My top 10 favourite business books
Over the Christmas break, I had the opportunity to get into a bunch of books I’ve been wanting to read for a long time. I posted this on my Instagram and saw that a lot people were interested in what I was reading. I’ve always loved reading business books and have found that there are some great books out there which will help you gain clarity over your business (or future business). So here are my top 10 favourite business books.
No 1: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
This book is by far my favourite. It may be starting to show some age (particularly by the standards of Silicon Valley) but its lessons remain constant. This book coined the term ‘minimum viable product’ and really challenged me to see things in a different way. I have a tendency to want to work on things until they are ‘perfect’, and this book changed my mind about this.
No 2: Good to Great by Jim Collins
This book was the first I read in a whole series of books of a similar nature by Jim Collins. I’ve also read ‘Built to Last’ and ‘Great by Choice’ which are both excellent. This book takes an analytical view of companies that have performed well when their peers have not in the same period. This seeks to pick apart what separated these companies (Hint: It’s good leadership).
No 3: Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co by Ken Grossman
As a self-confessed beer nerd, I loved this book by the owner of what was one of the first craft breweries in the United States. Whilst this appealed to my beer obsessed side, it was also fascinating to see someone find a market that didn’t exist and passionately pursue it until it became a multi-billion-dollar industry.
No 4: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Shoe Dog tells the story of Nike from the perspective of its founder. In this tech-obsessed world, it is easy to forget about those startups that came from nothing and created multibillion-dollar businesses that aren’t related to the internet. The interesting thing about Nike is how it was always on the verge of failing for many years. This book also teaches businesses the value of cashflow which is a lesson many could learn.
No 5: Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson
Richard Branson has also released his follow up, “Finding My Virginity” which I would recommend. The thing I most took away from these books is that profit and purpose don’t need to be mutually exclusive. Richard Branson has created an amazing business whilst pursuing philanthropic goals which have changed the world for the better.
No 6: Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship and Betrayal by Nick Bilton
As you would have guessed, this is the story of Twitter and its very tumultuous beginnings. Interestingly, Twitter started as a podcasting platform but quickly pivoted when Apple got into the space. The jury is still out on whether Twitter will be a long-term success but reading this book gives you an appreciation of how much it has changed the world.
No 7: The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
I struggled to pick just one book from Tim Ferriss as I’ve read them all and love them. The 4-Hour Work Week is where it all started for him and is a book which will certainly challenge the way you think. Tim Ferriss has said that if he had the chance, he would change the title. The book isn’t about not working at all. The real message of the book is getting maximum value from the work you do and letting go of the little things. If you enjoy the book, I would also recommend you check out the “Tim Ferris Show” Podcast. On his podcast, Tim interviews world class performers in their specialty to extract the tactics, tools, and routines they use to achieve success.
No 8: The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
In the finance industry, venture capitalists are regularly considered the rockstars of the industry and few are more renowned than Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz. This book reminds you that starting a business is not all profits and glory and that each day requires you to push yourself to do things you wouldn’t have thought possible the day before.
No 9: Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin
Seth Godin may just be the world’s most renowned marketing genius. His ability to take complex topics and distil them down into bite size, easily digestible material is amazing. I would also recommend subscribing to Seth’s blog. Whilst blogs can be a bit distracting, his blog is a very small daily thought which outlines some of the creative ways Seth sees the world.
No 10: Total Recall: My Unbelievable True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Whilst technically not a business book, this book tells the story of an Austrian immigrant who showed up in America with a suitcase and a dream. In that time he became the greatest bodybuilder that ever lived, an amazing business man, a world-renowned actor and the Governor of California. Arnold Schwarzenegger shows what is possible if you are willing to work hard and pursue your dreams.
Let me know if there are any business books you love that you would recommend and I’ll be sure to do a follow up with your suggestions.
This post is from our resident Financial Planner Ben Brett, check out his details in the About Us section.
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