Summer is here and we’re all ready to spend our days sipping margaritas pool-side. So, while you’re having fun in the sun, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of must-read business books for your summer reading list. These are recommendations from the fantastic CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice the same book listed more than one time, but I included their descriptions separately, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. Big Brain Power
The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz is a must-read for all business owners. Limiting thoughts and beliefs are often what hold us back. This book helps to identify common obstacles and how to reroute them. The most common is FEAR... which is like quick sand; the more you struggle in it, the faster you'll sink. The worst, however, is naysayers within your own camp- all which can and must be handled, in order to release yourself to think big(ger) than before.
2. Get it Done!
Getting Things Done by David Allen is simply a must-read for you and your business. It helps you to organize the chaos in your life and get everything out of your head and into a trusted system that you can go to wherever and whenever you need it. It takes practice and dedication, but once you master its core concepts, you will become empowered.
3. 1500 Year Old "Business" Book
The Art of War by Sun Tzu is considered the definitive strategic and tactical military text. I consider it a must-read for anyone in business. For me, it's less about the tactics and more about applying the relentless effort, need for deep study, and almost scientific approach to gaining ground - in your key markets - and beating your (business) competition.
4. Don't Be Good, Be Great!!!
An annual go to read for me is Jim Collins, "Good to Great" book. So many people and companies want to be great and settle for being good. This book always inspires me and gives me renewed insights into how anyone can change the environments they are in, to take them from just getting by to becoming great. One of my best takeaways -- "get the right people on the bus in the right seats"!!! That's a daily mantra to live by and improve any organization's performance.
Myles Miller of LeadUP
5. Creative Business Planning
The Conquer Kit: A Creative Business Planner for Women Entrepreneurs by Natalie MacNeil
Success comes from staying rooted in your purpose and implementing a solid business plan. Natalie's fun workbook helps you tap into your passion, slay your fears, develop impactful products, build strong systems, hire a team, create marketing content, and plan the implementation of big goals.
6. Visit E-Myth Revisited Often!
As a business coach and business owner, I have my clients read Michael Gerber's, E-Myth Revisited. It provides simple but powerful tips and strategies for starting, managing and growing your business; and business owners need to keep their plans and execution simple though strategic and results oriented.
E-Myth Revisited concepts can do that for you.
7. Hire to Your Weaknesses
"Strengths Finder 2.0" by Tom Rath is an absolute must-read for entrepreneurs. You have to wear so many hats as a business owner and it is critical to your joy and your success to figure out which hats to keep and which to give away to your team. Knowing my strengths gives me clarity about where to apply my efforts, how to hire to my weaknesses, and even what characteristics I should use to build my brand upon. Know thyself and grow thyself!
8. "20-Something" Entrepreneurs
The Defining Decade by Meg Jay - This book is a must read for any "20-something" entrepreneur, friend or family member.
The Defining Decade motivates young adults to make the most of the most crucial time period of their life. Further, it encourages them to fight the shockingly common thought that your twenties "don't count".
9. They Won't Let Me Say Mine
I recommend the Adversity Advantage. It's written by a fellow blind trail blazer and author Eric Weihhemayer who shares lessons learned while conquering the world's seven highest summits. The lessons come with actionable steps that you can take to have a stronger, better or live a more fulfilled life. He is one of my heroes and this was one of the first personal development books I ever read and loved so much. Whenever I am asked in an interview about favorite books, this one always makes the list.
10. Inside the Nudge Unit
Inside the Nudge Unit, David Halpern.
The Nudge Unit is a team within the UK Government. They utilize behavioral economics to nudge people to make 'better' decisions. They don't remove choice, but by utilizing psychological biases, they influence people.
This is a great book for anyone interested in marketing and psychology, and shows how small changes can have a huge impact. It also makes us question the ethical side of marketing, psychology and choice within business (and the world).
11. Know the Why Before the What
Why do people do what they do? Why do they behave the way they behave? How can we increase employee engagement and business results?
The answers to these questions can be found in "Why We Do What We Do? by Edward L. Deci. This book shares the research of Deci and Ryan, in which they identified the Theory of Self Determination.
If people are the most valuable asset, isn't it time to leverage that asset instead of creating barriers that impede motivation, reduce revenue and increase costs?
12. Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson
"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson is my pick as a must-read for any business owner. Jobs was a revolutionary whose powerful personality and extraordinary life makes this book a great read. He revolutionized many different technological and entertainment industries by successfully blending technology and the liberal arts, giving consumers products they didn't even know they wanted. As a business owner, this book encourages me to be different and to never give up on my dreams.
13. Make Your Company Memorable!
My must-read for this Summer is "The Big Fish Experience" by Kenny Nguyen and his team over at Big Fish Presentations. As an entrepreneur, you're constantly selling yourself and your company,which is why it's amazing that more entrepreneurs don't take the time to learn how to do that in the best possible way. A business is only as good as how it is sold and The Big Fish Experience provides helpful, easy to remember tips to make sure that you're explaining your business the right way!
