Starting, managing, and growing businesses is not the easiest of tasks any entrepreneur encounters. They are very challenging things a business owner has to face. Starting a business is not for the faint-hearted. You need charisma, determination, knowledge, and will power to overcome what comes your way: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yes, you might have had a successful launch of your business, but as you grow, you are in a constant battle with external influences. Most times, we seek advice and assistance from our immediate surroundings, which is the first place to look. Secondly, we look up to our mentors and adopt both their recommendation and the modes they employ to run their business. And other times, we turn to influential books to give us a more structured outlook and better guidelines on business management.
Over the years, there have been millions and millions of books written on businesses. Each narration contains an array of unique topics needed by someone out there. Some have info on choosing the business name, location, logo, staff members, so on and so forth. Any possible issue you might be facing, there is a book out there for you.
Reasons to Read Influential Business Books
1. To acquire better business insight
Every industry has its jargon and concepts that govern it. And reading a business book specific to your industry will introduce you to that world equipping you with the needed basics most people overlook.
2. Give you accounts of practical business scenarios
Influential business books are a cheat sheet to most entrepreneurs as they provide likely business scenes and how to handle them best. Reading about something before, actually experiencing it gives you better insight such that when it occurs, you deal with it the best way possible.
3. Builds your mindset
Reading stories of how people managed to beat the odds in the business world stimulates your thinking. Getting acquainted with the hurdles they faced to get to success empowers you to do the same or even better. You beef up your arsenal with more traits on top of what you already possess. Such that, when you launch, nothing holds you back. An excellent read will give you more motivation to keep going if you have already started.
4. You master the language
A good business book helps you build on your knowledge of the business’s vocabulary. One thing about influential business books is that they widen your mind and give it a better perspective on the dialect as well as the concepts. What you might know might have a completely different meaning. And that is why you must read to understand. Information is the power, they say.
5. Improves communication
Communication is one of the main building blocks of a business. Poor or lack thereof is disastrous. The influential business books equip you with the best ways to communicate with your superiors, your colleagues, and your employees. Whatever level you are at, you gain better communication skills- speaking and writing.
The Best Influential Business Books of All Time
1. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street
By John Brooks
This book comes highly recommended by one of the world’s richest men; Bill Gates. The book highlights twelve of the most crucial moments that faced the American economy from a business perspective. In each story, it talks about how people act and what makes them stand out and continuously thrive. It focuses on human nature in a business context and tells the story through the twelve case studies featured in the book.
In the first story on the 1962 Flash Crash, we get to see how fear and panic by people led the stock market to nosedive an astounding $20 billion only to rise back up a day later. In yet another tale, the Ford Edsel story teaches us why paying attention to your market is imperative. This is stressed because the customer’s needs change at any time and may lead to a loss as they did back then. Business Adventures also influences moral lessons of mixing business and emotions. This scenario nearly caused the Piggly Wiggly owner Clarence Saunders bankruptcy when he bought all his stocks back due to revenge.
The book is smartly structured, recounting a clear, detailed story of how the financial world is always evolving. A read through this book will, for sure, give you new insight into different business scenarios.
2. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business
By Clayton M. Christensen
The great businessman and professor, Clayton Christensen, takes a dive into the innovation world, where he highlights the biggest successes and failures in the tech industry. He supports this with viable evidence focusing mostly on disruptive technologies. From this focal point, he explains how many companies closely miss out on very groundbreaking innovations. And consequently urges companies to pay keen attention when to let go of older methods; otherwise, they will be pushed out of the competition. The innovator’s Dilemma book gives a managerial set of rules from an innovator’s point of view.
This text is a must-have book for any entrepreneur or manager specialized in the tech world. He states that creating a new market is safer and more rewarding than entering an established market. He also writes that for short term gains, established firms should not enter into emerging markets. But if they wish to gain leadership in the long run, they can join.
The book gives in-depth information relayed in a compelling, sharp, and intriguing manner that will, for sure, stir up your business mind to a higher level. Steve Jobs once used this book as an example of how Apple should embrace the then-new cloud computing technology.
