I don’t know about you, but I know plenty of people who have wound up in business-related fields without any type of formal training in the subject. Sure, I’ve worked with a few MBA grads in my day, but for the most part, the people who wind up in management positions come from a more diverse variety of backgrounds than you might expect.
As a result, plenty of today’s corporate leaders lack a full understanding of the foundational principles of business. While they may have picked up enough on the job to be successful, chances are they’ll still benefit from knowledge gained by reading through the following classic business books:
Book #1 – “Good to Great” – Jim Collins
“Good to Great” is a seminal business strategy book written by industry authority Jim Collins. The text focuses on case studies of companies that have made the leap from “good” companies to “great” companies, in addition to sustaining these results for at least fifteen years. By comparing successful institutions like Coca Cola, Merck and Intel, Collins was able to draw conclusions on the leadership styles and corporate cultures needed to achieve greatness – making this a fascinating read for managers at all levels.
Book #2 – “How to Win Friends and Influence People” – Dale Carnegie
Let’s face it – we could all stand to be a bit more persuasive in our careers. That’s why I’m always quick to recommend Dale Carnegie’s classic text, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
Inside, you’ll find expert advice on how to communicate more effectively – which Carnegie sees as a more important predictor of business success than great ideas or instincts. It’s a great choice for anyone who struggles to connect with others (and therefore misses out on the substantial business benefits of being able to do so).
Book #3 – “Think and Grow Rich” – Napoleon Hill
In “Think and Grow Rich,” author Napoleon Hill shares the sixteen lessons he learned from studying individuals who became self-made successes throughout their lives. Even if your primary goal isn’t to become financially wealthy, you’ll still find plenty of great information on how to achieve greater success in all areas of your life within this classic, Depression-era book.
Book #4 – “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” – Steven Covey
Surely you’ve heard of Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” before, as it’s featured on nearly every list of “business books to read” ever written.
But even if you’ve seen it mentioned before, how many of you can say that you’ve not only read it, but are actively implementing the positive habits described in the book? Chances are, we could all use a refresher on the guiding principles of effectiveness outlined in Covey’s text – not to mention the kick in the pants needed to put them into action!
Book #5 – “The Magic of Thinking Big” – David Schwartz
The first four books on this list have been mostly strategy-oriented – that is, you should read them for concrete ideas on how to improve your personal productivity and business growth.
However, Schwartz’s entry to this list – “The Magic of Thinking Big” – is a little different. Instead of focusing on business success, this book provides both the motivation and the specific techniques needed to help you achieve satisfaction in all areas of your life. If you’re feeling stuck in your current career path or find yourself unable to get out of a rut in your personal life, it’s an absolute “must read!”
Book #6 – “Awaken the Giant Within” – Tony Robbins
As with “The Magic of Thinking Big,” Tony Robbins’ classic text, “Awaken the Giant Within” is based on the idea that we’re all innately powerful and talented, but that we occasionally need help channeling this inner power into tangible benefits within our lives.
“Awaken the Giant Within” is a long book, and the amount of research covered can feel a bit technical. It’s also one that you need to be ready to apply to your life in order to get the greatest possible benefit from the book. However, if you’re willing to make the slog through it and implement the principles described within Robbins’ book, you’ll find yourself better prepared to tackle major challenges that arise within your life.
Book #7 – “Getting Things Done” – David Allen
Finally, add another entry to the “read and then implement” category with David Allen’s book, “Getting Things Done.” “Getting Things Done” – or “GTD” as it’s referred to by its practitioners – is a method of organization and task management that’s widely praised by both users and productivity experts alike.
If you find yourself struggling to maintain order and clarity within your business and professional lives, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this classic book today!
Are there any other books you’d like to see added to this list? Share your own business book recommendations in the comments section below!