14. Twice the Work in Half Time
Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland teaches techniques for managing projects efficiently, while staying on time and on budget. This book has given me practical ways to help my team. For instance, I schedule quick periodic meetings with key players throughout a project. These meetings prevent micromanaging, because I always know how far along the project is and they give me the opportunity to ask how I can help.
15. How to Launch a Brand
There's a formula to not screw up the one feature 99% of entrepreneurs get horribly wrong when starting their business: Branding. Since there was no book that clearly outlined the steps to take, I decided to write it myself. I self-consciously call 'How to Launch a Brand' (by Fabian Geyrhalter) my favorite business book, not for the shameless plug, but because I know how many businesses it propelled as it provides an actionable step-by-step primer, rather than philosophic rambling.
Fabian Geyrhalter of FINIEN
16. No Question, My Favorite Book
My favorite business book of all time, hands down, is "Purple Cow" by Seth Godin. It's a favorite because it focuses on how to be remarkable and ALL entrepreneurs need to know how to do that. While the book was written a few years back, the message is even more important today. You cannot stand out if you're merely a brown cow standing in the field. But everyone will take notice of the Purple Cow in the field. Learning how to be more 'purple' is vital for entrepreneurs today.
17. Grow Your Business
My list of recommended reading expands every year. Yet, consistently I find that "The Pumpkin Plan" by Mike Michalowicz is always near the top, especially for businesses in the 2nd year and moving forward. In this book, he deals with a huge entrepreneur stumbling block--weeding out the bad ideas and customers--so you can grow more success. His style is straight forward and often funny, and his advice remains solid and rooted in reality. As you read along, you can feel his support of your business.
18. Iggy Peck, Architect
It's a must-read story of an elementary school student who loves architecture and doesn't fit into the normal way of doing school. My kids love it (they're 4 and 6) and I do, too. It's how we must all approach business – with creativity and courage.
19. Lean or Long
As an entrepreneur over the last 2 decades, I have started with a 50 page business plan, by complete accident, and "lean and bootstrapped".
"The Lean Startup" philosophy of build, measure, and learn helps you fail fast, validate quickly, and not waste valuable resources.
Failure was a taboo topic when I first started in business; today we are taught to fail quickly based on customer feedback, learning and pivoting as we go, saving us time and money.
Go lean... don't prolong.
20. Focusing on the Essential
One of the most valuable business books that I have read is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by George McKeown. This book taught me that there are numerous tasks that pretend to be important, but only dilute the excellence that you are able to give to a particular situation. It is therefore best to focus strictly on the highest impact, essential tasks and ruthlessly eliminate the rest for a thriving business and life.
21. Art of the Deal
I read Art of the Deal by Donald Trump just after becoming a professional sales person over 25 years ago and the book is as relevant today as it was back then. I see Mr. Trump using the strategies from his book in his run for president. And I must say, it is quite refreshing to see an author actually doing what he writes. Like Trump or hate Trump, at least you know him. If nobody knows you, nobody will do business with you. You must expand and get yourself known to the world!
22. The E-Myth Revisited
Michael Gerber's book has sold millions and helped business owners in just about every country on the globe. It's listed on the top 10 books that Billionaires read. It describes the fatal assumption just about every business owner makes and what to do about it. Here's the nightmare of most:
See the Young Woman Baking Pies.
See the Young Woman Start a Business Baking Pies.
See the Young Woman Become an Old Woman.
As you follow Sarah's story, you will think he was writing it just for you!
23. As Easy as a Sticky Note...
What do you suck at??? With a sticky topic like 'sales policies', you'd never think P&Ps that increase sales within any organization were as easy to create as a sticky note, but they are... and they are taught wrapped up inside the most dynamic sales book of all time.
The Ultimate Sales Machine, by author Chet Holmes, is a book designed for a sales pro, but is a must read for people who are just doing their best and need help streamlining their business. Get your sales ass in gear, today.
24. Get 'Er Done!
As an avid believer in the book “Now, Discover Your Strengths”, I took the Strength Finders Test and loved how it really helps show you what you excel at, so you can narrow your focus and use your talents. It also helps clear up where you can ask for help and maximize your efficiency! As a small business owner, it really helped me get the help I needed to grow my company wisely and efficiently without exhausting myself unnecessarily.
25. Mixing Poetry with Business
My favorite business book is not a "business" book; rather, it's a collection of letters poet Rilke wrote in 1903 to an admirer and aspiring poet. Not only is "Letters to a Young Poet" my favorite book, it's also an essential read for young entrepreneurs. The letters inspire the reader to ask herself difficult questions about purpose and motivation. Rilke writes, "find the answer to the question whether you must create." You'll be asking yourself how you can best contribute talent to the world.
Laryssa Wirstiuk of Joy Joya
26. Great Systems
My favorite business book is Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port. He has such great ideas and systems that if you put them in place, you can really build your business. I was lucky enough to be able to attend a workshop with him in Philadelphia and his energy was contagious!
