My book shelf (or rather my small suitcase) is generally filled with business books I’ve been recommended. (Check out my list of recommended books.) For the New Year, I thought it would be uber cool to learn from my community what books you love most and why. So I put it out there on Twitter and Facebook and was overwhelmed at the response. If you haven’t read them, do what I did and add then to your Amazon Wishlist!
Here, straight from you, are your top-recommended business books.
Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time By: Keith Ferrazzi
As business books go, this is an easy-read, but includes heaps of concrete advice and help. I appreciate Ferrazzi’s candid nature of explaining a skill to help you, as well as including everyday examples to give further evidence to his advice. In this book, he is able to take impossible tasks, like creating your own value proposition, where to start with your network, and how to network without feeling like a scumbag, into simple organized tasks.
For example, I knew how important it is to have a single unified message, but I didn’t know how to figure out what mine was. Ferrazzi is able to give easy-to-follow directions to help brainstorm, refine, and ultimately decide on what your unique value is to the world. I’d recommend this book to anyone- although perfectly relevant in business, it is also relevant to living your best life.
– Review & recommendation by Sarah Mitmus.
This book was based on a long research study (but doesn’t read that way) and in depth interviews with very successful people. The researchers dug deeper and went beyond the canned responses we are so used to hearing about success. Biggest take-away: We all have some “unfair advantage” and the key is to find it and use it. Short on time: Read Chapter 4 on creating your own advantage.
– Review & recommendation by Karen Southall Watts.
Ecological Intelligence: The Hidden Impacts of What We Buy By: Daniel Goleman
As a committed eco ambassador, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the book has a strong theme of creating awareness of the need to protect the planet as our home. Goleman covers quite a bit of terrain, from following an object such as a glass jar through an analysis of its entire lifecycle to arguing that businesses need to offer what he calls “radical transparency” about their practices and their environmental impact.
Only if businesses reveal full information about their practices can consumers exercise their increasing commitment to conscious consumption. (We see a lot of interest in conscious consumption on Twitter.)
If you want to be a conscious consumer– or business leader, for that matter– read this book. Pause, reflect, pass it on to a friend, and use your spheres of influence to act in an ecologically intelligent manner– on the greatest scale possible.
– Review & recommendation by Dr. Sarah Warren.
Social Media Guru, SVP of Digital Strategy, and a founding member of the 360 Digital Influence group at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, explains, “Personality is the unique, authentic, and talkable soul of your brand that people can get passionate about.” He divides his book in two parts: part one describes how to develop a personality (with lots of real world examples), while part two is a resource guide with techniques, guides, and tools to actually make it happen.
Rohit practices what he preaches — his personality shines through the book, making it fun to read. As a business writer, I was hesitant to let my voice come through too much in my writing. But, after reading the book, I’ve gotten the courage to let myself be heard on my website, on my blog, and in all of my communications. After all, what sets me apart from other writers is who I am.
– Review & recommendation by Nancy Passow.
A straight talking business book. No frills, no woo, no fluff just plain advice and tips that work. One of the authors writes for Fast Company I believe, but I can’t get that in the UK. If you are a bricks and mortar business, this is the book for you.
– Review & recommendation by Sarah Arrow.
Best business book for me is “E-Myth”. That won’t be an uncommon choice, I’m sure, but it really woke me up to something. There are universal methods that I’ve explored in martial arts that allow for general effectiveness regardless of the art. Another form of universal method was presented (or mocked, depending on how you look at it) in “The Secret”. “The E-Myth” gets to the heart of what entrepreneurs go through at various stages, regardless of their businesses and it changed my perspective of entrepreneurship, and enabled me, from the first reading.
– Review & recommendation by Dave MacDonald.
Rework By: Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
This book gets you to start at the epicenter of your business and focus on getting that to where it needs to be first before adding on anything else. It’s our nature as entrepreneurs to see opportunity and want to capitalize on it. This continually reminds you to focus! Be a curator: what you leave out is as important as what you put in. Make sure your product is focused only on the things your customers need and not a bunch of other stuff that is nice to have. Focus on what won’t change: make sure the core of your product is focused on elements that won’t change (quality, service, etc. rather than fads).
