This is the ultimate list of the best business books if you want to read more to increase your skills and value. Unlike most lists that are written based on previous popular blogs, our list was created by comparing the most popular business books from book retailers across the web.
Here is a list of the current 100 best business books of all time to get you started on the road to success.
Top 10 Great Business Books Everyone Should Read
Books on Marketing and Communication
The Best Books on Personal Psychology and Mindset
Great Reads about Money and Finance
Best Business Books for Beginners and First-time Startup Founders
Great Books for Leaders
Business Case Studies
Top 10 Great Business Books Everyone Should Read
1. Start With Why (Simon Sinek)
Why You Should Read It: Great leaders inspire action by sharing their “why.” Simon Sinek provides a crash course on becoming a better leader and entrepreneur who inspires your team members to take action.
Key Takeaways: The strongest decision-maker is the limbic brain. It can’t understand words but does understand feelings. All your decisions and actions should align with your “why.” If you want to be successful, not just accomplished, you must work from your “why.”
2. Good to Great (Jim Collins)
Why You Should Read It: Good to Great defines what makes a great company tremendous and then explains how to replicate the meteoric success of great companies and grow your own business from good to great.
Key Takeaways: Never lose sight of what matters; always value your time with the people you love. Be proactive, not reactive. Identify changes and adapt to them. Decide on your passion and specialty, and then become the best in the world at that thing.
3. Zero to One (Peter Thiel)
Why You Should Read It: Billionaire entrepreneur, Peter Thiel, explains what it takes to create a genuinely world-changing company and how to imagine the world of tomorrow and the technology and processes that will drive it.
Key Takeaways: Peter’s seven questions that any business must answer yes to so you can be successful in the future. All new companies start small. You have to be small before you can be big. Having a monopoly provides profits and room to innovate and shows that your customers love what you do.
4. Outliers: The Story of Success (Malcolm Gladwell)
Why You Should Read It: From silicon valley to professional athletes and everyone in between, Outliers explores the idea that a lot of determination (and a little bit of luck) separates the ordinary from the extraordinary.
Key Takeaways: It takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to master a field of knowledge. Luck plays a surprisingly significant role in our success, but hard work makes the difference. Your success is the intersection between your luck, your hard work, and your circumstances.
5. Extreme Ownership How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win (Jocko Willink and Leif Babin)
Why You Should Read It: Jocko Willink provides actionable advice on becoming a better leader, taken from his experience as a commander in the navy seals.
Key Takeaways: Leaders take accountability for all of their actions all of the time. Your standards are what you tolerate, not what you say they are. The best plans are simple, but simple isn’t always easy.
6. The Hard Thing About Hard Things (Ben Horowitz)
Why You Should Read It: The most difficult aspect of big challenges is that we don’t face them very often. Learn to become good at solving hard challenges.
Key Takeaways: There is always a time when a complex and critical decision must be made with limited information. You must be willing to make unpopular decisions. That’s the lonely life of a CEO. You need to create a decision-making framework that is insulated from your own emotion.
7. Atomic Habits (James Clear)
Why You Should Read It: Learn how habits shape your day-to-day life and how to use them to achieve the goals that are important to you in business and life.
Key Takeaways: All habits have a cue, craving, response, and reward. To form good habits, they must be made ridiculously easy and completely obvious. Tracking habits is the most effective way to make or break them.
8. The Lean Startup (Eric Ries)
Why You Should Read It: Eric Ries turns the conventional startup on its head. Increase your success by learning to use metrics and data to build the product the market wants.
Key Takeaways: Test often and learn from your mistakes. Failure is one of the biggest teachers. Measure what matters most, and take note of what real customers are saying and what they want. Stay lean. Lean refers to being responsive and adaptable, not slashing costs and cutting corners.
9. How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie)
Why You Should Read It: Dale Carnegie’s 1937 definitive guide to social interactions is a timeless masterpiece that provides a complete list of the most valuable skills to empower anyone to shine in social interactions at work or home.
Key Takeaways: Never criticize, condemn or complain. The best way to get what you want is to make the other person take the desired action of their own accord. Always make others feel important.
10. The 4-Hour Workweek (Tim Ferriss)
Why You Should Read It: While not a new book, it continues to rock the lives of millions around the world. Intentionally design a life with minimal work, live anywhere, and live the life you want.
Key Takeaways: There are very few actions that matter. Find out what they are and do only those things. Take an information diet. Information overload is a dream and motivation killer. Identify a market and then design the product the market wants, not the other way around.
Books on Marketing and Communication
11. Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell)
Why You Should Read It: Following on from his success with Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell shook the business world with The Tipping Point. In it, he explores what it takes to push a product, idea, or trend over the line from simply popular to a viral cult phenomenon.
Key Takeaways: You only need to reach a few people to make an idea go viral, the connectors, the mavens, and the salespeople. Ideas need to be sticky. They need to be presented in a way that captures your audience’s attention. The context matters. The presentation needs to match the timing and broader environmental factors.
12. Purple Cow (Seth Godin)
Why You Should Read It: Old methods of marketing are less effective than ever. Nowadays, truly great products need new marketing practices to be successful and stand out from the crowd.