27. From Good to Great
Jim Collins' book, From Good to Great, is a necessary read for all business owners or future leaders. Exploring and studying the doom of mediocrity, Collins succinctly defines patterns which create phenomenal business. He explains how to access leadership, stewardship, discipline, and change to move a company out of the cookie-cutter mold into something spectacular.
28. Bold Pitches to Help Level Up
Steal the Show by Michael Port is a great book and tool for business owners who want to take their work to the next level. This books shows how previously created content, along with personal/processional life lessons, can provide a strong foundation for speaking and workshop topics. The tips in this book are well laid out and provide clear guidance on how to streamline your message, build your confidence, and get out in front of audiences.
29. Grab This Ah-Ha Roap Map
Predictable Success by Les McKeown: It's easy, it's fun, it's inspirational, it's entertaining, it's intuitive, it's compelling AND it's predictable. Grab this book and dig in to learn how and why your business is where it is and how and why your players are either helping you grow or keeping you on the treadmill. Les' business life cycle is applicable to all businesses. Use it as a blueprint to move you in the direction of your predictable success. Don't wait!!
30. 80/20 Sales & Marketing
There's absolutely nothing this summer that should hold you back from picking up a copy of 80/20 Sales & Marketing by Perry Marshall.
The book will only cost you 1 Penny. Yes, that's correct; Perry Marshall will send you this book for just 1 Cent!
Warning though- don't let the price make you think the value you'll receive from this book is anything less than future millions for your business.
Inside this book, Perry shows you money already inside your business just waiting for you.
31. The Ultimate Difference Maker
The book that has been the most influential on multiple businesses that I have run is "The Ultimate Sales Machine" by Chet Holmes. This classic was given to me early in my career when I was developing a company and for the first time, producing and sales became a major focus of my efforts. Chet’s approach on managing your time, measuring effectiveness and emphasis on accelerating growth changed many aspects of how I ran my business. I still adhere to many of these lessons daily.
32. Social Media: A Wish Come True
The Wish: A 360 Degree Business Development Process that Fuels Sales, by Elinor Stutz, is a must-read for those wanting to attract their desired clientele. Combining the best of her corporate Top-Producer sales lessons with that of entrepreneurship, Stutz gives you a systematic approach with social media in the middle, one strategy feeding into the other. A Top 1% Influencer, Stutz shares everything she knows in The Wish, for you to achieve the same. Read it now to make your wish come true!
33. If it Wasn't for the People...
"The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni.
This book guides you through creating and optimizing a management team - whether C-level or even a project team.
The core premise is achieving great results requires a great team. And great teams can't be dysfunctional. Any dysfunctions within the team or the individual team members break trust, which kills momentum.
Great insights for dealing with the ugly underbelly of teamwork.
34. Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull
Ed Catmull's Creativity Inc. inspires leaders to embrace originality to motivate their team. The book not only showcases Catmull's leadership style, but demonstrates another side of Steve Jobs – who, many people don't realize, helped get Pixar off the ground.
This essential read opens the doors to Pixar Animation’s “brain trust sessions” and shows leaders how to turn mediocre ideas into successful innovations.
Darren Hardy's done it again.
The Success Magazine CEO penned another classic in -->
The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster.
2 key takeaways from the NY Times bestseller:
1. The most important component of a business is its marketing.
The person with the power of authentic persuasion will win the day.
2. *All the credit, all the blame*
If you're the owner of a business...
you take both the praise & criticism.
Ready to #JoinTheRide? We saved you a seat.
36. Doing Business = Doing Good
Doing Business is not just about making money. It's about doing good AND making money! The best book I ever read on the subject was Chocolate Wars by Deborah Cadbury. It's about the whole way the chocolate industry developed worldwide, but more than that, it shows the way the Quakers developed it with an orientation toward seeing business as a way to do good in the world. The book is fascinating and a must read, no matter what industry you are involved in... very inspiring!
37. "Power Schmoozing" Wins!
It's hard to decide between “Skills for Success” (Adele Scheele, PhD, 1979), “Power Schmoozing” (Terri Mandell, 1992), “Rogers’ Rules for Success” (Henry Rogers, 1984) and “Media Magnetism” (C. Hamlett, ed., 2012; I’m a contributor). I'm opting for “Power Schmoozing: The New Rules for Business & Social Success.” It’s as relevant today as 24 years ago. Practical, easy to read, it’s a confidence-builder, covering a broad range of business and social situations.
38. Amazing Gift for Startups
Peter Theil "Zero to One - Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future" is an amazing book packed with stories, ideas and questions. The book throws light on how the conventional way of managing or starting businesses is shifting radically. Thiel writing about seven questions “Every business must answer" is one the best questions that you can ask before pushing the start button. Rather than offering just examples or recipes for success, Thiel's logic of startups that make a better future is worth reading.
39. Consult a Doctor
Plenty of folks lean on Seuss for inspiration. "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Oh, the Places You'll Go" are always go-to selections. But take a look at "The Lorax" and consider how your business impacts the world around you, and not just in the environmental sense. EVERY business, no matter how small, can make the world better. It's not hard at all (with apologies to T. Geisel).
