What can entrepreneurs learn from literature?

Posted by Athena Parthenos

Literature has always been a vivid source of inspiration in many different fields, from visual art to music, design, and even entrepreneurship. In fact, being an entrepreneur is a tough job that requires a touch of creativity when coming up with brand new ideas to break through. But sometimes it's hard to explain your future plans to employees or friends who often try to let you down.

Courage, the ability to work under pressure, and self-improvement are just some of the qualities that will help you overcome all obstacles, and even if you feel like giving up, don't surrender.

Just relax—it's summer after all, and while sunbathing, take some time to read a book, as literature could inspire you like nothing else does.

Don't believe it? Here are some books and what entrepreneurs can learn from them.

To Kill a Mockingbird, or about learning the meaning of courage

You learn courage through life and its adversities. Being courageous doesn't have anything to do with losing or winning; instead, it’s the way you face things, even though your decisions are unpopular among your employees or friends. Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of Atticus Finch, a lawyer who has to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman. He knows he is bound to lose, yet he works to the best of his abilities: “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."


The Presidents Club, or about the ability to work under pressure

Being an entrepreneur also means having a lot of responsibilities toward your employees and the general wealth of your company. And who knows the importance of running a business (or a country), and the pressure that comes with it, better than the president of the USA? This is not only due to the importance of his role, but also to the game of alliances and enemies. For example, authors Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy describe Hoover and Truman as “two men who by all rights should have loathed each other” and Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon as “two scorpions in a bottle.” Everybody run for your lives!

Gilead, or reflecting upon and learning from your past mistakes

Gilead is an epistolary novel written by Marilynne Robinson. The Reverend John Ames knows he won't live for long. He then decides to write a series of letters to his little child so he can read them when he grows up. The letters describe the life of John Ames from youth to adulthood and are full of reflections about his past mistakes, what he has learned from them, and how he has improved himself. Well, the growth of your business comes along with self-growth. But to improve yourself, you should first analyze what you have done so far, recognize your mistakes and your limits, and go beyond them.

I Am a Cat, or about the art of sarcasm and irony

A little bit of irony and sarcasm can help a lot in life as well as at work. Critically observing and re-elaborating on things and situations can make you have that intuition that will make your business shine. Take, for example, the cat in Natsume Sōseki's I Am a Cat; he hilariously observes and comments upon everything and everyone in the family's house he lives in, their friends, and even other cats. In the end, life is hard, but not that much, if you approach it with the right attitude!

Written by Marcella Sartore, Marketing & Communication Assistant @ Athena Parthenos

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