This is a list of the best business books of all time.
These books have been read by tens of millions of people…
…and have helped them start and grow thousands of businesses.
Whether you need books on starting a business or you are looking for strategy books or marketing books…
…this list is for you.
Let’s jump into it.
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Best Business Books of All Time
Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras
Built to Last is an impeccably researched business book that is bound to open your mind to new astounding ideas about companies. By comparing visionary companies, Collins and Porras portray that the same ideas won’t guarantee you success unless you possess specific characteristics. The astounding yet scary part is that there is no right or wrong – all that matters is your purpose, passion, vision, and values.
Built to Last is full of detailed examples that are meticulously organized to form a framework of real-world concepts. This book serves as a blueprint that can be easily applied by entrepreneurs and managers.
This is one of the best leadership books you can read to help you accelerate towards your dreams.
The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business
by Josh Kaufman
Many have compared this book to a crash course MBA. Instead of spending money on an expensive business degree, you can learn all the concepts you need to succeed in business in a single book.
The Personal MBA is the most comprehensive of all the books on starting a business in this list. Marketing, negotiating, strategy, and setting goals that stick are all covered in a simple, yet thorough style.
For those intending to step out of employment and into entrepreneurship, this book is a comprehensive overview. For anyone considering an MBA, regardless of career stage, read this book first.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
by Ben Horowitz
The information in this book goes far beyond a how-to business book. It draws on Horowitz’s personal experiences in Silicon Valley, and his hard-earned successes.
Horowitz is brutally honest about how hard it is to run a successful business. He describes all the difficult moments, mental battles, and stressful situations he faced throughout his career, and all that he learned.
The result is different than most success books — a realistic view from a successful entrepreneur.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
by Cal Newport
Deep Work gives new insight into how people produce their best work. The author asserts that many people work at the shallow end of focus, with social media and cultural changes to blame. Because of our distracting environment, it is nearly impossible to concentrate on anything.
Deep Work helps people rediscover a deep state of focus and concentrate on things that matter. The book will inspire you to eliminate unnecessary distractions and work smarter.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie
One of the fundamental keys to business and sales is the ability to network and build relationships. This bestselling business book promises to instill the communication and persuasion skills it takes to succeed.
Instrumental to people who are socially awkward, this book offers tips on developing listening skills and starting conversations. But ultimately, the book is aimed at helping business people succeed in sales. That’s why this self-help classic also has a place on the shelf of must-read business books. Although originally published in 1936, much of the advice in this book is timeless.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
by Phil Knight
This is a fascinating account from Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike, of his life and the birth of one of the biggest shoe companies in the world. Many books have been written about Nike, but in Shoe Dog, you get to hear directly from the man responsible for its success.
Phil Knight pours his heart out in this emotionally-charged account, and the results are inspiring.
Traction: How any Start-up Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth
by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares highlight the reason most startups fail — not lack of product, but lack of customers. With simple language and actionable advice, the authors provide solutions. They’ve written one of the best strategy books for gaining traction.
As the title suggests, this book provides strategies for finding more customers and a great list of business hacks for your business. It covers all of the available marketing channels, both traditional and digital, as well as how to choose the right channels for your business.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
by Greg McKeown
The information provided in this book is tailor-made for individuals who want to simplify their lives. McKeown is a public speaker, author, and business consultant who has developed a system to juggle all these roles successfully.
Throughout the book, McKeown presents a systematic discipline that teaches readers how to discern what is vital — and eliminate the rest.
Essentialism is one of the must-read books for entrepreneurs. It’s much more than a time management book; it presents a practical theory for making life a more productive and enjoyable experience.
The Answer: Grow Any Business, Achieve Financial Freedom, And Live an Extraordinary Life
by John Assaraf and Murray Smith
This book helps you understand how your subconscious mind may be undermining your efforts. The authors go into great detail about the theories around this issue. They go on to provide solutions to overcome the power of the subconscious mind.
The Answer stands out from other popular business books because it avoids the usual get-rich-quick nonsense. Instead, it challenges you to figure out how your subconscious is limiting you and keeping you stuck, regardless of your goals.
Zero to One: Notes on Start-up, or How to Build the Future
by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters
Many businesses come up quickly in today’s world, then crumble just as quickly. Among other factors, this is due to a lack of originality and creativity in solving problems.
In this book, Thiel takes on the trend of starting businesses that already exist and tears down the copycat mentality. He challenges the reader to focus on innovation.
Thiel calls for a mind shift that looks to the future needs of the world. He explains the power and advantage that monopolies hold compared to companies that compete for market share. For those looking for the next big idea, this is the book to read.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
by Cal Newport
So Good They Can’t Ignore You is an eye-opening take on how to build a truly satisfying career and life. The premise is comedian Steve Martin’s line, “be so good they can’t ignore you.”
