Not Just for Kids: 4 books that teach BIG entrepreneurial lessons

by Nov 16, 2017Insights

Sometimes we need to take a break from the world of ‘business books’ and get back to basics. It’s amazing how much you can learn without even trying!

Here are four children’s books that teach important entrepreneurial lessons, which adults can benefit from equally as much as children:

#1Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson

Why I recommend this book:

My Mom was a kindergarten teacher and I always remember her reading to us. Six years ago, I had the chance to lead a program helping adults make career shifts as the economy put some pretty big barriers in front of job seekers that were over 50. This became a book I read at the graduation of each cohort, and to each person I gave a big purple crayon to remind them of the resourcefulness that resides in each of us.

This story is about a boy named Harold who uses a purple crayon to draw himself into adventures, danger, and ultimately back to the place where he wants to be. If there is one book that captures the basic ideas behind what adults call ‘the entrepreneurial spirit’, it is this book. I could imagine reading this book using your child’s or grandchild’s name so they get to transport themselves into the story. It is a classic!


#2Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Why I recommend this book:

I had a coaching experience years ago and was given this book. I was entering a period of my adult life at which I needed to shed some limiting assumptions I made about myself and really start working toward my larger goals. It is not a picture book, and it will probably take multiple nights to read to a child of any age. The smaller the child, the more I would recommend having a stuffed seagull to occupy their hands. It is a classic story about believing in yourself and breaking through some of the norms that hold a person back.


#3Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

Why I recommend this book:

Can you have a list like this without a Dr. Seuss book? I don’t believe you can, and having read most of his books to our kids I could probably fill up the whole list with his books. I forced myself to pick one, and this one is it. When our oldest graduated from high school, I realized this book is a very popular gift for graduates. It reminded me of the timeless message.

Nothing taps into the imagination of a child like a Dr. Seuss book, and the not-so-subtle messages make it an enduring classic.


#4The Traveler by Daren Simkin

Why I recommend this book:

I received this book as a gift from an adult that was on one of my teams. I remember getting it and being touched; but when I lost my job four months later, it became a book that helped me step back and maintain focus on the most important thing for me as I entered a very difficult period of my life: my relationships. As an adult, I read and also love The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom, but this book is a much easier read. The basic lesson is that time is not something that can be saved, but needs to be shared and used on the things that matter. It is short, and has some imagery that will speak to children from four to ninety-four.


Listen . . . Lead. Repeat often!

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