“You are what you read.” As an entrepreneur, time is precious and often there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day between managing social media, motivating employees and closing deals. With thousands and thousands of business books, it is difficult to read every single business book. So instead of wondering instead which book is worth reading and worth purchasing, we asked entrepreneurs what their favorite book is and why.
Entrepreneurs, What’s Your Favorite Business Book?
1) Networking is DEAD by Melissa G. Wilson and Larry Mohl
I’ve been running a book club for 2 1/2 years called “Don’t Need to Read the Book” book club. I call authors of great business books and with their permission, I write a 15 to 30 page summary of the book. We get 35 or so people at our meetings where, after brief intro’s, we break up into smaller groups to discuss a couple ideas from the book. The last book I just summarized is one of the very best I’ve done and is just now being released. It’s called Networking is DEAD by Melissa G. Wilson and Larry Mohl. This book not only helps clarify why it isn’t necessarily the size of your network which is going to determine your success but rather the small core group in it who are ‘exchangers’ – those who know how to ‘give’ and how to ‘receive’. The storybook fashion way the authors have written the book brings Lance and Meredith to life with Dan as their mentor/teacher. This book can help everyone learn how to ‘dig down’ deeper to discover why they are doing what they’re doing. And if they can’t get to their why, it’s probably because they’re too fixated on their what as in WIIFMe (“What’s In It For Me”).
Thanks to Bob Littell, NetWeaver!
2) Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill
This has been one of the most influential books for me right after the Holy Bible. The Bible has taught me religious truths and knowledge, Think and Grow Rich has taught me business truths and knowledge. One of the key lessons I’d say is learning to be persistent, dedicated, having faith and seeking help from a Mastermind. Think and Grow Rich will change the way you do business and will help change your future. I highly recommend it!
Thank you to Abhinav Gupta, Game Scorpion Inc.!
3) The Art of War
One of my favorite business books is called ‘The Art of War’ by Sun Tzu. It is a no nonsense instruction manual on how to be a great leader. I was required to read this as part of my military leadership training, but today as a civilian in business, I understand how the book has become a legend in the business world. ‘The Art of War’ has two critical points for leaders: (1) A leader leads from the front. They set the example and standard. A leader is firm, but fair and makes only rational decisions, not emotional ones. (2) The battle/business negotiation is won or lost before it even starts. This comes down to ‘knowledge is power.’ Knowledge of yourself and of your enemy/competitor. With knowledge plans are made. Plans should be fluid, changing as the situation changes. In any good military battle plan there is a long list of ‘actions on’ or ‘what ifs.’ We should always try to look for the win/win situation rather than just the win. For someone to win, someone else must lose. This stops the loser from being even more motivated to defeat you in the next battle/negotiation. A battle is the last resort, not the first. I highly recommend this book to leaders at all levels, from a tradesperson teaching an apprentice, to a CEO.
Thanks to Phil Backhouse, 1800-GOT-JUNK? Sydney!
4) Work Smarter: Live Better by Cyril Peupion
It’s an applicable book for not only entrepreneurs but anyone who wants to do well at work. I loved the book so much I am now taking my entire team through the exercises one by one too. Astonishingly, having read the book and implemented the exercises within it, the following quarter my turnover increased by a whopping 173%, simply by applying Peupion’s advice.
Thanks to Stella Gianotto, Stella Design!
5) Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time
To me this book represents the power of having a vision, and a vision that seems almost impossible to those who first hear it. The brand changed and developed an industry that has changed how the world drinks and thinks of coffee. It charges a premium price but provides more than just coffee, which no one thought was possible. It focuses on the customer experience, as well as the staff experience, and had values and goals that have stuck with them as they grew from local to global. Very inspiring.
Thanks to ReeRee Rockette, Rockalily!
6) Seducing the Boys Club
I am the only marketer for my company in the US and the youngest employee, but the biggest struggle I face is being recognized within the “boys club.” This book outlines the do’s and don’ts of making your way through the corporate world. I would highly recommend it to any woman who is looking to advance her career.
Thanks to Amanda!
7) 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
It’s just so aligned to what we do at Leading Teams, particularly around trust and the impact that trust can have on your business. Garie said it is vital that the new CEO understands quickly what the work environment that they now influence is really like, and make a note of how people behave under pressure, what the depth of the conversations are, what appears to drive and motivate staff, and what type of behavior the formal reward system drives. The 7 habits really help you in understanding the dynamics of a business – something equally as important as getting a handle on the mechanics of a business.
