

What motivated you to start this book platform for the business-minded?

My Business Book Club started as a passion project. We wanted to build a real-world business book club in my other business and found there weren’t any resources available.

We were looking for an ‘Oprah’s Book Club’ but for business books. When we couldn’t find it, we decided to build it. Its popularity took us completely by surprise. We had thousands of people sign up and I’m embarrassed to say that for the better part of 18 months, we completely ignored them! We posted book reviews, but that was about it.

Late last year we decided to take a closer look at what our readers wanted, and the result is what you see today. We create a top ten list of business books each month which our readers get for free. It is based on the most read and highest rated books from across the web, so we shortcut the process of choosing a book. We review all sorts of business books and we have other entrepreneurs contribute their reviews too.

We’ve also launched a subscription service. For $29.99 per month, we will send you one book a month, and over 12 months will have curated a well-rounded bookshelf with books that will teach, inspire, motivate and challenge you.

 

 

What audience does My Business Book Club cater to? Is it just entrepreneurs, or all types of people from all types of business backgrounds?

Our primary audience is entrepreneurs and business owners. By their nature they have a thirst for knowledge and are continually looking for ways to improve themselves and their businesses. But increasingly we are finding talent managers, HR and executive coaches are subscribing. We keep our finger on the pulse of the latest business thinking, and it’s proving valuable for people to get that all in one place. The book club is ideal for people who have a strong desire for continuous personal development, but feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of books out there.

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As a busy entrepreneur yourself, how do you carve time out of your hectic schedule to settle down with a book?

Some people practise meditation – I view reading in the same way. I read on my commute and when I’m early for a meeting. I read in bed at night, every night. It’s the only way I can give my brain a break from the pressures of running a business. It’s so much a part of the fabric of my life that I can’t imagine a day without it. I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been to stumble upon a business which so beautifully combines my passion and my livelihood.

 

What are you currently reading?

The fiction book I’m just finishing is Jodie Picoult’s Small Great Things, which tackles the issue of racism head-on. In terms of non-fiction I recently reviewed Tim Ferriss’s Tools of Titans and keep revisiting it. It’s a very practical book that examines every aspect of life – health, business and finance – through the stories of very successful entrepreneurs. It is free of the hyperbole found in many business books, and is bursting with unique insights. Next up is Michael Lewis’s The Undoing Project, which I’m really looking forward to.

 

Which book has most influenced your business ethos?

That’s a tough question given how much I read. I think it was probably the One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. My father encouraged me to read the book before I started my first ever job as an account executive at a firm in New York City. It’s a very easy (and not particularly highbrow) read, but the principles stuck with me. I’ve never reflected on how much it may have influenced my own management style, but I’m sure it’s not insignificant.

Thank You for Being Late, by Thomas L Friedman

A thoughtful, beautifully written book billed as ‘an essential guide to the present and the future’. It takes an optimistic slant on many of the changes we are experiencing in our world today. It sticks with you.

Start with Why, by Simon Sinek

A good summary of why a purpose-driven business is bound to be a more successful business. The book will help you challenge the thinking within your own business.

Who,

by Geoff Smart

This book completely changed my view on hiring. And it is responsible for the ‘A-players’ we currently have in our business. A practical, ‘how-to’ guide to hiring the best and brightest. Filled with templates to make life easier.