Increase the Resale Value of Your Home with These Top Home Renovations

Hi everyone, it’s Michael Gortenburg. 

Selling your home can be stressful. You want to make sure you’re fully capitalizing on the space you have but might not know where to start. Here are some ways to increase the resale value of your home and take full advantage of what your home has to offer: 

Improve your curb appeal 

You want potential buyers to be drawn in from the moment they see your house. There are many small changes you can make to improve your front porch and yard. Enhance your landscape with trees, flowers, and bushes to help frame your front yard. Expand your front porch with an inviting and comfortable seating area and welcoming light fixtures. Also, easy changes like a fresh coat of paint or new doors can make all the difference. 

Build or convert space 

The next best way to guarantee an increase in the value of your home is to add square footage. However, if an addition isn’t in your timeframe or budget, consider converting some unused space. Do your kids have an old playroom they’ve outgrown? Consider converting it into a home office space. With such a large portion of the workforce working from home, having an area devoted specifically to work could be a major selling point for homebuyers.

Make your home more energy efficient 

More and more buyers are looking for ways to be energy efficient in their day-to-day lives. By incorporating energy efficiency into your home, you’ll be doing the work for them, making your home all the more enticing. If you’re curious about which green tech to incorporate into your home, check out my blog about the best green tech here

Enhance your backyard 

Upgrading your backyard can offer new recreational benefits. With so many people now working from home, and so many others still concerned about shared spaces, many have incorporated the outdoors as an expansion of their everyday space. A deck or pool can transform a backyard into a place in which potential buyers can easily imagine spending long stretches of their time. 

These renovations can make all the difference in upping the value of your home. When making these changes, it’s important to keep in mind what sellers are looking for. Whether it’s planting more flowers or building a fire pit, figure out what changes make the most sense for your home, and more importantly, for your buyers. 

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

Scott Asner and Michael Gortenburg Honor Workers on Labor Day

Scott Asner and Michael Gortenburg, founding Principals of 18 Capital Group (18CP), a Kansas City-based private equity firm with a focus on real estate, celebrate Labor Day this year by honoring the hard work of their employees. 

First proposed by Matthew Maguire, a secretary for the Central Labor Union, Labor Day is a national holiday that began as a way of celebrating the strides of the Labor movement in America. This day honors the daily efforts and achievements of the working class that keep our country running. 

Scott Asner and Michael Gortenburg wish to do their part in uplifting workers by highlighting the 226 employees that keep 18 Capital Group going. Their staff works every day to provide upstanding management to the highest quality housing units. 

This Labor Day is a way to reflect on how their employees’ daily hard work has contributed to 18 Capital Group’s strategic success. With their efforts, 18CP has provided over 6000 units to people spanning 33 communities in 11 states. 

“It’s important that we take the time to appreciate our in-house employees and property management teams who provide the necessary support for our customers day in and day out,” said Scott Asner, “If not for their dedication to 18 Capital Group, our business would not be where it is today.” 

Asner and Gortenburg created 18 Capital Group out of shared care for their communities, wanting to reposition the real estate landscape through better management. 18 Capital Group set high standards for customers and every day, their staff continues to not only meet but exceed expectations. 

“We try our best to create a positive working environment that rewards employees for their accomplishments. That’s why we want to make sure they know how appreciated they are this Labor Day,” stated Gortenburg. 

About Scott Asner

Scott Asner is a longstanding Kansas City, MO investment manager and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG). Having earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from Stanford University, Scott practiced law for two decades before turning to the investment management profession. As a Principal of 18CG, Scott specializes in diverse real estate investments and leads a core team of 25 employees from 18CG’s corporate headquarters in Leawood, Kansas. Scott oversees the private equity-financed acquisition of properties nationwide –more than 7,000 apartment units at 33 properties in 15 states. He is a long-term holder of most of these properties. For more information about Scott Asner, please visit www.scottasner.com.

About Michael Gortenburg

Michael Gortenburg is a Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) and owner of more than 100 investment entities–a diverse portfolio focusing primarily on multifamily housing units. In addition to overseeing all corporate and individual property functions for 18CG, Michael is involved in a number of other operational businesses, such as digital media and software companies. For more information about Michael Gortenburg, please visit https://michaelgortenburg.com.

Originally published at https://www.prweb.com on September 5, 2022.