Key Takeaways: The modern market is cluttered, and even good advertising can be lost in the noise and advertising avoidance of customers. Advertising needs to be both true and clever, and if it’s not true, then it’s not clever. Be a “purple cow.” Produce something truly great and buzzworthy.
13. Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion (Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.)
Why You Should Read It: Navigate the crossroads between psychology and marketing, and discover how to ethically use the psychology of influence and persuasion to ensure marketing success.
Key Takeaways: Leverage the fear of missing out (FOMO). People can’t say no to scarcity. People follow the crowd. If the crowd approves, then it must be good. Know the value of exclusivity. The harder something is to obtain, the more we want it.
14. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (Al Ries and Jack Trout)
Why You Should Read It: This is a short but powerful book that sets out 22 rules that all successful businesses must follow. Despite being published in 1993, it is still as relevant today as when it was first published.
Key Takeaways: Marketing is about perception, the iPhone was not the best smartphone when it first launched, but its customers thought it was. Own the focus of your customers. If you can’t be the first in your product category, create a new category and be first in that.
15. The Perennial Seller (Ryan Holiday)
Why You Should Read It: It helps you understand how to build and market products that not only succeed at launch but remain relevant long term.
Key Takeaways: 80% of marketing is building a market-worthy product, i.e., the best product you can. The only marketing channel that matters is word of mouth. Build an audience now, even if you don’t have your product yet.
16. This is Marketing (Seth Godin)
Why You Should Read It: In This is Marketing, Seth Godin explains how to use a small but loyal audience to create a movement of brand ambassadors and loyal users and how to leverage these users to drive future growth.
Key Takeaways: The first step to good marketing is to have a good product, a better product that makes things better. Marketers make change happen. You need to connect with people. Listening is the start of all good marketing. Solve people’s problems.
17. Never Split the Difference (Chriss Voss)
Why You Should Read It: Chris Voss reveals powerful negotiation secrets of the FBI that anyone can use to achieve better results in negotiations and secure business success.
Key Takeaways: People fear a loss much more than they fear an equivalent gain. All decision-making is emotionally driven, therefore, appeals to emotions, not reason. You must connect emotionally and establish trust to be a successful negotiator.
18. Marketing Made Simple (Donald Miller)
Why You Should Read It: Create effective sales messaging that conveys the value of your offer and execute it flawlessly. A must-read for small business owners and big business leaders alike.
Key Takeaways: Know the three stages of a relationship: curiosity, enlightenment, and commitment. Know the Marketing Made Simple checklist: One liner, lead generators, nurture email campaigns, sales email campaigns. Create a powerful one-liner to get your target customers’ curiosity.
19. Blue Ocean Strategy (W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne)
Why You Should Read It: This book is a powerhouse of marketing know-how and strategy. It explains how to create and capture new markets and make your competition irrelevant.
Key Takeaways: Be different. If you are different, then you don’t need to compete on price. Don’t launch without testing. Better to fail a test than to fail at launch. Successful businesses require strong leadership to weather the storms of growth and change.
20. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Roger Fisher and William Ury)
Why You Should Read It: Don’t just negotiate. Learn how to resolve conflicts. The handbook to negotiating without compromise or conflict.
Key Takeaways: Always assume that the other party has good intentions. Don’t approach a negotiation or conflict with a preconceived expectation of your ideal outcome. Good negotiations are founded on good preparations.
21. Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations (William Ury)
Why You Should Read It: Objections and obstructions are unavoidable. Learn to talk your way around even the most difficult opponent without conflict.
Key Takeaways: Change the game. Do the opposite of what you naturally feel like doing. Don’t argue with your opponent. Disarm them by validating their objections. Don’t reject or challenge your opponent, reframe the situation.
22. Crossing the Chasm (Geoffrey A. Moore)
Why You Should Read It: Despite its age, this book is still a highly relevant and insightful guide on how to “cross the chasm” from early success to mainstream adoption.
Key Takeaways: Be mindful of your target consumer. Markets are like-minded people talking to like-minded people. You must become the conversation. To borrow from the book: “What got you to here, will not get you to there.” It will take hard work and a well-developed, resource-backed strategy to cross the chasm.
23. The Language of Trust (Michael MasLansky)
Why You Should Read It: Learn from one of the most influential communications consultants of the 21st century, and overcome the natural skepticism of your market and the public.
Key Takeaways: The most important step is to change your language from “you” or “me” to “we” and “our,” making your customer part of your message. Building trust is not about you. It’s about your audience. The language of trust validates objections and recognizes flaws and shortcomings.
24. Traction (Gabriel Wienberg and Justen Maers)
Why You Should Read It: Traction is a lesser-known but unbelievably powerful book on marketing for startups. Discover how to attract customers reliably and predictably using different marketing strategies.
Key Takeaways: There are 19 channels through which startups gain traction in the market, use all of them. Traction is so important that at least half of your effort should be put into getting traction. All good ideas take time. You must be committed.
25. Contagious (Jonah Berger)
Why You Should Read It: What if you could make an advertising message so good that your audience chose to share it themselves? Uncover the science of going viral to ensure your new product becomes the next big thing.
