I have a college degree in English Literature. So you would think that I read a lot of novels. You’d be wrong. Since I graduated, I have mostly read must-read business books and law books.
It’s not that I’m boring. (Although I may be that.) Rather, I’m extremely focused on growing Bellatrix PC into the greatest law firm ever. (I may also be a tad bit competitive.)
Running a successful business requires more than vision, dedication and an entrepreneurial spirit. It requires being a lifelong learner.
Business books can inspire, motivate and help you get past operational, management or financial blocks. Here are my favorites:
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Published in 1936, this book is still relevant and insightful. This book teaches three fundamental techniques for dealing with people, both in business and everyday life. It also teaches six unique ways to make people like you, twelve ways to turn people to your way of thinking, and how to influence change in people without making them resent you.
This is perhaps one of the most important must-read business books for small business owners and decision makers to read. Understanding people is one of the keys to success in business and sales.
- The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
I didn’t I was an entrepreneur until I read this book in 2007. I started my first business almost immediately after read this book. So Tim Ferris literally changed my life.
This book promises to teach you how to “escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich.” Working only 4 hours a week is not immediately feasible for an entrepreneur, though, so it’s promise is initially elusive. But the ideas in this book form the cornerstone of a new school of thought in the business world.
Pen-ultimately, The 4 Hour Workweek teaches the art of leverage, which is the key to finding freedom as an entrepreneur. It also teaches you how to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using proven principles. A lot of the work you do does not move the needle enough. Ferris teaches you to ruthlessly slash those things so you can make more money and take back your life.
This Must-read business book is not for the faint of heart.
- The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
Truer words have never been put on paper about why small businesses fail than what is in this book. Most small business owners have bought themselves a job and are not flourishing as entrepreneurs. This book explains why through examples and by contrasting how most small businesses operate to successful models, such as franchises.
If you are struggling as a business owner, doing it all, and barely making ends — read this book right now. It could save your business and your sanity.
- The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
Building a successful business is hard! I wish more “gurus” would acknowledge this fact.
What is useful about this book is that Horowitz goes there. Ben discusses how difficult it can be to run a successful business. Where other books focus on inspiration, founding a company and getting started, this one focuses on the myriad challenges that can derail a business after it’s up and running.
Throughout the book, the author shares insights on managing, buying, investing in and developing a business (with a focus on tech companies, but applicable to all industries).
- Dotcom Secrets: The Underground Playbook For Growing Your Company Online by Russell Brunson
When I got this book, I devoured it…. And then I promptly read it again. The only other business book that I’ve read more than once is The 4-Hour Workweek. Now Dotcom Secrets sits dog-eared on my desk and I refer to it regularly.
Dotcom Secrets is a hardcore marketing and sales book. I already knew a lot about marketing and sales when I read it. But this dense book filled in some gaps for me. It’s made easier to digest with a lot of stick figure diagrams.
This book generously doles out evidence-based advice on how to sell to your audience (in any context — not just online). There is applied psychological theory in masterful sales. Don’t just emulate — understand.
Optimizing your sales processes could change your business and change your life.