Best Mystery and Thriller Novels in the 2010s

Hello, everyone, Michael Gortenburg here! 

Finding the right book can be a tricky process. No one wants to spend hours of their time reading something only to end up hating the final chapter. As an avid reader and fan of the mystery genre, I wanted to share with you all some of my personal favorites from the last decade or so: 

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (2014)

Mr. Mercedes is the first book of a trilogy by renowned horror and sci-fi author, Stephen King. The book follows former police detective, Bill Hodges, as he tries to hunt down a local serial killer before he can strike again. The killer’s point of view was a chilling and effective addition to the story. Mr. Mercedes is a classic cat-and-mouse tale with engaging characters and a thrilling mystery that keeps up the suspense. If you’re a fan of King’s previous work, or looking to explore more of his work, Mr. Mercedes is a great start. 

Defending Jacob by William Landay (2012)

Defending Jacob is a crime drama that follows district attorney and family man, Andy Barber, as a shocking murder unfolds with his son at the center. Where once Andy felt welcomed and appreciated in his community, he’s now ostracized as he’s forced to examine his own son’s innocence. Both gripping and clever, Defending Jacob forces readers to examine the difficult reality of facing your family’s mistakes and the impacts of nature versus nurture. Once you’ve finished reading, you can experience the story all over again by watching the adaptation on Apple TV. 

Command Authority by Tom Clancy (2013)

The last outing from Tom Clancy before his death, Command Authority is the explosive final book of the “Ryanverse.” Command Authority follows President Jack Ryan and the covert members of The Campus, a covert intelligence organization, as they try to thwart a Russian dictator’s plans. The central conflict is one that’s been built up for 30 years, starting back in Jack Ryan’s days as a young CIA analyst until his final confrontation with the assassin he could never catch. 

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (2019)

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a more recent hit, following criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber and his obsession with uncovering a woman’s motive for the brutal murder of her husband. What’s exciting about The Silent Patient is the added layer of intrigue surrounding Alicia’s sudden silence. We watch as Theo maps out her motive while also uncovering chilling parallels between the two of them. The Silent Patient offers a page-turning examination of love, betrayal and how tragedy impacts us all. 

A good mystery novel should toe the line between intrigue and confusion. I hope some of these will give you the edge-of-your-seat thrill you’re seeking. If you’d like more suggestions on page turners, check out Book Riot. Aside from mystery novels, I also greatly enjoy business books. Here are some of my top picks for business success.

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

Best Sights to See in Kansas City

Hello everyone! Michael Gortenburg here. 

As a lifelong Kansas City native, I’m always eager to show off the sights that make this city special. Though the Midwest can sometimes be overlooked for its vacation appeal, there’s plenty of hidden treasure to explore, especially here in Missouri. Here are some of the best sights Kansas City has to offer. 

Arabia Steamboat Museum 

The Arabia Steamboat Museum offers an in-depth look at the historic sinking of the Arabia in 1856, as well as its recovery in 1988. The Missouri River claimed hundreds of steamboats along its 2,500-mile route throughout the 1800s. When the Steamboat Arabia originally sank in 1856, it brought down 200 tons of unknown cargo. Over a century later, the recovery of the ship brought with it a modern-day treasure-hunting story. Visitors get a glimpse into the past through the Arabia’s uniquely preserved materials. From clothing to fine china to children’s toys, this museum will capture the attention of all ages. The Arabia’s preservation is still in progress, so you always have more to look forward to in future visits. 

Kansas City Zoo 

Founded in 1909, the Kansas City Zoo has reigned the wild into the city for locals and tourists alike. The Kansas City Zoo is home to over 1,700 animals. They even have cameras for a live look at the animals after zoo hours. Their website offers a sneak peek at the more than 200 species represented at the zoo so that visitors can familiarize themselves before getting to meet them in person. From Allen’s Swamp Monkey to the American alligator, the Kansas City Zoo has everything an animal lover could want.

Kauffman Stadium 

Another must-see, especially for any baseball fan, is the Kauffman Stadium. Originally opened as the Royals Stadium in 1973, Kauffman is the sixth oldest stadium in the country. It gained its new name in 1993, in honor of the team’s former owner, Ewing M. Kauffman, and his contributions to the team. I recommend taking the chance to watch the Kansas City Royals play at home during their 50th season. Kauffman Stadium has seats that can accommodate any price range and guarantee an exciting ballgame experience for everyone. View the Royals Hall of Fame or book a stadium tour. 

