"Founders and Customers: Love and Service" & "8 Thoughts on Reading Well"

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Sep 19, 2023

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"Founders and Customers: Love and Service" & "8 Thoughts on Reading Well"

In the world of business, love and service are two key ingredients for success. When founders truly love their customers, it creates a positive and thriving environment for the company. Customers, in turn, are more likely to be loyal and open to trying new products and features. They also provide valuable feedback, as they feel a deeper connection to the brand. These satisfied customers become brand advocates, sharing their positive experiences with friends and colleagues.

But how can we tell if founders genuinely love their customers? One way is by observing how they talk about them internally. Founders who truly care know each customer by name, understand why they use the product, and are aware of their long-term goals. They speak about their customers as if they are friends, not just clients. The genuine excitement on their faces when discussing a specific customer is a clear indicator of the love and passion they have for serving them.

Unfortunately, many founders often lose hope before they run out of money. The reason behind this loss of hope can be attributed to a lack of genuine care for their customers. Building a successful company is impossible if you look down on your customers. Love for your customers motivates you to overcome challenges and persevere. If founders had focused on building for a customer they genuinely loved, they would have been more likely to create something that addresses a deep need.

Similarly, when it comes to reading, there are certain principles that can help us read well and gain valuable insights. Firstly, having both an unread and read library is essential. Just like Paul Graham, who admits to not having read every book on his bookshelf, it's important to remember that books are a resource for knowledge and growth. You don't have to read every book cover to cover; instead, focus on extracting value from the books you do read.

Secondly, if you admire someone's thinking, ask them about the books they've read. Books, like meals, shape who we are. Asking someone about their reading list can give you a deeper understanding of their thought process and the influences that have shaped their ideas.

Thirdly, books are not just a source of knowledge; they also serve as a record of human achievements and cautionary tales. As Henry Kissinger said, books record the deeds of those who dared greatly, as well as those who dared too much. They provide valuable lessons and warnings for us to learn from.

Next, it's important to start a lot of books but only finish a few of them. Life is too short to read boring books, and there's no shame in putting down a book that doesn't captivate your interest. Focus on reading books that genuinely resonate with you and add value to your life.

When reading non-fiction, it's beneficial to do so in the morning when your mind is fresh and ready to absorb new information. On the other hand, reading fiction before bed can help you unwind and relax, allowing your mind to wander into imaginative worlds.

Furthermore, it's important to recognize that new books are often built upon the ideas and concepts of older books. As Cormac McCarthy pointed out, books are made of books. Every novel and every piece of literature is influenced by those that came before it. Understanding this interconnectivity can deepen our appreciation for the power of storytelling and the evolution of ideas.

Lastly, the books we choose not to read can say a lot about us. Our reading choices reflect our interests, biases, and preferences. By consciously choosing which books to read, we shape our worldview and expand our understanding of the world.

In conclusion, love and service are crucial elements in both business and reading. When founders genuinely love their customers, it creates a positive environment that leads to success. Similarly, reading well involves being selective, understanding the interconnectedness of ideas, and choosing books that resonate with us. By incorporating these principles into our lives, we can cultivate a deeper appreciation for both our customers and the power of literature.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Take the time to genuinely connect with your customers. Understand their needs, goals, and aspirations. Treat them as friends, not just clients.
  • 2. Be selective in your reading choices. Start a lot of books but only finish those that truly captivate your interest and provide value.
  • 3. Continuously expand your reading list by asking others about the books that have influenced them. This will expose you to new ideas and perspectives.

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