The Five Books Every Optometrist Should Read
Let’s talk about the five books that I believe every optometrist or practice owner, should be reading. They’re books that influence my thinking. I’ve read all of them personally, and I just love them and I wanted to share them with you. So without further ado here is the list of the five books I recommend.
The E Myth, by Michael E Gerber
Book number one is The E Myth, it’s by Michael E Gerber. This book was recommended to me when I was first starting my business and the whole premise of the book is summarized basically in this sentence.
You need to spend your time working on your business instead of in your business.
As optometrists, you have been trained to see patients. It’s what you love, why you got into the practice. Sitting across from the patient in the chair, helping them see better, diagnosing their problems. Dealing with all of that right, is what we spend most of our time doing. I do the same with marketing. So for example, with me, I spend most of my time, or at least did initially in the business, helping businesses grow.
So I was working directly with clients, but I wasn’t spending the time working on my business. In this book, Michael Gerber talks about how entrepreneurs folks like you and I, or practice owners. We spend so much of our time actually doing the job. We don’t spend time building the business. He says that instead, we really need to be spending time on things like hiring, marketing, and building systems and processes within the business. Because ultimately that’s, what’s going to allow your business to scale your time and my time.
As business owners, our time is extremely limited. We are limited in the number of patients we can see here, the number of clients that we can take on, what we need to do instead is focus on building systems and processes. He talks a lot particularly about just how it’s easy for us to get burned out. If you don’t have a great systems and processes in your business, it’s easy to get burned out because every problem ends up on your desk. Not only are you responsible for seeing patients, but you’re responsible for dealing with every problem that comes through.
So if you’re really struggling and dealing with stress, as I was, when I first started my business, I would highly, highly, highly recommend, The E Myth by Michael Gerber. It’ll change the way you think about your business and help you figure out how to actually grow and scale in a way that you just don’t wanna go completely crazy.
The Obstacle Is The Way, by Ryan Holiday
Book number two, that I believe every optometrist or practice owner should read is The Obstacle Is The Way, by Ryan Holiday. This book is definitely a mindset book. It’s not tactical, in the sense that it’s not stuff that you take and apply to your business. But it’s stuff that you take and you apply to your own mindset. It’s how you think about the world.
Ryan holiday adopts a, a philosophy called stoicism. It’s basically about how to live well in the world and how to not let, things that happen externally, things that happen in your business or in your daily life or in your relationships affect you. Instead, it’s focused on getting to the outcome that you want.
One of my favorite stories from the book is about an entrepreneur, way back in, I believe the late 18 hundreds named Sam’s Z Murray. He ran a company called United fruit company. Ryan tells this story way better. But the, the premise of the story is that, he was competing against these other fruit companies that were way bigger. And he wanted to buy a plot of land in, in south America. So the issue at hand was who owned this plot of land. There were two farmers in the area that both claimed that they owned this plot of land. Right. So Sam’s competitor, this big fruit company comes in and they hire a team of lawyers and they start really digging in to figure out who ultimately owns this land. And then they were gonna buy the land from whatever farmer they deemed that owns it. This was a valuable piece of land. So Sam said, well, forget that I’m gonna offer both of them. I’m gonna purchase it from both of them. So it doesn’t matter what the land is, who actually owns it just to be safe, I’m gonna purchase it from both of them. In this book, Ryan basically goes along and tells historical, narratives, basically stories using characters from history about how they overcame obstacles.
The title of the book, is The Obstacle Is The Way highly, highly, highly recommend it, change my thinking. If I ever get frustrated at work or I’m feeling really down, it’s a book that I pick up. It’s an easy read, short chapters, maybe five, 10 pages each, and all narrative driven. Story driven about, great characters from history, highly recommend that again, not a, a tactical book, but a mindset book that will help you, be a better business owner, be a better, spouse, be a better parent, whatever the challenges you’re facing. I truly believe The Obstacle Is The Way is a great book to adjust your mindset.
Magnetic Marketing by Dan Kennedy
All right. So book number three, that I believe every optometrist or practice owner should read is Dan Kennedy’s Magnetic Marketing. Now Dan Kennedy is sort of the godfather of direct marketing. He’s been doing what we call direct marketing. And so the idea behind direct marketing is that instead of just going, you know, building your brand or spamming your ads everywhere, instead you measure your marketing.
Every single add is designed to get responses.
So for an optometry practice, right, that’s phone calls, it’s bookings, it’s getting people in your chair, booking an appointment for them. It’s not about just going out there and being on social media or just spending a lot of money on ads. It’s about measuring your return. The ROI, the return on investment for your advertising. Dan Kennedy has been doing this for years.
He started in direct marketing through mail, and has since adapted into direct marketing, both using mail, but also now using a lot of the digital channels that are available. I cannot recommend this book enough, this book is one that we use whenever we work with a practice we go through and we look for ideas, we look for what ways to differentiate from the competition. And then we also then try and optimize at optometrymarketing.com. We try and optimize the entire funnel.