Newport argues that the cliché advice to follow your dreams is profoundly flawed. Building from his own experience and that of other professionals he reveals that matching passion to a job is not enough. Instead, he argues that passion comes later — after you work hard to build skill and excellence in your chosen profession.
If you’re thinking about starting a business, this book will help you gain perspective on work, passion, and living a fulfilling life.
Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s
by Ray Kroc
Ray Kroc shares his secrets and drive to change the world in Grinding It Out. He explains how his life changed at the age of 52 when he got into the automation of the food industry. This innovation fast-tracked the explosive growth of McDonald’s.
One of the best business biographies, this book will teach you about resilience and persistence. And Kroc is not shy about revealing the mistakes he has made in his personal life and business.
This book is not only motivational but also a call to action for those who have yet to make a mark in their field.
by Maxwell Maltz
Psycho-Cybernetics provides readers with a different approach to success. Maxwell states that people who don’t make mistakes aren’t taking risks. Therefore, they end up never being successful.
The main theme of the book is how to cultivate a productive mind and create success by changing your mental attitude. Maltz speaks about how critical it is for you to prepare appropriately and detach from the outcome. This way, you will perform better and live in the moment.
Psycho-Cybernetics explains how happiness is a choice despite circumstances.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
by Mark Manson
In this awesome business book, Mark Manson provides a counter-argument to the positive-thinking movement. He describes how acceptance of reality, including negative feelings and circumstances, is the best way to achieve happiness and success.
The book uses scientific research and humor to illustrate the importance of focussing only on the important things in life — and not giving a f*ck about the rest.
The best entrepreneur books are often those which help people gain the confidence to follow their own path, regardless of what others think. This book is designed to help you do just that.
by Eugene Schwartz
In the hands of an expert, advertising is the key that propels a business from zero sales to unimaginable profits. Eugene Schwartz breaks down every step of creating an ad, from writing an irresistible headline to removing objections.
Breakthrough Advertising goes deep into the emotional factors causing people to buy, and how to influence them with your ad copy. This book is considered among the top marketing books of all time for a reason — the advice in Breakthrough Advertising will take your copywriting to the next level, even when applied to modern platforms.
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
by Dan Ariely
This book makes you rethink emotions, expectations and social norms and how they provoke your behavior. And it will make you think of your ‘uniqueness’ differently.
Unlike most books on human behavior, Predictably Irrational does not dive too deeply into statistics. Instead, Ariely uses everyday scenarios to illustrate how emotions, patterns of thinking, and environment determine our choices. And he teaches how to break free of these hidden forces to make better decisions.
10x Marketing Formula: Your Blueprint for Creating Competition Free Content that Stands out and Gets Results
by Garrett Moon
As marketing content floods online spaces, businesses are now, more than ever, looking for ways to create content that stands out. 10x Marketing Formula is one of the best business strategy books you will find for content marketing. In this book, Garrett Moon looks at drawing traffic to your business with compelling content that outshines your competitors.
Moon describes the strategies he used in starting and growing CoSchedule. The marketing book does not give sugar-coated solutions. Instead, it demonstrates how to gain traction for your content quickly. It also dismisses the myth that you need a big budget to create highly engaging content.
This is the book that will take your marketing strategy to the next level.
The Magic of Thinking Big: Acquire the Secrets of Success and Achieve Everything You’ve Always Wanted
by Dr. Schwartz
Dr. Schwartz shares a detailed and precise method to open a path to success in every area of your life. Whether you are intellectual or not, the book will ensure you understand the habits of behaving and thinking that foster success.
This book helps you identify the causes of failure and cultivate the right attitude to excel. It will help revive your inner potential and motivate you to overcome obstacles.
Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy to cure the Blank page Blues and Attract a Profitable Audience
by Pamela Wilson
In Master Content Marketing, Pamela Wilson takes the reader through a step-by-step process to unlock the secrets of creating online content, as a highly-effective marketing tool, and one of our favorite online business models.
Pamela Wilson draws on her 30+ years of marketing and content creation in this engaging and practical guide.
The design makes it easy to implement, with checklists and strategies to get results right away. The writing is simple and friendly enough to take all your content writing fears away.
Wilson teaches how to create content that is highly relevant, useful, and engaging to your audience — and how to do it consistently. After reading this book, you’ll have a turn-key process to keep your content fresh and never start with a blank page.
Listen to this interview with Pamela Wilson to learn about her highly-effective content marketing strategy.
Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
by Simon Sinek
Start With Why, presented by Simon Sinek, is among the best leadership books to illustrate a new theory of success. Sinek compares successful people and ties them to a common motivation as the driver behind their excellent leadership.
Sinek argues the drive that steered leaders like Steve Jobs and the Wright brothers was not profit. It was their ability to answer the question, “Why?” He demonstrates how defining the underlying motivation can inspire an organization to achieve great heights.
