The 577 Year-Old Technology That Will Change Your Life

Today, it seems that a new technology is born every minute. Social networks are already yesterday’s news, and technological capabilities now often precede need. But there is still an area of technology that changes lives and cultures when it is used. What is it?

The book.

You might be thinking to yourself that the book is not technology at all, but that could not be further from the truth. There are few things in our society that have not been significantly improved in hundreds of years. The book is actually the only one I can even think of. When a crafty innovator named Johannes Gutenberg created the printing press in 1436, he allowed for ideas to be transferred from person to person at a scale never before possible. Think about it this way: what Twitter did for the 21st century, Gutenberg did for…every other century.

I started thinking about this today while browsing Entrepreneur.com. Amid articles about the latest fad technology and dying social networks was an article titled, “Life Changers: 15 of the Most Inspirational Books for Entrepreneurs.” Nothing else on the site claimed to have the power to change a life except this collection of…books.

Books have changed the way I thought about life more times than I can count. So thanks to the inspiration of Entrepreneur Magazine’s own article, I present my own “Life-Changing Books for Entrepreneurs” list:

1. Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie – This book by the founder of Toms Shoes focuses on the purpose behind starting a business. After all, money for money’s sake will never really bring purpose or happiness.

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – This book from the early 20th century is a classic that I would argue has never been more relevant. An entrepreneur’s ability to get along with people can be the difference between an idea that catches fire with millions and an idea that stagnates.

3. Resonate by Nancy Duarte – Nancy Duarte is the brilliant principal of the world’s leading presentation design firm. (Watch her TED talk here.) Resonate is all about communicating an idea. Transferring your passion from your heart to customers and investors requires practice and knowledge, and this book is the perfect tool for the job.

4. Purple Cow by Seth Godin – Seth Godin is the world’s preeminent thought-leader of all things marketing, and Purple Cow is a lesson in standing out from the crowd. The world would be abuzz about a purple cow; will they talk about your idea?

5. Any biography of a world or business leader – Learn from the best. I love reading  biographies chronicling the lives of presidents and business leaders. Interested in the automotive industry? Check out a book on Henry Ford. Is fashion your passion? Read about Ralph Lauren’s life. Find the most successful person you can in your field and learn from their habits, successes, and failures.

These five books are just the tip of the iceberg. I could list books all day. For more recommendations, just take a look at my personal bookshelf below. (And yes, I color-coordinate.)

Tell us what books you would recommend to young entrepreneurs in the comments section below!

bookshelf