Best Business Books 2017

Why read business books?

When you are in business it is natural to want to be successful. What better way to do that than study what others have done and how they do it?

Many, many business books have been written over many years covering all aspects of business. These books cover the spectrum of outlining how others have achieved success to studying discrete aspects of business processes.

Reading business books is not guaranteed to solve your problems or improve your business but taken in the right way they can be used to make a difference.

Which business books should I choose?

Books about business can be read for a variety of reasons and it is important for you to know what you are looking for.

On the one hand you can read for inspiration and in that case, at Motivating Words we would suggest that you start with Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. That is a book that covers a vast range of topics related to business and one article alone will give you a variety of other topics to consider.

You might have a business mentor that you go to for help and guidance. If so, then your reading can be tied into what you discuss with that person. If not, then you might want to start with a book that explores the whole business system such as The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.

Alternatively, you might have one aspect of your business that you wish to improve. In that case, you can direct your reading to a specific book on the topic. For example, if you know that you need to improve your sales processes and approach then you can go straight to The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes.

TitleAuthor 
The E-Myth RevisitedMichael E GerberView on Amazon
The Ultimate Sales MachineChet HolmesView on Amazon
Good To GreatJim CollinsView on Amazon
The GoalElihahuh M GoldrattView on Amazon
The 4-Hour Work WeekTim FerrissView on Amazon
The Lean StartupEric RiesView on Amazon
SimplifyRichard KochView on Amazon
Crush ItGary VaynerchukView on Amazon
OutliersMalcolm GladwellView on Amazon
The 10X RuleGrant CardoneView on Amazon

The E-Myth Revisited (Michael E Gerber)

The E-Myth Revisited

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About the book

 Aimed specifically at small business owners, this book unravels what it is that successful small businesses do where businesses that either experience mediocre results or fail, don’t to do. Putting a particular focus on the significance of the 5-year survival watershed, this book lays out a path for the smooth evolution of any small business.

With a strong emphasis on planning, The E-Myth Revisited dispels the myth that people with good ideas can, or indeed do become a huge hit overnight. It suggests that success is achieved by determination and structure. Its step-by-step approach encourages you to have a clear vision and construct a structured and logical path to achieving what you want. Taking your journey to success in bite-sized chunks is what Gerber encourages.

This book places the customer at centre stage and says that once you have your business structure and team in place, your sole focus should be the customer. Only by satisfying the customer with exceptional service and value can you grow. Gerber advocates that with a business structured around control, processes, good people and sound planning, great things can be built to attract more customers and to enable you to grow and fulfil your long term vision. He states this to be the case, as long as you put the customer at the centre.

Based on the methodology used by successful franchises, this book encourages you to draw a distinction between working on your business and working in it as a way to seeing a clear path forward.

About the author

Born in 1936, Michael E. Gerber is an American author as well as the head of his own business skills training company based in California. Hailed as a “true legend” of entrepreneurship, he has 40 years of success behind him in this field so certainly, has the credibility to provide you with some great advice

The takeaways

This book will leave you in no doubt as to what you need to do in order to survive in small business and go from there to achieve significant success. Its method is applicable no matter what your business model is and it is clear and easy to follow.

Who should read this book?

Any small business owner who wants a clear, structured and methodical route to success should have this book at the top of their ‘must read’ list. If you feel as if you’re going from one attempt at success to another without actually moving forward, this book could be the missing link you’ve been searching for.

3 great reasons to read this book

  1. It’s a highly practical and methodical way to achieving success which is ideally suited to anyone struggling to put structure around their business.
  2. Written by an expert in entrepreneurship, it contains advice that can be applied no matter what you’re selling, or to whom.
  3. It will help you establish a route to success that will leave you feeling in control and calm.

