Today I talk with Richard Reis, co-founder of Most Recommend Books, a website that tells you which books have shaped the world’s most successful people. Before Richard learned to code at Lambda school and started Most Recommended Books, he worked in LA at a movie studio with his dad, which was his first experience at a startup.
Those five years working with his dad making movies was a baptism by fire to the realities of what it’s like to create something from nothing. He learned that distribution is something that is really tough to get right -- even tougher than creating something from nothing. He learned that once you build it, you’re only half done. Then you have to sell it.
This is why having a co-founder that complements you is so important. If one of you can build it, then the other should be able to sell it. That’s a powerful combination. that’s rare to have in one person. He learned to make sure you think about how to sell what you create sooner rather than later. He is also a big believer in doing lots of small projects to see what sticks.
We talk about how he came up with the idea for Most Recommend Books and how he has built it into a nice business. Most Recommend Books is a perfect example of scratching your own itch and testing an idea by just trying things and seeing what happens.
Now let’s get better together
Actions to Try or Advice to Take
- Making movies is the ultimate serial entrepreneur job.
- You have to be able to build and sell all of your ideas.
- Think about selling sooner rather than later.
- Experiment: Build lots of different projects and see what hits. Try them for 3 months or so. Then, double down on the ones that work.
- Atlas Shrugged and Fountain Head were the two surprises to his list.
- Success has a lot to do with luck and being able to take advantage of it.
- The one book that everyone reads Man’s Search for Meaning and Sapiens.
- Most tech founders read the same books but with Steve Jobs, he was completely different from everyone else. Most of his list was not common to these other tech founders.
- Patterns: Richard likes to look for patterns among the archetypes of people. That’s what fascinates him about what people recommend to read since if you can see, for example, what writers read, then you can become a better writer.
- Build a skill stack: Always be learning new skills that can build on each other and stack up to something better.