Children’s Books that Inspired Entrepreneurs

childrens-books--entrepreneurs

Since its rise to fame in the 18th century, children’s literature has been a source of magic. In fact, some of the most critically-acclaimed and best-loved books today are of this genre. From the escapist surrealism of Carroll’s Wonderland, to the shenanigans of Twain’s Tom Sawyer, children’s literature has enraptured countless generations. 

Recent years and multiple initiatives have rekindled a love of reading in today’s digital generation. This is especially true of 2020. While there’s no doubt that pandemic restrictions have been tough for children, a survey by The National Literacy Trust has shown some silver linings. 

Reading hasn’t only helped children pass time during lockdown. The boost in literacy interest has also supported their mental wellbeing.

At Addition, we know financial literacy is the key to empowering our customers. Making money work for you is crucial when it comes to growing businesses.

The same is true of literacy. The ability to read has long been a defining factor in boosting opportunities and prospects. As Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan once said, “Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.”

Reading is more than just a recreational activity. It inspires children to think beyond their surroundings, and encourages them to pursue their dreams, no matter the circumstances.

With April 2nd marking International Children’s Book Day, we’ve asked successful entrepreneurs to share the books that inspired them as children – and helped set them on the pathway to their dreams. 

“Picturing dreams as something I could catch helped me chase them in my own life.”

– GRAHAM DAVIES, CEO AND FOUNDER, ADDITION

Graham Davies is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Addition.

What book from your childhood had the biggest impact on your future goals?

The BFG by Roald Dahl.

How exactly did it help set you on your current life path?

I loved the dream world that the BFG visited with Sophie. As a little boy, I would imagine being able to trap whizzing, colourful dreams and bottle them like he did. I remember wishing that dreams wouldn’t simply disappear when I woke up and fade away so rapidly (the good ones, anyway). Picturing dreams as physical entities that can be chased and preserved has helped me pursue them in my own life.

Can you share any specific paragraphs, sentences or phrases from the book that stuck?

“Every dream in the world is making a different sort of buzzy-hum music.”

“Meanings is not important, said the BFG. I cannot be right all the time. Quite often I is left instead of right.”

“Dreams is full of mystery and magic . . . . Do not try to understand them.”

The last one is especially relevant to entrepreneurship. A lot of well-meaning people often try to dissuade you from the risks involved. But the magic overcomes the mystery as things get clearer further on!


“I believe anything is possible, and Anansi and the tales in this book were the catalyst for this confidence.”

– TIM CAMPBELL, MBE

Tim Campbell, MBE is an entrepreneur and the first ever winner of BBC show The Apprentice.

What book from your childhood had the biggest impact on your future goals?

West Indian Folk-tales – by Philip Manderson Sherlock

How exactly did it help set you on your current life path?

The ethics, values and myths of my mother’s Jamaican heritage were shared through the wonder of tales held within the covers of this book. It shaped my imagination, sense of justice and respect for my family lineage and my ability to make things happen as I envisaged. 

With time, focus and knowledge, I believe anything is possible and Anansi and the tales in this book were the catalyst for this confidence.  It is why I am such a passionate advocate of reading and research which was passed down to me from my mother to all her children, as many Black mothers did with their children.

Can you share any specific paragraphs, sentences or phrases from the book that stuck?

The best thing about the book, aside from its cultural significance for me personally, is the beauty of the story telling which shares morals and values enveloped in wonderful tales. The best one for me is the story of Tiger and Anansi, where Anansi wins the right to have all stories named after him. 

It is an exquisite tale of focus and ‘staying in your lane’, not getting distracted by detractors and using people’s assumptions of your weaknesses as a key strength in getting things done. I’d encourage every business leader to read it but then they’d know what I know – so please don’t read it, hah!

“Winnie the Pooh might be a silly old bear, but the books can really lift your mood and inspire you to achieve.”