The Money Museum 

If you’re looking for the “billion-dollar experience” at no cost, visit the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The Money Museum shows visitors how millions of dollars are processed through the Federal Reserve Bank each day. Guests can view Harry S. Truman’s coin collection, lift a genuine gold bar, and interact with numerous digital exhibits. The Money Museum is a fun and free way to learn more about the U.S. economy. 

Kansas City has something to offer for all ages and interests. 

If you start to get a little hungry along the way, check out my favorite spots to grab a bite to eat.

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

Best Energy-Saving Tech For Your Home

Hi everyone! Michael Gortenburg here! Over the course of my career, I have always put focus on how to make housing more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

In 2022, it is easier to make environmentally-friendly changes to your home that will save energy and money. If you dread getting your electric or gas invoice every month, here are a few upgrades you can make to help shrink your bill.

Solar Panels

If you are looking for a new way to power your home, consider installing solar panels on the roof of your house. Solar panels convert sunlight and heat into energy and reduce your reliance on the more traditional power grid. You can use the energy directly or store it for later use. While this option can be a bit costly, it is a long-term investment in using a renewable and sustainable resource that will save you considerable money down the line.

LED Lights

LED lights are the most energy-efficient bulbs on the market, so you can have incandescent lighting without the environmental impact. Unlike halogen or CFL bulbs, LED bulbs don’t radiate as much heat. They don’t emit UV rays or contain any toxic materials like mercury. LEDs are also incredibly durable, some even lasting up to 20 years without going out, saving you money every year.  

Smart Thermostat

Another must-have piece of green tech for your home is a smart thermostat. As summers get hotter and winters get colder, you may find yourself adjusting your thermostat more and more just to stay comfortable at home.  Smart thermostats control the temperature for you, making sure that your home stays the perfect temperature regardless of if you need heat to keep warm or air conditioning to cool off.

Smart Power Strips

We are all familiar with the traditional power strip. You know, the ones that plug all of your cords into a single outlet? If you keep those strips on even when you aren’t using your devices, you might not be thinking about how much energy you’re still using by keeping them plugged in. If this sounds like you, consider switching to a smart power strip. This piece of tech uses a remote to turn off the device and save energy, money, and the environment.

 Making your home environmentally friendly is an investment that shouldn’t break the bank. Adding green tech to your house is a simple way to live a more sustainable and energy-efficient life. Do you have any green tech in your home already? Let me know on social media!

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Also follow Michael Gortenburg on Medium, Twitter, and Xing.

Travel Notes: Greece

View of town and port at the island Skopelos, northern Sporades, Greece

Hello! Michael Gortenburg here and greetings from Kansas City!

Throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to travel around the world to visit some of the most spectacular countries and their noteworthy attractions. From the bustling streets of Tel Aviv to the beaches of Cuba, I’ve seen a lot beyond the borders of Kansas City.

One of my favorite trips was the one I took to Greece. Not only does the country have beautiful views, but Greece is rich in culture and history. If you find yourself going there anytime soon, here are a few places you should consider going to on your visit.

Cities and Islands

If you love seeing the remains of history and incredible art, Athens should be a no-brainer on your itinerary. Visit the Acropolis to see the most important landmark in the country and the New Acropolis Museum, which is the largest modern structure built so close to an ancient spot. The Acropolis is home to the remains of several ancient buildings including the Parthenon, the Old Temple of Athena, and the Theatre of Dionysus Eleutherius.

If you’re looking to let loose on vacation, look no further than Mykonos. Mykonos is a Greek Island known for its vibrant nightlife. You probably hear “Mykonos” and think of white buildings with beautiful blue accents, but it’s so much more than that. Whether you’re looking for wine tasting, a boat ride around the island, or nightclubs, you won’t be disappointed with what you can find there.

From ruins to islands, the sightseeing in Greece is second to none. The country has so many beautiful views that you can’t find here in the United States.

Food

Greece has a rich culture, history, and most importantly, cuisine. Using wheat, olive oil, and wine, in combination with other specialty vegetables and proteins, cheeses and herbs, Greek culinary traditions will blow you away. I would definitely recommend trying Greek Baklava, a layered dessert made from filo dough and filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with honey. The dish has taken a variety of forms throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East, but there’s nothing quite like it in Greece, where they make it with 33 layers of dough.

