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Burly Vinson, Founder of Snappies - Favorite Books & Lessons Learned

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Today’s interview is with Burly Vinson, an American entrepreneur with background in sales and marketing, who’s always been attracted to creative things.

He’s now on a mission to change the way people think of snapbacks, and he’s doing that one hat at a time.

Burly founded Snappies, a brand that differentiates itself by using premium materials.
One example is the back closure of the hats: while most brands use cheap plastic straps, Burly decided to not follow the conventional path, and use Top Grain leather and brass instead.

Since Snappies’ motto is “Live Different”, this also means that part of proceeds are donated to Trees for the Future, to support their efforts to reverse environmental degradation. “Buy a hat, plant 10 trees”. Why trees? Because he wants the hats to have a positive impact on the planet and the people who support Snappies.

Keep on reading to find out what books influenced Burly, what he learned from them and how he applied the lessons in his entrepreneurial journey.


What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author, and I’m a big SciFi nerd, so I’ve always loved The Sirens of Titan.
Not sure if this counts as a business book, but Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is a great book. It really lets you get a glimpse into the mind of one of the most successful creators/entrepreneurs in recent history.


Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point really showed me how it’s not always about the big picture, but sometimes it’s the tiny details that make all the difference. People tend to think that if something isn’t working then big changes need to happen to see the results you want. But that’s not the case. A lot of the time, the only separation between success and failure is a slight tweak or pivot.

For me, personally, I’ve seen this with A/B testing ads. Some of my best outcomes came from changing a few words in an ad or switching out a single image. The Devil is in the details as they say.


What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

It may be cliche, but Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad impacted me greatly and helped start me on my path towards being an entrepreneur. It was given to me from a friend of a friend who started his own business. I think a lot of entrepreneur books try and sell a secret tip or convince you that success can only come from following specific steps. Personally, I don’t believe that and I think that kind of thinking can limit a person’s creativity or ability to adapt and try new things. The thing I love about Rich Dad Poor Dad, and the reason I think it’s a great book for people just starting out, is how it doesn’t try and sell a formula. All it asks of its reader is to think critically to create success.

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What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

As I mentioned previously, Rich Dad Poor Dad is a great first book for those interested in entrepreneurship. It doesn’t give specific tips or actionable items, but what it does give is more valuable: it changes how you look at work and a person’s value. The book is a quick read but immensely valuable – at least for me it was.


I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

My reading habits depend largely on the books I’m reading. If I find a book I can’t put down, I’ll spend the next few days reading until I finish it. I’m a little old school, so I stick to paper books instead of reading on my tablet.


How do you make time for reading?

I enjoy reading, so it’s not really a situation of making time. They’re a great escape activity, even more so than television.


Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

One thing I do find helpful is bookmarking especially useful posts or websites online. I find a lot of valuable information over a host of topics (SEO, Facebook Ads, conversion optimization, etc) that I save and refer back to.


How do you choose what books to read next?

That’s a good question. As with a lot of things in my life, I’d say I stumble into them. If I took a more calculated approach to my reading, I wouldn’t enjoy the experience as much.


Do you prioritize those recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

If a friend highly recommends a book, I’ll give it a go. But usually, I like to discover books myself.


Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

As I said, I’m a SciFi nerd, so right now I’m reading Neuromancer by William Gibson. As for what I expect to get from it? Probably not a lot from an entrepreneur point of view, but that’s fine by me.

Links where you can find out more about Snappies:

Books mentioned by Burly Vinson in this interview:


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