Key Takeaways: Be mindful of how your message will reflect on those who share it. People like to look smart. Understand mirroring and the herd mentality. Popular things become more popular. The most powerful word-of-mouth sharing happens offline, not online.
26. Hooked (Nir Eyal)
Why You Should Read It: Hooked is a deep dive into creating habit-forming products that become an integral part of your customer’s lives.
Key Takeaways: The value of a customer forming a habit around your product cannot be overstated. Make action easy, and remove the barriers to your customers taking the next step. Make your customers “work for it.” This creates a sense of connection and ownership.
27. Friction (Rodger Dooley)
Why You Should Read It: Remove obstacles, overcome customers’ aversion to change, and make your product easy and accessible to new customers.
Key Takeaways: Friction prevents sales. Remove it. Friction is anything that wastes your customers’ time, effort, or money. Friction exists in almost every customer interaction and touch point but is often unnoticed. Reducing friction is a scalable way to quickly add value to your product or service.
28. They Ask You Answer (Marcus Sheridan)
Why You Should Read It: Explains how to build strong content marketing strategies and demonstrate your trust and authority in the market among a sea of competitors.
Key Takeaways: Get inside the head of your consumer, and answer the questions that your customers have before they even ask. Be honest, and disclose your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Don’t hide your price when marketing, leads that can’t afford your product are not real leads.
The Best Books on Personal Psychology and Mindset
29. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (Stephen R. Covey)
Why You Should Read It: So accurate and timeless that it is still one of the top book recommendations from millionaires and successful people around the world, a must-read to increase your personal effectiveness.
Key Takeaways: We value what we work hard for. What comes easily, we often value lightly. The way you spend your time reveals your true priorities. If your feelings dictate your actions, it is only because you allow them to do so.
30. The Art of War (Sun Tzu)
Why You Should Read It: The art of war is a wise and practical guide to winning conflict from the boardroom to the battlefield, whether against internal forces or external competition. This is the go-to book for professionals from all walks of life.
Key Takeaways: Choose your fight. A battle should only be fought when you have a clear advantage. Be patient. No matter how good your plan is, it is the wrong plan if the timing is wrong. It’s best to win by avoiding a fight whenever possible.
31. Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill)
Why You Should Read It: Though first published in 1937, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich is one of the most influential business books of all time. It introduced the idea that universal principles govern all of our lives and that our perspective shapes our reality.
Key Takeaways: Our achievements are directly linked to our desires, both conscious and unconscious. The first step towards success is an unshakeable belief in yourself (not to be confused with arrogance). You cannot just dream of success. You must take action every day to make it a reality.
32. Mindset (Carol S. Dweck)
Why You Should Read It: Gain an understanding of how your mindset limits both your ambitions and your actions and how to develop a growth mindset that will increase your ability to both learn and achieve.
Key Takeaways: Success depends on your mindset, not your skills, talents, or abilities. Your upbringing has the biggest impact on your adult mindset, but you can learn a growth mindset later in life too. Your abilities and skills are only set in stone if you believe they are.
33. The 48 Laws of Power (Robert Greene)
Why You Should Read It: Robert Greene is well known for several great business books, and the 48 Laws of Power might be his most important work for the business world. The book provides key rules to wield influence and power in your personal and professional life.
Key Takeaways: You must understand power completely, how to defend against those with it and how to use it for yourself. Seduction is more powerful than force and coercion. When faced with an opponent you cannot beat, surrender. It’s better to live to fight another day.
34. Thinking Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman)
Why You Should Read It: Most of the factors that affect most of our choices occur subconsciously. Learn how the brain makes decisions and takes control of your decision-making.
Key Takeaways: The human brain has two systems of thinking. These are the fast “gut react” and the slow “critical thinking” process. When facing difficult questions, we try to replace the question with a cognitively easier one. This is a false substitute. “Sunk costs” are not a valid reason to continue with a poor decision.
35. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (Travis Bradberry)
Why You Should Read It: You’ve heard about IQ, but EQ is the more important number. Understand the different aspects of emotional intelligence and, most importantly, learn how you can improve yours and live a better life.
Key Takeaways: Feedback should never be about the person. It’s about fixing the problem. Emotional intelligence is not just about how you feel and behave. It’s about understanding how others feel and will behave. Emotional intelligence is a learnable and improvable attribute.
36. The Power of One More The Ultimate Guide to Happiness and Success (Ed Mylett)
Why You Should Read It: The Power of One More is an in-depth discussion of how we are always just one decision away from a completely different life. And the power is yours!
Key Takeaways: You control your life through what you tolerate. You will always get the results that you tolerate. Keep the promises that you make to yourself. Give yourself “one more day,” and force yourself to fit more into less time.
37. Grit (Angela Duckworth)
Why You Should Read It: Talent and “being the best” are not prerequisites for success. Angela Duckworth takes an insightful look into how our ability to persevere and remain courageous is more important than our level of skill.
Key Takeaways: High performance is a series of simple actions repeated consistently over time. Grit is about stamina and endurance, not intensity. Decide what not to do so you can focus on what matters.
38. The Magic of Thinking Big (David Schwartz)
Why You Should Read It: Learn how we are limited by our ambitions and perceptions. To reach the next level, you need to think and plan at the next level.