If you like wine or olive oil, Greece is the perfect place to try both. Look for bountiful vineyards and groves for distinctly Greek wines and olive oil made from freshly picked olives. Did you know that Greek olive oil is considered to be a superfood? Studies have shown that it can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, fight cancer, and so much more.

These are just a few things to enjoy on your next trip to Greece. It is so important for us to experience and immerse ourselves in other cultures, and expand what we know about history, food, and people. Travelling is good for the soul and I wish you the best of luck as you explore the world.

Do you have any travel tips for Greece? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time!

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principle of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri

Follow Michael on Twitter, Xing, and Medium.

Embracing Tikkun Olam

Embracing Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.

Hello! It’s Michael Gortenburg!

As many of you know, I take pride in my Jewish heritage. The values of Judaism have always guided me in my personal and work life and today I wanted to talk about one of the most important values: Tikkun Olam.

Tikkun is most often translated to “repair,” but it can also be used to mean improve, fix, or prepare, among other definitions. Olam in modern Hebrew has come to mean “the world.” So Tikkun Olam is a concept that means “repair the world.”

In Jewish teachings, it is any activity that makes the world a better place, and everything we do is an opportunity to fulfill this task.  Whether we are fixing what is broken in the world or improving something that already does some good. It’s a key theme in Jewish tradition, and in the stories, we pass down through the generations. Whether it’s donations to those who need it most or days of community service, we can all do little things to make the world a better place for everyone.

I want to encourage everyone to take some time out of their week to make the world a better place, to repair the world bit by bit. There are opportunities everywhere and all we have to do is take them.  As a matter of fact, here in Kansas City, there are many organizations that you can volunteer with to take part in Tikkun Olam. Here are a few recommendations for places to start.

Volunteer KC, Inc.

Volunteer KC works to support nonprofit organizations and homeless outreach groups by providing volunteers and donations to those who need it most. In 2020, their volunteers spent 1,830 hours putting together food boxes, donations, and resources that totaled $482,000. That is an incredible impact on the local community, especially at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are interested in volunteering with them, visit https://www.volunteerkc.com/volunteer to learn more.

NourishKC

Nourish KC works to ensure that everyone has access to hot, fresh, and nutritious meals. They have three different programs: Kansas City Community Kitchen (KCCK), Food Rescue, and Culinary Training. They envision a community where all people have equal access to healthy food. During the height of the pandemic, the KCCK served nearly 88,000 free meals to anyone that came to their door. NourishKC’s volunteer program offers two shifts every weekday and some weekend opportunities. To learn more, visit their website here.

Wayside Waifs

This is the perfect place to volunteer for anyone who loves working with animals. Wayside Waifs is committed to finding the perfect home for adoptable pets and is the largest pet adoption campus in the area. Whether you like dog walking, community education and events, or working in the vet clinic, Wayside Waifs has opportunities in nearly every area of the shelter. For more information on volunteering your time, click here.

These are just a few places where you can spend your time embracing Tikkun Olam in the local Kansas City community. Tikkun Olam isn’t difficult, but we must commit to making it a part of our everyday lives.

I think author Krista Tippett said it best, “It insists that each one of us, flawed and inadequate as we may feel, has exactly what is needed to help repair the world that we can see and touch.”

Until next time!

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri

Also follow Michael Gortenburg on Medium, About.me, Xing, and Twitter

Is McLaren Diluting its Hypercar Brand?

A Sunny day on a highway with a 2019 McLaren GT Super Car

Hello everyone! Michael Gortenburg here.

I have always had a passion for cars. As I mentioned in my previous blog, I love iconic cars from the 1950s and the feel of a vehicle that time has made a recognizable classic. I’ve always been fascinated by the freedom and excitement you can only get from an automobile. Whenever I see an exotic or a vintage car, it’s because something about that car’s soul speaks to me. Each car provides a unique experience, like an old memory that I can recall instantly.

Recently, I’ve been paying attention to the ever-competitive world of hypercars. Not because I plan to buy one, definitely not, but because I enjoy watching the competition unfold among the five or six manufacturers who are competing for the wallets of a very limited and selective group of people. There are plenty of wealthy people in the world, but not many who are willing to pay over $1 million for a method of transportation.