Whether you want to inspire or be inspired, this book provides many stories and examples about great leaders and why they were so influential.
Outrageous Advertising That’s Outrageously Successful: Created for the 99% of Small Business Owners Who Are Dissatisfied With the Results They Get From Their Current Advertising
by Bill Glazer
This book challenges standard advertising methods and introduces a bold new approach. Bill Glazer uses real-life examples to show how independent and ingenious thinking can transform a business.
The book centers around boosting profits while sustaining a customer base that is hooked to your advertising messages. It provides lifelong advertising guidelines and acts as a reference book for any time you feel stuck. And Glazer’s bold and edgy personality makes the book memorable and fun to read.
Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations
by William Ury
William Ury presents solid strategies for when you find yourself up against an adversarial negotiating partner. Whether you’re facing hostile behavior, deceit, or imbalance of power, Ury teaches how to remain calm get past it. He shows you how to determine what your opponent truly wants, and use that to move towards an agreement.
His highly actionable advice will help you become a more effective negotiator, even in the toughest situations. If you’re looking for the best books to learn business, be sure to include Getting Past No to sharpen your negotiating skills.
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz
This is an easy-to-read and engaging book that will put you in a better position for negotiating in any situation. Voss invites you into his head and shares the techniques he used during his career as an FBI agent.
This book is a must read for those who need a competitive edge during high-stakes business negotiations.
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life
by Scott Adams
Scott Adams, the creator of the long-running syndicated comic strip, Dilbert, narrates his life story in this engaging book. He explains how he failed at almost everything he set out do, but learned valuable lessons with every attempt.
Filled with Adams’ trademark humor, this book provides insights on creating a satisfying life — and they aren’t what you might expect. The book outlines how to use systems instead of goals to increase your odds of success.
This is probably one of the most entertaining business books to read. It provides not only comic relief, but solid advice on getting up after failure, acquiring new skills, and managing energy to achieve great things.
Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Decisive is a decision-making guide thoroughly researched and brilliantly presented by Chip and Dan Heath.
The authors argue that humans are prone to faulty decision making, due to the nature of our brains. This book will teach you how to eliminate biases and irrational thoughts from your process.
With the tools in this book, you can make smarter decisions and get better results in all areas of your life.
Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World where Facts Don’t Matter
by Scott Adams
Many of the best books to read for business take universal concepts and apply them to marketing. In this book, Scott Adams takes on the power of persuasion and shows how you can use it in advertising and marketing. Borrowing examples from politics, Win Bigly carefully dissects cases where persuasion was used to pull votes.
Adams highlights the techniques that worked in politics and demonstrates how to apply them in your business and personal life. He argues that instead of stating facts, you should always lean towards the desired outcome when trying to win people over to your cause.
No B.S Direct Marketing: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing for Non-Direct Marketing Businesses
by Dan Kennedy
Dan Kennedy is a serial entrepreneur, who has built multiple businesses through direct response marketing. In this book, he reveals the secrets he used to create mail-order, infomercial, and direct mail sales campaigns, and shows you how to apply them to any business.
Kennedy has written the best small business books to help entrepreneurs take control of their sales process. As he says in the title, Kennedy teaches the principles of bold marketing, directly to customers. These fundamentals can be applied in any medium — making this a timeless must-read for marketing professionals and entrepreneurs alike.
No B.S Sales Success in the New Economy: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct marketing for Non-Direct Marketing Businesses
by Dan Kennedy
Dan Kennedy presents keys to transform your sales strategies and help you attract more customers in a crowded global marketplace.
The book delves into direct sales tactics and copywriting details, essential in today’s economy. It also talks about preparing for adverse outcomes to increase resilience.
Many of the ideologies laid out are applicable even outside the business world. Since trust is in short supply and competition is higher than ever, Kennedy teaches how to build trust, and stand out.
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Kiyosaki uses the stories of two influential figures in his early life to illustrate how some people create wealth, and others remain poor. In this classic business book, he pinpoints the thought patterns and beliefs that get in the way of financial success. These include lack of knowledge about investments, and the idea that employment is the only way to earn a living.
Kiyosaki encourages parents to expose their children to the business world at a young age, as opposed to emphasizing school. He also looks at untapped opportunities in real estate investing while providing a guide on how to start and own businesses.
Rich Dad Poor Dad is on many lists of top ten business books because it covers fundamentals of creating wealth that everyone can learn from. Regardless of your profession or age, Rich Dad Poor Dad can help you improve your financial status.
The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure
by Grant Cardone
The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone is a motivational book that will steer you out of your comfort zone and into action. Cardone presents an argument that for extreme success, individuals have to do more and not settle for mediocrity.