The Ultimate Sales Machine (Chet Holmes)

The Ultimate Sales Machine

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About this book

This book focuses on 12 strategies to accelerate business success. With its core message around training and education, it also touches on presentation skills, promotional communication and the importance of making sure you have top performers in your team. For me, the most illuminating parts of the book were those that helped me better understand:

  • The impact of negative thinking on results
  • How to get past people who are blocking your success
  • Who to target
  • How to handle buyers
  • How to attract attention

 This book shares valuable thoughts on everything from training staff in workshops, to effectively targeting decision-makers in big companies. The Ultimate Sales Machine not only shows you that you need to streamline your marketing and sales process, it gives you great insight into the steps you’ll need to put in place for success. If your goal is to grow your business by attracting and retaining a higher quality client or customer, this book is for definitely you.

This is a highly practical book that grounds you in specific strategies and tactics to take your business to a whole new level.

About Chet Holmes

Hailed as one of the top 20 change experts in the country, Chet Holmes has a string of impressive clients behind him, including names such as Morgan Stanley, American Express and Merrill Lynch. What’s more, his website states that he has worked with over 60 of the Fortune 500 companies, which means that he knows what he’s talking about and can share some great insights with you.

What to take from this book

This book takes a holistic approach to marketing and shows how you can accompany your buyers along their journey and encourage them to choose your solution through education and sheer determination. A book that has received some criticism for its approach, it is well worth a read if you are truly serious about moving your business forward.

Who should read this book?

Any business owner who is keen to develop a long-term strategy to set them up for serious growth would benefit from adding this book to their reading list. It will leave you with a clear strategy to move you towards the success you want. A method that encourages a long-term view and an approach that requires determination, it’s not for the faint-hearted or indeed for those who want a magic wand, but it will give you great grounding if you are truly serious about developing a long-term success mindset for your marketing.

Reasons to read this book

  1. It’s a modern day classic.
  2. It drills deep into what some well-known great companies did to achieve greatness.
  3. It is a gripping read that will leave you hungry for more and most probably keen to read Collins first book Built to Last.

Good To Great (Jim Collins)

Good To Great

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About the book

Hailed as a modern classic of management theory, this book is the result of a 5-year long research project and really drills down into the reasons why some companies have managed to go from good to great while others failed, no matter how much they tried. Although the term ‘great’ is subjective, Collins is scientific in his approach which makes the book a highly credible, as well as a valuable read. A book based on a significant amount of research and a wealth of data, you could be forgiven for fearing that this might be a heavy read. However, you need have no such fear. It reads almost like a novel.

Throughout the 9 chapters of the book, Collins cleverly and succinctly outlines both his findings and his conclusions. He presents what made companies such as Kimberley-Clark, Pitney Bowes and Walgreens outpace their competitors in an accessible and inspiring way. Early in the book, he shares the view that it’s disciplined people, disciplined thoughts and disciplined actions that are essential, but later goes on to explore subjects as deep and wide reaching as change, technology, leadership and the importance of your overall business model.

Collins speaks about ‘higher purpose’ in the concluding chapter of his book, which is an almost philosophical angle. His observations nonetheless remain accessible and solid. Often portrayed as the successor to his first book Built to Last, this book is, in fact, a great starting point and would ideally be followed by reading Built to Last.

About the author

James C. Collins or Jim Collins as he is more commonly referred to was born in 1958 in the US. He studied Mathematics at Stanford University, followed by an MBA. A Consultant and Product Manager in his early days, he then became a lecturer at Stanford and has worked with several social sector organisations since.

The takeaways from Good To Great

While this is a management book by all intents and purposes, it is so cleverly written that you’ll find yourself being able to apply its findings across a wide range of professional and even personal settings. With all of his observations based on hard facts and real evidence, the contents of this book are occasionally quite surprising and some might say verging on alarming. However, the over-riding message is that while good is accepted in a whole range of things in life, it is, in fact, the thing that most blocks us from becoming great.

Who should read this book?

Any business owner who is looking for enlightenment about exactly what it is that enables certain companies to make the leap from good to great would benefit from investing the time to read this book. Because it is based on significant research, it provides real and insightful inspiration into changes that could be applied to any business, big or small.

3 reasons to read this book

  1. It puts forward a clear and credible strategy that any business owner can adopt.
  2. It encourages a different mindset that will stand you in good stead for the long run.
  3. It is easy to read, user-friendly and contains practical exercises that will help you on your journey to success.

The Goal (Eliyahuh M Goldratt)

The Goal - in best business books

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What is it about?

Originally published in 1984, you could be forgiven for not giving this book the attention it deserves. However, with over 3 million copies sold and having been translated into more than 21 languages, it is well worthy of your attention. Regularly updated and republished, it’s a book that’s as worthwhile in today’s world as it was when it first hit the bookshelves.

A management-oriented novel, its essential focus is how to clear bottlenecks in business. Not restricted to the commercial world, the methodology presented in this book will stand you in great stead, no matter where you are reading it with your professional or personal life in mind.

A fiction story, it really brings to life the issues it addresses and makes them a whole lot more accessible for the reader. The main character, Alex Rogo is under extreme pressure to turn a business around that’s always running late. He looks to someone he met to help him make the shift required and applies what he learns to his personal life at the same time. It is these parallel storylines that make the book so appealing across the board.

You will leave this book with a significant awareness of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) and will have been introduced to the Socratic Method. But more than this, you will have a clear understanding of how to recognise and deal with bottlenecks in your work and personal life. There is little doubt that there is huge value in what this book puts forward, no matter where you are in life or indeed where you want to go.

About the author

Eliyahu Moshe Goldratt, to give him his full name, or Eli as he is often referred to was born in Israel in 1947. He died in June 2011, leaving a legacy of the Optimised Production Technique, the Theory of Constraints, the Thinking processes and a number of other tools behind him.

The takeaways

This book will show you how to overcome the barriers to making money as well as how to identify and solve problems that are holding you back. It will leave you with a much clearer idea of how you need to go about producing the results you want and dealing with things that are standing in your way.

Who should read this book?

Anyone who feels as if their life is heading for disaster either at work or at home should consider reading this book. If you are facing a continual barrage of barriers to progress, you’ll find this book not only beneficial but interesting and be stimulating at the same time. No matter whether your issues are personal or professional, there is much to be learned from the experiences of its main character Alex Rogo.

3 reasons to read this book

  1. It provides a framework to remove one of the most significant factors in not achieving success: bottlenecks.
  2. It is an easy, interesting read with real examples played out in the lives of characters we can relate to.
  3. It is as relevant today as it was back in the mid-1980s, and for anyone serious about success deserves a place on your reading list.

The 4-Hour Work Week (Tim Ferriss)

The 4-Hour Work Week

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About the book

On the face of it, this book seems too good to be true. Sparking off a series of 4-hour books, it has developed almost a cult following since it was first published in 2007. A self-help book by Timothy Ferris it shows you how you can ditch the day job and live the life you really want. Attacking society for encouraging people to wait until they are retired to have the freedom that they want and travel in the way they want to, Ferris says you can have it all now if you design your life correctly.

Encouraging a disciplined approach to work as well as outsourcing, Ferris advocates that you can achieve a whole lot more than you do now, in a whole lot less time. He himself took this journey of discovery, so the book is based on personal experience. While the book has come up against a lot of criticism because of its extreme claims, there is certainly much to be learned by reading this best seller.

While the notion that you can live wherever you want to, travel as much as you like and fund all of this by working only 4 hours a week might be too far-fetched for some, this read still has valuable lessons for us all. For anyone who is serious about improving their performance in business or in the workplace, or for someone who is seeking the additional courage to escape the rat-race, this book is a must-read.

About the author

Timothy (Tim) Ferris was born in 1977 in East Hampton, New York. With a number of best sellers under his belt, Ferris in many ways succeeded above all odds. A person who puts his success down to the leg-up he got from others, although his books are oozing confidence, you can’t help but feel he’s quite a modest guy at heart.

The takeaways

 No matter what your role, Ferris demonstrates that by planning your work with precision, by avoiding the distraction of emails, texts and calls, you can eliminate a significant amount of time you spend in the workplace. For self-employed people who are not already familiar with it, he introduces the notion of outsourcing as a way of reducing the amount of time you spend on tasks that someone else could do more profitably. All in all, he presents a credible and manageable business model that will inspire you to make a change, no matter what you’re doing right now.