These are just my thoughts on the latest and greatest in the car world and I hope you enjoy it! Let’s start off with a brand that everyone is paying attention to right now: McLaren.

McLaren has been putting out incredible cars for years, and many people consider the McLaren F1 to be the greatest automobile ever built. It seems like more and more people are agreeing with that sentiment, as they are currently fetching somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million at auction. Is a car ever worth $20 million? I guess it is if there is nothing else quite like it on the road.

The F1 is unique in that it has no fancy electronics, no tricks. It is a pure machine made to go fast and nothing else. The driver’s seat is centered in the middle of the car, with two passenger seats on either side. They say the feeling of driving one is like piloting a fighter jet.

While very few people will get to experience the McLaren F1 themselves, there are plenty of other McLaren models that will give you a similar sensation. We’ll leave out the Mercedes SLR because that was really more of a GT car, not a pure performance machine, in my book. Besides, there are plenty of others to choose from.

Right now, the McLaren lineup consists of twelve different models, which is an astronomical number for a hypercar manufacturer, to be honest. They include the 620R, the 540C, the 570C, the 570S and the GT, the 600LT/600LT Spider, the McLaren GT, the 720S and the 765, the Senna, the Elva, the Speedtail, the Artura, and a few other versions of these for racetrack use.

Is that too many? A lot of people are saying that, yes, McLaren is diluting itself by making so many variations. What is special about a McLaren if you have so many different versions of them floating around, right? Well, I happen to disagree.

What I like so much about McLaren is that it is not as obsessed with status as some of the other brands that are out there. To that end, the cars tend to be a bit less flashy (with some definite exceptions) and less recognizable than say a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. The people who buy McLarens are more interested in an incredible driving experience than rolling up to a fancy restaurant and attracting attention.

That’s why it makes sense for the company to have so many models. They are giving drivers the ability to select exactly what suits them. They can provide an extreme hypercar like the Senna, or a fun weekend driver like the 540C. You can get what you want without being labeled as a certain type of person. That makes sense coming from a company with a strong racing tradition that takes itself extremely seriously.

Now, I don’t own a McLaren myself, nor am I particularly interested in acquiring one. But I do respect what they are doing. In time, I believe that other manufacturers will start to democratize the hypercar experience by creating high-performance electric machines at low cost. These would be cars for people who are less interested in status than experiencing the thrill of an open road. You can definitely count me among them.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more coming soon!

– Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City Missouri

Are resto-mods a cardinal sin?

Hello there – Michael Gortenburg here.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a soft spot for automobiles (you can check out my previous blog on this subject here). I love that each one provides an entirely unique experience. A car doesn’t need to be fast to give me a thrill. All it needs to have is soul.

What does that mean? It means a car that is itself an experience. A car that has its own personality, its own flaws and defects, its own unique way to move along the road. A car that reminds you at every moment that you are in something special, and the experience is yours and yours alone.

Modern cars with all the bells and whistles can give you that, and I’ve driven some incredible ones that use hybrid technology. The electric motors provide tons of torque while the engine gives it power once you off the line. There is nothing like being pushed deep into the seat by the g-force of a launch. It is invigorating.

At the same time, old cars (most of which are pretty slow by today’s standards) can provide unique experiences as well.

Recently, I’ve been interested in something that bridges the gap between old cars and new – they are called “resto-mods.”

Resto-mods are essentially old, classic cars that have been completely stripped down, then rebuilt using modern parts. So, for example, you could have a 1969 Lamborghini Miura, an absolutely beautiful car but with incredibly unreliable performance, and replace its engine, suspension, transmission, and brakes with modern parts from a contemporary Lamborghini. Is this sacrilege? To some people, yes absolutely it is. But if you are more concerned about enjoying your car than getting the approval of others, it could be a good option. After all, would you rather spend your time fixing your car, or driving it?

Resto-mods are still considered the black-sheep of the car collecting world; however, but I believe that is going to change. Younger people are used to driving reliable cars and most are completely unaccustomed to doing their own repairs. They want immediate gratification, and a resto-mod can give that to you.

