What are you reading? There are many demands upon the schedule of every entrepreneur and small business owner, and odds are that your schedule is full from sunrise till sunset and even beyond. However, it is crucial that you make room in your schedule not just for meetings, website maintenance, and sales calls but also for your own betterment and personal growth. This means you need to be reading, or listening if you’re a fan of audio books, in order to inspire new ideas and challenge old ones. Great readers make great entrepreneurs and vice a versa. There is a wealth of information out there that can help charge your business acumen and help you think differently enough to take your business to the next level. This article is here to walk you through some of the top books that every leader, business owner, and entrepreneur needs to be reading.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Written in 1937, Napoleon Hill’s study of (then) modern industrialists and titans of industry was a groundbreaking look into the inner workings of successful men and their regimen. This book helps distill the idea of success into philosophies that anyone can follow regardless of their industry or status. While geared primarily towards business growth and profit increase, these philosophies can be adapted to fit many different aspects of everyday life. This book is the culmination of over two decades of research and countless hours spent studying, analyzing, and interpreting what made titans like Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, and others into the world changing entrepreneurs and business magnates that they became known for.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R Covey
The title says it all. This book explores the key ingredients behind people that do. More importantly, it helps to distil what makes people who achieve their goals able to achieve them. Covey presents a journey towards effectivity by aligning with habits that can be applied to any person in any time. This book will help you realign your thought process in order to gain fresh perspectives and glean new ways of thinking. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People helps you to reframe your behavior to match what Covey views as universal habits of success. If you’re feeling in a rut or like you’re simply never able to get enough done, this book can help you make the most of your day and your thought processes.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
The title says it all. This book is a must read for anyone looking to understand the connections between themselves and those around them. This book was written in 1936 as a guide to public speaking and the subtleties of debate. The author teaches you how to connect with an audience and change minds without creating conflict. This book is a must read for anyone nervous about selling. While sales might not be its primary focus, it contains countless tips and tricks for not only boosting your own confidence but in boosting others confidence in yourself.
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
What makes one man successful, and the other man stuck in the rat race? Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad examines that through the lens of two prominent figures in Kiyosaki’s life. This book utilizes parables and stories from Kiyosaki’s own life to illustrate the importance of both financial literacy and independence. This book is not only a great place to jumpstart your knowledge of many business concepts, but to gain a practical understanding of what they look like in the real world and how they can influence your life for the better. This book will help reframe your thinking about what it means to have money and what it means to be rich.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Unlike the other books on this list, this book is neither “modern” nor specifically tooled towards business and personal growth. Yet it appears on similar lists regarding business, leadership, and personal strength over and over again for one simple reason; it is perhaps the single greatest work on the application of strategy and tactics ever written. This book covers 13 principal skills relative to warfare and pulls them apart in order to understand how they can be used to overcome enemies, obstacles, and setbacks. This book is a critical read for those hoping to outmaneuver their competition and understand the competitive aspects of business in ways they never have before.
Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Why did you start a business? What makes your company different from everyone else who offers similar products and services? This book challenges your notions of what your business is and why you as an entrepreneur do what you do. It asks you to look critically at the deeper needs that your business is trying to meet and the relational strengths that you have over the competition. It forces you to define your drive and your mission, so that you can convey to your customers that selling products is not what makes you unique, but that the people behind those products are unique. This is a great place to understand the importance of branding and how a unique brand can create trust between customer and business that is greater than that between customer and product.
The E-Myth by Michael E Gerber
What makes some businesses fail while others thrive? Why do such a high percentage of start-ups and small businesses find themselves quickly belly-up? The E-Myth looks at what makes small businesses fail and, more importantly, what makes them succeed. Gerber looks at key components that each business needs to not just survive but to thrive and tackles the kind of mindset that entrepreneurs must have from themselves or the people on their team.
If you aren’t reading frequently, you are setting yourself behind. Not only are you failing to further your understanding of new topics and ideas, but you are denying yourself the challenge and opportunity to think differently. Books like these help dismantle preconceived notions so that new processes and methods of success can be created. Give yourself and your business a leg up by diving into resources like these and taking advantage of the great minds that put their thoughts into the world to help entrepreneurs like you.