40. Creativity, Inc.
This book, by the founder of Pixar, uses the history of the company and the production of their films to provide incredible advice when it comes to managing and fueling creativity. You may be wondering how much you have in common with a movie studio, but Ed Catmull's focus on enhancing creativity within an organization (and not unknowingly stifling it) provides unprecedented value for entrepreneurs. Nobody wants their company to become stagnant. Catmull has created a recipe to prevent that.
Meredith Wood of Fundera
41. B2B Website Lead Generation
Deep Work, by Cal Newport is the most relevant and useful book I've read for a long time. It's a rule book for staying focused in a highly distracted world.
We get into such bad habits in our work environment with the constant interruptions that have become 'business as usual'. Deep Work details how these habits prevent you from succeeding and offers research on techniques that allow us to change our bad behavior.
I plan to re-read the book again in a few months.
42. Ted Turner's Amazing Story
“Call Me Ted,” the autobiography of Ted Turner, is one of the most motivating and fascinating books I’ve experienced. I’d especially recommend listening to the audiobook version, as Ted, a man who was once a billionaire 13 times over, narrates it himself. Ted’s charisma, passion, work ethic, and intuition reached many facets of the entertainment industry and literally changed the world (not just entertainment) and the technology that powers it. One of my favorite books of all time!
43. Resistance is Alluring
Whatever it is that you're not doing, it's because of resistance. The better your reason for not doing it, the more powerful your resistance. 'The War of Art' by Steven Pressfield crystallizes the concept, shining a spotlight on the best of our excuses and calls us to task. Resistance lures us into its trap. It comforts us, it forgives us for not accomplishing. It wants to be our constant companion. The opposite of resistance is accomplishment, success, pride. Only you can make that choice.
44. You're Doing It Already
Scott Fox’s Click Millionaires: Work Less, Live More with an Internet Business You Love: ISBN 9780814431917 is a book all entrepreneurs should read this summer… When you do read this book, you'll realize what you're already doing can be turned into a way to bring some income in. I've struggled for the longest time with calling myself an expert… However, an expert is just someone who can do what you can do better than the people who want to learn from you.
45. Secure Everyone's Attention
Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff is an amazing book which teaches how to present your ideas and what matters to you in a way that compels the listener, while catching and keeping their attention. This is extremely helpful, not only in business meetings, but everyday conversations in and out of the office.
46. Getting Everything You Can
Jay Abraham's "Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You've Got" goes over solid business and marketing principles broken down into fundamental pieces alongside with applicable case studies. One big takeaway I got was the idea of taking side products from the business and putting them to other uses; for example, taking wood scraps from construction and selling it as mulch, or aggregating data from customers and turning it into a report for marketing and PR. Highly thought provoking!
47. Read This First
The best book I've read and tell everyone I meet that is a new or aspiring entrepreneur is "Managing by The Numbers: A Common Sense Guide To Understanding And Using Your Company's Financials" by Chuck Kremer and Ron Rizzuto with John Case.
It breaks down your financial statements into easily understandable sections and then, combines them all together to create an extremely effective way to run your business. If you're not an accountant, you should definitely read this book before you start your own company.
48. The Best for Your Buck
My best business book is "You Can Negotiate Anything" by Herb Cohen. It is a very simple, direct look at how business actually works. The lesson to take away is: you can only really sell something well if you bought it well to begin with. A great book!
49. Seven Steps to Success
I still have the very first book I ever bought on entrepreneurship, '7 Habits of Highly Effective People' by Stephen R. Covey. I’ve held onto it for twenty-two years because it has taught me some valuable lessons, including “there’s no such thing as failure” and “embrace losing.” It’s faded and worn, but it serves as a constant reminder that I can achieve anything if my mind is in the right place and if I’m armed with knowledge. A must-read for all aspiring entrepreneurs!
50. High Output Management
Andy Grove is best known as the founder of Intel, but he also authored a lesser-known gem of actionable business wisdom: "High Output Management" that is full of practical advice on getting the most out of employees, from how to conduct 1-1s to the importance of investing in training.
51. Stand Out From the Masses!
As an avid guerrilla and creative startup marketer/tech startup founder, my favorite business book is The Purple Cow by Seth Godin. It’s all about standing out from the masses and transforming your business by being remarkable.
One of my favorite quotes out of this book: "You must design a product that is remarkable enough to attract the early adopters – but is flexible enough and attractive enough that those adopters will have an easy time spreading the idea.”
Lori Cheek of Cheekd
52. Non-fiction Writing Success
Thinking Like Your Editor by Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato. This is THE book every business owner needs to learn how to write kick-ass book proposals and create serious non-fiction work. Whatever topic you are writing on- and for whatever format (traditional publishing, blogs, you name it), this is an essential book for every author or business writer.
53. Making $ Is Killing Your Biz
Making Money is Killing Your Business by Chuck Blakeman is THE must have book/bible for all business owners.
