When you’re running a business, it’s never a bad idea to learn from the experts. In fact, most of the world’s top business leaders have one thing in common: they read (a lot). So, in that spirit, we’ve put together a list of 10 must-read books for business owners, covering topics ranging from effective team management to improving your problem-solving skills.
If you feel like you’re too busy to read, consider this: Warren Buffett credits his success to reading and Mark Cuban says he reads more than three hours a day. Elon Musk learned how to build rockets by, you guessed it: reading. So whether you make time for one quick beach read or want to tackle the whole list, you’re bound to come away inspired to grow your enterprise.
1. Change Your Questions Change Your Life by Marilee Adams
What questions lead to our biggest breakthroughs and successes? In Change Your Questions Change Your Life, Marilee Adams describes how many of our personal and professional problems can be traced back to the kinds of questions we ask. Drawing on decades of experience as a coach and consultant, Adams illustrates how to quickly recognize any undermining questions that pop into your mind—or out of your mouth—and reframe them to achieve amazingly positive and practical results.
After reading this book, expect to have more effective communication, greater collaboration, and highly effective solutions to the problems you’re facing. Great results really do begin with great questions. Marilee Adams’s clear instructions will show you how.
2. Thinking Strategically by Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff
Required reading at the best business schools, Thinking Strategically is a crash course in outmaneuvering any rival. This entertaining guide builds on scores of case studies taken from business, sports, the movies, politics, and gambling. It outlines the basics of good strategy making and then shows how you can apply them in any area of your life.
3. The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
Known as the Father of Modern Management, Peter Drucker’s books are a must-read for any business executive. In The Effective Executive, he reminds us that the ability to “get the right things done” is the purpose of an executive. Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned:
- Management of time
- Choosing what to contribute to the practical organization
- Knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect
- Setting up the right priorities
- Knitting all of them together with effective decision making
4. Who Not How by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy
Have you ever had a new idea or a goal that excites you… but not enough time to execute it? When we want something done, we’ve been trained to ask ourselves: “How can I do this?” but, there is a better question to ask: “Who can do this for me?”
By mastering this question, you will quickly learn how billionaires and successful entrepreneurs build incredible businesses and personal freedom.
Who Not How will teach you how to make this essential paradigm-shift so you can:
- Build a successful business effectively without overworking yourself
- Immediately free-up 1,000+ hours of work that you shouldn’t be doing anyway
- Never be limited in your goals and ambitions again
- Expand your abundance of wealth, innovation, relationships, and joy
5. Designing for Growth by Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie
Design thinking is the ability to turn abstract ideas into practical applications for maximal business growth. This approach has become a necessary component of successful business practice, helping managers turn abstract concepts into everyday tools that grow business while minimizing risk.
In Designing for Growth, Liedtka and Ogilvie cover the mind-set, techniques, and vocabulary of design thinking, unpack the mysterious connection between design and growth, and teach managers in a straightforward way how to exploit design’s exciting potential.
6. Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
Marie Forleo’s mom once told her, “Nothing in life is that complicated. You can do whatever you set your mind to if you roll up your sleeves. Everything is figureoutable.”
If you’re having trouble solving a problem or reaching a dream, the problem isn’t you. It’s that you haven’t yet installed the one belief that changes everything. Everything is Figureoutable will retrain your brain to think more creatively and positively in the face of setbacks.
- The habit that makes it 42% more likely you’ll achieve your goals.
- How to overcome a lack of time and money.
- How to deal with criticism and imposter syndrome.
7. The Power of Focusing by Ann Weiser Cornell
In our modern world that is cluttered with multiple devices, email, phone calls, and constant notifications, we’re getting worse and worse at one vital skill: focusing.
The Power of Focusing shows readers how they can train themselves to learn this gentle yet powerful skill that lets them tap into their body’s wisdom and make positive changes to their emotions, well-bring, and life.
8. Fully Present by Susan L. Smalley and Diana Winston
Mindfulness is the art of paying attention with an open and curious mind to present-moment experiences. Running a business can be stressful, but mindfulness can help business owners enhance their well-being.
In Fully Present, leading mindfulness researchers and educators Dr. Sue Smalley and Diana Winston provide a scientific explanation for how mindfulness powerfully affects the brain and the body. Additionally, they share practical guidance to develop mindfulness in daily living, not only through meditation but also during daily experiences, such as waiting in line at the supermarket, exercising, or facing difficult news.
9. Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson
World-renowned researcher Dr. Barbara Fredrickson gives you the lab-tested tools necessary to create a healthier, more vibrant, and flourishing life through a process she calls “the upward spiral.”
With Positivity, you’ll learn how you can enhance relationships, work, and health, and you’ll learn to see new possibilities, bounce back from setbacks, connect with others, and become the best version of yourself.
10. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Because some people and organizations realized that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.
Start with Why shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world think, act, and communicate the same way: They start with why. Throughout the book, Sinek shares stories of business and world leaders that started with why. He also shares a simple framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired.