While it is somewhat cliché to note how quickly the world of business is changing it does lead to the question “Is there still a need for business books in our offices?” Judging by the sheer volume being churned out every year the answer is apparently ‘yes’.
In order to gain anything from reading about business it is important to know what you are looking for. Wisdom from a successful business person, rudimentary advice that has stood the test of time or a deeper understanding of today’s business world?
The reader’s expectation should not be that a specific solution to a problem will lie in the pages instead we need to be looking for helpful insights within the author’s words. In the same way text books studied during our academic years expanded our thinking and showed us how to reframe challenges.
As mentioned earlier the range of books available to us is vast so I did some (unscientific) research in order to find titles which kept reoccurring in recommendations by business persons and magazines such as Forbes and Inc.com then I compiled the most popular books into three categories.
How to Win Friends and Influence People (1937) by Dale Carnegie
Think and Grow Rich (1937) by Napoleon Hill
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) by Stephen Covey
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It (1995)
by Michael E. Gerber
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t (2001) by Jim Collins
- While doing my research the name Jim Collins came up often. His website describes him as ‘a student and teacher of leadership and what makes great companies tick’.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (2014) by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
The Tipping Point (2002) by Malcolm Gladwell
The 4-Hour Workweek (2007) by Tim Ferriss
The Lean Startup (2011) by Eric Ries
- Consensus is ‘a must read for all entrepreneurs’ no matter how long you have been in business.
BIOGRAPHIES & AUTOBIOGRAPHIES
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (2015) by Ashlee Vance
Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way (2011)
by Richard Branson
You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir (2015) by Felicia Day
- This book resonated with many young entrepreneurs
Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes (2013) by Brett Wilson
- Redefining Success came up on a number of lists and is also my choice. There was a lot about this book that I found realistic and insightful Wilson gets what it means to be an entrepreneur.
For more autobioigraphies Entrepreneurs’ Sujan Patel has a comprehensive list I cannot improve on
10 Great Autobiographies From the Brightest Minds in Business
Business books provide a narrative which helps us to make sense of our own professional experiences. I hope at least one book mentioned here will do that for you.
Jill Crossland is a business and marketing consultant who can take your business and social media to the next level.