It was rated “#1 Business Book of the Year” by NFIB, the largest business owner association in America and is also used as required reading in several university programs.
This book helps business owners get off the treadmill, make more money in less time, get back to the passion that brought them into business in the first place & build a business they can enjoy for decades.
54. Better to Give Than to Get
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John Mann is a must read for those going into business. It is a fictional account of how a young go-getter finally finds success in business by becoming a go-giver.
Too many new entrepreneurs make networking all about selling - and this can actually harm them because it turns people off. The Go-Giver shows that one can make stronger relationships by helping others make connections - this leads to trust, which leads to improved business.
55. The E-Myth: Re-evaluate!
My favorite book to date is The E-Myth Revisited. A straightforward and sensible book, it taught me to re-evaluate what running a business means. In short: running a business doesn't mean that you need to be involved with everything, work 12 hours a day, get stressed out, confused, overloaded and ultimately be unproductive. Breaking your business down into parts helps you focus on the most important tasks. Hiring great people to focus on key parts of the business helps the business work better.
56. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Every entrepreneur needs to read The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss.
This book will change the way you view time management forever. Tim's wisdom about email, automation, and outsourcing will give you the framework and tools for working more efficiently. But, this book is a whole lot more than a compilation of time-management theories; Tim shares anecdotes, templates, and resources that he utilizes, so you can practically apply the principles to your business and life.
57. The E-Myth Revisited
Gerber discusses the mistakes of small businesses and why so many fail. One of the biggest mistakes is that business owners are working hard doing the wrong work. He breaks down the 3 functions of a business owner - Entrepreneur, Manager, and Technician - examining the role of each in the business. He teaches about systems and processes so that you can get your business running without you. An insightful and practical read.
58. Who Moved My Cheese?
Who moved my cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson is my favorite book and one that I recommend EVERYONE read. It is a simple read and has layers of meaning that can affect every facet of business. This is a book worthy of re-reading every once in a while, just to refresh your memory that the only certain in business is change and success depends on how you deal with that change. I also recommend the children's version of the book. It is a FUN read and a helpful tool to communicate with your children.
59. Best Summer Read for Small Biz
My favorite business book is the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. For a small business person, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all of the different tasks needed on a daily basis to keep the business viable and keep your sanity!
This book helped me to develop some simple workflows to help me both work on my business (growing it, marketing it) and working in the business (new clients, managing current work, keeping up with accounting).
It has been critical to maintaining my work/life sanity.
60. A New Outlook on Communication
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is not your modern day “guide” book to becoming an entrepreneur, it is quite the opposite. The book teaches the fundamental philosophies of human interaction in business, focusing on the inherent qualities of a successful leader. The book gifts any reader with a new outlook on communication. A wise quote from the text that I often share reads “don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.”
61. Learn to Be a #GIRLBOSS
My favorite entrepreneurship book is #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso. Sophia not only chronicles her impressive and inspirational journey, she also weaves in solid advice for young professionals throughout the book. It's a must-read for female entrepreneurs and women just entering the workforce.
62. Best Business Book of All Time
My favorite business book of all time is The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. This book is an incredible resource for small business owners, as it explains why the failure rate of small businesses started here in the U.S. is so high -- and what we can do about it. It shows how the typical small business owner can escape the prison they so often build for themselves. Treat your business as a prototype for a future franchise and you'll understand where your weak points are.
63. Read, Do and Grow Your Revenue
One of my favorite business books is The Revenue Growth Habit by Alex Goldfayn. This book discloses several improvements which someone can make on their business that will literally take minutes to do. Everything that the author suggests may not work for every business owner or type, but I am certain the reader will find a few things that can be implemented today. Overall great book!
64. Impress Your Colleagues
I've found one book to be particularly helpful - 'The 100 Best Business Books of All Time – What They Say, Why They Matter and How They Can Help You’, Jack Covert & Todd Sattersten, 2009, The Penguin Group, New York, NY.
The very detailed summaries have useful content by themselves, make it easy to determine if I want to read the whole book and allow me to impress clients and colleagues that I actually read it. Hey ... works for me. Try it.
65. Passions Are a Two Edge Sword
My favorite business book, one that nobody has ever heard of, is Why Smart Executives Fail by Sydney Finkelstein. The author did the largest research study ever on why already successful entrepreneurs and executives failed at a venture. One of the common reasons they failed is they followed their passions, which flies in the face of many entrepreneurial “experts” today. Passions are a two edge sword, they energize us, but can lead us down the wrong path because we lose objectivity.
66. The Millionaire Fastlane
The Millionaire Fastlane teaches entrepreneurs the most important lesson of all: how to use systems effectively. Attacking the conventional wisdom that so many young entrepreneurs fall victim to, Demarco engages readers in a perspective-changing discourse on the economics of successful business.
67. Oldie But Goodie Sales Book
My favorite business-related book is "How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling" by Frank Bettger. I first read this book 25 years ago and still read it at least once a year now. Mr. Bettger was a student of Dale Carnegie, and although the book was written in the 50s, his business development advice still applies today. My advice for people who read it now - think about how technology can supplement - and not supplant - your business development activities.
