21 Best Business Books That Will Make You More Successful
To reach the next level in your career, you’ve got to learn from those who’ve proven it can be done. That’s why I’m an avid reader. And I can assure you most successful business owners are, too.
If you asked me for a list of the best business books I’ve read, they would all be centered around business growth and success. Why? Because, as a small business owner, I’ve got to out-fox my competition every day to thrive.
Below are what I consider to be the 21 best business books of all time. They’ve shaped many successful careers. And I hope they help you, too.
Author: Gino Wickman
Summary: In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.
Summary: Drawing upon a six-year research project, Collins and Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies and studied each in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. They examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day. Throughout, the authors asked: “What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the comparison companies? What were the common practices these enduringly great companies followed throughout their history?”
Author: Clayton Christensen
Summary: Innovation expert Clayton Christensen shows how even the most outstanding companies can do everything right, yet still lose market leadership. A successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know how and when to abandon traditional business practices. This book gives you a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.
Author: Peter Drucker
Summary: The measure of an executive is the ability to “get the right things done.” Being productive, not just busy. In one of the best business books on productivity, Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned by executives.
Author: Jim Collins
Summary: This book contrasts two sets of companies. One set makes the leap from good to great by generating cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years. The other group fails to make that leap. Collins pulls back the curtain for all to see why some failed and some made the leap.
Author: Eric Ries
Summary: This is one of the best business books to read for anyone with that insatiable entrepreneurial itch. Are you just wasting time creating elaborate business plans? The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs 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 in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.
Author: Timothy Ferriss
Summary: Absolutely one of the best business books for anyone with an entrepreneurial itch. Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan. There is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Do you dream of escaping the rat race and experiencing high-end world travel? Or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management? Or just living more and working less? The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.
Author: Michael E. Gerber
Summary: This book dispels the myths of starting your own small business. Michael Gerber walks readers through the life stages of a business from entrepreneurial infancy to maturity. He shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether or not it is a franchise. Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business.
Author: Ryan Levesque
Summary: This is one of the best business books for anyone who wants to start or grow their online business. After a series of wake up calls in his life, Levesque developed something he calls The Ask Formula. And it’s helped him build multi-million dollar businesses in 23 different industries, generating over $100 million dollars in sales in the process. For anyone serious about making money online, this is their roadmap.
10. Crush It!
Author: Gary Vaynerchuk
Summary: Crush It! is another great business book for those wanting to turn their hobbies and their passions into Internet gold. People buy from people, not companies. Gary goes into great detail explaining the why and the how of creating irresistible personal brands and how to turn your real interests into real businesses. Gary is a ball of pure energy. You won’t be put to sleep reading this book. I promise.
Author: John C. Maxwell
Summary: This is still considered one of the all time best business books on leadership. John C. Maxwell has combined insights learned from his thirty-plus years of leadership successes and mistakes. He draws on observations from the worlds of business, politics, sports, religion, and military conflict. The result is an actionable checklist of leadership skills anyone can apply to their business or personal life.
12. Start With Why
Author: Simon Sinek
Summary: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Simon Sinek studied some of the greatest leaders and thinkers of modern history. People like Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs and the Wright brothers. While they have little in common, they all started with “why”. Drawing on a wide range of real-life stories, Sinek weaves together a clear vision of what it truly takes to lead and inspire.
Author: Dale Carnegie
Summary: Published in 1936, this remains one of the best business books of all time. Carnegie covers his famous six ways to make people like you. Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking. And nine ways to change people without arousing resentment. A must read book for anyone climbing the ladder of business or personal success.
Author: Stephen R. Covey
Summary: Stephen Covey realizes that true success encompasses a balance of personal and professional effectiveness. This book is a manual for performing better in both arenas. If you’re serious about changing your life to accomplish your goals, this is by far one of the best business books to read.
Author: Napoleon Hill
Summary: Napoleon Hill researched more than forty millionaires to find out what made them the men that they were. This book is the culmination of that knowledge. Once you’ve read this book you will understand what gives certain people an edge over everyone else. By following their advice, you’ll be the one with an edge. One of the best business books of all time.
Author: Spencer Johnson
Summary: Dr. Johnson uses a fable to illustrate the most effective way to deal with change in your work and personal life. Most people are fearful of change because they don’t believe they have any control over how or when it happens to them. Change happens either to the individual or by the individual. Spencer Johnson shows us that what matters most is the attitude we have about change.
17. Raving Fans
Summary: Most customers are only “satisfied” because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. One of the best business books on customer service, Raving Fans uncovers the elements your business needs to to create raving fans of your brand.
Author: Jason Cass and Brian Appleton
Summary: Written for independent insurance agents, this book is applicable to any small business who wants to separate themselves from their competition. The authors have laid out a step-by-step roadmap for creating a modern customer experience. This is one of the best business books for any small business owner who wants to ensure they stand out from their industry peers.
Author: Zig Ziglar
Summary: Whether presenting a product or principle, service or idea, we all engage in sales. Zig Ziglar presents winning techniques for getting a positive response and establishing dynamic relationships. You’ll learn how to effectively use 100 creative closes. And you’ll also master the art of overcoming the five basic reasons people will not buy. This is one of the best business books on sales from a true legend.
20. Purple Cow
Author: Seth Godin
Summary: After you’ve seen a few cows, they all look the same. But seeing a Purple Cow would be something spectacular, wouldn’t it? In one of the best business books on marketing, Seth Godin analyzes companies who leave a lasting impression on consumers. It’s a manifesto for marketers who want to help create products that are worth marketing in the first place.
21. Virtual Freedom
Author: Chris Ducker
Summary: Entrepreneurs often think they can do everything themselves. This is called “superhero syndrome”. And it’s what keeps them from leveling up in their business. But outsourcing expert and ”Virtual CEO,” Chris Ducker knows how you can get the help you need with resources you can afford. Chris shows you how to build teams of virtual employees to help you grow, run and support your business. He should know. He’s created the number one provider of dedicated, experienced, Filipino virtual assistants.
Want to listen to one of these books for free?
As I said at the beginning, I’m an avid reader. But if you’re like me, you’re running in million different directions on any given day. That’s why I love listening to most of the books I read these days.
As an added bonus for all you book worms, Audible is offering my readers a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. So go ahead and download your free audiobook right now and start listening.
Which of these best business books is your favorite?
Most of these books have stuck with me years after I’ve read them. If you’ve read any of them, I bet you’ve had the same experience. Which one of these best business books is your favorite? And why?
I always love hearing from my readers. So let me know in the comments below.