Reasons to Quit: questions to continually ask yourself as you are working on things to ensure you’re focused on doing the right thing rather than something. Don’t copy competitors: original solution to a problem wins every time. Say No by Default: say no to customer requests for changes to your product more than you say yes. Ensure there is a critical mass behind a change before you make it. Let Your Customers Outgrow You! This is fantastic – we often think a big client is the ultimate but if clients are too big/complex for your business to handle, let them go.
– Review & recommendation by Diana Stirling.
Buzzmarketing: Get People to Talk about Your Stuff By: Mark Hughes
The focus of “Buzzmarketing” is on word-of-mouth marketing and creating “buzz” around your brand. This is something women entrepreneurs tend to shy away from because it requires a great deal of self promotion AND stepping outside of your comfort zone – two things we sometimes struggle with. Traditional advertising no longer works. If you want to put your brand on the map and keep it there, you must go beyond conventional marketing strategies. This book is ideal for bootstrappers willing to take big risks.
– Review & recommendation by Donna L. Johnson.
I stumbled on “Who’s Got Your Back” just as I was starting to set up mentorship networks and it was invaluable. Best-selling author Keith Ferrazzi, also an internationally renowned thought leader, shares his concept that to truly succeed in any aspect of your professional or personal life, you need to create an inner circle of lifeline relationships — essentially, your own ‘dream team’.
Ferrazzi provides a step-by-step guide that will move you to look at your own mindsets and overcome habits that hold you back. Loved the tools and techniques but more than anything, the fact that I could adapt this to my world so effectively.
– Review & recommendation by Cathy Goddard.
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard By: Chip and Dan Heath
Most of us approach change with logic. It’s good for us, we say. I can make that process more efficient, we tell our co-workers. Powerpoint is designed to preach the logic of our solutions to problems. But logic alone isn’t enough to bring about real change. After all, who gets married for the tax break?
“Switch” presents a way of integrating logic and emotion while reducing the barriers to creating new routines. The book is deceptively simple, presenting case studies that show you how to tap emotions and reduce the complexity of change. Those help enormously, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Then again, what’s worth doing that is?
– Review & recommendation by Jennifer Gresham.
Love, Medicine & Miracles By: Dr. Bernie Siegel
One book that’s drastically changed my business thinking is indeed a non-business book. It’s a medical book – “Love, Medicine and Miracles” by Dr. Bernie Siegel. The book is about how Dr. Siegel cured terminally ill cancer patients. Dr Siegel treated their mind, not just the body.
It was his approach to look beyond the body; to look at the person behind the illness. I am using the techniques from the book and applying them to my management writing. I have developed marketing theories for businesses based on my understanding of how the human mind works. The book has played a critical role in that understanding.
– Review & recommendation by Vaiebhav Gangan.
Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation By: Sally Hogshead
In our busy world of thousands of marketing messages, many businesses get lost in the crowd. It’s critical to stand out but not easy to determine how to do so. Fascinate by Sally Hogshead is one of my must have business books because it addresses this concern. Its basic premise is that if you can Fascinate by using the 7 universal triggers of Lust, Mystique, Vice, Trust, Prestige, Alarm and Power you can persuade and captivate your audience. This book discusses real world examples of the Fascination formula in action and, most valuable, shows you how to make your brand Fascinating.
– Review & recommendation by Laurel Lindsay.
9 Secrets of Women Who Get Everything They Want By: Kate White
White is the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan magazine. In this book, she doles out tips and strategies that she’s developed by observing other successful women in action. The underlying message is that, in order get where we want to be in life, we need to think outside the box and sometimes act in ways that may contradict conventional wisdom.
For example, she encourages her readers to pounce when inspiration strikes rather than wait around for the “right moment.” In the first chapter, she suggests that rather than trying to quell envy, we should use it constructively to learn about what we want in life. I always go back to this book when I’m feeling stuck and in need of motivation! This isn’t a business book, but I highly recommend it for all women with aspirations.
– Review & recommendation by Nathalie Alonso.
More Best Business Books
If you’re looking for more excellent recommendations then make sure you check out:
Six Best Business Books To Read in 2012