– HARVEY MORTON, DIGITAL EXPERT AND FOUNDER

Harvey Morton is a Digital Expert and Founder of Harvey Morton Digital

What book from your childhood had the biggest impact on your future goals?

The Winnie The Pooh stories that I enjoyed as a child have had the biggest impact on my future goals. While I can’t say I’ve bought a house in the hundred-acre wood, the Pooh stories are full of so much positivity and I’ve definitely carried this with me into adult life. Last year, when lockdown hit, I revisited the recent Disney film, Christopher Robin for some comfort and inspiration from Winnie the Pooh in these uncertain times.

How exactly did it help set you on your current life path?

Winnie the Pooh might be a silly old bear, but the books are filled with so many inspiring quotes that can really lift your mood and inspire you to achieve whatever you want to achieve. When designing my website for Harvey Morton Digital, my copywriter used the Pooh stories to influence some of the copy and direction for the brand after I recommended them as a source of inspiration. Even though the stories are over 100 years old, they’re timeless and I look towards Winnie the Pooh quotes whenever I’m lacking motivation or direction.

Can you share specific paragraphs, sentences or phrases from the book that stuck?

“People say that nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”

“‘What day is it?’ asked Pooh.

‘It’s today,’ squeaked Piglet.

‘My favourite day,’ said Pooh.”

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

“Spiderman comics allowed me to be creative and, as I’ve learnt in business, creativity sells.”

– RICHARD CRAWFORD SMALL, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR AND AESTHETIC ENTREPRENEUR

Richard Crawford Small is an Amazon #1 Bestselling Author and award-winning business consultant.

What book from your childhood had the biggest impact on your future goals?

‘I didn’t read many books as a child but I did love comics and in particular Spiderman. These had a big impact on my goals as both a child and through my entire life to adulthood, and now in business.’

– How exactly did it help set you on your current life path?

‘Spider man gave me a moral compass. The lessons learnt in Spiderman taught me about how important it is to take responsibility for your actions, both to myself and to fellow humans.

It allowed me to be creative and as I’ve learnt in business, creativity sells. Whilst some people might think that comics aren’t proper literature, I’ve always disagreed. I believe that it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a different perception to someone else, because everyone’s perception and opinion is valid and true. I’ve always taught my daughter that too, that it’s important to challenge perception.’

Can you share any specific paragraphs, sentences or phrases from the book that stuck?

‘From great power comes great responsibility’ is a phrase from Spiderman that has stuck with me always. I feel this sense of responsibility to my family, my colleagues and my clients, and to life in general. It’s also a reminder that not all heroes wear capes!’

“Like all true classics, I think the Little Prince is timeless because of its continued relevance to us all.”

– LIESA STECHER, CHIEF GROWTH OFFICER, ADDITION

Liesa Stecher is a seasoned marketing consultant and C.G.O at Addition.

What book from your childhood had the biggest impact on your future goals?

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I love it so much that I have a First Edition in pride of place at home!

How exactly did it help set you on your current life path?

What I love about The Little Prince is how it has grown up with me. Every time I read it, the lessons and quotes inside it take on a new and deeper meaning. It has been both a companion and a teacher (not to mention tear-jerker!) and definitely helped me develop a strong sense of empathy and perspective. I also love how each lesson and quote can be interpreted differently by every reader. Like all true classics, I think the Little Prince is timeless because of its continued relevance to us all.

Can you share any specific paragraphs, sentences or phrases from the book that stuck?

“Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you ‘What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?’ Instead they demand, ‘How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?’ Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”

When we founded Addition, we wanted people – not figures – to be at the heart of our service. Getting to know our clients as real people – rather than just business owners – gives us greater insights, and helps us help them achieve their goals!

If you enjoyed reading this article as much as we enjoyed putting it together, why not spread the love? Share it across your channels and help us inspire budding entrepreneurs to find their dreams in books. The world has never needed them more than it does today!

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