4 Great Books to Inspire the Edu-preneur


I’m launching a software platform for creating and selling online course on your own domain, it’s called Heroic.

(Ready to graduate from teaching on udemy.com?)

The reason I started this project was because I need a platform to better organize Integrity Buddies, (the ‘success through daily structure’ mastermind) which runs with new micro-masterminds of 3 people each and every month. But building software just for masterminds seemed like too small of a market. So I decided to build a platform that supports both masterminds AND online courses. It’s a new combination… our USP (unique selling position).

So in the spirit of online courses, edu-preneurism, and masterminds, I’ve been digging through these books.

It may not seem like there’s an obvious relationship between these books, but in totality, they cover

• the industry knowledge that’s needed to understand where we are going with our teaching business

• the technology to bring your business to life

• a better understanding of how we learn

• and how we can lead powerfully

This book is an amazing resource for anyone who is selling online courses and straddling the line into traditional education. And if you have been inspired by Danny Iny’s Teach and Grow Rich, then this book is the main course after that appetizer. Cobb is not trying to convince you of anything. He presents solid research at such depth that I continue to be inspired chapter after chapter. Here are some of my key take aways:

  1. The industry for online education is large and broad – and it’s changed dramatically in the past 5 years. So there are lots of platforms to use, but not many people know how to use them well.
  2. There isn’t one ‘right’ way to deliver online courses, and what you create will depend on your business. For me, I want to support the types of schools that are Passion and Purpose communities.
  3. There are a lot of important keywords that I found to be pertienent, especially, “lifelong learning,” “self-directedness,” “blended and collaborative learning”

The most interesting part of the book was a small section called “mind matters,” which addresses how we learn. It’s important to remind ourselves and those we teach how we are going to remember what we are learning. Cobb writes, “We ‘construct’ knowledge based on interaction with others in ways that we may be unable to do on our own.”

Online courses can give us inspiration to live courageously. But the true learning, inner development, is going to happen when you have fallen, when things are difficult, and when you don’t really feel like learning anything at all. It’s going to happen in the private conversations you have with others when you are on the way back up.

Rising Strong, by Brene Brown
This is a book I categorize as a ‘internal process’ book, which is one of my most beloved categories. Books in this category provide a map for the heroic journey through the trouble life can bring. Reading Rising Strong has made me want to meditate more, talk to my family more, and courageously take on difficult situations. Brene has also put together an amazing set of online courses. That gives me courage in building the Heroic platform, because I know I can help other authors build platforms like hers.

Theory U, by C. Otto Scharmer
This is also process book, and even though it rooted in inner work, it is geared more towards external process and social action. It’s about clarifying your values, tapping into our ‘blind spots’ to deepen your creative mindset, and iterating on products and solutions for our troubled world.The book teaches you to learn from your futur heroic self rather than feeling powerless.

It’s the same arc of falling and rising, in true heroic fashion. Theory U presents a map for making the heroic journey easier, through the ‘social technology of presencing,’ which requires “Open Mind – Open Heart – Open Will.”

If you aren’t a fan of intense reading, Theory U may start to feel too theoretical. But I found the Blinkist summary (affiliate link) to be super helpful as a starting point. And this book has inspired me to keep trucking with the Heroic platform, which will make great frameworks like this easier to implement for structured group work.

Collaborative Intelligence, by Dawna Markova and Angie Mcarthur
This book ties together the need for process and the possibility of create a business that runs a mastermind model. The problem to solve is improving how we collaborate, which is an important question to ask at a time like this when everything in the world of learning is shifting.

Bonus book! My friend Colin Beavan just released, How To Be Alive  a couple of days ago. I know this is going to be a gem. In this book Colin talks about moving from a self centered world to the world of engagement with others, to create inner happiness, and also take care of the environment at the same time.


 Josh Race is a writer and community leader, technologist, husband, and father. He writes about learning and innovation, especially about impact of structured groups on personal performance. He is also the founder of the Heroic Platform, which makes it possible to sell online courses from your own website. More at http://joshrace.com