UPDATE: You can view an updated version of this list over at my other blog The Business Success Factory and it’s expanded to the “Top 20 Business Books Of All Time” – but it’s more like 25 now!
Because they don’t teach business success in schools, and because I’ve always wanted to be a success and own my own business, I went looking in books for knowledge on how to become a successful business person.
The shocking thing is that nobody knows how to run your business successfully – Oh! sure, a mentor who has successfully built a business themselves can help, accelerate your success and steer you clear of the bigger holes in the road, but you HAVE to educate yourself too.
In the same way that I used to tell my Money Gym clients when they were thinking of delegating care of their cash and investing decision to highly commissioned employees in the financial services industry “Nobody will ever care about your money like you do” well, now I tell my business internet markting mentoring clients “Nobody will ever care about your business like you do!”.
(I realised for the first time I was pretty much on my own, as soon as I bought my half-million pound hotel “no money down” and I asked both my bank manager and accountant “what don’t I know that I need to know about running a business” and they both looked at me and said “every business is different and there’s no success manual”)
Well, there should be! I’ve read a LOT of business, personal development and wealth creation books – and I mean a LOT. I read perhaps a book a week and have been doing that since 1998/1999 and that’s a LOT of books. Sometimes when you read one, you know immediately it’s going to become a personal classic, due to the impact it has on you.
If you read JUST these 10 books, and implement the concepts contained therein, you will have the closest thing to a “Business Success Manual” I can think of.
In a very rough order of importance here is….
My Top 10 “Can’t Live Without” Business Success Books
- Ready Fire Aim – Micheal Masterson
This book shot straight to pole position when I read it on the advice of one of my mentors Rich Schefren and written by one of his mentors. Michael outlines the concept of your “lead product” and how, without your business being able to profitably sell your lead product, you haven’t got a business. You would be shocked how many small businesses don’t know what their “lead product” is. The power and simplicity of that concept struck me immediately and I now ask Michael’s core questions of every mentoring client I work with.
- E-Myth Revisited – Michael Gerber
Obviously a classic and still just as effective today. The first book to put forward the idea of the “franchise prototype” and how to simply and easily develop systems for your business (and more importantly to get everyone else to buy into following them!)
- 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
This was pretty much the first personal development / personal effectiveness book I ever read and it had a profound impact on me. For the first time in my life I began taking responsibility for the things that had happened to me and I still remember – and try and live by – some of the concepts I remember from that book – one being “do what is right, not what is easy”. And that’s not always easy actually!
- Rich Dad’s Guide To Investment – Robert Kiyosaki
What an eye opener “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” was! Well, this next book in the Rich Dad series had an even bigger impact on me from a business point of view. I put off reading it because it’s full title sounded a bit dry, and so did the first two thirds of the book seem at first. The general concept of the book is that we move in experience from being a novice investor to a sophisticated investor, and the more we move up the line, the higher the rewards and the higher the risks. Guess what the most sophisticated investor invest in? Start up or fledgling businesses! Now, isn’t that interesting? What do inexperienced “novice investor” type people do all the time? Start their own business! This book not only outlines the problem, it tells you what to do about it. How to assess any business so that any sophisticated investor would buy or invest in, while educating you about how to build such a business.
- Sychronicity – The Inner Path of Leadership – Joseph Jaworski
This is not only a rattling good read and the story of Jaworski’s mid-life crisis as a successful lawyer in Washington and his subsequent travels around the world looking for his purpose and passion, but it covers the Entrepreneurial Traps which I recognised instantly! I won’t say anymore but you must read this book!
- E-Myth Manager – Michael Gerber
One of the best books I’ve ever come across on how to recruit effectively, the right kind of people for your business, how to set your expectations and discover theirs, how to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in your employees, how to find out what motivates them and how to ensure that they follow the business systems you set up after reading the E-Myth book. And what to do when they don’t! As, sometimes, they won’t!
- Strikingitrich.Com: Profiles of 23 Incredibly Successful Websites You’Ve Probably Never Heard Of – Jaclyn Easton
This book totally inspired me in 1998/1999 to start to try and make a living online and profiles 23 websites that were making over $1 million per year – mainly, with hindsight, through the membership site model, which in my dimness, I’ve only just come back to in the last 4 years! Along with “Multiple Streams of Internet Income” by Robert G Allen, “Career Renegade” by Jonathan Fields and “The E-Code” by Joe Vitale, this is a “must read” for those aspiring to the internet lifestyle.
- The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard
Loved this book on managing effectively – yourself and your staff. Still aspire to have an empty diary and an empty desk, so that I can respond to situations and opportunities as they arise. A good companion book to “The E-Myth Manager” and you should also check out “Who Moved My Cheese” by the same author.
- Take Yourself to the Top by Laura Berman Fortgang
This book was one of the first career coaching books I ever read and in her inimitable down to earth, no-nonsense style, LBF as she became known in coaching circles, covers some of the best strategies for business networking I have ever come across. How to network effectively, who to choose to network with….it’s all great stuff. Read this alongside “Love Is The Killer App” by Tim Sanders which is also very cool.
- The Portable Coach: 28 Sure-fire Strategies for Business and Personal Success by Thomas J. Leonard
Thomas J Leonard was the “grandfather of coaching” and still sorely missed. The man was a bone fide genius and this, his first book, put coaching and it’s benefits firmly on the map. I still love his distinctions and one of the best was “selfish v self-ish” (think about it!). He also inspired me to write my eprogramme and thus my own book “The Money Gym” with his “Passive Income For Coaches” eprogramme and it was TJL who introduced me to 1ShoppingCart which was very ground breaking in 1999/2000 and which enabled me to grow my mailing list and thus my greatest business asset.
I hope you enjoyed this Top 10 Plus! list of business success books and that my personal reflections on each book has inspired you to go order a copy of each, I have always loved libraries (but not school) and I think we have such a wealth of knowledge in books and online, we are really doing ourselves a disservice if we don’t take every opportunity to learn how to do or be better. Even if you don’t like to read, you can listen to the audio so you really have no excuse!
I also hope you take the opportunity to check out my book, The Money Gym, inspired by all of the above and more, which I just completely re-wrote for 2010 and re-recorded the audio for. It’s bang up to date and I’m still very proud of it. Check it out on Amazon or the Kindle here >>>> or for the very best bundle deal around, buy it from my site here >>>>
Share your thoughts about the books above and any other business success books you have loved by clicking the “share your thoughts” link there!