Alibaba’s World by Porter Erisman
Synopsis: In September 2014, a Chinese company that most Americans had never heard of held the largest IPO in history – bigger than Google, Facebook, and Twitter combined. Alibaba, now the world’s largest ecommerce company, mostly escaped Western notice for over 10 years, while building a customer base larger than Amazon’s and handling the bulk of ecommerce transactions in China. How did it happen? And what was it like to be along for such a revolutionary ride?
In Alibaba’s World, author Porter Erisman, one of Alibaba’s first Western employees and its head of international marketing from 2000 to 2008, shows how Jack Ma, a Chinese schoolteacher who twice failed his college entrance exams, rose from obscurity to found Alibaba and lead it from struggling startup to the world’s most dominant ecommerce player. And he analyzes Alibaba’s role as a harbinger of the new global business landscape – with its focus on the East rather than the West, emerging markets over developed ones, and the nimble entrepreneur over the industry titan. As we face this near future, the story of Alibaba – and its inevitable descendants – is both essential and instructive.
Just like when I purchased The Automatic Customer during the Audible BOGO sale, this was the only other book in the list that caught my eye. I was largely ignorant to what Alibaba was exactly, but I knew its founder Jack Ma was one of the wealthiest men on the planet and had a reputation for being a business Titan.
I figured this would be a great opportunity to educate myself on one of the most influential companies in history. I figured I would learn a lot just like when I read Age of Amazon, the story of Jeff Bezos and his company.
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The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
Synopsis: Translated into over 50 languages, The Purpose Driven Life is far more than just a book; it is a guide to a spiritual journey that has transformed millions of lives. Once you take this journey, you’ll never be the same again.
On your journey you’ll find the answers to 3 of life’s most important questions: The Question of Existence: Why am I alive? The Question of Significance: Does my life matter? The Question of Purpose: What on earth am I here for?
Pastor Rick is actually my pastor! I go to Saddleback Irvine South, which is one of his church’s several campuses in Southern California (though there are some outside the country).
I’ve heard him and other pastors mention this book on different occasions. My roommate even told me that my pastor (before I knew) was a well-known pastor and has one of the biggest congregations in the country! I had no idea that my pastor was such an influential and successful person.
He’s also claimed to have read tens of thousands of books over the course of his life, which is apparent as he comes across as a very learned and intellectual, as well as compassionate, person. Needless to say, I’ve felt compelled to read his book for a while now.
A couple weeks ago, pastor Rick actually told an anecdote about how this book helped Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps get out of depression and get out of retirement and back to training for the most recent Olympics.
Although I am a Christian and I imagine I will get a ton of value for myself (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) out of this read, I’m also determined to draw some of the key nuggets that can add value to anyone else no matter what their beliefs are.
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The Automatic Customer by John Warrillow
Synopsis (via Amazon): The lifeblood of your business is repeat customers. But customers can be fickle, markets shift, and competitors are ruthless. So how do you ensure a steady flow of repeat business? The secret—no matter what industry you’re in—is finding and keeping automatic customers.
According to John Warrillow, this emerging subscription economy offers huge opportunities to companies that know how to turn customers into subscribers. Automatic customers are the key to increasing cash flow, igniting growth, and boosting the value of your company.
A couple weeks ago, Aduible was having a BOGO sale so I thought I would take advantage of it with my credits. I picked up this book (along with Alibaba’s World) mainly because it looked like the most interesting and relevant business book 😋
Regardless, the book had good reviews and it seemed like I would get some value out of it. As a budding entrepreneur, I feel like I need to absorb as much as I can so I can utilize effective principles in my own businesses.
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Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
Synopsis: This book is the autobiographical account of Steve Martin’s career as a stand up comedian, how he got into it, and why he quit. He recounts the years he spent honing his craft and performing thousands of times before eventually hitting stardom. His story is a peeks into the world of a live performer and celebrity.
My thoughts going in were that I’d probably get some good insight into how an artist like a stand up comedian hones his craft and achieves celebrity through show business. I put the book on my audible wish list because of a recommendation I heard on one of Tim Ferriss’s podcast episodes, and saw that there were thousands of positive reviews.
My experiences with biographies of successful people have been good up until this point so I thought it couldn’t hurt. I typically read about business titans, so a biography of an artist seemed like a good change of pace.
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