REF’s must read watch listen list 2021
REF Team is always on the lookout for high quality reference and resource materials. That’s why, with the pandemic dragging on with no apparent end in sight, we present these must-read books; must-see movies and television; must-hear podcasts; and must-have apps. Each of them are suitable for our community of business leaders looking to end the year more successfully than the way it began…regardless of your geography, industry, or business size. ENJOY!
Must-Read Business Books
My old boss told me “If you’re about to go to sleep and you haven’t learned something new today, get out of bed.” It’s a philosophy I’ve incorporated into my career, simplified as this sign over my desk: “NEVER STOP LEARNING!”
As US President Harry Truman observed; “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” There’s no better way of upping your game or to be inspired than by understanding the minds and insights of successful people who have been where you want to be and done what you want to do.
Three books we strongly recommend this year are:
Have you ever wanted to make a big change in your life but weren’t sure where to start? In Powershift, Daymond John shares the answer. To take control of your destiny and drive the change you want to see, you need to lay the groundwork so you’re prepared to seize every opportunity that comes your way. And that means:
- Developing a solid reputation
- Honing a win-win negotiating style
- Nurturing those connections you make along the way
Through never-before-told stories from his life and career, Daymond shares the lessons that got him to where he is today: from how he remade his public image as he transitioned from clothing mogul to television personality, to how he mastered the negotiation strategies that determine whether deals are won or lost “in the tank,” to his secrets for building long-lasting—and profitable—relationships with founders and brands.
It’s easy to feel trapped when you start an online business, stuck in a tug-of-war between success and the requirements for continued growth. The more you progress, the more money you need. Your company’s bank account mirrors your own emotions in a rollercoaster of inconsistency and instability—you’ve left the rat race, only to find yourself on a 6- or 7-figure hamster wheel.
In The Nuclear Effect, Scott Oldford shows you how to free yourself from this cycle, scale a profitable, multimillion-dollar business, and keep the money you make. By following Scott’s 6 pillars of sustainable growth, you will create the momentum your business needs to become an unstoppable force.
This is the true legal thriller of a terrifying David vs. Goliath fight against massive healthcare fraud by a brave whistleblower. It includes attempted murder, extortion, money-laundering, fraudsters hiding money in the Cayman Islands, gold buried in a storage container in a CEO’s backyard, an Assistant Attorney General sabotaging her state’s case, and a corrupt Governor torpedoing litigation by his own Attorney General. Can’t go lie on a beach somewhere? Set yourself up in the living room and read this true story by Chris Riedel.
Must See Business Movies
There are SO many business movies worth seeing right now, and it’s hard to choose the best. Here are a few of our favorites, though:
- The Assistant
Inspired by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, The Assistant puts you in the shoes of an entry-level assistant who works for a powerful film executive. It’s slow-paced but engaging, putting you face-to-face with the abuse that “allegedly” takes place in the film industry. The movie’s powerfully accurate, according to many in the industry. Parts of the story are fairly subtle, so pay close attention to the details. The Assistant is a great reminder that all business owners should strive for moral excellence.
- The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
There isn’t a business owner alive who doesn’t occasionally need some additional motivation. Here’s a real-life story that delivers plenty, as we see a 13-year-old Malawian child get tossed out of school due to a lack of finances and how this real-world motivation takes you on an emotional roller-coaster through the reality of African farming and the hardships farmers face.
You’ll come away with an appreciation of the benefits of motivation and perseverance, a newfound sense of gratitude for what you have, and emotional satisfaction from this emotional ride.
- Like a Boss
This movie’s lighthearted and good for laughs as we follow two friends starting a cosmetics company. When they get into financial trouble, they seek a willing partner to invest in their brand…only to find she’s soon stealing from the firm. Okay, this isn’t Masterpiece Theater, but it’s a fun distraction while you’re sharing a bottle of wine with someone special. And the story even has a moral: Be careful who you enter into business agreements with, and do plenty of research before signing any contracts.
Must See TV Shows
- Queens Gambit
Recently released on Netflix, this 7-part series is what EVERYONE is talking about around their virtual water coolers. The story follows the life of an orphan chess prodigy during her quest to become the world’s greatest chess player while struggling with emotional problems and drug and alcohol dependency. Sounds boring? Trust us…it’s anything BUT!
- Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is a critically acclaimed sitcom that follows the struggle of a group of young software programmers and developers trying to succeed in Silicon Valley. The six seasons (53 episodes) appear on HBO, and offer a hilarious take on the startup ecosystem. Definitely binge-worthy if you’re an entrepreneur.
- Better Call Saul
Fans of Breaking Bad know Saul Goodman. In this prequel, we learn Saul’s origins and his transformation from a scam artist and small-time lawyer into a representative of major criminals. Bob Odenkirk is nothing short of brilliant as Saul, and all five seasons can be seen on Netflix.
Here’s a web drama series following GenCoin, a controversial cryptocurrency startup. Don’t listen to the naysayers; the show and cast are GREAT! All 30 episodes (so far) are available on either Sony Crackle or Amazon Prime, though the fate of a fourth season hasn’t yet been determined.
If you’ve already watched Don Draper, the most iconic characters in television history, then you don’t need an explanation why you need to watch this series again. If you haven’t yet seen an episode, then no explanation will really do. The storyline, the costumes, the acting…all SO accurate and on-target. Don’t ask why you need to follow the adventures at sixties New York ad agency Sterling Cooper; just treat yourself. And start on a weekend…you’re guaranteed to be saying “Just one more episode…” more times than you’ll believe. You can binge-watch all seven seasons on Netflix.
Best Business Podcasts
We love podcasts: you can listen to them while washing the dishes, walking the dog, or waiting for the traffic light to turn green. Business podcasts are the perfect way to expand your bottom line, learn from top international experts, or take charge of both work and life in general. They allow you to feel a deep connection with the host, get you motivated, and deliver insight you need to succeed. Here are a couple of the best business podcasts available for download today.
- How I Built This
Available at the Apple Store and across multiple platforms, this podcast is produced by National Public Radio and tells stories of the world’s most profitable, unique, and interesting companies. Guy Raz interviews the founders of famous companies while delivering in-depth analysis of the brand and what makes it stand out of the crowd. Each episode’s very user-friendly, and at 30 minutes long it easily fits into any weekly routine.
- Entrepreneurs On Fire
Available at the Apple Store and across multiple platforms, this podcast focuses on interviewing successful entrepreneurs, both famous and unknown. Each episode effectively delivers nuggets you can act on, seven days a week. Over 2,000 episodes are available so far, exploring everything from how to build a seven-figure business from an idea to hacks for increasing your productivity to ways to leverage Facebook ads.
BOTTOM LINE: There are thousands of books, movies, shows, and podcasts tugging at your sleeve trying to get you to pay attention to them. But we recommend the ones that can help you reach your next level, helping you make better decisions and grow.