For some people, the process of learning ends with the school. But if you want to continue to grow and better yourself, having a consistent reading habit can help you keep your mind sharp and develop the skills you need to make your next move.
Let’s dive right in!
How Reading Fuels Success
Many wildly successful people tout the benefits of reading and claim that this one habit is crucial to getting them where they are today.
Take a look:
- Warren Buffett spends 80% of his time reading.
- Bill Gates reads about 50 books each year.
- Mark Zuckerberg reads a book every two weeks.
- Oprah Winfrey calls books her “path to personal freedom.”
- Mark Cuban reads for three hours a day.
So, why exactly do successful people from Wall Street to Silicon Valley dedicate so much time to reading?
Here are a few of the top reasons:
- Learning new skills
- Discovering how business people see the world
- Expanding your worldview and knowledge of different industries
- Finding inspiration when obstacles seem overwhelming
Reading helps you keep your mind sharp, explore new solutions to old problems, and learn firsthand from experts. In other words, reading allows you to continue learning long after you’ve completed school or formal training.
If you’re convinced, but you don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered!
Let’s take a look at the best business books to get you started. Then, we’ll break this must-read list down into different categories to help you decide where to begin.
Top 10 Business Books
Here’s our ultimate list of the top 10 business books you should dig into:
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- Zero to One by Peter Thiel
- Good to Great by Jim Collins
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Now, let’s break these down into categories so you’ll have an idea of where to start.
Best Business Books for Beginners
Here are two beginner-friendly books to add to your reading list. They’ll show you what a business mindset is all about and prove the value of working smarter.
1. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad has become the top personal finance book of all time. Kiyosaki shares the story of growing up with two fatherly influences — his own and his close friend’s “rich dad.”
Kiyosaki explains how each of these men shaped the way he thinks about money and investing. He pulls the curtain back on the expected financial misconceptions that keep people from reaching their income potential. He also shares his journey and shows the power of making your money work for you.
2. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Nike might be a global icon today, but it took a lot of hard work to get it there. In his book Shoe Dog, Nike co-founder Phil Knight talks about launching his startup after business school with $50 he borrowed from a friend.
Knight’s funny, personable, and unfiltered self shines through in his memoir and talks about how he came to choose the unconventional path of the entrepreneur’s life. Readers will get to know Knight like never before and walk away inspired by his journey and empowered with his hard-earned wisdom on entrepreneurship.
Best Business Books for Managers
Knowing how to do your job well is one thing, and learning how to manage a team of others is another.
Here are some of the best leadership books to learn how to create productive relationships at work and get your team through tough times and successes.
3. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz is one of the most respected entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Horowitz pulls back the curtain to reveal the truth about what it’s like to lead a successful business through challenging times.
Horowitz’s book contains essential advice for any business leader, wrapped up in his no-nonsense writing style with some trademark references from the life of a rap fanatic. It’s a must-read for beginners and veterans alike, and it’s especially well-suited to those transitioning to tough times with challenging obstacles.
4. Deep Work by Cal Newport
Professor Cal Newport teaches computer science at Georgetown University. He coined the term “deep work” and explains how modern business perks like open offices and distractions such as social media get in the way of high-quality work.
In his book Deep Work, Newport highlights the significant negative impact distractions have on working well. He wraps in several memorable stories that show the importance of crafting a better workspace in a distracted world and offers surprising advice, such as the value of boredom.
5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie’s New York Times bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold over 30 million copies worldwide since first published in 1936. Despite being the oldest book on the list, it’s one of the most well-known business books ever written. Carnegie’s advice continues to stand the test of time.
As a manager, you need to sell your ideas and business changes to your team members. Carnegie teaches you a simple yet effective technique built on good habits for communicating with people and winning others over to your way of thinking without burning bridges.
Best Business Books for Starting and Scaling a Business
Starting and scaling a business is no small feat, and your journey along the way will certainly be exciting.
Here are the best business books for navigating funding, starting a business, and scaling to success.
6. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
One of the first problems entrepreneurs face is finding and sustaining that feeling of inspiration that moves others. Simon Sinek has been on a mission to find out what makes some organizations innovative and influential and find a way to help you feel more inspired at work.
In Start with Why, Sinek shows you how leaders ranging from Martin Luther King Jr. and Steve Jobs found success because they were rooted in their “why.” He builds a Golden Circle framework that enables you to use the same process to build a business that inspires others.
7. Atomic Habits by James Clear
Keeping the inspiration alive in the early days can be challenging, and there’s nothing like bad habits that can get in between you and success.
Author and entrepreneur James Clear believes that the problem isn’t you. Instead, it’s your system. In Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Break Bad Habits and Build Good Ones, Clear gives you a proven system you can use every day to improve your decision-making, develop better habits, and overcome a lack of willpower.
By creating an environment for success, you don’t have to rely on mustering motivation every day. Clear breaks down complex ideas into simple and actionable recommendations, and he helps you master the small actions that build good habits and lead to significant results in the end.
8. Zero to One by Peter Thiel
If you’re looking for a practical and optimistic book to get your creative juices flowing, pick up Peter Thiel’s Zero to One. Peter Thiel is the co-founder of PayPal, and in his book, he outlines his thoughts and insights on how to build the future you want to see.
It’s a quick read, and you can get through the book in a day or two. However, it’s still full of inspirational stories from Thiel’s time at PayPal and other pioneering founders like Bill Gates. You can use his “Seven Questions Every Business Must Answer” to test and perfect your ideas and processes.
Best Business Books for Small Business Owners
Small business owners face unique challenges, but their goals are the same: build a thriving business, not just survive.
Here are the best books for small business owners ready to take their operation to the next level.
9. Good to Great by Jim Collins
Jim Collins began his journey to writing Good to Great with one question: “Why do some businesses last and others don’t?” He assembled a team to study elite companies that lasted longer than 15 years and built success.
In his book, Collins outlines the facets of greatness, including “Level 5 Leaders” and “A Culture of Discipline.” It’s well-researched and well-written and offers practical advice for creating a thriving business.
10. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Like How to Win Friends and Influence People, Think and Grow Rich has been around since the 1930s and offers insights that stand the test of time. It’s full of timeless wisdom and actionable advice to help you get what you want out of life.
Napoleon Hill demonstrates the power of your mindset and outlines methods to deal with personal obstacles such as self-doubt and laziness. Fans of the book recommend working Hill’s exercises while reading the book and revisiting it multiple times to get the most out of it.
If you want to take your career and your business to the next level, any of these bestsellers can help you get there. Books like the ones on our list can help you see into the minds of successful individuals from the business world and learn from their hard-earned wisdom.
This list is an excellent starting point for those of you wanting to sharpen your business skills. However, there are plenty of insightful business books beyond these that can help you dive deeper into any topics that interest you.
For more valuable tips and insightful lessons from successful entrepreneurs, give our Reverse Engineered podcast a listen. You can explore topics ranging from creating a great culture to building a business so you can support the lifestyle you want to lead.
And now, we’d love to hear from you. What business books did you enjoy the most? What titles should we add to our list and why? Let us know in the comments section below.
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