You will be aware of global business titans like Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett. All of them have spoken about the benefits of reading books. Many successful entrepreneurs put a lot of their success down to the ideas and inspiration they have gleaned from reading.
Starting, running and growing a business is a 24/7 role for most entrepreneurs. Squeeze in some quality down-time with family and friends and it’s going to be tough. Finding the time to read the latest books on business, strategy, innovation and marketing won’t be easy.
The prospect of a week away from the demands of meetings, calls and emails over the summer creates a chance to throw some books in the suitcase, or download to a kindle book to enjoy by the pool, accompanied by a glass of something cold and refreshing.
According to Publishers Weekly over 16,000 books are published each year in the business category. Finding the best books to read is a challenge. This is a shortlist of some of the best books aimed at entrepreneurs and business leaders. Regardless of where you are on your journey, you can find some inspiration and help to recharge your batteries.
Key Person of Influence
Each profession has a few superstars; key people with a strong personal brand, who stand out from the crowd, demand attention and drive spectacular results in their business. Daniel Priestley has created a step by step formula to help you become one of the most valued and rewarded people in your sector, a key person of influence.
Packed full of ideas focused on his ‘5 Ps – Pitch, Publish, Products, Profile and Partnerships’, this is one of the best how-to business books around. Ensure you hit the ground running when you are back at work, bouncing with energy and fresh ideas. Daniel also runs a coaching programme which helps you implement the ideas. There’s more information at http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/kpi-method/
To be a successful entrepreneur you need to work hard. You also need to work smart and make the most of your time and opportunities. A lot of experts talk about the value of setting ambitious goals. The author of this bestseller, James Clear, takes a different view.
James explains the power of small (atomic) incremental changes to your regular routine (habits) that make a difference to your work and personal life. He explains the power of creating systems and making tiny improvements every day.
Rather than say, “I want to lose 10 kilos” (big goal), say “I will walk 10,000 steps each day and avoid sugary snacks” (habit). Over a year the effect of the daily habit will be significant.
James discusses the story of the GB cycling team. They went from being so bad that bicycle manufacturers didn’t want to supply them for fear of being linked with failure, to total world domination of the sport. The complete turnaround was achieved in only a few years by focusing on making lots of small changes. Do 100 changes 1% better and the compounding effect can be life enhancing.
This is an entertaining book and each chapter includes engaging real-life stories which illustrate the point. Buy it, read it, create new habits and watch your success explode.
Donald Miller has news for you. Your company website is probably terrible and is not winning you much business. The good news is that he has the solution. Embracing tried and tested methodology based on the hero’s journey loved by Hollywood.
Miller shows you how to engage your audience, to help them connect with your brand and see your company as the solution to their unique problems.
Do you want your website to generate more leads and bring in more business? The tools, tips and templates that Miller provides in this book will help you.
Look out also for Donald Miller’s Story Brand channel on YouTube. He posts regular content and critiques websites, aimed at helping you scale your business.
Ray Dalio is founder and CEO of the world’s largest privately-owned hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates. Dalio has written a book that avoids waffle and provides a straight-talking template for living your life.
This book is full of practical tools and techniques to help you get the most out of your business, your relationships and life in general.
Dalio explains how to get the most out of your colleagues and the work environment and covers wide-ranging topics including:
- Building and maintaining company culture.
- How to hire the right people.
- How to make the most out of meetings.
- The concepts of radical transparency and thoughtful disagreement.
This book has fast become one of the entrepreneurs’ favourites and should be read as there’s so many gems lurking in the pages.
Most business books available are written by American authors and are very US centric. It makes a pleasant change to read Mission which is written by two British entrepreneurs.
Mission weaves entertaining stories and anecdotes covering success stories from the founders of British companies like Dyson, Ella’s Kitchen and Leon. The authors explain the power of building a mission-driven business, standing for something and becoming an activist and cheerleader for something greater than the product or service itself.
Research from Marketing Week in 2019 confirms consumers would not care if as many as 81% of brands disappeared tomorrow. Becoming a business with a purpose, one which resonates with its customers for reasons beyond product and price, is a crucial ingredient to ensure your company is one of the 19% survivors.
The autobiography of Phil Knight, founder of global sports giants Nike, is a riveting ride through his entrepreneurial journey, from selling shoes out of the boot of his car to becoming the 15th richest man in the world.
The book is more like reading a novel than a business book and there are some powerful lessons peppered throughout the stories. Knight has always been passionate about sport and from the beginning saw Nike (or Blue Ribbon as the company was called) as a labour of love.
Teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, Knight learned that luck had a role in his success, but hard work, grit and building a great team who were as passionate as he was were the key ingredients.
If reading six books is going to be too much, I recommend the app Blinkist which provides short snappy summaries of hundreds of amazing books, which can be read in about 15 minutes. So, now you really have no excuse.
If you have read a great business book that changed your life, please do drop us an email to share your suggestions to email@example.com.
If you are selling your business check out the 5 most inspiring books for entrepreneurs to read before selling your business here.