What FEW reads: Top reads for smart entrepreneurs

There's a reason why Warren Buffett spends 80 percent of his day reading. Knowledge builds up over time, so it's no surprise that voracious readers tend to be smarter, wealthier and generally more successful. 

So what books and resources are our talented FEW entrepreneurs shacking up with? We ask them to share their most inspiring reads.  

Cristina McLauchlan, Founder of The Vibe Tribe, Ethical Publicist

A storyteller and brand marketer with more than 20 years of event production experience, Cristina founded The Vibe Tribe in 2016. The Vibe Tribe supports sustainable and ethical brands and businesses with strategic marketing and events.

What do you read to find inspiration?

Well one of the books I am constantly inspired by is The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. I usually read a sutra first thing in the morning -- it sets the tone nicely for my day, a moment of reflection.  

For my business and inspiration: Tim Ferriss's The 4-Hour Workweek, The Hero's Journey by Joseph Campbell, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, and recently I purchased The Business of Good: Social Entrepreneurship and the New Bottom Line by Jason Haber and still have yet to read it.  

Why do you read so much?

I wasn't a voracious reader growing up, so it has taken commitment to turn myself into a reader. I like to read a variety of books to keep things colorful and inspiring as there are many topics about life that keep me curious.

Since I have 'become' a reader, my books are my treasure. There is nothing better than having a library of knowledge at one's fingertips that isn't coming from a screen.

Any books that have tremendously influenced your work?

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. I wasn't sure of my capability when I started The Vibe Tribe as an 'older' entrepreneur. I just kept going on the path that I felt best for me, to stay true to  my vision and the purpose as to why I started the company.  

I persevered and kept going on the path that I felt was best for me, staying true to  my vision and the reason why I started the company.  

Reading this book encouraged me to keep on daring. It showcased that what society (and some people that have entered my life) perceived as 'weak' or unstable (I like to rephrase those moments as the ebb and flow of 'life)  are actually the pearls that one can learn from' -- go easy on yourself. Its all ok.  

What's next on your reading list?

Next on my list to read is The Patagonia Business Library: Including Let My People Go Surfing, The Responsible Company, and Patagonia's Tools for Grassroots Activists by Yvon Chouinard.

I love the company Patagonia -- not just for its design and products, but how they have built the brand and how the ethos of the business has been implemented by Yvon Chouinard.

Patagonia does very well whilst doing good for our world. It is authentic, it's real, it is not just a story, it embodies many layers of doing good.

What is the best piece of advice you received?
Stop and breathe. This too shall pass.

Sonalie Figueiras, Co-founder of Green Queen Health and Wellness and Ekowarehouse

The founder and editor-in-chief of Green Queen -- Hong Kong's largest health and wellness media platform -- Sonalie has more than a decade of experience in publishing, SEO, digital marketing, organic trade and health journalism.

What's on your usual reading list?
I never miss WellToDo's bi-weekly emails with their global wellness headlines. It's my favorite wellness business resource by far.

I frequently check in at mindbodygreen.com, goop.com, organicauthority.com and wellandgood.com for general health, wellness and fitness trends, updates and news.

Otherwise, I am obsessed with long reads and op-eds from The Guardian, The New Yorker, Slate and the Atlantic. I also live in a super political household: we discuss world politics every night at dinner so I have to stay on top of things!

Is there any one author who you really look up to?

One of my favorite writers ever is Arundhati Roy. Not only did she wow the world with her fiction debut The God Of Small Things (don't miss her new fiction book The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, her first in 20 years), she is also a passionate activist for causes I stand behind (human rights, migrant rights, land grabbing, environmentalism).

She has also written several nonfiction books about those subjects and puts her money where her mouth is (donating her awards money and book royalties to human rights causes, going to jail for her beliefs, taking on politicians).

Have you ever read something that altered the way you think about business?

Yes, Golden Arches East: McDonald's In East Asia, about the great importance of local culture in global business world. Also, The Google Story, about why vision matters and how to change the world with one idea, and The Geography of Thought, about how Asians and Westerners think differently.

What is the best piece of advice you read?

I don't have just one go-to piece of advice. I think I have learned from different mega entrepreneurs over the years by reading about and following them.

From Starbucks founder Howard Schulz, I learnt about the importance of customer experience; from the Google founders I learnt the importance of tracking and owning your own data; from Steve Jobs I learnt about the importance of listening to and staying true to your inner compass when (so many people try to dissuade you of your vision).

From Net A Porter founder Natalie Massenet I learnt about the importance of UI/UX (online customer experience), from Ruth Reichl, NYT food critic and Gourmet Editor-in-Chief, I learnt about passion and commitment to your art... all of these values inform me in my daily (business) life.

Christina Dean, Founder of Redress and Board Chair of The EcoChic Design Award

Voted one of the UK Vogue’s Top 30 Inspirational Women, Christina Dean founded Redress in 2007 and has steered the fashion industry toward a less wasteful, more sustainable future.

What's on your reading menu most days? 

I match a reading diet of Business of Fashion -- which gives me insight straight into fashion’s business from trends, retail, design to education -- coupled with Vogue UK, which I read ‘in between the lines’ to identify what the culture feeling on the street is.

This slimmed down duo (sadly, I have insufficient time to read) gives me that healthy balance I need to inspire positive change in the fashion industry. You can’t change fashion unless you understand its business parameters and respect the heart of the consumers.

I also avidly read China Water Risk’s website for truly insightful and masterly communicated information on China’s textile industry. This gives me a window into the complicated relationship played out private sector and government, which is played out in some shape or form throughout the world.

Is there any one author who you really look up to? Who is it, and why?

I recently stumbled on Professor Amitai Etzioni, who I think is a wizard sociologist commenting on cure of consumerism. I hung on every of his word, especially in this article, which has given some hope to my concerns about our culture’s rampant consumerism.

Which resource has directly influenced your business? 

A few years ago, I went on the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Programme, which filled me with passion and knowledge that has helped me over many hurdles.  

Do you have any favorite resources for lifestyle tips and advice?

My favorite resource for lifestyle tips is Trash is for Tossers -- a trash-free, waste-free lifestyle blog. 

What is the best piece of advice you received?

"Stop worrying, and find a way to manage." -- re quoted by  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg