Regardless of your accolades, you can never be done learning. This is especially true for aspiring entrepreneurs, as the market is ever-changing. The best way to fully educate yourself on a topic or industry is simple: read a book about it. Books are the best way to fully explore a topic and inspire you to take a big leap in your career – even Bill Gates says so!
The hardest part most of the time, is picking a book out of the thousands out there! That’s why we asked 10 business leaders to share their top picks with us. Check out their must-reads below.
Never Split The Difference
If there’s one skill a business leader needs to master, it is the art of negotiation. Never Split The Difference is written by a former FBI hostage negotiator (Chris Voss) to teach concepts like mirroring and negotiating as if your life depended on it. This book has helped me in the smallest of ways – everything from negotiating with landlords to walking away from bad deals. While the book may not be a one stop “catalyst” to take your business to a new level, it does do a nice job of helping you become a stronger leader by fine tuning a necessary skill.
Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
The Lean Startup
Our company is a new business that is competing with corporate security companies that have been around for that last 60 years. While this may seem like a disadvantage, reading The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries has opened my eyes to all the ways we can innovate and create new processes to an industry that needs change!
Michael Staton, Lyon Shield Security
Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., is a fantastic book for understanding how the power of your mind and how you think can directly affect your success as a business owner. She includes case studies and scientific evidence to discuss how thinking can be the catalyst for whether your business fails or thrives.
Court Will, Will & Will
Start With Why
Start With Why by Simon Sinek is an excellent book for business owners at any stage in their career. Sinek dives into how some of the greatest leaders and entrepreneurs of our time all started with a “why.” Their businesses and other endeavors were all centered around a larger purpose and if you, the reader, haven't thought deeply about the “why” behind your business, Sinek will help you get there. He truly inspires new and seasoned entrepreneurs to remember the purpose for starting their company and gives excellent motivation to push your business even further.
Rex Murphy, Montauk Services
Boss Up by Lindsay Teague Morena is an incredibly inspiring book that sheds light on how business owners can not only survive, but thrive in every aspect of their work. She dives deep into how to take your ambitions out into the real world, no matter your personal situation. The book serves as an inspiration to not only start your own business, but to keep going and keep innovating in your everyday life. Whether you are just starting out or looking for some renewed excitement, Morena does a great job of firing you up to be a business owner.
Vicky Franko, Insura
This is definitely a plug for Scaled Agile, but the book The Rollout was the biggest catalyst for me. After reading that book I basically “drank the kool aid” of the SAFe framework. I have always believed that Agile Project Management was the solution for product development, however until I read that book, I didn’t think that it could be scaled to the program or organizational level. With the SAFe framework, it is not only possible, but it makes logical sense to do it if organizations want to obtain business agility.
Debra Hildebrand, LurnAgile
How To Sell At Prices Higher Than Your Competitors
The business book that has been the biggest catalyst for my business is How To Sell At Prices Higher Than Your Competitors by Lawrence Steinmetz. It shook me awake and made me realize that I was charging far too little for the value I provide to my clients. I raised my prices for my private services and I currently charge $99 per month for a paper-and-ink newsletter, which seems expensive to outsiders but is easily worth every penny.
James Pollard, The Advisor Coach LLC
Agile Project Management with Kanban
Written by Eric Brechner, this book helped completely change the way we approached and tackled projects. By introducing the Kanban system, we learned how to better coordinate and communicate our ideas. I would recommend this book for anyone looking to strengthen team efficiency and collaboration.
Monica Eaton-Cardone, Chargebacks911
Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results
We adopt the OKR framework for every team, consisting of a quarterly goal and 2-3 smaller key results. Working in short sprints allows us to ship fixes and updates quickly, re-iterate adequately, and yield much larger outputs for a small company—compared to larger firms with more complex hierarchical structure and longer projects. In turn, we operate a business with 30 million monthly visitors, with a team of about 50.
Hung Nguyen, Smallpdf
Anything Seth Godin writes has been instrumental in our growth and strategy as a company. Seth's laser-focus on the end-user and how to exceed their needs, wants, and expectations is a business strategy everyone should adopt to heart. Personally, The Dip is my favorite Seth Godin book.