The book teaches you how to go beyond the three degrees of action: no action, retreat, and common action. The fourth degree of action is the 10X rule — massive action to achieve massive results.
Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell aims to cut through the myths of success by looking at not only traits but origin and environment of the highly successful. He handpicks high achievers and explains how their culture, background, and other factors made them who they are today.
Gladwell uses the stories in this book to illustrate how the availability of opportunity is a large contributing factor to many people’s success. He also dispels the myth of natural talent by citing those considered to be geniuses in their fields. In most cases, 10,000 hours of practice led them to mastery.
Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Businesses and Influence and How You Can Too
by Gary Vaynerchuk
The stability and longevity of any business depend on the ability of its owner to adapt to changes in the business world. As the world shifts gears to the digital space, entrepreneurs must also move their marketing to digital platforms. Gary Vaynerchuk explains the best way to do that.
With an entertaining yet straightforward style, Vaynerchuk breaks down existing social media platforms. He shows how each one can be used to market your business. The book also includes voices from successful entrepreneurs to show how each platform helped them increase profits.
Dotcom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online
by Russell Brunson
In a brilliantly packaged book, Brunson explains why low traffic and conversions may not be the real problem with your online presence. He reveals how to use sales funnels to turn followers into loyal customers and in turn, grow your business.
Dotcom Secrets is among the best business strategy books about digital marketing. The book puts together business advice and real-life examples of what works and what does not. While the online space is flooded with products similar to yours, this book explains how to make your message different.
If you are struggling to create convincing and persuasive marketing content, this book is precisely what you need.
Invisible selling Machine: 5 Steps To Crafting an Automated Evergreen Email Campaign That Makes Money While You Sleep
by Ryan Deiss
In this book, Ryan Deiss gives a simple framework to take the guesswork out of email marketing. He provides practical techniques that you can implement right away in your email campaigns.
The book dissects this powerful marketing tool and breaks it down into five steps, each leading into the next. With the system in this book, you can automate your sales process and watch your business grow.
If you’re looking for the best business books for beginners to email marketing and those who want to improve, you can’t go wrong with Invisible Selling Machine.
The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Work or Just Making Noise?
by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
It’s hard to break through the noise and make an impact with your content since everyone has a platform online. In this book, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith reveal how to break the mold and craft unique and impactful content.
The book emphasizes the importance of honesty and articulation to build powerful connections with your audience. You can apply The Impact Equation to everything from blog posts to YouTube videos, to social media posts. If you want your online content to have a meaningful outcome, read this book.
Virtual freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive and Build Your Dream Business
by Chris Ducker
It is easy to burn out when starting a business, as a lone operator trying to do everything yourself. Chris Ducker explains how to get help from affordable alternatives by outsourcing.
In this guide to hiring and working with virtual staff, you will learn how to gain back your time and freedom as your business continues to grow. With Ducker’s expert advice, you can find and manage the perfect online employees, whether you need a marketing specialist, a project manager, or a virtual assistant.
Idea to Execution: How to Optimize, Automate and Outsource Everything in Your Business
by Ari Meisel and Nick Sonnenberg
This book proves you do not need a big budget or staff to start pursuing your dreams. Ari Meisel and Nick Sonnenberg tell the story of how they turned an idea into a functioning business in just 24 hours — without spending any money.
Meisel and Sonnenberg reveal the strategies of outsourcing, automating, and optimizing to launch and operate a business with maximum efficiency. Whether you’re starting out or looking for ways to simplify your business, this is one of the best entrepreneur books to get you started quickly.
Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less
by Sam Carpenter
In a perfect world, most people wish they could work fewer hours and earn more money. In this book, Sam Carpenter shows you how to turn this wishful thinking into reality.
Carpenter shares his story of becoming frustrated in his business — working all the time and still not getting ahead. He realized that instead of reacting to problems, he could eliminate them by establishing and improving systems for everything. These revelations have been captured in this inspiring book.
This book will show you that thinking of life as a series of interconnected systems can create order and eliminate chaos. Whether you are looking for top management books or simply to improve your productivity, Work the System will help you.
The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less
by Richard Koch
Richard Koch demonstrates in this book that 80 percent of your output depends on 20 percent of the effort that you put in it.
The 80/20 Principle explains how to determine where you spend your time and energy for maximum results. It can also help you identify the 20 percent of customers that contribute to 80 percent of your profits.
By focussing on quality over quantity, The 80/20 Principle has the potential to skyrocket your productivity in all areas of life. Not only can you stop chasing after customers that won’t help your business, but you can stop wasting time on activities that don’t get results.
This principle has been crucial to my success and the success of Hack the Entrepreneur. For example, over the past few months, we’ve begun to focus on SEO and getting our articles on the first page of Google. This focused effort has increased our traffic by 223% in just three months!