3. How to Win Friends and Influence People
By Dale Carnegie
With more than 16 million copies sold, the How to win friends and influence people is a self-help guide book. It gives several techniques that can be used when handling people who are involved directly or indirectly in your business. He provides you with six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to convince them on your thinking, and lastly, nine ways to change them without arousing indifference.
First, he lists that one should never criticize, condemn, and complain. Secondly, he insists that you should give credit where credit is due by offering honest and sincere appreciation. Some of the practices stated in the book to make people like you are to smile, remember the person’s name, listen to them, and make them feel important, among others. On the part of winning people to your thinking, he tells us that we must respect the other person’s opinion regardless. Dale offers a guideline that you must always start in a friendly way to get the listener nodding yes as soon as possible. Dale also educates us that the way to get the best out of an argument is to avoid it in the first place. These descriptions and advice do not just end there but keep coming as you read page after page.
The book also features a segment that gives leaders guidelines on how to change people without stirring resentment or indifference. Some of the ways he talks about are to lead by example, and in a confrontation, they should begin with an honest appreciation then make the fault sound easily fixable. Through these tips and many more talked about in the book, any superior develop a rock-solid relationship with their employees.
Dale further writes about criticism, influence, and, finally, the secret of success.
4. The Art of War
By Sun Tzu
This book is probably one of the most respected publications that have strategical information on wars and governments that can be equated to the business world today. The Art of War was written in the 6th century and is still read far and wide up to this day as a military strategy text. Master Sun formulates this book in 13 very informative chapters, each focusing on specific warfare aspects.
This book has influenced martial reasoning, business tactics, legal strategies, and beyond. After reading this book, you come out with three fundamental skills. First, you learn when to fight and when not to. Here, you should note when the opposition is strongest and strike when they are weak. Next is to know how to dupe the competition to appear vulnerable when you are strong and seem robust when you are weak. Finally, it teaches you to recognize both their weaknesses and strengths. With these three fundamental lessons, you can win every battle that comes your way, he writes.
Leaders throughout the centuries have claimed to drawn inspiration from this book to win some of the afflictions they faced in their lives. They include Napoleon, General Vo Nguyen Giap, and Mae Zedong.
5. Think and Grow Rich
By Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill wrote this book as a motivational personal growth text from years of research into the world of the successful. The publication ascribes that the success of any business relies on the owner’s mindset through visualizations and imagination. Hill gives a thirteen-step program that sets any entrepreneur in the path of progress and great wealth. He did not pick these ideas from thin air but built his philosophy from the lives and, stories of past billionaires who had done it before.
This book is a good read that will inform you of a few things in regards to the power of the mind. First of all, he states that our thoughts are potent. He says that a man that “thinks” he can accomplish something is already a step forward toward the finish line. Next, he follows up with more discussions on desire, faith, specialized knowledge, decision- making, among others. The book is a gold mine of the greatest quotes used today, as well. For instance, one great quote is “whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
6. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
By Sheryl Sandberg
This is a book by a woman to empower women in their workplaces as well as in their personal lives. Sheryl Sandberg writes about her own experiences that she encountered in her work life as well as her personal life. She gives stories on her working days with the world’s most prominent businesses in precise detail. And within the text, she points out ways women can help themselves to make small changes that will make more significant impacts.
She speaks about the challenges working mothers have to face on a daily, being torn between family and a demanding job. There is so much more besides the need for balancing. Sandberg also empowers women to take charge of their careers and push forward even when faced with a gender-biased society. The writer considers herself a feminist who benefits from the struggles that prior women rights activists fought for. She, however, believes that the feminist rally has stalled because of the barriers that women still face in the work environment. She also wrote about the home life. Here she explains that the male partners should also do at least half of the parenting to give women an equal platform to get their work done.
This book is not only a good read for women, but men can indulge in understanding the woman’s perspective clearly. The book relays its information in a seamless manner that is free-flowing and quite engaging and is well backed up by facts on statistics and studies.