Key Takeaways: Failure is rarely the result of aiming big and missing. It’s rather of aiming small and hitting. Success is reliant on the ability to think creatively.
Don’t think of all the ways you could fail, concentrate on all the ways you could succeed.
39. The Daily Stoic 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living (Ryan Holiday)
Why You Should Read It: A simple and effective book with a year of daily stoic reflections for calming the mind, taking control of your emotions, and living a more organized and productive life.
Key Takeaways: Being at peace internally ensures outward stability. Accurate perceptions require unbiased thought. Your values and character will determine your actions.
40. The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win (Jeff Haden)
Why You Should Read It: One of the most underrated books on success, learn how you can harness the unintuitive nature of motivation to build incredible momentum and success.
Key Takeaways: Motivation is not the start of action. Motivation is started by taking action. Don’t rely on “focus” to stay on track. Rely on routines. Achieve more by doing less.
41. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure (Grant Cardone)
Why You Should Read It: Learn how to set bigger goals, put in more effort and achieve unbelievable results.
Key Takeaways: Set goals so big and pursue them with so much passion that people call you “obsessed.” This is the ultimate compliment. Don’t play the victim card. Take responsibility for everything that has happened so far and everything that happens from now on. Ambitious people aren’t driven to quit by goals that are too big, only by goals that are too small.
42. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (Charles Duhigg)
Why You Should Read It: Habits drive everything we do, but our habits can hijack our lives and disrupt our plans. Learn to harness the power of habit and retake control of your time.
Key Takeaways: Habits form subconsciously whenever routine behaviors are met with rewards. It’s easier to choose to replace one key bad routine than to target all of them at once. Willpower is like a muscle. It can become exhausting throughout the day and strengthened through exercise over time.
43. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (Malcolm Gladwell)
Why You Should Read It: Intuition and gut instinct is responsible for both our best and our worst decisions. Learn how to spot the difference and make good decisions fast.
Key Takeaways: Quick decisions are often better than decisions made after thorough thought and consideration. Good quick decisions can be negatively influenced by stereotypes and prejudices. What we think we like or dislike and what we actually like or dislike are often quite different.
44. Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment (Daniel Kahneman and Olivier Sibony)
Why You Should Read It: Learn about how our judgment and decision-making are flawed and what you can do about it to make better decisions more of the time.
Key Takeaways: There is much more noise in our decision-making process than we realize. We are often blind to our own errors and failings in our decision-making process. The best way to combat noise and errors in judgment is to consult an outside “observer” to assess your decisions.
45. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
Why You Should Read It: Atlas Shrugged is one of the longest books on this list and also one of the deepest dives into the nature of human nature, and it is a book that can be applied in all aspects of life.
Key Takeaways: Objective reality exists and can only be acted upon with reason. Self-esteem is the most important personal value. It is what compels us to take care of ourselves. Self-sacrifice and suffering are not virtues and should not be treated with merit.
46. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)
Why You Should Read It: In Dr. Peterson’s no. 1 best seller, he combines his insight as a professor of psychology with his teachings and analysis of religious texts. It is easily one of the best books for improving yourself, your attitude, and your circumstances and taking control of your life.
Key Takeaways: Pay attention to your biology. Physiological and neurological triggers play a powerful role in how you perceive and react in everyday life. Be careful of whom you associate with, and choose people who add value to your life. You are in competition only with yourself and who you were yesterday, don’t compare yourself to others.
47. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (Mark Manson)
Why You Should Read It: Regain your focus and become happier on your path to success by learning how to care about fewer but more important things.
Key Takeaways: Learn not to care about what doesn’t matter. Don’t focus only on success. One of the fastest paths to what you want is through the school of failure. Embrace your problems. Those without problems will always find a way to create more.
48. Choose Yourself! Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream (James Altucher)
Why You Should Read It: This is a book full of uncommon advice about backing yourself 100% and choosing what you want. Realize the happiness that comes from taking back control of your life.
Key Takeaways: Choose yourself by doing valuable things for yourself daily, as simple as going to bed on time. Don’t do unimportant things you don’t want to do. Choose yourself by doing what matters to you most. Find the time to help others.
49. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (Chip and Dan Heath)
Why You Should Read It: Learn what errors exist in your natural decision-making process and what you can do to overcome them, make better decisions and become a better entrepreneur.
Key Takeaways: We all have biases and we seek answers that back up our expectations. Avoid self-imposed limitations on your questions or your answers. Don’t make decisions based on short-term emotions.
50. So Good They Can’t Ignore You (Cal Newport)
Why You Should Read It: Rather than becoming good at and monetizing your passion, this book explains the importance of becoming good at something valuable and then being passionate about that.
Key Takeaways: It is rare to have a passion that is easily monetized. Have a craftsman mindset, and focus on creating value for your customers so they can’t ignore you. Happiness is linked to your level of control over your environment and circumstances more than it is what you do.
51. Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! (Tony Robbins)
Why You Should Read It: Considered by many to be the definitive self-help book, Awaken the Giant Within has been called “the last self-help book you will ever need.” Learn Tony Robins’ biggest keys to living a successful and empowered life.
Key Takeaways: The biggest cause of failure is majoring in doing minor things. It’s not what we do sometimes that matters, it’s what we do consistently that matters. The only way to move up in life is to set higher standards for yourself.