The Secret of Selling Anything
by Harry Browne
In this book, Harry Browne pokes holes in myths around what makes a good salesperson. He shows the reader why selling is not necessarily an inborn trait.
This book dissects the personality traits said to provide a natural advantage in sales and shows how they can be a liability. Instead, Browne introduces the power of paying attention to potential customers and why honesty instead of flamboyance wins clients.
The book also explains why it is vital to know the motivation behind potential customers, and how to use this motivation to make an effective sales pitch.
How to Get Rich: One of the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets
by Felix Dennis
It is one thing to run a successful business and another to create lasting wealth. Felix Dennis understands the difference between the two and explains it in this book.
The lessons outlined in How to Get Rich came from Dennis’ personal experiences, both successes, and failures. He tears down the concept of humility and considers public failure to be a sign of growth and not humiliation. He also believes that the ability to make money can be learned, regardless of circumstance, and that anyone can learn to do it.
The One Sentence Persuasion Course – 27 Words to Make the World Do your Bidding
by Blair Warren
If you can master the art of persuasion, you can reach unimaginable heights in your business. The One Sentence Persuasion Course is one of the top business books to quickly learn this important skill.
Blair Warren shares the secrets of persuasion, researched obsessively for more than a decade, in this short but powerful book. He distills his highly effective methods into one practical sentence.
This book teaches you to use persuasive language not only in marketing but in any situation where you want people to take action.
by Marcus Aurelius
This book is a collection of thoughts from one of the world’s most influential philosophers, Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. The teachings in the book are profound but they offer simple and practical ways to live with purpose.
Aurelius wrote about how to be selfless, let go of unnecessary emotions, and focus on what truly matters in life.
Tested Advertising Methods
by John Caples
John Caples focuses on small businesses and looks at ways of creating affordable advertising that gets results. The book explores the power of headlines and why these alone could determine the impact of your advertising.
Tested Advertising Methods is also a guideline for writers packed with tips on grabbing attention with your ads. Caples notes that giving the audience a reason to purchase the product or service is the most crucial aspect of an advertisement.
Cashvertising: How to Use More Than 100 Secrets of Ad Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone
by Drew Eric Whitman
Drew Eric Whitman teaches you to use the same techniques being used in big-budget ad campaigns created by top ad agencies. The book takes you through the headlines and captions that were successful and explains why they work.
Although the book centers on advertising for print, the guidelines can be applied for broadcast and online advertising as well. The book is short, catchy and uses real-life examples that will help you improve your marketing.
The Boron Letters
by Gary Halbert
This book is a collection of letters from one of the best copywriters of the direct mail era, Gary Halpert, to his son. Halpert writes about his approach to writing super-effective sales copy, as well as giving general life advice.
Halpert emphasizes that the most critical part of the sales message is not the content but the preparation that comes before it. He describes the process that a copywriter should go through before sitting down to write, including market research and deciding on a product.
MAKE: Bootstrapper’s Handbook
by Pieter Levels
Pieter Levels, serial bootstrapper, understands what it takes to make and launch excellent software products. He lays down the steps in this book, from choosing an original idea and building a product, to launching and monetizing.
This book is a guide for anyone who wants to start a business independently, without a big budget – or anyone looking to get side hustle ideas.
The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies
by Chet Holmes
Chet Holmes makes an argument against the tendency to switch strategies and focus on too many things at once when trying to improve sales. Instead, he lays out 12 key areas that can impact your business and advises focussing on just one at a time.
Holmes outlines a disciplined approach to growth. With continuous improvement in each area, he promises a radical transformation of your business over time.
Getting Everything You Can out of All You’ve Got: 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform and Out-Earn the Competition
by Jay Abraham
In this book, marketing guru Jay Abraham puts together 21 practical theories for effective marketing and sales. In a step-by-step format, Abraham explains each concept with real-life examples and actionable advice.
He describes how a passion for what you are selling translates into more effective marketing, happier clients, and more referrals. This book will help you build customer loyalty, and prioritize your marketing efforts. If you want your business to stand out, this book will show you how.
Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional’s Guide to Growing a Practice
by Alan Weiss
Renowned consultant, Alan Weiss, shares his story of becoming a highly sought-after consultant. Million Dollar Consulting is one of the top business books to read if you want to start or grow a consulting practice.
The book emphasizes focusing on the end result — and eliminating everything that does not contribute to it. Weiss teaches the reader how to become irresistible, express your value, and continually improve.
Getting Started in Consulting
by Alan Weiss
Setting out in the consulting business can be tough. From convincing clients to hire you, to deciding how much to charge, there is much to learn. In this book, Alan Weiss provides practical solutions to get you started.
The book covers everything you need to know about starting your consulting career, including insurance, sales, and marketing. The book also shares how to keep your new consulting clients happy and ensure they have confidence in your advice.
Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits! : 4 Keys to Unlock Your Business Potential
by Greg Crabtree
Seeing the big picture of the financial health of your business can be difficult when you do not have a financial background. Greg Crabtree simplifies how to manage small business finances for maximum profits in this straightforward guide.
Crabtree explains how to identify key financial indicators to aid decision making in the early stages of your business. He also offers advice on how to determine and manage budget, valuation, employees, and taxes for your business.
With simple language that non-finance people can understand, this book will boost your financial intelligence and help improve your cash flow.
Managing Oneself: The Key to Success
by Peter F. Drucker
In this book, Peter F. Drucker tears down the idea that we can be anything we want to be. Instead, he advises self-awareness. He introduces a series of questions to develop a thorough understanding of yourself. The process is designed to help you discover your values, as well as how you work, learn, and relate to others.
Drucker explains how to use this knowledge to make your greatest contribution and achieve success. When you can effectively communicate what you need, you can create the perfect conditions to produce your best work. And when you recognize the importance of working to individual strengths and weaknesses, your relationships can dramatically improve.
The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done
by Peter F. Drucker
Productivity depends on more than simply producing the most work — you need the ability to focus on what is important and ignore what is not. In this step-by-step guide, Peter F Drucker focuses on habits to increase your effectiveness and efficiency.
The book offers a perspective on time management and work prioritization that will help you in running a business, as well as achieving personal goals.
The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the Business of Life
by Alice Schroeder
In this book, Alice Schroeder explores the life of investor and philanthropist Warren Buffet. The book describes the lessons Buffet learned during his years in business, and the motivation behind his philanthropy.
This inspiring biography encourages giving back to the society once you attain a level of success. Buffet’s story also provides some insight on how to achieve that success. Throughout the book, Buffet emphasizes hard work and productivity. He also urges the reader to identify what they want to accomplish in life and start early.
The 48 Laws of Power
by Robert Greene
If there is a book that will push you beyond average into an ambitious state, this is it. Robert Greene takes a hard-hitting approach in explaining human nature and individual power.
The book focuses on discovering and leveraging your personality and character traits. It defies the assumption that certain personalities are more powerful than others. Instead, the book teaches how to access power, regardless of your nature.
This book will change the way you perceive powerful people. Once you know their secrets, you can help you guard your mind against manipulation.
To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others
by Dan Pink
In this book, Daniel H. Pink looks at the concepts of persuasion and selling from a broad perspective. He demonstrates how everyone is in the business of sales, whether or not you sell products. Persuading others to take action is the essence of sales and the key to getting any of your ideas off the ground.
In one of the top business books about persuasion, Pink explains the science and psychology behind selling. He provides actionable frameworks to help you clarify your message and become more persuasive in every interaction, from business meetings to parenting.
Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
by Steve Krug
Since a website is often the first point of contact between a business and a potential customer, it’s essential that you get it right. In this book, Steve Krug simplifies the complex world of web design for maximum impact.
This short book offers practical guidelines and specific tips that will ensure your website is not only functional but effective. If you are an entrepreneur, web designer or marketing manager, this book is for you.
Different levels of management view a company’s website from different perspectives. This book shows you how to look beyond this to the perspective that matters most — customer usability.
I Am Keats: Escape Your Mind and Free Yourself
by Tom Asacker
This mind-expanding book offers a refreshing take on self-improvement. Tom Asacker looks at how we perceive reality, engage in harmful self-talk, and limit ourselves unnecessarily.
Asacker uses simple language to describe the powerful illusions created by our thinking and experiences. He explains how to think more independently and stop doing what others think we should do.
The book is packed with inspirational quotes and will help you break free of limiting thought patterns.
Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble
by Dan Lyon
In this candid and humorous book, Dan Lyons shares his story of getting fired from a career writing about tech companies — and starting fresh at age 50 in a strange new world.
Lyons experienced first-hand the excesses, exploitations, and poor management of startup culture. As a career writer and an outsider, he is brilliant at satirizing the types of people attracted to tech startups. While the book is short, it’s an engaging and eye-opening read.
When Coffee and Kale Compete: Become Great at Making Products People Will Buy
by Alan Klement
Customers are naturally drawn towards products or services that can provide a solution to their current problem. Alan Klement explores a unique way of identifying your the customers’ needs.
Klement’s theory, named Jobs-to-be-done, states that for every purchase, there is a job the customer needs to be done. The book will help you look at products as problem-solving tools. When you understand the underlying problem, you can create irresistible solutions and sell more products.
This book is a must-read for anyone running a business or working in sales and marketing.
What I wish I knew when I was 20: A Crash Course On Making Your Place In The World
by Tina Seelig
Making the transition from school to a career without guidance can be a challenging experience. However, in this book Tina Seelig helps navigate these uncertain waters.
