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My Favorite Business Books For Entrepreneurial Companies

by admin on November 24, 2009

As a business coach mentor, I always get asked by entrepreneurs around the world what my favorite business books are.  I might as well put them out there for everyone right now to save me time later (yes, next time I’m asked I’ll forward the link to this post)… (EDIT – I guess I should at least now add Double Double to this list, as it took me over two years to write it for you – and it’s now being used by companies in 20 countries)… You can get Chapter 1 for free at that link too…

  1. Start with Why by Simon Sinek – You need to read this if you want to build a fantastic company. And I can’t see anyone being happy in their work life until they are clearly working on their “Why” too.  I’m living mine, ‘Helping entrepreneurs make their dreams happen’.
  2. E-Myth by Michael Gerber – This book will help you move from being a start up to where you are leading a company that can run without you doing or knowing how to do each task or job.
  3. Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish – This in my mind is the single most important book that EVERY entrepreneurial company and their teams have to read. Re-read it when you’re done. And ensure your team re-read it yearly until you’re doing everything in it properly.  If you are doing everything this book has to offer then I’d say it’s OK to move on and read another business book.
  4. Good to Great by Jim Collins – In many ways I think this book is one that companies need to read when they’ve hit $25 Million in revenues and not earlier.  The concepts are the best I’ve ever read. However in many ways I think entrepreneurial companies need more tactical content.
  5. The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard – In my mind simply the best book on leading people.  I first read it in 1986 and being a business coach and mentor, I have all my clients read it too.  Combining this book with Situational Leadership (the content developed with Dr Paul Hersey will transform any company). It’s still current today.
  6. Trends by Tom Peters & Martha Barletta – This book rocked me into realizing that women make so many of the buying decisions and we’ve been focusing our selling to men.  A must read for anyone in the services space.
  7. The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr – This book is what broke me from my workaholic doom loop. It will help you realize that work/life balance REALLY is key to growing a great company.
  8. The Welch Way : 24 Lessons From The Worlds Greatest CEO by Jack Welch -This little book has all of the simple lessons Jack Welch learned and used to build GE into a global dominant brand. More importantly these are the lessons that helped it be such a well run company.
  9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – Every business person has to read this book.  It’s time we really see the entrepreneur as the hero and realize how much government is crippling our nations today. Gov’t should serve the people not strip away all their earnings and make it harder for companies to grow.
  10. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl – While it isn’t a business book it will show you how much the human spirit can overcome and why you’ll overcome every struggle you encounter if you’re clear on what life is really all about.  This is a great read before or after Start With Why.

+1 More — Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing – The Riveting true story of Ernest Shackleton that will rock your world.  Simply the greatest book I’ve ever read.  Tons of leadership lessons from this if you need them too but it’s also a fantastic read.  Steve Jobs bought a copy for every employee at Apple.  My grandfather Cam Shortts, who was one of the most voracious readers ever said it was his favourite book of all time. Years ago I bought a copy for EVERY franchisee and it blew them away. When you see what they endured you will KNOW that you’ll build your dream too.

Enjoy.  Frankly, I think business owners spend FAR too much time reading business books and not enough time putting the business lessons they learn deep in place in their companies.  I took 24 months off business book reading. Now for every 1 business book I read I next read 4 for fun.

16 thoughts on “My Favorite Business Books For Entrepreneurial Companies”

  1. Interesting that this is the next post after one telling you to put the books down. I assume you didn’t plan that little bit of irony.

    I love your selection. As far as impact, I believe Man’s Search for Meaning had the greatest impact on me as a human being. It’s the perfect companion to Start With Why – different words and approach, same message. Living with purpose is so important, all other decisions become relatively easy.

    As far as favorite book, Endurance has to rank up there near the top. It’s probably the one book that captured my attention so much that I refused to go to sleep as I wanted to keep reading.

    Great list, thanks for sharing.


  2. Hah – Hey Jamie – funny – hadn’t noticed that – talk about my A.D.D. coming out….

    At least I did finish this post by saying this “Frankly, I think business owners spend FAR too much time reading business books and not enough time putting the business lessons they learn deep in place in their companies.”

    1. Wow – you know what I can’t believe I forgot that one. 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing which came out just before it was also excellent. Must reads for sure. Great reminder. I have also missed putting a friend of mines book up which has had a huge impact on me – 4 Hour Work Week. Another must read by Tim Ferriss.

  3. How to Win Friends and Influence People had the biggest affect on me of any book. Glad to see Shackleton on there, favorite book!

    “Men Wanted: For hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”
    — Ernest Shackleton

  4. Great list Cameron, and Great suggestions from everyone that followed – I agree with you, we spend so much time reading and not implementing – My new focus has been on reading, re-reading, and implementing the ideas in the chapters – some chapters one at a time.

    I amde it a goal this year to read a book a week – I finally had to call a book 200 pages – and to get caught up on some of the “fun” books that I had been missing, as well as the classics – (Tom sawyer, 20,000 leagues under the sea etc…) although I am behind by about 8 weeks so far this year (or 1600 pages) I am doing way more reading then 3 years ago (I just completed my MBA so I did a TON of reading the last two years but there were very few “fun” books in between all the business books and cases.

    I have found that the reading list by Amazon on linked in is a great way to list the books that I want to read, as well as keeping track of the books I have read. – everytime somebody recomends a book I put it on there – so many good books….

  5. Nice list. Although I do read a lot (and I admit do less implementation that I wish) I have found over the years that entrepreneurs TALK a lot about reading, BUY the books, START them and then LOSE interest. Part of the reason they don’t apply strategies is that they seldom get past chapter 2.

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