Bill Smith knows a thing or two about success. The 32-year-old serial entrepreneur just sold Shipt — the same-day grocery delivery business he founded in Birmingham, Ala. in 2014 — to Target for $550 million.
Here, the self-made millionaire and businessman tells CNBC Make It the two books that have helped him find success.
"Before I really started my first business, I read 'Rich Dad Poor Dad,' " Smith tells CNBC Make It. In the book, author Robert Kiyosaki writes about the two father figures in his life and how they shaped his views on personal finance. But the book also had personal significance for Smith.
"It's kind of a story about the one dad that has a PhD and this fancy college education, and the guy next door just works hard and goes out and hustles every day, and he's the rich dad.
"That kind of made me feel like 'Hey I don't really need to have to college to go make stuff happen. I can go do this,' so that was an important book to me."
Smith dropped out of high school and then after receiving his GED, went to college for a brief stint but never finished. Smith says he thinks education is great, but not necessary to be an entrepreneur.
"I think that business is all about getting out there and solving problems, and I don't know if you can really teach entrepreneurship," Smith says. "So I just tell people you gotta get out there and start making it happen."
Smith isn't the only successful person who has touted the benefits of the book. NFL wide receiver Ryan Broyles recently revealed that he and his wife lived on roughly $60,000 a year throughout his career, despite having once signed a $3.6 million contract with the Detroit Lions. (He is currently a free agent.) Lessons Broyles learned from the popular book focused on how to make your money work for you.
"The Poor Dad's philosophy basically reinforced the way I already thought about money: Make money to live, and save some along the way," Broyles wrote in The Players' Tribune. "But the Rich Dad's lessons — making your money work for you by investing it and acquiring income-generating assets — made me realize that I needed to make changes in how I thought about money if I ever wanted to be that Rich Dad."
"I really enjoyed 'Good to Great,' which is a little bit of an older book now, but it's a good book about how to build companies that can stand the test of time," Smith tells CNBC Make It of the tome by Jim Collins.
Smith is in good company; Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of e-commerce behemoth Amazon, has also reportedly credited the book for helping shape his leadership style and way of thinking. Amazon executives were briefed by author Collins on many of the principles laid out in the book before its publication, according to Brad Stone, who wrote a biography on Bezos.
The book analyzes companies that make the leap from good results to great results and then are able to sustain that success. Although the book was published over a decade ago, it is still popular in the business world.
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