As an entrepreneur, neuroscientist, and director of a popular entrepreneurship program at Stanford, Seelig offers a broad and inspiring perspective. She writes with honesty and humor about what it takes to become successful, how to overcome failure, and how to turn adversity into opportunity.
The Secret to Success: When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe
by Eric Thomas
If you think success is out of reach for you, Eric Thomas wants to prove you wrong. In this inspiring story, Thomas recounts his story of dropping out of high school, becoming homeless, and overcoming challenges to build a successful career and personal life.
The book speaks directly to young people facing adversity in their lives. It emphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with people who motivate you to be better and maintaining a positive mindset.
Choose Yourself! Be happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream
by James Altucher
In a world where traditional sources of security, like stable employment and government safety nets, are increasingly unreliable, it’s hard to know where to turn. James Altucher takes on the challenge in this bold and motivating book. He uses his personal story of destruction and regrowth as a lesson in self-care and self-reliance.
The book explains how the economy has changed, making it increasingly necessary and possible to create your own opportunities. Altucher writes about the importance of putting yourself first, not to be selfish, but as the only way to achieve health, happiness, and financial success.
Extreme ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win
by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
This book is a tactical success manual written by two former US Navy SEALs. Jocko Willink and Leif Babin served as part of an elite combat task force and developed a leadership training program based on their experiences.
The authors outline the principles and mindsets that help teams win, not only in combat, but in business, family, and personal life. Extreme Ownership teaches leaders to take responsibility for their teammates, foster teamwork, and lead to win.
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
The Goal is a novel telling the story of a manager who struggles to keep his factory from disaster. In 90 days, he turns the business around through a process of identifying and eliminating the limiting factors in production.
Goldratt’s system is called the Theory of Constraints. He demonstrates how to determine the points in your business where productivity is limited — and how to fix these issues. While geared towards manufacturing, this book will help you think about productivity in any industry differently.
Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD Brain
by Peter Shankman
Having a hyperactive brain is often seen as a disadvantage since attention deficit makes it very difficult to focus and be productive. In this book, Peter Shankman reveals the hidden advantages of the ADHD brain, and how to use them for good in life and business.
Shankman describes how he achieved success in his life and career not in spite of, but because of his ADHD brain. The book continuously calls ADHD a gift — if you or someone close to you has an ADHD diagnosis, this book is a must-read. It will not only inspire you but provide practical ways to unleash the potential of a fast-moving brain.
Since many entrepreneurs suffer from distracted minds, Faster Than Normal is high on my list of self-improvement and great business books.
The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More and Change the Way You Lead Forever
by Michael Bungay Stanier
Michael Bungay Stanier provides detailed strategies to help anyone become a more effective leader. The Coaching Habit is a unique approach to leadership, encouraging managers to ask questions instead of offering advice. And it provides the key questions to ask to get the best performance from every member of your team.
With scientific research and stories from his extensive experience in training managers around the world, Bungay Stanier has created a must-read for anyone in a position of leadership.
The Possible Dream: A Candid Look At Amway
by Charles Paul Conn
This book tells the personal story of Rich Devos and Jay Van Andel and the growth of Amway. The book oscillates between first-hand stories from successful Amway representatives to accounts of outsiders who give their view of Amway.
The Possible Dream reveals the inner workings of the company along with details of the 30 years of effort from Amway’s founders that contributed to its success. For anyone with an ambitious dream that seems impossible, this book will give you the inspiration and motivation that you need.
It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be: The World’s Best Selling Book
by Paul Arden
Paul Arden explains why it is possible to achieve anything you set your mind to in this brilliantly packaged motivational book. Because he spent many years as a top advertising executive, Arden’s book is full of surprisingly practical marketing wisdom.
This beautifully designed and short book makes a big impact, using quotes, humor, and quick hits of inspiration. If you are looking for a source of encouragement, motivation, and hope, this book is for you.
Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite
by Paul Arden
This book emphasizes the power of positive thinking, the cost of bad decisions. Former advertising executive Paul Arden’s philosophy is that our lives are the product of our thoughts. He urges stepping out of comfort zones and taking risks.
The book is short, with striking design and photos throughout. If you are feeling stuck in life or you have made mistakes that threaten to end your business, this book is the antidote that you need.
The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits and World Dominators
by Chris Brogan
Chris Brogan rejects the idea that there is only one route to success. Instead, he will show you how your unique character and even your odd traits can lead to a successful business.
The book highlights ways of turning your passion into a viable business without conforming to expectations. There are more possibilities now than ever before, with the tools of the digital age at our disposal. If you are thinking of starting a business and feel undecided, this book is what you need.
The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack The Code To Wealth and Live Rich for A Lifetime
by MJ DeMarco
M.J. DeMarco writes about how to begin wealth creation at a young age, by creating a business. DeMarco believes that the highest form of success and wealth is achievable to everyone. With hard-hitting and straightforward writing, he pushes the reader to dream big.
