Simple fact. Most of what we needed to know to succeed in business we learned on the playground, but now ignore or forget.
Here are 7 childrens’ books that will teach you as much as any 7 bestselling business books about what it takes to succeed in business…and life. And, unlike most business books, they’re short and sweet, have large type and pictures.
1. The Lorax – On respecting people and natural resources along the way.
Now all that was left ‘neath the bad-smelling sky was my big empty factory…
the Lorax… and I.
The Lorax said nothing just gave me a glance. Just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance.
He lifted himself by the seat of his pants and I’ll never forget the grim look on his face
as he hoisted himself and took leave of this place through a hole in the smog without leaving a trace
and all that the Lorax left here in this mess was a small pile of rocks with one word.
2. Winnie the Pooh – On the power of simplicity and serving needs.
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
“Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.”
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
“Before beginning a Hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it.”
3. The Little Prince – On the role of compassion and intuition.
“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well…”
“Well, I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”
“All men have the stars,” he answered, “but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travellers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all the stars are silent. You–you alone–will have the stars as no one else has them–”
4. Where the Wild Things Are - On the dance between quest, emotion, fear and solace. But one of the biggest business lessons—perseverance—comes from what happened to the book when it first came out.
“According to Sendak, at first the book was banned in libraries and received negative reviews. It took about two years for librarians and teachers to realize that children were flocking to the book, checking it out over and over again, and for critics to relax their views. Since then, it has received high critical acclaim. Francis Spufford suggests that the book is ‘one of the very few picture books to make an entirely deliberate, and beautiful, use of the psychoanalytic story of anger.’ Mary Pols of Time magazine wrote that ‘[w]hat makes Sendak’s book so compelling is its grounding effect: Max has a tantrum and in a flight of fancy visits his wild side, but he is pulled back by a belief in parental love to a supper ‘still hot,’ balancing the seesaw of fear and comfort.’” – Wikipedia.
5. The Giving Tree - On giving without expectation of reciprocation.
Ben Jackson, professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University shared: “Is this a sad tale? Well, it is sad in the same way that life is depressing. We are all needy, and, if we are lucky and any good, we grow old using others and getting used up. Tears fall in our lives like leaves from a tree. Our finitude is not something to be regretted or despised, however; it is what makes giving (and receiving) possible.
The more you blame the boy, the more you have to fault human existence. The more you blame the tree, the more you have to fault the very idea of parenting. Should the tree’s giving be contingent on the boy’s gratitude? If it were, if fathers and mothers waited on reciprocity before caring for their young, then we would all be doomed.”
6. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day – On how we choose the frame within which we operate.
“I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”
7. Oh the Places You Will Go – On self-determination and leadership
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.”
Have any others you’d add?
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