Who should read this?

Anyone who is keen to get off the corporate bus and venture into the world of self-employment has much to gain from this read. People who are already self-employed and are feeling trapped or bogged down by chores will also find it inspirational and uplifting.

Why should you read this book?

  1. Because you believe and hope there is more to life.
  2. To get inspired to change.
  3. To discover an approach that could open up the path for a whole new you.

The Lean Startup (Eric Ries)

The Lean Startup

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About the book

 All businesses had to start somewhere, so arguably there have always been ‘startups’. However, the term today refers to a very specific type of business and the whole culture and methodology around startups is arguably nowhere better explored than in this book. A startup classic that is on the bookshelves of pretty much every startup and small business owner, this is a must read, no matter whether you’re in the planning phase or you’re already operational, but looking for a way of testing new ideas.

Ries starts his journey by explaining that startups need to be managed differently from traditional businesses and that their success relies on finding a sustainable business model. He shows you how to achieve this, as well as growth using validated learning and testing. The whole thrust of the book is to build, measure and learn as fast and as often as possible.

A book that addresses a complex journey in a refreshingly simple way, The Lean Startup should be on any business owner’s list who is looking to introduce new products or services as well as any startup or founder’s list. This book leaves you with a methodology that you can use over and over again and is likely to spend a long time on your desk, making it a great investment as well as a great read.

About the author

Born in the US in 1978, Eric Ries studied at Yale and started his entrepreneurial journey by creating an online forum where graduates could connect with potential employers. With a keen interest in startups from the beginning of his career, Ries spent time on incubator boards and getting involved in VC. While his early efforts at entrepreneurship were hit hard by the bursting of the dot-com bubble, Ries went on to work at IMVU, and it was from there that his career really took off.

What to take from this

A guy who has seen success and failure up close, Ries has uncanny insight, and when you’ve read this book, you will be in no doubt as to what you need to do to succeed. A methodology that’s simple, logical and accessible in equal measure, you’ll come away from this reading with a clear picture of what you need to do and how you need to do it.

Who should read this book?

Anyone who is thinking of starting a business should have this book on their ‘must read’ list. Equally, any business owner who is looking to introduce a new product or service should include it on their reading list. It will empower you by providing you with a clear strategy of what to do and when in order to increase your chances of success.

Why should you read this book?

  1. Its methodology comes from someone who has spent a lifetime up close and personal with startups.
  2. It provides a clear and accessible strategy to accelerate your chances of success.
  3. It is an easy read that will introduce you to a methodology you can use again and again.

Simplify (Richard Koch and Greg Lockwood)

simplify

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About Simplify

Written by entrepreneur Richard Koch and VC Greg Lockwood, this book explores companies like Apple, IKEA, Uber and Airbnb. Encouraging the reader to embrace is what it’s all about. Hailed by CEOs from a whole host of businesses as the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle of business success books they’d read in the past, Simplify is in this best business books list because it really is a must-read for any business owner who’s serious about significant growth.

Based on a simple model, this book is a complete stand-alone solution that is simple to understand, easy to get your head around and works. Focusing on results and market position, it provides you with a simple methodology that is backed up by the fact that names such as Apple have used it and are evidence that it is successful.

A book that’s easy to read, Simplify leaves you excited to get started and lives up to its name. The layout is extremely user-friendly and lends itself to quickly providing the answers whenever you have questions. In a nutshell, its simplicity makes it incredibly appealing and accessible.

About the authors

Richard Koch, who also wrote The 80/20 Principle is an entrepreneur with lots of experience in setting up and investing in startups. He has written over 20 books on business and success and is inspirational in his style. Born in London in 1950 he now lives in Gibraltar. With company names under his belt such as Filofax, Plymouth Gin and FanDuel he has his own direct string of simple successes behind him to prove his worth.

Greg Lockwood, a Kelloggs Graduate is a founder of Piton Capital, a London VC firm who also worked with Richard Koch on their best seller, Superconnect.