Great Reads about Money and Finance
52. The Intelligent Investor Rev Ed. The Definitive Book on Value Investing (Benjamin Graham)
Why You Should Read It: Referred to by Warren Buffet as possibly the single best book on investing ever written, this is a must-read for any current or aspiring trader or share investor.
Key Takeaways: In the short term, the stock market acts as a voting machine. In the long term, it’s a weighing machine. An investment is something that ensures relative safety of principle and an adequate return. Anything else is speculation. Investing without adequate research and quality information will lead to poor investments and failure.
53. The Total Money Makeover (Dave Ramsey)
Why You Should Read It: This book shook up the personal finance and self-help world when it was first released. It provides simple steps to take control of your personal finances and live debt free.
Key Takeaways: Debt is not a tool and should not be used as one. One of your best investments is your financial intelligence.
There’s no fast track to wealth. You need to take baby steps.
54. The Richest Man in Babylon (George S. Clason)
Why You Should Read It: A simple and easy-to-read allegorical book that teaches timeless wealth-creation strategies that anyone can follow.
Key Takeaways: Save 10% of everything you earn, even when paying off debts. Make wise investments to multiply the money you have saved. Limit your risk exposure. You should not risk your principal.
55. Profit First (Mike Michalowicz)
Why You Should Read It: Profit first is a scathing critique of traditional business accounting and the ways it leads new businesses to failure. Discover an alternate, profit-oriented accounting method that is designed to help businesses guarantee their success.
Key Takeaways: Sales drying up and sales taking off too quickly will both lead to failure. If you take out the profit first, you will find ways to run the company on what is left. Contrary to common accounting advice, don’t run your business on debt.
56. MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom (Tony Robbins)
Why You Should Read It: Tony Robbins has condensed the advice of the preeminent financial advice and investment figures of our time into a 7-step blueprint to break free from debt and experience true wealth.
Key Takeaways: Don’t undervalue the power of compound interest. You need to be in it to win it. If you never play the game, you cannot win. Even if you only have a little, start with a little. Winning with a little is better than nothing.
57. The Psychology of Money – Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness (Morgan Housel)
Why You Should Read It: One of the most recent books on this list of the best business books and a powerful guide to leveraging money for success and happiness while avoiding the many pitfalls along the way.
Key Takeaways: Success is a lousy teacher. Respect the fact that you might have been lucky. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Anything that can fail will eventually fail. The best investment you can make is good time management.
58. The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Rich (Cotter Smith)
Why You Should Read It: A deep look at what the wealthy have in common that those who are not yet wealthy can learn from and emulate.
Key Takeaways: Most millionaires do not show off their wealth with unnecessary materialism. The secret to building millions is to live well below your means. Any money not required to live on should be invested in wealth-generating assets.
59. The Wealth of Nations (Adam Smith)
Why You Should Read It: Gain a new perspective on the definition of wealth: what it is, how to get it, and what role its pursuit play in our day-to-day lives.
Key Takeaways: Wealth is a function of productivity, and productivity is a function of specialization. The individual need to achieve self-interest drives their contributions to society. Money is a tool to obtain wealth and is not in itself wealth.
60. Financial Intelligence (Karen Berman)
Why You Should Read It: Everyone can benefit from understanding financial statements and balance sheets, a simple guide to accounting documents for the non-accountant.
Key Takeaways: All good managers must be able to read an account statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement. Accounting is about trying to tell the story of the company’s success (or failure). You must know how to see and ask the right questions about your accounts.
61. Beating the Odds (Eddie C. Brown)
Why You Should Read It: The titular reference is a clever play on Brown’s incredible success, as he rose from humble beginnings to become the founder and CEO of Brown Capital Management, managing over $6B in funds.
Key Takeaways: Don’t fear money, or it will control you. Where you start does not have to have any bearing on where you finish. The one asset that we all have access to is persistent determination.
62. The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage (Daymond John)
Why You Should Read It: Having no money and no capital does not need to be a disadvantage. Daymond John shows how you can turn what most people view as a weakness into your greatest strength.
Key Takeaways: Having no money forces you to find resources that others aren’t using. The power of broke can be applied at all stages of business. The internet has made businesses cheaper and cheaper to operate. There’s no better time to start than now.
Books for Productivity and Life Hacking
63. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (Cal Newport)
Why You Should Read It: Cal Newport breaks down how to detach, recharge mentally and regain your sanity and mental clarity in a world designed to distract.
Key Takeaways: Embrace boredom, and do not always look for entertainment or distraction. Meditation is a key part of regaining your focus. You must quit social media.
64. Essentialism (Greg McKeown)
Why You Should Read It: You will learn to overcome information overload, to be intentional, the disciplined pursuit of less, and how to do fewer things better.
Key Takeaways: Doing fewer nonessential things will let you do more important things with your time. Trade-offs are a part of life. You can do anything, but not everything. Don’t let other people’s problems become your problems.
65. Smarter Faster Better – The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business (Charles Duhigg)
Why You Should Read It: Learn more, learn faster, do more in less time and be better at everything you do, Charles Duhigg reveals how to make this your reality.
Key Takeaways: The key to learning new information is to do something with new information each time you learn it. Use mental modeling of situations and activities to stay focused on the task at hand. Always make complementary goals. Select an achievable SMART goal and a big audacious goal to stretch for so you always have something to aim for.
66. The One Thing (Garry Keller)
Why You Should Read It: You will learn how to measure and increase results and not inputs. Focus on the one thing each day that will make the difference.
Key Takeaways: Identify the one thing that matters. One aspect of what you are trying to achieve that will make other things easier or unnecessary. Line up your dominos. This is the series of steps required to achieve your one thing.
Commit to the 80/20 principle. 80% of your results come from 20% of what you do and focus on that 20%.
67. Tools of Titans (Tim Ferris)
Why You Should Read It: This is a huge and powerful book that condenses the tools, tips, and tricks used by the titans of sports, entertainment, and business to maximize their value and productivity.
Key Takeaways: Almost all successful people practice mindfulness or meditation each day.
Most successful people are following a calling, not just doing it for the money (or the fame). You should only expend energy to pursue goals that justify the effort.
68. Hacking Growth (Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown)
Why You Should Read It: Packed with case studies and examples of industry best practices in action, Hacking Growth is essential reading for all managers in small businesses looking to grow large and grow fast.
Key Takeaways: To grow rapidly, you need to have a “must-have” product. A multidisciplinary “growth team” is essential to staying agile and responsive. Once you have identified your “growth levers,” go all in before your competition can respond.
Best Business Books for Beginners and First-time Startup Founders
69. Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Robert T. Kiyosaki)
Why You Should Read It: Learn what the poor and middle class do that the rich do not. Learn the fundamentals of financial intelligence, investment, and business to change your life.
Key Takeaways: Buy assets, not liabilities. Most people work hard because they fear not having money, and then they reward their hard work by spending the money they work for. Always invest in your financial intelligence.
70. The Personal MBA (Joshua Kaufman)
Why You Should Read It: The Personal MBA is a global bestseller written by Joshua Kaufman to give readers a crash course version of an MBA without the time and expense of attending business school. It’s a good business book for anyone starting in business or considering studying for an MBA.
Key Takeaways: The role of a business is to create value for customers to generate an economic return for stakeholders. Our psychology must be mastered to maximize our productivity. A simple way to create value is to find a product for which you can charge a “hassle premium” to save your customers pain or effort.
71. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras)
Why You Should Read It: What common path do exceptional and long-lasting companies take throughout the business development lifecycle, and what can you learn from them to build your own visionary company?
Key Takeaways: Starting a great company doesn’t always require a great idea or product.
Profit is not the only goal. Visionary companies dream big. They set “big, hairy, audacious goals,” not “SMART” (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-dependent) goals.
72. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It (Michael E. Gerber)
Why You Should Read It: Michael E. Gerber’s first book, the E-Myth, took the world by storm. In the E-Myth Revisited, the content has been refreshed and updated to be more relevant in the internet age. Discover the myths, fallacies, and pitfalls of entrepreneurship.
Key Takeaways: A major factor of entrepreneurial success is not total knowledge, but the thirst for knowledge. Your life is a constant battle between your inner “personalities,” the disciplined vs. the slothful, the patient vs. the impulsive. Scalable franchise businesses are one of the strongest entrepreneurial vehicles for wealth creation and growth.
73. Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing for Business (Paul Jarvis)
Why You Should Read It: Probably the most counterintuitive book on success and business, advocating that staying small and working for yourself is a better path to success and happiness than expanding and scaling.
Key Takeaways: Know your “enough.” Enough customers, enough revenue, and enough profits. Don’t ask, “How can I make my company better?” Instead, ask, “How can I make my company better?” Have a unique point of difference, something that makes you stand out from the crowd.
74. Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too (Gary Vaynerchuk)
Why You Should Read It: Gary Vee, known for his brash and direct style, provides a no holds barred guide to hold to crush it in business and life and build influence to shape the world around you.
Key Takeaways: Commit to your personal brand. To market online, you must consistently push out great content that appeals to your audience. What you plan doesn’t matter as much as what you do.
75. What If It Does Work Out? (Susie Moore)
Why You Should Read It: This is a great book for the starting entrepreneur or those looking at branching out on their own. Don’t do it all at once, change your life with a powerful side hustle.
Key Takeaways: Don’t wait for the right time to start. There will never be one. Dream big, start small. Work within your limits, but have plans that go far beyond them. Tell stories. Your company and your products should all have a story, people by the story, not the product.
76. Startup Opportunities: Know When to Quit Your Day Job (Sean Wise and Brad Feld)
Why You Should Read It: Learn from successful venture capitalists how to identify when an idea is good and when a business is ready for your full-time commitment.
Key Takeaways: Assess your potential value. It’s better to identify your failure when planning than to find it out in execution. Solve someone’s pain point.
Communicate with your customers. Marketing is about communicating value.
77. The Innovators Dilemma (Clayton Christensen)
Why You Should Read It: Find the Achilles heel of any big business that a savvy startup can use to get a foothold in an already dominated market, then scale up to take out the previous market leaders.
