Here are some of our favorite business books that help shape leadership, hiring, accounting, management, and sales practices.
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
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
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: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t
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: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck — Why Some Thrive Despite Them All
A decade after his seminal work, Collins returns with a new question: why do some businesses thrive in chaos and uncertainty?
Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization?
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: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
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: Transforming the Buyer/Seller Relationship
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 Management
A great book for clients looking to leverage their team to new levels of growth and profitability.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.
A seminal read that helps explain human behavior.
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm
Another classic that includes key principles like “Brand Promise.” A must-read for new business owners.
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
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
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.”
Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits
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
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.)