In business and in life, we are all too quick to try to reinvent the wheel. Although we all have that spark of genius within us, it’s best spent pushing the limits of what is known or done as opposed to simply rediscovering what others have already figured out. This is all the more relevant in business where processes are the backbone of a successful business and often times essential for its success. Here are my pick of the 10 best business books for anyone in business or who wants to start a business.
This list will be constantly updated to reflect new titles which come out and books which I have the opportunity to read. The books are not listed in any particular order and I highly recommend all of them. Have a book to recommend, just drop me line.
1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
As the essential part of any business’ success is happy clients, figuring out how to please people and be liked is paramount. Be it making friends at a party, cinching that client or handling a sticky situation, this book lays out strategies for success. Warren Buffet gives this book his seal of approval and I second it. Not sold yet, just take a look at the book’s title: it goes straight to the point and targets one of our most primal desires: to be liked and appreciated. It is no wonder then that this book has been in print for roughly 90 years and continues to be a best seller.
2. The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib
You can have the best business idea, but if people don’t know it, they can’t buy from you. This book goes straight to the point and discusses the whole process of getting people interested in your business to figuring out where to dedicate your marketing dollars to finally how to have your customers refer you more customers. This book doesn’t hold back punches and challenges many entrenched ideas.
3. The 5AM Miracle by Jeff Sanders
Although its title makes this book sound like it’s only about waking up early (which it does most definitely discuss at length), it contains fantastic insights on goal setting processes and approaches to ensure that you actually accomplish what you want to do and find the time to do it. On the topic of walking up early, this book really advocates finding quiet time when you are at your most productive to devote to your idea, business or passion. Buyer be warned, you may find yourself waking up earlier after reading it. I can single-handedly credit this book for helping me find the time to start my first blog which later became a tutoring business.
4. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the world while working the bare minimum. This book emphasizes the importance of delegating tasks and responsibility, and on focusing on business models which allow for minimum amounts of your time while generating maximum returns. Instead of approaching business in a classic manner, this book indicates that you need to think outside of the box, and approach it where your time is most valuable.
5. Getting Things Done by David Allan
This book is the quintessential book on organisation and, as its name indicates, actually getting what you want to do, done. This book approaches many of these questions from a paper-and-pencil approach as opposed to a purely digital one, but it is surprisingly refreshing. I was a little sceptical at first, but its simple solutions to deal with clutter and disorganisation has helped me organize and simplify the process of finding what I am looking for when I am looking for it.
6. The Book of Business Wisdom edited by Peter Krass
This book is a collection of writings from the greats of industry during the last two hundred years. Sometimes, you just got to learn from the best and this book collects their thoughts and presents them in a clear and concise manner. For example, how did It Julius Fleischmann deal with the lack of demand for his ready-made yeast? How did Estee Lauder bring her company forward during tough economic times? It also helps that this book makes great talking points.
7. The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
This book presents an overview of theoretical business concepts. It discusses each of them briefly and gives you a strong foundation in many valuable areas. I found it helpful to teach me stuff I didn’t know and guide me towards what I needed to read up more on. That being said, I much preferred the first half of the book to the second which I found got too theoretical with its discussion of systems and their processes.
8. The Calligrapher’s Business Handbook by Molly Suber Thorpe
This book definitely stands out from all of the others as appearing to be totally random and in left field. What does the calligraphy business have to do with your business idea, likely nothing at first glance. However, the calligraphy business is interesting as it has components which are a service, components which are products for resale, and components which are a bit of both, so to say, it basically covers all business types. This short, 70-odd page book has the best chapters I’ve ever read on how to price your products, and several other insightful titbits hidden along the way. Give it a read and you won’t be disappointed.
Here are some other books I really liked:
Deep Work by Cal Newport
From Nothing by Ian Pribyl
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
15 Secrets Successful People know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse
Start Your Own Business by Entrepreneur Media
The Power of Follow-up by Judy Garmaise