Key Takeaways: One of the few books as valuable for CEOs of large companies as it is to founders of small startups. Look for opportunities to disrupt the big fish in a niche they won’t care about. Learn and look for the four types of innovation, new products, new production technologies, new distribution channels, and new ways to provide services.
78. The Startup J Curve (Howard Love)
Why You Should Read It: This book revolutionized the common misconceptions of the modern startup, explaining in detail the startup process and providing a blueprint for navigating the “valley of death” during the early days.
Key Takeaways: In all startups, there is a dip before the rise to success. It is easy to get off track by being overly invested in your initial ideas, be prepared to adapt. Be familiar with the six steps of a successful startup: Create, release, morph, model, scale, and harvest.
79. The Mom Test (Rob Fitzpatrick)
Why You Should Read It: One of the most definitive guides for how to tell if your next business idea is any good. Get the full tool kit to ask the right questions and get valuable insights and real feedback about your next big idea.
Key Takeaways: Don’t begin conversations talking about your idea. Start conversations by showing genuine interest in the other person to encourage them to be open and transparent. Don’t ask generic questions about the future. Ask questions about real past events, e.g., Not “how often do you eat healthy food?” Instead, try “How many serves of vegetables did you eat last week?” Try not to talk too much, and listen more than you speak.
Great Books for Leaders
80. The Dichotomy of Leadership (Jocko Willink and Leif Babin)
Why You Should Read It: Unravel the contradictory world of the servant-leader and become a more respected and more effective leader.
Key Takeaways: You must care for individual team members but value the group over the individual. All leaders have limited “capital” to spend on directing their subordinates. Only spend it on what counts. Don’t explain the rules. Explain why the rules matter.
81. The Infinite Game (Simon Sinek)
Why You Should Read It: Many CEOs treat business like a finite game against their competition. Simon Sinek explains how to play the infinite game for long-term success.
Key Takeaways: Know your enemy, in other words, “study your worthy rivals.” Playing the short-term game will result in only short-term gains. To play the long game, you must choose and carefully serve a just cause, a state of being that does not yet exist that you seek to bring to existence.
82. Dare to Lead (Brené Brown)
Why You Should Read It: Dare to lead is a New York Times bestseller and bravely exposes the lack of emotional intelligence, support, and understanding in the modern workplace and what can be done about it.
Key Takeaways: Daring leadership is a specific set of skills but is also 100% teachable. Avoiding difficult conversations always causes more damage than it prevents. Being vulnerable and being courageous are both intrinsically linked and paramount to good leadership.
83. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (Sheryl Sandberg)
Why You Should Read It: Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and one of the most powerful women in the world as a result. In Lean In, she talks of her experience working with Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the leadership team at Facebook and what everyone, especially women, can learn about rising to leadership positions.
Key Takeaways: Lean In: The first key takeaway from Sandberg’s book is that women often shy away from opportunities or reduce responsibility so they can have a family before having a family is even a priority. Keep the conversation going. The path to change is through communication about the problem. Sit at the table: Women need to include themselves and stop removing themselves from opportunities.
84. Leaders Eat Last (Simon Sinek)
Why You Should Read It: Leaders Eat Last is an easy read by best-selling author Simon Sinek. In it, he explains how to inspire trust, loyalty, and teamwork to unite your organization to focus on what matters.
Key Takeaways: Biologically, humans need leadership, and they will naturally follow the best leader. The best leaders inspire loyalty and trust through care and security. A distant leader cannot demonstrate empathy or compassion.
Leaders put themselves last for the good of the organization.
85. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Patrick Lencioni)
Why You Should Read It: A powerful fiction book with deep business relevance. The book provides insight into the mistakes to avoid to create strong and effective teams.
Key Takeaways: Be patient. Think before you say or do something. Trust is not just confidence in someone’s ability. In a team, it is the belief that each person has only good intentions for you and the team. A decision (any decision) is better than the paralysis of no decision.
86. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (John C. Maxwell)
Why You Should Read It: If you are going to play the game, then you need to know the rules. Learn the fundamental laws of leadership that cannot be ignored without peril.
Key Takeaways: To lead people’s actions, you must first lead their emotions. The measure of great leadership is not how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others. Being busy is not the same as being productive. Good leaders produce results.
87. Execution (Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan)
Why You Should Read It: Successful companies must execute plans, and successful leaders must know when and how to guide execution. This book, for leaders and senior managers, provides a 7-step blueprint for successful execution.
Key Takeaways: Expand your leadership team’s abilities through coaching. Insist on and value realism, not unrealistic optimism. Reward your doers, those who accomplish things.
88. The Effective Executive (Peter Drucker)
Why You Should Read It: Notable for coining one of the most repeated quotes in business, “efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker provides a complete toolkit for how to be a more effective leader in your company.
Key Takeaways: Always contribute value, and ask yourself what you can do to add value to your company. Focus on one thing at a time, both yourself and as a company. But your resources where they matter. Become a master of time management.
89. Understanding Michael Porter (Joan Gretter)
Why You Should Read It: Any successful business will eventually face competitors who emulate them. This book provides practical advice based on Michael Porter’s strategies on how to deal with competition and stay relevant.
Key Takeaways: The essence of strategy is knowing what not to do. Staying at the top is about being unique, not being the best. You cannot serve everyone. You have to give away some customers to better serve others.
