It’s no coincidence, it seems to me, that successful entrepreneurs are also enthusiastic lifelong learners. Yet many new businessowners are delighted to discover that running a business is an on-going learning adventure—and they get to design their own curriculum.

Entrepreneurial learning bears little resemblance to more conventional educational experiences. Instead of spending long hours sitting at a desk, entrepreneurial education looks more like working in a laboratory where the process goes something like this: explore, test, share.

Consider TOMS shoe company found Blake Mycoskie. In his new book, Start Something That Matters, this successful young entrepreneur gives us a glimpse into his feelings about a favorite tool of the perpetual learner.

He writes, “When I moved onto a 200-square foot sailboat, I had no room for belongings. So I divested myself, selling and giving away almost everything, keeping only sporting and the books I loved.

“One day, when I own a house, I’ll keep a full library of books. Books are different from other possessions—they’re more like friends.”

A Chinese proverb reminds us that, “Learning is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.” If you’re reading this blog, you probably don’t need to be convinced.

Nevertheless, I wanted to pass along some other thoughts about the importance of learning. You might want to hang on to some of these wise words. They could come in handy on a day when resistance is trying to talk you out of attending a seminar or you’re feeling uncomfortable about acquiring a new skill.

The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who cannot learn. ~ Alvin Toffler

Beauty can happen in an instance to the well-stocked mind. ~ Reynolds Pearce

There is an unspeakable pleasure attending the life of the voluntary student. ~ Oliver Goldsmith

If money is your only hope for independence, you will never have it. The only real security in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability. ~ Henry Ford

Vacant lots and vacant minds attract the most rubbish. ~ Arnold Glasgow

One learns by doing a thing; for though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try. ~ Sophocles

In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. ~ Eric Hoffer

If you’re a true student of what you’re doing and a lover of your business activity, then study what you’ve done to understand what you could have done better. ~ Steve Wynn

The minute you’re not learning, I believe you’re dead. ~ Jack Nicholson

The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. ~ Bertrand Russell


If you’d like to know more about Start Something That Matters, check out this rave review from the Wall Street Journal. Doing Good By Shoeing Well