Looking for a Great Business Book to read? My Ten (10) Favorites...and why

April 8, 2016

I've been the kind of person that always has a business book on my nightstand, usually next to a novel of some kind.  Its fun to switch back and forth depending on what you're in the mood for.

Lots of business books are very dry and full of graphs and case studies, and quite frankly can be really dull and hard to read.

These books below are 10 of my favorites.  They inform, motivate and best of all, won't put you to sleep.  If you are looking for your next business book, you would enjoy any one of these.  I know I did.

  1. Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? :Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround (Lou Gerstner, 2002)
    • I didn’t know a thing about Lou Gerstner when I picked up this book nearly ten years ago, but I was glad I did. It puts you in the mind of a CEO who took the reigns of one of America’s most iconic brands as it was sinking. The book shows how he was able to find out what worked and what didn’t and implement strategies to save the company and bring it back to prominence.  You feel like you are standing right next to him.
  2. Who Moved my Cheese? (Spencer Johnson, 1998)
    • A super quick read with a very powerful message. People are afraid of change. Yet doing the same old thing, will not only continue to give you the same old results, it will eventually decrease your results as the game changes around you. It’s all about adapting to change to put yourself in a position to succeed. An excellent book for any team that is facing massive change in their workplace.
  3. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t (Jim Collins, 2001)
    • Recommended by my friend Marvin Bembry, whose company Abbott was featured in it, when it first came out. Turned into one of the holy grails of business books.    Remember good is the enemy of great!
  4. The Psychology of Selling (Brian Tracy, 1988)
    • I must have 5 sets of CD programs from Brian Tracy and have seen him live in 3 different cities. If you are in business, especially sales, this book and his other book “Eat the Frog” will take you up a level.
  5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey, 1988)
    • Not much to say about this book as most know it. I didn’t much care for his follow up book, “The 8th Habit”, but this book is a classic and I’ve read it more than once.
  6. Googled: The End of the World as We Know It (Ken Auletta, 2009)
    • Such an interesting story of how Google came to be. Ken Auletta is an awesome author whose book “Backstory: Inside the Business of News” was a great read about the changing world of media. This book really focused on what it took for Google to go so far, so fast—with lots of behind the scenes. Reminded me of Steve Job’s book.
  7. Winning (Jack Welch, 2005)
    • Any book by Jack Welch is going to give you more tips than you can write down...
  8. The Tipping Point/Outliers (tie) (Malcolm Gladwell, 2000 & 2008)
    • Short mini-stories that each pack a point. Easy reads and stories/ideas that really stick with you.
  9. It’s the End of Marketing (followed by Advertising) as We Know It (Sergio Zyman, 1999, 2002)
    • I’ve mentioned before what a big fan I have been of the former Coca-Cola marketing czar. Loved both of these books. He is a big believer in not confusing “Art over Function”—in other words, the purpose of marketing/advertising is ultimately to sell more product to more people more often and that is the purpose of advertising—not winning awards.
  10. Moneyball (Michael Lewis, 2003)
    • Non-traditional thinking that turned a one hundred year institution (Major League Baseball) on its ear. Measuring things no one ever thought to measure and looking for trends to predict value and outcomes. This book is so much more that just about baseball. It inspires to think differently.

 There are so many other great business books and even classics like "How to Win Friends and Influence People".  Trumps books used to sell like Hot Cakes (not so sure now..) and even books about media moguls like Barry Diller, Martha Stewart and Howard Stern are entertaining reads that can shed some light on how they got to the top of their field.  Point is there are so many to pick from and you never know if they will be good or not until you open it up.  

Success leaves a trail.  Learning how others did it can motivate you and make you consider things you never would have thought of on your own.

What are your favorites?


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