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Three Australian founders share the books that were a catalyst for their careers

Friday, 27 September 2013 | By Rose Powell

Amazon executives are urged by their chief executive Jeff Bezos to read three books, which he uses as frameworks for explaining the future of the company.


Bezos told a CNBC tech correspondent he encourages them to read Peter Drucker’s The Effective Executive, Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Solution and Eliyahu Goldratt’s The Goal.


Three local entrepreneurs spoke to StartupSmart about the book that changed their lives and approaches to their entrepreneurial careers.


Fred Schebesta, founder of rapidly growing comparison site Finder, told StartupSmart that Michael E. Gerber’s E-Myth helped him understand the importance of systems for driving growth.


“When I first started out in business I was completely stumped by continuously briefing the same project over and over again. As I had never worked in a big company before, I didn’t have the same frame of reference as other professionals and I needed something that would help me build a business,” Schebesta says. “E-Myth taught me the importance of systems, processes and how to manage people. It completely changed my view and provided me with a fresh perspective. I often consider reading it again for inspiration!”


Dan Flynn told StartupSmart reading Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad in his teens sparked a new way of thinking that inspired him to launch the social enterprise Thankyou Water several years ago.


“The book really got me thinking about ways to generate money but also helped me understand that while school education was important, entrepreneurs had to apply business principles in order to succeed,” Flynn says.


Thankyou Water has got their range of food and water products into major supermarkets after a crowdsourced lobbying campaign.


“As I look back over this book again now, there was this one line that was one of the key messages in the book: ‘Failure is the process of success.’ It’s crazy how this line is even more relevant to me now, five years into the Thankyou journey. The numerous failures and setbacks we’ve experienced have taught us so many lessons, which have helped shape Thankyou as a company and our team as individuals,” Flynn says.


Robin McGowan, founder of customisable commerce site for suits InStitchu, told StartupSmart Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose should be mandatory reading for every business owner.


“It tells the story of Zappos and the focus they put on customer service and experience. Tony makes the point that anyone can copy your business idea but they can't replicate the level of service you provide to your customers. If you go above and beyond with your service they will keep coming back no matter what,” McGowan says.