The things to take from this book

For anyone in business, this book is a great roadmap to success. As its name suggests, you leave the read with no doubt that simplicity is the key to success. And once you see how the method works, you’ll be keen to get started on it in your own company. A really motivating book, it helps you visualise exactly what you need to do to achieve success by simply and methodically putting the essential elements in place. It truly is a formula that you can apply yourself and see the results.

Who should read this book?

Any business owner who’s looking for a clear and straightforward path to growth should consider reading Simplify. In particular, those of you who have tried other business success books that haven’t struck a chord with you. Simplify is well worth consideration. This really is an inspirational ready, even if you finish it not 100% sold on the method.

3 great reasons to read this book?

  1. Its methodology is based on fact.
  2. It gives you a solution that’s simple and easy to implement.
  3. It is an easy read that will have you raring to go and make changes to your business right from the start.

Crush It (Gary Vaynerchuk)

crush it

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About the book

If you’re one of the many people today who’s disillusioned with the traditional 9-5 workplace and yearn the freedom and excitement that ‘doing your own thing’ would bring, this book is a must-read. It’s also a great solution for startup and small business owners who are feeling frustrated by their lack of growth. An enlightening and encouraging blueprint for how you could change your passion into a profession, your small business into a giant, it’s perhaps the missing link in the success chain you’ve been looking for to confirm that you can have what you want.

Putting the power of the internet at centre stage, this is a really accessible, yet inspirational read. It shows you step-by-step how you can create Brand You and reach out to an audience of people who will pay you for your skills. It will give you the confidence you’ve been lacking until now to believe that you can change your life and it needn’t be as tough as you may think.

This book provides a step-by-step insight into harnessing the power of the internet to grow your business. It explores the use of branding and social media to build a community on which you can grow your business and become a success. It even goes the extra mile and shares how, once you have developed a significant community, your business will be ripe for significant expansion by taking advantage of advertising opportunities and external investment.

About the Gary Vaynerchuk

An infectious character, Vaynerchuk’s direct style and colourful language isn’t everyone’s bag, but there is no getting away from the fact that he came from nowhere and is now a big personality when it comes to entrepreneurship and social media. Born in 1975 in the Soviet Union, Vaynerchuk moved to the US at the age of 3. He is reported as having been brought up in a studio apartment in New York with 8 other family members, so didn’t have any sort of privileged start in life. He stumbled on his method originally when he made over the family liquor store into a wine business and revolutionised it with his online strategy.

The takeaways

This book demonstrates that even the smallest, humblest of businesses can achieve world domination today, thanks to the power of the internet. While some may be cynical of this and suggest that Vaynerchuk was just ‘in the right place at the right time’ there are still hugely valuable lessons to be learned by his approach. By getting into a similar mindset, you mightn’t achieve Vaynerchuk’s level of success, but you should certainly be able to carve a really nice niche for yourself.

Who should read this book?

Anyone who’s keen to get out of the rat race of 9-5 working and turn their passion into a profession will get huge inspiration from this book. Or if you’re a startup or small business owner and want to get the wind of the internet in your sails, this book is for you. If you like a direct style that’s brimming with excitement and motivation, you’ll just love Vaynerchuk’s approach. It will leave your mind buzzing with ideas for how your life can be.

Why should you read this book?

  1. It’s a great read, written by a guy who succeeded against the odds.
  2. Its methodology works. Vaynerchuk himself is evidence of this.
  3. It will introduce you to a whole new way of thinking that could get you to exactly where you want to be.

Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell)

outliers

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About the Outliers

Defining an outlier as a person who has achieved against the odds, this book challenges the whole notion of ‘self-made’. It maintains that external factors, as well as what you're born with and what you do, are what contribute to your overall success. This book invites us to question why we are so drawn by ‘self-made’ stories and look instead at other things that have factored into the success of those who were statistically unlikely to succeed.

Outliers puts forward examples like being tall doesn’t necessarily make you a good basketball player and being at the bottom of the class in law school doesn’t mean you’ll be a worse lawyer than the guy or girl who was first in the class. It argues that once you reach a certain level of ability, it’s then a combination of hard work, social skills, your network and ever luck that will determine how far you go. Putting forward the theory that you need a minimum of 10,000 hours of practice before becoming good at something, you can see that this book isn’t for those seeking the easy option.