68. Delivering Happiness
I recommend everyone read "Delivering Happiness" by Tony Hsieh. Hsieh and Zappos take a unique approach by not spending the marketing budget on advertising. Instead, they invest in company culture and customer experience, in that order. If you invest in your team, they will be more effective and energetic. This spills over into customer service. When a customer has a great experience, they are more likely to continue spending money and become unofficial brand representatives.
69. The Lean Startup
My favorite business book is "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries. I love this book because it stresses the importance of having the customer be your feedback loop by giving them quick to market, minimum viable products (described as MVPs in the book). Build. Measure. Learn.
70. The Innovator's Dilemma
Book Title: The Innovator's Dilemma
Author: Clayton M. Christensen
A must read for all entrepreneurs, this book outlines the importance of businesses keeping a pulse on their competitors and industry as a whole, as well as staying agile and adaptive in order to remain relevant in an ever-evolving business landscape.
Arsineh Ghazarian of Zveil
71. Back to Basics
One of the best all-around business books I’ve ever read was the Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you tend to wear a lot of hats, and it can sometimes be difficult to take them off and on efficiently. The lessons are short and concise, so I like to thumb through it whenever I need to get myself into a certain mindset to address specific tasks or issues.
72. Importance of Courage
My favorite business book is The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. Not only does it show the importance of practical business approaches, but it also dives deep into the emotional components of business that you'll face, regardless of where you work or what you focus on. It also emphasizes time after time, the importance of courage, one of the most important and undervalued business traits to possess.
73. My Favorite Business Book
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey, is the best business book I have read. I've read it 3 times and am ready to read it again. It covers all aspects of life lessons and business lessons, as well. It makes a great gift for new graduates from college or high school.
74. Program Your Mind for Success
My top read is 'You are the placebo' by Joe Dispenza. The book is an essential tool for entrepreneurs. It demonstrates with many data-driven examples how powerful the mind is on not only your physical well-being, but your professional and personal life. It is a practical tool to optimizing your mind and programming it for success, so read it, explore your mind, grow yourself and your business. Make your mind matter!
75. From Passion to Profit
One of my favorite business books is called From Passion to Profit by Claire Hughes.
This book is more for women who would like to turn their passions in to a full-time business online. The book includes a step by step guide to help get your business up and running within 6 weeks. From Passion to Profit includes multiple checklists and worksheets that help you stay on track the entire time. It's a very good read for women entrepreneurs who would like to start their own business.
76. The Go-Giver is a Getter
My favorite business book is "The Go-Giver" by Bob Burg and John D. Mann. It is a creative but effective story about a salesman going through a journey and learns that giving is more important than landing contracts. When you put others' needs before your own, you end up rich in so many ways. Unlike other success books, this book leaves the reader with a generous mindset instead of a "survival-of-the-fittest" mentality. It is one that I rotate in my reading list regularly.
77. Startup Manual
"The Startup's Owners Manual," by Steve Blanks can help. If you have ever dreamed of starting your own company, Steve lays out the steps to take on how to make it possible. From "getting out of the building" and getting feedback from random strangers to being on top of your company and not in it. Steve takes real world examples and explains everything in detail.
78. Read and Re-Read This Book!!!
“How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
Business is all about relationships. The book talks about self-awareness and being sensitive to others. "People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care."
79. Get Inspired!
The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris. Ferris is the guru on entrepreneurial lifestyle. His advice and approach are inspiring with just the right mix of sarcastic remarks worked in. The book is from 2007 and already some of the tech references may seem a little dated, but this book is a real gem. I recommend the audio version. I listen at least twice a year and always find new advice relevant to where I am at the moment. You'll want to quit your day job and strike out on your own!
80. The Ultimate Sales Machine
The best business book I have ever read, and I have read hundreds of them, is "The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies" by Chet Holmes. This book covers every aspect of marketing and sales and it is brilliant. This is one of those amazing books you should read at least one time every year.
81. Facing Adversity in Leadership
The Secrets of Resilient Leadership by George S. Everly, Jr., Ph.D., Douglas A Strouse, Ph.D., with George S. Everly, III is a must-read. It provides six essential skills for leaders who seek to grow a successful business by overcoming adversities in the workplace. If that's you, then this is a quick summer read that challenges you to take risks, ask thought-provoking questions, and infuse simple strategies that work.
82. "Crush It" Kickstarted My Biz
When I was first starting my business at the back table of a Starbucks in Oklahoma City, the one business book which hit me like a lightning bolt was "Crush It" by Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary honed in on the hard work, dedication and hustle that you needed to win, how the internet fosters opportunities and there plenty of time in my day to execute. That's just what I needed to power the focus to launch, even when the economy looked sour. Six years later, we are thriving.
83. The Barrows Popularity Factor
My favorite business book is a booklet I wrote called “The Barrows Popularity Factor.”
