No matter what industry you’re in, you’re doing business. Understanding the principles of business help you excel in your field of work. There are tons of business books out there, but some are renowned as the staples of business. I’ll admit, reading isn’t a strength of mine, but I’ve put intentional effort into reading these books, and they’ve been transformative for my personal and professional life. Here are some of the top business books on my list, both classics and new ones.
Don’t get them to just add to your collection on the shelf. Take time to read them. Even if it takes a while. It takes me a few months to get through some books. But no matter how busy you are, make time for it. If you want to grow in business, learn to read, and learn to learn.
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Here’s a good place to start:
1. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg Mckeown
This isn’t necessarily a business book, but it covers a lot of of aspects of business. Essentialism is about doing less things so that we can focus on the most important things. Our lives our busy and we’re stretched thin. We say yes to everything because we’re obligated or feel like everything is good or important. Essentialism challenges that by suggesting that very few things are important, and we would be significantly more productive and fulfilled if we focused all our energy into the only the few, most important things.
2. How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
This is a classic read in almost any circle where you work with other people. How to Win Friends and Influence People provide insight into how to interact people to that you can get along with them and persuade them. Often we try to get people to do what we want through forceful coercion, guilting, gossip, or backbiting. Still others lack social skills and end up getting walked all over. How to Win Friends and Influence People provides practical tips on making friends and allies that work with you.
3. Start With Why – Simon Sinek
This book helps leaders and business to transform the way they think about their work. Start With Why is about examining the motives behind what you do. Many times success is equated with external things – the product, the marketing, the audience… Yet looking at some of the greatest and most influential leaders, we discover that they all have something in common – the why. Start With Why suggests that having a clear definition of why you do something will ultimately influence what and how you do it, and is the greatest determinant of success.
4. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable – Seth Godin
It’s nearly impossible to pick the top Seth Godin book, but this is my favorite. Purple Cow is about making your business remarkable. Traditional marketing goes through the regular checklists to sell a brand – Pricing, Promotion, and Publicity. Yet what makes some of the top brands successful is a Purple Cow – something so unique and amazing that it becomes unforgettable. Purple Cow challenges business to shift focus from great marketing to creating great products that are actually worth marketing.
5. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don’t – Jim Collins
Another classic in the business world, this book is keystone for any business looking to reach the next level. Good to Great examines companies that were stagnant for awhile and then hit new growth that was sustained. Multiple characteristics of these companies were examined, from their leadership to their company culture, to see what made these companies successful, and why others failed. Good to Great will help you examine your own business and figure out what you need to do to make the leap to greatness.
6. People Over Profit – Dale Partridge
This is a relatively new book that is revolutionizing the business world. People Over Profit is about how transparency and ethical business is actually better for the bottom line. When there is such a distrust in corporations because of how they cut corners and treat people poorly, many businesses and startups are putting a stronger emphasis on corporate social responsibility. People Over Profit will convince you that when you have your employees and customers’ best interest in mind, your business succeeds.
7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
This book is extremely useful for business leaders, but applies equally to any individual. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People helps people to succeed in both their personal and professional lives. We often want success, but look to quick tips and tricks to get there. Instead, Covey insists on a paradigm shift that changes how you do things on a personal and relational level. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People will help you create new routines enable you to excel in your areas of influence.
8. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results – Gary Keller
This book can be applied on so many levels, from personal to family to business. The ONE Thing helps people to narrow down their focus to the thing which matters most, which they excel at, and which has the most impact. We’re often so distracted by everything in life that we end up doing everything at a second-rate work. The ONE Thing is about doing more, while doing less.
Though there are many more great business books, reading these 8 books have significantly impacted how I run my business, as well as my personal life. They are well worth the time and money to read them.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Are there any that should be on this list? Let me know in the comments!