So how do we get people to come back. Once they’ve come, what’s the, a follow up process look like, how do we get them to refer people to your practice? Dan Kennedy talks about a lot of this stuff. It’s an extremely valuable book. If nothing else it’ll change the way that you think about marketing and give you lots of ideas. Most importantly, it’ll give you a framework for measuring your marketing. So that’s, Magnetic Marketing by Dan S Kennedy. You can pick it it up on Amazon, highly, highly, highly recommended. If you have any marketing budget at all, or are thinking about doing any marketing, you gotta have this book read it. It’s fairly easy read. It’ll take you maybe a couple of days, you know, maybe a couple of weeks, if you just do a chapter a day. But it’ll just give you so many ideas and it’ll give you a very powerful framework with which to do your marketing. So that’s Magnetic Marketing by Dan Kennedy.
Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss
And the next book that I recommend is never split the difference by Chris Voss. This is a book about negotiation. I originally, first read or listened to this book on audio book when I had a long drive, I’m based in Fort Collins about hour north and I was routinely commuting. So I downloaded this book. It was on one of the ebook apps that I had access to and just really fell in love. There’s so much practical advice, psychological advice. And if you’re thinking, well, who do I need to negotiate with? Mean, the truth is we’re negotiating all the time. As a practice owner, you’re negotiating, first of all, with customers. Obviously we often have irate customers or customers that, you know, something happened that caused an issue and that they are unhappy. And oftentimes it’s not even your fault or even your team’s fault, but something happened and they’re unhappy. So it’s about negotiating with them. You also have to negotiate with your employees. You have to negotiate salaries and vacation time and time off. And even negotiating expectations to a certain extent, yes, you can sort of force your way in because you’re the boss, but ideally you really want people to be on board.
So there’s a lot of negotiation that happens there. And you’re also negotiating with vendors, right? Soft software vendors, marketing vendors, like us optometrymarketing.com, people who do your marketing, you are negotiating with your landlord or the people who own maybe the, the building that you’re in, or if you own it, then the maintenance crew. You’re negotiating with them all the time. You’re negotiating with people as you purchase or lease new pieces of equipment. Optometry equipment is not cheap, as I’m sure you’re well aware. So we’re doing negotiating all the time. Chris Voss used to be the lead negotiator for the FBI actually. And so this book is full of some great stories you can really connect with as well as really good, solid, practical advice on how to negotiate and how to negotiate. Well, it’s a book that I referenced from time to time when I know that things might get a little heated in a negotiation, but it also, now that I’ve read it and sort of internalized a lot of it over the years, it just is a skillset that I’ve, I continue to draw on. When negotiating proposals with clients or, or anything really. And so highly, highly, highly recommend, Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss.
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink
All right. And last but not least book. So before I tell you the last book, picking five books was really hard. I’m an avid reader I have read a lot. I read basically anything that I think is interesting or that I think will help me run a better business or be a better person, or just overall improve my life. So the fifth spot filling the final one was really hard. Also wanted to make it extremely practical for business owners and optometrists and just anybody who I think were it would benefit. And who’s in a similar position as I am. So the final book that I picked is Extreme Ownership. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. Jocko is a retired Navy seal. He has a great podcast and you can hear him on a lot of other podcasts. He’s been on Tim Ferris and Joe Rogan, very disciplined.
He wrote a book originally called Discipline Is The Way that almost made the cut for this spot. But instead I picked his other book called Extreme Ownership. And the whole premise of extreme ownership is fairly simple. It’s a true leader that takes a hundred percent ownership of everything in his domain or her domain including the outcome and everything it affects. This is the most fundamental building block of leadership that cuts across all other principles. In other words, if it’s under you, so again, as a business owner it’s really up to you. Everything at the end of the day, falls on your plate. Now, yes, you need to delegate and you need to do all the things that like Michael Gerber talks about in The E Myth. But at the end of the day, you have to take extreme ownership.
If things in your practice or things in your life are not going, as you want them, it’s up to you to fix it.
Fixing it might mean hiring someone else, fixing it might mean taking it on yourself and personally addressing it, fixing it might mean disciplining another team member or figuring out a piece, a software or hardware or a new tool or a new medical device that you need to add. But it’s all about addressing and fixing your own problems. It’s about taking truly extreme ownership of everything in your life. Then making sure that if anything is sort of outta sorts, that you take ownership of it and get it resolved. So book number five, Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink.
Hey, thanks for taking a few minutes to listen to the podcast. These are all books that I have personally read at some point, they’re books that many of them I’ve read many times. If you have any other books you’d like included feel free to reach out to me directly. It’s Tyler, [email protected]. Also, if you are running a practice and ready to step on the gas pedal of growth to get more customers, more revenue, and ultimately more profit in your business, check us out, optometrymarketing.com, fill out the form on there and I’ll reach out to you. Or one of team will reach out to you. Or if you wanna talk to me directly use that email Tyler, [email protected]. Thank you so much for listening. Hope to hear from you soon.