It’s about some easy-to-use advertising math that will actually let you quantify the relationship between your advertising and sales and it can help all kinds of businesses make a lot more money... And as they say in advertising... "It really works!"
So, before you try to decide how to spend another dime of your advertising budget, take about an hour to read "The Barrows Popularity Factor".
84. More Relevant Today Than '97
The Innovators Dilemma by Clayton Christensen is a timeless guidebook and must-read for any entrepreneur. The embedded lessons span process, product, and competitive discipline relevant to any firm of any size. If you're battling incumbents, careful segmentation and a sense for niche, yet growing markets will inform positioning and MVP development. To overcome organizational inertia and preventative-DNA, consider incubating leaders and supply them resources to stimulate fresh, innovative ideas.
85. Love Languages for the Office
My favorite business book is "5 Languages of Appreciation at Work" by Dr. Gary Chapman. I love learning about different personality types and discovering how to best interact with others. Chapman’s insights helped me become more intentional about how I collaborate, provide feedback and give praise to my teammates in ways that really speak to them. All leaders should read this book. The content is key to creating an environment where everyone feels appreciated and affirmed in the work they do.
86. An Unparalleled Idea Book
"Grit, Guts & Genius" by John Hillkirk and G. Jacobson was penned in 1990. Like no other book it, explains how ideas can be improved to become successful ideas. "Trust your Gut", "Make the Complex Simple", "Tap the Power of Every Individual", "Sell Fantasy and Reassure People", and much more. Since 1990, I have read many dozens of books that try what this book accomplishes - to explain processes that lead to success. No similar book has ever come close to this classic. Used copies are available.
87. A Woowoo Approach that Works
Busting Loose from the Business Game by Robert Scheinfeld - his premise is something that some people might think is a crazy way to think about biz, but it has worked for me!
88. Live in the Present Moment
Although not a traditional business book, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle has improved my business more than anything else I've read.
There are tons of great books that teach business growth and marketing tactics. However, such knowledge has little benefit to me when my mind is full of paralyzing fear and self-doubt.
The Power of Now teaches how to live in the moment. It's amazing how positive, productive, and energetic I am when past failures and future worries aren't weighing me down.
89. Expand Your Mindset
That's a tough decision! I believe it would either be Good to Great by Jim Collins or Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. Both of those are essential if business owners want to expand their business beyond the startup/self-employed. For a business to expand beyond seven and eight figure, one must expand their mindset and those two books do exactly that. They show business owners how to properly structure their business and their minds for multi-million dollar growth.
90. The Brilliance of "Traction"
‘Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business’ by Gino Wickman is the best business book I have read in years, if not ever! Having done Strategic Coaching for 8 years, I have, and continue to work hard to make our business the best it can be. So much of what I have learned has been summarized in this book, and so much more. It has refined some brilliant concepts in my mind and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Whether it is your business, or that of someone you care about, get this book.
91. Jump Start Your Success
Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill. This is the book that has probably inspired more successful entrepreneurs than any other. Although it is technically a personal growth book, it shares the principles of success from the people who have actually achieved success. It is my experience that most business failures are a result of our mindset, rather than of our business plan. Many people allow emotions such as fear or lack of confidence to interfere with their business and even their lives.
92. Increase Your Profits Now!
Every Business Owner’s Guide To Increasing Your Profits by Jochen Siepmann is a must-read because it teaches how to achieve superb business success. One will learn:
- Profitably attract more quality customers
- Make customers buy from you more often, spend more per purchase and buy from you longer
- Convert customers into raving fans who enthusiastically refer you to their family and friends
- Capitalize on customers’ buying motives
- Set you and your business apart from the competition
93. Flight Club by Felena Hanson
It really spoke to the voice in the back of my head that wants more than the same old corporate humdrum and to find my
own niche in the world of entrepreneurship. The background story of what the author has overcome in her life, both personally and professionally, is quite powerful. Then, it delves right into how to get started in reinventing yourself in no uncertain terms. Very empowering as a female to hear a success story so frankly delivered that recognizes these struggles.
94. A Game Changer
My favorite business book is “Reinventing Organisations” by Frederic Laloux. It is a complete game changer, because it highlights what is possible in the world of management, it shows what the future might look like.
This book spoke to my 20 years of experience as a consultant and it is a treasure trove of experience and examples of how to do things differently in companies - it already inspired a worldwide movement around these ideas! I highly recommend it to all leaders!
95. Take the Leap: Just Let Go
This summer, pick up "Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears " by Pema Chondron. At first glance, this may not seem like a business book. However, the easiest way to be successful as an entrepreneur is to work on yourself first, all else will follow. Free yourself from the grip of control and fear. Letting go of fear and self-doubt can easily lead to taking the first step towards your dreams. Fear will not have control over you. You will have control over your dreams.
96. Rich Dad, Poor Dad
My one favorite business-related book is "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki. As implied by the title, the book compares rich and poor people. It talks about the mentalities of each group; in other words, how rich people think and how poor people think and how each way of thinking affects the person's level of success.
97. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
This is a must-read for anyone with a tech-startup. Eric's ideas are refreshing and wise. The main takeaway for me was that instead of the old-fashioned: "let's only launch once product is ready", going for the minimum viable product idea is the way. In tech companies, A/B testing is the bread and butter. Market research is expensive and time consuming; in technology, everything moves so fast, time is of the essence. It is definitely a how-to book on starting a business or expanding one.
98. "Tipping Point"
I recommend all entrepreneurs to read "Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. It truly inspires you to achieve your dreams and aspirations. Also, I read "Ender’s Game" every couple of years, because I always learn new, interesting concepts and principles from it every time.
99. Top Book for Entrepreneurs
If you are a budding entrepreneur, I recommend you to read "Mastering the Rockerfeller Habits" by Verne Harnish. It taught me lessons in management that are apparently glaringly obvious, yet, 90% of us don’t do them.
100. "Innovator's Dilemma"
I recommend that all entrepreneurs read "Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton M. Christensen, which was recommended to me by a former boss of mine. This is a great read to help stay ahead of the game. It doesn't let you get too comfortable with your business practices.
101. "Zero to One"
My favorite book is Peter Theil’s "Zero to One" – I think it gives would-be entrepreneurs a great perspective on approaching not just their idea, but also market size and opportunity. I highly recommend it.
102. Raving Fans
One of my favorites is a classic example of "doing simple better" and that is a book called Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard. While the world of business can often become very complicated as far as effective strategies, Blanchard does a great job of imparting the value of creating a "raving fan" versus just a satisfied customer. That small extra step goes so far these days, and when effectively implemented, it solves most problems that business owners face relative to customer satisfaction.
103. Your Fix for Summer Success
A new summer must read fit for all entrepreneurs, executives, and employees of all levels is "Fix It: Getting Accountability Right" by Roger Connors, Tom Smith, Craig Hickman, Tracy Skousen and Marcus Nicolls. "Fix It" provides readers with first hand solutions provided by organizations like Brinker International, Sony, Kohler Co, and many more, on how to cure employee engagement and accountability in the workplace. The solutions it offers are practical and can be instantly put to play the moment you put the book down.
104. Credit Expert
I am a book lover and I believe some of the success for my business was from learning tips in these business books.
If I had to pick ONE, and this is difficult for me, I would say The Power Of Broke by Daymond John. It is new and I was unable to put it down. I actually wish it was out 15 years ago when I started my business, as it would have helped me feel that being broke when you start a business can help.
105. Goal Crushing Machine!
I highly recommend Gary Vaynerchuk's Crush it! for any entrepreneurial leader who is ready to live life on their own terms. This is a no-nonsense in your face call to greatness. If you are a shrinking violet desiring to transform into a massive oak tree, Crush it! is a must have! Gary crushes any ounce of doubt that may be lingering about in your heart. He powerfully asked, "Did you jump up every morning eager to go to that job you lost? If not, why are you looking for another one just like it?"
106. You Can't Buy Company Culture
"Think Big, Act Small" by Jason Jennings – We started our company when Silicon Valley was picking up steam. Every day, there were articles on the "Google campus" and the eccentric benefits that big companies provided (and the pressure to follow suit). To read examples of great company executives that didn't buy into the hype of private jets, but rather, sound financials and treating employees like family, was an inspiring reminder that our vision could actually work!
107. Favorite Business Book
There are so many that have helped me lead and grow my company but one of my favorites is Patrick Lencioni's The FIVE Dysfunctions of a Team and Death by Meeting. My business is based on storytelling and Lencioni uses fictional business characters and scenarios to make his points. A few years ago, our staff meetings were on life support - I HATED going and knew my staff did as well. We used strategies outlined in his books to improve our internal communication and the
effectiveness of our meetings.
108. The Book I Owe All My Success
The discipline of controlling my spending, living within my means and ultimately saving money each month is one of the hardest I know of.
When I was in high school, I was very fortunate that my father gave me a classic book from the 1930s called "The richest man in Babylon".
The book talks about the concept of paying yourself first 10% to 20% of each month's earning before you pay any of your bills.
When you are forced to pay yourself first each month, you will build momentum in saving.
109. Favorite Business Book
I would highly recommend the lesser known classic, The Art of Worldly Wisdom, by Balthasar Gracian. As a college drop-out and lifelong entrepreneur, the principles in this book have been a cornerstone in my personal philosophy and approach to business. The world is smaller than ever, and that expresses itself in the world of business and startups. In a business climate where authenticity matters more than ever, I believe implementing these principles can have a profound impact on success.
110. Learn to Play Golf
In my 35 years in business, I adopted a business budget scheme taught to me by South African Druggists when I worked for them in 1967 for 3 years. Their budget system helped me turn around my father's business, The MOOIRIVER PHARMACY from bankruptcy into a highly profitable business after he phoned me for help.
I have since written a book on the system. The name of the book is RETIRE EARLY. SAVE YOUR MONEY & LEARN TO PLAY GOLF.
Do you know any must-read business books that weren’t included? Please share your thoughts below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!