Most of the resto-mods currently on the market are American cars, especially muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s. That makes sense because those cars are notoriously easy to work on. Large engine bays mean you can reach everything without removing half of the bodywork, and simple engineering with minimal electronics makes doing things like engine swaps a lot easier.

Now most of those resto-mods are done by home mechanics, so just imagine what you could accomplish if you used the kind of resources that could pay for a hypercar. You could have one of the most unique classic cars around, with modern-day performance to match.

Imagine a Jaguar E-Type from the 1960s with a reliable and efficient drivetrain. Or a Mercedes Grosser with a Bentley W12 engine. Or, for a laugh, how about a Volga with a new Porsche engine and carbon brakes? You get the idea. The possibilities are endless and there is nothing wrong with having a little fun, no matter what the purists say.

What do you think? Do you think this modern twist on classic cars is a cardinal sin? Or are they ok in your book?

Talk soon,

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri

Top 5 Books for Business Success

Hi everyone,

Today I wanted to talk about a key element of success — reading. It’s no surprise that reading is a common denominator amongst many of the biggest names in business, and almost all entrepreneurs have a book or two they accredit to changing their lives and shaping their careers.

Warren Buffet credits his business philosophy to “The Intelligent Investor,” by Benjamin Grahman; Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy changed Elon Musk’s life — and boy, did it! Sometimes it’s not a business book that gives you your “Eureka! Moments,” but nevertheless, it’s important to be constantly consuming new content to stay sharp and creative if you want to succeed. Bill Gates takes up 50 books a year, Warren Buffet reads 500 pages a day, Mark Zuckerberg challenged himself to read a book every other week and Jeff Bezos is also an avid reader.

With that, I thought I would share some solid recommendations for you to check out:

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

It is a common book suggested by business leaders, but it has such fundamental lessons that I would be remiss if I did not mention it. This 6th century BC book is still used for military strategy today and has direct translations for business strategy and management. Based on Chinese warfare and military thought by the legendary general Sun Tzu, this book can be used to gain advantage of opponents in negotiation, understand office politics and foster a sustainable and positive corporate culture.

Check out some of these quotes to get an idea of its timeless insights:

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Some strategies don’t change within 25,000 years. This is a must read.

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton M Christensen

There’s nothing better than using your predecessors to guide your own success. There’s a reason why Isaac Newton said: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” This book offers the success and failure stories of the world’s biggest firms and creates a guide for capitalizing on innovation. It encourages you to strategically think about the best times to take big jumps in your business — especially as it pertains to technology. It also covers situations when demand might not meet your innovations, which could destroy the business you already have.

This book is a great guide for when you come up with your next big disruptive innovation idea.

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

This book is championed by business schools around the country and illustrates a simple strategy that revolutionizes how people think about how to beat competitors.

A good takeaway from this book: avoid the cutthroat competition of going to a business market (or a bloody “red” ocean) and instead look for bluer waters, where you can swim to success unbothered. Sometimes it is much easier to become top in your field by finding your own niche than by trying to directly compete against more established enterprises that already own their respective markets.

Check out the full read for more insights into this idea.

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This classic book is perhaps the most well-known from Carnegie, and for good reason.

It gives practical tips for establishing relationships in business and in your personal life as well. Relationships are the foundation for success in many ways, so learning skills that allow you to cultivate meaningful and impactful connections with those around you is something that pays for itself many times over.

This book shows you how simple it really is to do — although getting yourself to follow them is a different challenge.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey

All of the habits that Covey suggests in this book seem simple — but they have a profound impact.

The one I want to stress the most is the habit of continuous improvement that Covey calls “sharpening the sword.” Covey stresses that through meaningful progress and growth, you will propel yourself along a path of personal freedom and success. One of the main things you can do to “sharpen the sword” is read! So by reading Convey’s book, you will be already starting to develop one of those highly effective habits.

****************

In business, the best way to be on top of the competition is to diversify your perspective, reimagine solutions to our world’s biggest issues and do things that spark your creativity. Reading the worthwhile thoughts of great thinkers is one of the best ways to do just that.

So while we are still stuck at home for the time being (although it is exciting that we are slowly opening up in Kansas City!), I suggest you spend some time reading.

This lists is a great place to start and will help give structure to your thoughts and your business ideology, but business ideas can come from anywhere. Start with whatever you have on your shelves, and who knows, you might think of your next big venture or inspiring idea.

Until next time,

~ Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.