Having read 100’s of business books over the years I’ve compiled a list of my favourite 10, along with a short review for each. Hopefully some of these will help others looking to get stuck in and start their own businesses. If you have any books you’d like to add drop me a comment below.
1) How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. The book itself primarily deals with how to build good relationships between people, how to sell people without selling to them, and how to get people to do things. The primary focus of this book is not necessarily business, but it would facilitate any business person to increasing their performance.
2) The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss. This highly acclaimed book is less about starting a business than it is about not getting trapped inside of it.
3) The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs – in companies of all sizes – a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups.
4) The Art of the Start, by Guy Kawasaki. It’s a quick read, and gives a no-nonsense set of recommendations for how and why to start a company.
5) The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, by Mike Michalowicz. This book is incredibly applicable to any small business, it’s motivating and it’s very easy to read. The author does a great job hammering out details for you so you can implement them quickly. Business books are often too full of “strategies” and not enough practical advice on how to actually do things. This book breaks that down.
6) The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, by Michael Gerber. The author dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. He walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed. He then shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business whether or not it is a franchise. Finally, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. After you have read this book, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way.
7) Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant-in the blink of an eye-that actually aren’t as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work-in the office, in the classroom, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom? Blink reveals that great decision makers aren’t those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of “thin-slicing”-filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables.
8) Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins. This is an older book (published in 2001), but it should be required reading for any business owner, regardless of the size of their company. The author studied what qualities could turn a good company into a great company, and his book has become a manual in how to run your business the right way. Even if you’re running a one-man (or woman) operation, there’s a lot you can learn from Jim Collin’s research and advice.
9) Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip and Dan Heath. How do you make an idea unforgettable? Become a storyteller with a creative narrative. The authors highlight six principles (simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories) that can help you to create an idea with staying power, or to revolutionize your current idea into something unforgettable. This book is full of examples and quick lessons from teachers, scientists and more, and is one of most popular and widely recommended business and marketing books, four years after its original release.
10) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity–principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.