90. Good Strategy, Bad Strategy (Richard P. Rumelt)
Why You Should Read It: This book is a revolutionary insight into how to create plans and strategies that deliver competitive advantage while avoiding common mistakes, such as treating goals as substitutes for real, actionable plans.
Key Takeaways: Strategy is different from plans, goals, and visions. All strategy is centered around solving an identified root cause of a given problem. You must be decisive, you must be willing to choose, and you cannot keep everyone happy.
Thoughts and Perspectives from Business Greats
91. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike (Phil Knight)
Why You Should Read It: In Shoe Dog, Phil Knight takes readers on an insightful tell-all journey through the ups and downs of one of the world’s most iconic shoe brands and what you can apply to become a successful entrepreneur.
Key Takeaways: Belief is the key to selling. If you believe in your product and what it does, so will your customers. If you’re not moving forwards, you’re moving backward. Fail fast. If you fail, when you fail, fail quickly, learn from your failure and then apply those lessons to your next pursuit.
92. Steve Jobs (Walter Isaacson)
Why You Should Read It: Steve Jobs’ authorized biography by Walter Isaacson is a powerful read and a revealing inside look at all aspects of Steve Jobs and his business adventures, accomplishments, and failures.
Key Takeaways: Steve Jobs believed in the value of a strong intuition being more valuable than logic and abstract reasoning. It’s never too late to change. Steve Jobs reinvented both himself and his company, Apple, many times on the path to success. Focus is important, despite the several industries that Jobs and Apple revolutionized, each time they worked on one with a singular, unwavering focus.
93. Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s (Ray Kroc)
Why You Should Read It: The story of Ray Croc is one of repeated failure, repeated attempts, and limitless endurance resulting in one of the biggest and best-known business success stories in modern history.
Key Takeaways: The one attribute that matters most is endurance. “You’re either ripening or you’re rotting.” in other words, if you are not making progress, you are losing ground. At some point, you will have to grind. There’s no way around it.
94. Business Lessons from Bill Gates (Michael Winnicott)
Why You Should Read It: Learn to plan, think and execute like a billionaire, from achieving success to avoiding failure Michael Winnicott unpacks what you can learn from Bill Gates.
Key Takeaways: Do what you believe is right, not what others expect. Accept that failures are inevitable and learn from them. Take calculated risks.
95. Straight from the Gut (Jack Welch)
Why You Should Read It: In his autobiography, Jack Welch, former GE CEO, reveals his biggest lessons in life from humble beginnings to world-recognized CEO and renowned author.
Key Takeaways: Celebrate everything, and after any promotion or achievement, recognize your success. You set the pace of your drum. The faster the beat, the faster the company marches. Have a relentless and undying passion to drive everything that you do.
Business Case Studies
96. Business Adventures (John Broos)
Why You Should Read It: Famously called the “best business book ever written” by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, Business Adventures analyzes formative moments in American business and what you can learn from them.
Key Takeaways: Humans make almost all decisions emotionally, even when trying to remain rational. When a system has enough flaws, don’t fix them. Scrap it and start over. You can quite safely bet on the self-serving nature of other people.
97. Grand Transitions: How the Modern World Was Made (Vaclav Smil)
Why You Should Read It: What events shaped the world we live in today, how are those rules still relevant, and what can you learn from them?
Key Takeaways: S-curves are everywhere. S curves occur when technology starts slow, experiences a period of seemingly exponential growth, and then flattens out at the top, usually as it is replaced by the next revolution. Long-term transformations are the drivers of human progress and success. With each grand change in the world comes a structural change to the way things are done.
98. How the World Really Works (Vaclav Smil)
Why You Should Read It: A scientist’s guide to what science actually has and hasn’t done for us and what we can expect in the future.
Key Takeaways: Humans are addicted to the endless consumption of energy. Almost all economic transactions are effectively motivated by the exchange and pursuit of energy in one form or another. Any extreme view, either optimism or pessimism, is inherently flawed. Objective realism is the only valid point of view.
99. Winning (Jack Welch)
Why You Should Read It: Life is full of ups and downs and a fair deal of uncertainty. Learn to navigate life on your path to career success and fulfillment with Jack Welch’s guide to winning.
Key Takeaways: Never consider yourself a victim. Always maintain a positive outlook. Place yourself in an environment that values honesty, and then always be honest. The best companies do not hire leaders externally but train and grow their very best talent as leaders internally.
100. The Essays of Warren Buffett (Warren Buffett and Lawrence A. Cunningham)
Why You Should Read It: Lawrence Cunningham worked with Warren Buffet, often considered the most successful stock market investor of our time, to condense 27 years of letters to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. It provides a detailed peek behind the curtain of how one of the greatest investors of our times thinks and strategizes.
Key Takeaways: There are three legs to prudent investment, knowing the market, knowing your competence, and knowing your risk. The best businesses to invest in have “economic moats” that make them uniquely competitive and “economic goodwill,” which is the sum of their value over their net tangible assets. You should invest for value, not growth. But know that growth is a contributor to a company’s value.
After reading the books from this list that appeal to you, you’re sure to have some new favorite books and gems of knowledge to pass on to your family and colleagues.
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