reading list

Here are some of our favorite business books that help shape leadership, hiring, accounting, management, and sales practices.


Marketing From the Inside Out: Transformational Growth for Purpose-Driven Leaders

Shawn Busse & Wendy Maynard

Kinesis wrote the book on marketing. Leveraging our decades of experience working with small businesses, Marketing from the Inside Out® provides leaders with a framework to effectively engage employees, customers, and the marketplace for profound business transformation.

Start With Why, by Simon Sinek

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Simon Sinek

Ever wondered why some businesses thrive while others fail? Sometimes it’s because of market forces and disruption. But, more often than not, it’s because the winners have something special: purpose.

Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy

W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne

This book provides case studies of extremely differentiated companies along with a formulation explaining how to create “blue oceans” of uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant.

Good to Great, by Jim Collins

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

Jim Collins

Standard reading in B-school, this book is the go-to guide for understanding why some businesses experience quantum leaps in revenue and profitability. Hint: It’s all about the right people in the right seats. Also see “How the Mighty Fall” and “Built to Last.”

Great by Choice, by Jim Collins

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck — Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

Jim Collins

A decade after his seminal work, Collins returns with a new question: why do some businesses thrive in chaos and uncertainty?

Brave New Work, by Aaron Dignan

Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization?

Aaron Dignan

The best way to run a business is not like a well-oiled machine. Some long-held “truths” are actually not true at all. By recognizing that businesses operate in a complex, ever-changing environment and by appealing to people’s drive to self-determine, Dignan shows us how companies realize their untapped potential.

Drive, by Daniel Pink

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Daniel Pink

Looking to incentivize employees with money? Turns out, that’s usually a terrible idea. Instead, give them three things and you (and they) will both be happier for it (spoiler: it’s not MORE money).

Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play

Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play: Transforming the Buyer/Seller Relationship

Mahan Khalsa

Required reading for anyone “selling” professional services. Khalsa makes a compelling argument to stop selling and start listening. Other important ideas: answer a NEED (not a want) and avoid pitfalls like RFPs and price-based purchasing.

12: The Elements of Great Managing

12: The Elements of Great Management

Rodd Wagner

A great book for clients looking to leverage their team to new levels of growth and profitability.

Influence, by Robert B. Cialdini

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.

A seminal read that helps explain human behavior.

Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, by Verne Harnish

Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm

Verne Harnish

Another classic that includes key principles like “Brand Promise.” A must-read for new business owners.

Puepoe Cow, by Seth Godin

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

Seth Godin

A quick read and simple concept, it’s an absolutely critical idea for businesses that want to break free from the status quo.

Business Model Generation

Business Model Generation

Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur

An intuitive guide to understanding how your business works (or doesn’t) as well as how to build new (or better) businesses.



Chip Heath & Dan Heath

How to bring about change when change is hard. This book provides a powerful framework for understanding and realizing change on a personal, business, or cultural level.  See also “Made to Stick.”

Greg Crabtree Book

Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits

Greg Crabtree

This easy read by Greg Crabtree will change the way you think about business finances. He writes about using financial metrics to make better decisions and improve your profits.

Give and Take, by Adam Grant

Give and Take

Adam Grant

Grant’s research shows success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. Using lots of stories, Grant describes humans as takers, givers, or matchers and what works best for long-term success as a leader.

Other books to consider:

  • Tipping Point, Blink, or any article by Malcom Gladwell (This guy is just a genius; enough said.)
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (Personal and organizational habits are everywhere. Learn how to actually change them.)
  • Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, et al. (Looking for a new way to have tough conversations? This is a game changer.)
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (A timeless classic, relevant now more than ever.)

If Kinesis sounds like the partner you’ve been looking for, let’s talk.

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