Thanks to Garie Dooley, Leading Teams!
8) The Art of War
Old fashioned military training is still one of the best advice in a fierce competitive world. From training your staff, understanding the regulating power, discerning the landscape and taking advantage of terrain and enemy’s weaknesses. Sun Tzu delivers the fundamentals of an organized battle between war leaders.
Thanks to Frederic Chanut, In Marketing We Trust!
9) Behind the Arches by John F. Love
This amazing story behind the development and growth of the McDonalds empire from a single store to a worldwide powerhouse is full of inspiration in respect to innovation, commitment to quality assurance, sourcing suitable partners and some amazing statistics of the growth rates of this company.
Thanks to Chris Edwards!
10) ReWork by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
This opinionated guide on how to do business challenges conventional wisdom about management – particularly the need for business bureaucracy. Fried and Hansson advocate moving fast and staying lean. To them, meetings are toxic and reporting is a distraction; you should do less than your competition, but do it better. It’s hard to argue with their approach. Their business, 37 Signals, is known for producing some of the most useful web based software in the world. The book is written with a direct and accessible tone. It’s an invigorating read for anyone interested in sharpening up their business performance.
Thanks to Oliver Pennington, Service Seeking!
11) Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey
Gives great advice on a range of different issues that affect us in everyday business. From staff to marketing to time management. Really great guide for all businesses.
Thanks to Paul Davies!
12) The E-Myth Revisited
Easy reading with clear instructions covering all sections of operating a business whether start up phase or mature. The message of systematization is strong, the knowledge it gives is factual and recognized not untried or airy fairy.
Thanks to Wendy Brentnall, Wendy’s Music!
13) Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B Cialdini
Apart from the book having sold in excess of 3 million copies, being translated into 26 languages and nominated as the New York Times best Sales and Marketing book of all time, Dr Robert Cialdini’s book Influence is immediately usable. As the most cited Social Scientist of all time Cialdini has mastered the art of teaching 60 + years of research and science through osmosis by marrying his academic world with reader examples and teaching cutting edge business reality. Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s number 2 at Berkshire Hathaway) gives away copies of Cialdini’s book wherever he goes and so do I.
Thanks to Anthony McLean, Social Influence Consulting Group!
14) The E-Myth by Michael Gerber
My favorite business book so far is Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth. This book gives you a practical look at how you need to structure your business so it can manage itself. You see why many businesses fail and how you can take steps to change it.
Thanks to Glen Craig, Free From Broke!
15) “Shark Tales” by Barbara Corcoran
Compelling. Hilarious. Smart. It’s the reason this book is high in my pantheon of business books. “Shark Tales” tells the story of one woman turning $1000 into a billion dollar real estate business using the lessons she learned from watching her mother tend to ten children. I guarantee you’ll swallow this book whole, finish it in record time and learn more about the power of business savvy, PR and sheer grit than you thought possible.
Thank you to Leonie Dawson, Business Mentor!
16) How to Read a Client from Across the Room by Brandy Mychals
It teaches you how to win more business with the Proven Character Code System to decode verbal and nonverbal communication. The book earned #1 at Amazon during its debut last week for good reason. It’s compelling content that can open the door to effective client attraction based on understanding the driving needs of each of the Character Codes: Class President, Cheerleader, Actor, Activist, Scholar, or Artist. Readers can take the Character Code Quiz online to immediately identify their code and learn how to apply that insight to their networking efforts to welcome winning results. If everyone knew their character code and used it to best advantage, the marketplace would shift favorably in a winning direction. And some fabulous conversations would take shape. It’s a must read.
Thanks to Nancy Juetten, Authentic Visibility!
17) The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook by Jay Conrad
This book is remarkable to me because it reveals great tips for marketing yourself or your small business. No other marketing book has changed my level of success and understanding like this book. Jay has several books on guerrilla marketing; they are all very useful and practical for low-cost ways to build your business.
Thanks to Patrick McFadden, McFadden Coaching.com!
18) The E-Myth by Michael Gerber
If you only read one business book, this must be it. It applies to all businesses regardless of industry, big or small.
Thanks to Tony Fiorillo, Asset Management Strategies, Inc.!
19) If It Ain’t Broke, Then Break It by Robert Krenzel
It was one of the best things I’ve ever read on management, customer service, & sacred cows. I recommend it to everyone I talk to
about customer service. I believe, firmly, that every business owner should read and follow its principles. And yes it’s 20 years old, but still applicable.
Thanks to Rober D. Sollars, Today’s Training LLC!