Outliers also advocates that you need to have the opportunity to achieve. Take the example of the parents who drove their kid around the country to play tennis tournaments at great financial cost. That kid became a star in large part because of the sacrifice his parents made. Stating that age, social and financial standing are also factors in your chances of achieving.

While none of these claims are new or unusual, this book presents them in a truly accessible and credible way. What it cleverly does is give you an understanding of the reasons behind the unfairness in the world and helps you develop your strategy for overcoming the inequalities that exist.

About the author

An English-born Canadian journalist, author and speaker, Malcolm Timothy Gladwell to give him his full name was born in 1963 in Fareham, Hampshire. He has written 5 books in total. Apart from this one, the best known are arguably Blink, and David and Goliath. Particularly interested in sociology, psychology and social psychology, Gladwell has a somewhat unusual, yet effective approach to motivating you to achieve success.

What this book teaches

While we can all pull out the excuse that we were born at the wrong time, in the wrong place or in the wrong family, Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule will help break down these self-defeating beliefs.

Who should read this?

Anyone who feels as if life has dealt them an impossible card would benefit from reading this book. It motivates you by making it clear that there will always be people better positioned for success, but you can’t change when you were born, who you were born to or where you came into this world, however you can change the effort you put into your journey.

3 reasons to read this book

  1. Why should you read this book?It is brilliant and entertaining at the same time as being valuable in your self-development journey.
  2. It is an intimate, almost autobiographical read that will leave you brimming with ideas.
  3. It will help you carve your own unique path to success.

The 10X Rule (Grant Cardone)

The 10X Rule

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About the book

An inspiring read for business owners and professionals alike, the 10X Rule introduces the reader to the notion of “Massive Action”. This book puts forward massive action as a route to success that can be adopted by anyone who wants something enough. It maintains that the key to success is knowing what you want and working 10X harder than anyone else to make sure you get it.

Describing the majority of the population as people who operate within 3 degrees of action: no action, retreat or normal action, this books makes it clear that if you’re serious about achievement in your professional or personal life, you need to take massive action. This is hailed as the 4th level and the book takes you through what you need to do to adopt this mindset and achieve your goals. It shows you how to, and encourages you to:

  1. Set your sights high.
  2. Understand the effort you’ll need to make to achieve and exceed your expectations, then multiply that by 10.
  3. Make massive effort part of your natural self.
  4. Manage your time better.
  5. See why others fail, so you can avoid their mistakes.
  6. Develop a formula to solve problems and overcome adversity.

Encouraging you to set targets for yourself that are 10X more than you think you can achieve and take actions that are 10X greater than you think you need to, if you’re truly serious about success, this book should take to heights you can only imagine right now.

About the Grant Cardone

An American author, motivational speaker, investor and sales trainer, Grant Cardone was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1958. A twin, he is child number 4 in a family with 5 children. An accountant by qualification, Cardone had a simple school and university education but has gone on to achieve great things in motivational circles. This is probably down to his decision not to follow the classic accountancy route but go into sales at the outset instead.

The takeaways

Unlike some other similar books on the market right now, this book will convince you that only by extraordinary application and effort will you enjoy extraordinary results. In a world where we are led to believe that success can be achieved in a 4-hour week, this book will shock some and inspire others. By encouraging you to set out your stall and go out to break every record you set yourself, you are sure to finish the read motivated.

Who should read this book?

This book will appeal most to ambitious people who are energetic and have no fear of hard work. Anyone who has already tried and failed to achieve their goals is likely to find this book an exciting and inspirational read.

3 great reasons to read this book

  1. It provides a clear and structured approach to getting what you want.
  2. It will inspire you to go the extra mile.
  3. It will leave you motivated and hungry for success.

What about other business-related books?

When considering our list of best business books we realised that the range of books was so large that we needed to narrow things down and as a result, we have two other related pages for you to look at – Best Marketing Books and Best Personal Development Books as well.

Basically, you are never going to be short of reading material!

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