7. The Lean Startup
By Eric Ries
If you are planning to start up your company soon, then you should get a copy of this book. Eric Ries writes this book while he was starting up his own business, the IMVU, which is an interactive, avatar-based social platform that empowers conversations and self-expression experiences. A lot of startups indeed end up failing because of approaching hurdles in a reckless manner. Mr. Ries gives entrepreneurs a somewhat workable approach that leverages human creativity more productively. The book provides a strategic outlook that will enable a business owner to quantify the success of the business.
At the top of the list is vision, where he insists that one must first learn and experiment with the concept before implementation. He goes ahead and mentions a few more fundamental steps after the vision. These included a steer, a measure, a pivot, and an accelerate into the growing process. He clearly explains what each of the mentioned stages entails to ensure a successful startup.
This guide book applies to a company of any size, big, medium, or small. Entrepreneurs can gauge the growth of their businesses, as listed in this book. It is practically a precious cheat sheet to get you to the top. In this competitive day and age, you do need sound guidance to prosper.
8. Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves
By Andrew Ross Sorkin
The narrative is perhaps one of the most intriguing and influential business books of all time that gave an in-depth story of the Walls Street financial crisis in the year 2008. Andrew Ross gives the readers a behind the scenes occurrences that lead to this crisis and how it came about. He re-created all the drama and the tumult of those turbulent days and brought to light disclosed details of the scandal. The text shows how the persuasive egotistic financiers full of greed and pride ignorantly decided the fate of the world’s economy.
The book displays in precise detail the everyday discussions and decisions that took place during the whole time. The story is told from the administrators’ perspective who worked in the major financial institutions and the leading regulatory firms. This book made quite a name of itself as one of the best texts ever recorded and has won several awards over the years.
9. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron
By Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
This book gives the full story about the fall of an American energy company in the ’90s. The cooperation was one of the most prestigious of its time that was met by the unfortunate fate of bankruptcy. The two writers went further by gathering exclusive data about the scandal and weaved out a masterpiece that showcased the event.
This book is one of the most notable influential business books, as several critics quoted it to be utterly professional, readable, and highly entertaining. How It exposed the unexpected characters in the saga was a clear-cut work of art. The authors take us through the journey of Enron’s rise from obscurity to the top of the business world to its unprecedented disastrous demise. This is a classic story of greed, deceit, and ignorance that overtakes people even today in the business world.
10. In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies
By Thomas Peters and Robert H. Waterman
In pursuit of excellence is a best seller book that has an account of forty-three best-run American Companies of all time. The businesses featured are from different sectors, which were managed by eight basic principles of management. The first two principles the authors wrote about include a bias to action, which means an active decision-making process and getting close to the customer. The other points are liberty and entrepreneurship, productivity through people, hands-on approach, sticking to the business you know, lean and straightforward staff, and lastly, synchronous loose-tight properties. The book is a gold mine of information all business ventures will find very useful.
Check out the book “In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies” here!
11. First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently
By Jim Harter
If you are a manager, then you should probably read this book if you have not already. Jim Harter wrote this text from the findings he got from a study where he collected the data from more than 80,000 managers working in different sectors and levels in the business world.
The author takes us through the practices that set apart a good manager and a great one. You may be hardworking, but if you lack a few fundamental traits, you are considered mediocre. The number one trait he highlighted is that a great manager doesn’t hesitate to break the rules held sacred by traditional wisdom. He also notes that it takes more than excellent training to make an exceptional manager.
The study revealed that for a manager to be regarded as great, they must excel at turning each employee’s talent and gifts into high performance. With that said, he highlighted that the best managers hire employees based on their talent rather than the skills or experience they bring forth. People indeed tend to work best if they are doing something they love as opposed to something they might have been forced to master.
The book links the employees’ opinions and productivity to profit and customer satisfaction. The research also produced the twelve simple statements that distinguish the most productive departments of an enterprise from the rest. As a manager, you can quickly gauge how your department is fairing on by comparing how your team is doing as per the twelve statements.
The books mentioned above are just a few from a whole lot. But they will, for sure, stimulate your business mind into a better and more clearer view. Get yourself a copy today. You have nothing to lose.
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