With an onslaught of business and entrepreneurial books in the marketplace, it’s hard to truly have just one favorite. While a few books are great at focusing on one particular topic, others provide a persuasive overview of several related ideologies. This list is not meant to say there aren’t other books that would be great substitutions for the subject matter, but the key here is to note that your list will always depend on your experiences and viewpoints. Even if there are other books on your list that would replace these, the below books have been used over and over in business and are still a useful resource for savvy business leaders and entrepreneurs.
4 Influential Business Books Every Entrepreneur Should Be Reading
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Gladwell’s third non-fiction book examines the variables that directly contribute to high levels of success. In this intellectual exploration, Gladwell focuses on the “outliers” — those people who do not fit into our normal understanding of achievement. He compares many known successful business leaders by examining the time of year in which they were born, how they achieved extreme wealth, and their cultural differences.
Subjects like Bill Gates, members of The Beatles, Joseph Flom, and J. Robert Oppenheimer are all analyzed for their remarkable business acumen, strategic rise to success, and overwhelming influence. Throughout the publication, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule,” which proposes that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill lies in practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours.
Competing Against Time: How Time-Based Competition is Reshaping Global Markets by George Stalk, Jr. and Thomas M. Hout
Based on 10 years of research, this book highlights why businesses should use time-based competition for increased productivity. Using examples of leading Japanese and American manufacturers, Stalk and Hout illustrate the various processes involved in becoming a time-based competitor. According to George Stalk, “Time is the cutting edge. In fact, if used as a strategic weapon, […] time is the equivalent of money, productivity, quality, even innovation.”
Stalk and Hout teach businesses how to create a sustainable, competitive advantage by offering greater varieties of products and services at lower costs and with speedier delivery. They show business leaders how, regardless of the type of business, time is a commodity that creates a competitive advantage if used as a weapon. By becoming a time-based business, you are able to create relevance and stand out in the marketplace.
How to Win Friends and Influence People By Dale Carnegie
Published in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People is still a popular book in business and in developing effective business communication skills. Dale Carnegie’s four-part book contains advice on how to create success in business, while also addressing how to effect a tremendously positive impact in your personal life.
How to Win Friends and Influence People is packed with insightful wisdom from historical leaders and offers lessons taught by a few of history’s greatest business men. The book is as enjoyable as it is enlightening, and anyone who reads it has an advantage in life. Though one may find it a bit dated, it offers excellent advice in a variety of situations, whether networking, selling or resolving conflicts. By combining age-old truisms with the emerging field of psychology, Carnegie created a human relations roadmap to building better businesses and lives in an accessible and interesting way.
The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker
An often-cited book on business management, The Effective Executive transforms ordinary managers into leaders and inevitably effective executives. Drucker shares many thoughts and facts on management theory and implementation. From the systematic management of time to focusing on strengths, he demonstrates why leaders need to banish the spirit of generalization and focus on areas where their contributions will make the greatest impact. Filled with many lessons on executive leadership and management, Drucker highlights key takeaways like organizational excellence, time management, effective leadership, and pursuing greatness. This book is offers insightful perspectives that can be applied to any business leader or entrepreneur.
Which books have you read lately that really made you think?
I’d love to know what you’re reading and what’s on your to-read list. Leave a comment below!