The book is full of practical and realistic advice for anyone starting out in entrepreneurship.
It also highlights some of the mistakes that budding entrepreneurs make, that can get in the way of future riches.
Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most
by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, and Roger Fisher
The authors of this book have discovered practical ways to make hard conversations easy. They can help you stop avoiding confrontation, and instead, learn the skills to discuss emotionally charged topics calmly.
In Difficult Conversations, the authors share their research on easing into difficult discussions without being defensive. The book is full of examples of real-life scenarios in which we find ourselves needing these skills.
If you want to learn about conflict resolution or boost your negotiation and listening skills this book is for you.
Sick In The Head: Conversations About Life And Comedy
by Judd Apatow
Renowned comedian, writer, and producer, Judd Apatow has documented his conversations with some of the best comedians in the business. Over his 30-year career, Apatow interviewed his idols and contemporaries in comedy, delving into their stories, both professional and personal.
The comedians in this collection talk about their paths to stardom, the creative process, and the motivation behind their hard work and success. It is intriguing from start to finish, with both wisdom and humor on every page. Whether you’re a fan of stand-up comedy or not, the conversations in this book will inspire you.
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful
by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
In this book, Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter look at how to avoid stagnation and reach the next level of success.
The book points out some habits and ways of thinking that have a surprising impact on growth. For example, speaking when angry, poor listening skills, and making negative comments can all keep you stuck. On the other hand, cultivating a habit of gratitude and positivity will help you move forward.
You, Inc.: The Art Of Selling Yourself
by Harry Beckwith and Christine Clifford Beckwith
You, Inc. teach ways to improve and market yourself, for the sake of business and personal success. The authors explain how every success you have depends on how well you can sell yourself — your companionship, your ideas, and your business.
In a conversational tone, this book shares some ways to be more likable, maximize strengths, and improve weaknesses. It emphasizes the importance of first impressions and how they impact your relationships and business.
Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing
by Harry Beckwith
Different than most marketing books, Selling the Invisible is about selling services, as opposed to physical products. Harry Beckwith talks about the essential aspects of marketing service products, including market research, identifying your customers, and conveying value.
This easily digestible book will teach you how to create a brand, as well as use word of mouth and referrals to grow your business.
10% Happier: How I Tamed The Voice In My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, And Found Self-Help That Works — A True Story
by Dan Harris
This is the story of how Dan Harris had a panic attack on live television — and the wakeup call that led him to meditation. Desperate to find a solution to his mounting stress and unhappiness, Harris embarked on a journey of research and self-discovery.
After exploring both spiritual and scientific solutions, he settles on meditation as the ultimate tool for self-improvement. Backed by neuroscience, personal experience, and plenty of humor, this book will convince skeptics to try meditation.
For anyone interested in meditation, or in becoming a happier and better person, this book is a must-read.
Anything You Want: 40 Lessons For A New Kind Of Entrepreneur
by Derek Sivers
Derek Sivers shares his life story and how he created CD Baby, one of the biggest music platforms for independent artists. Sivers shares his successes as well as failures in this frank look at building a business based on passion.
In one part of the book, Sivers talks about the driving force behind a business and why it’s essential to identify a need in the marketplace. This book is not only inspiring but will give you concrete pointers on starting and running a business.
Elon Musk: Tesla, Space X and the Quest For A Fantastic Future
by Ashlee Vance
Ashlee Vance takes on the life of multi-billionaire Elon Musk and how he created technological innovations with the power to change the world. This biography details the journey to success that Musk begins as a teenager.
Throughout the story, you’ll see the strategies Musk uses to bring his ideas to life. As he takes big risks to reap the rewards of success, you’ll see what it takes to create a legacy and change the future. Beyond risk-taking, Musk’s story demonstrates the power of consistency and patience despite numerous failures.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
by Carol Dweck
The book looks at how one’s mindset determines what they accomplish, whether they are naturally talented or not. Renowned psychologist Carol Dweck teaches us the crucial differences between fixed and growth mindsets — and how they impact success and happiness.
This is not a book about positive thinking. Instead, Dweck provides realistic advice on removing limiting beliefs about your innate abilities. With a growth mindset, you can embrace challenges to learn and grow without fear of failure.
Crossing The Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products To Mainstream Customers
by Geoffrey A. Moore
Introducing a brand new product to a mainstream market can be scary to even the most experienced marketers. However, with the wisdom in this book, there is no need to fear.
Marketing guru Geoffrey Moore explains how cutting-edge products can instantly capture a large market and attract a huge customer base. He uses real-life examples of innovative products breaking into the mainstream. This book promises to change the way you market your business and in turn improve your life completely.
Tough Sh*T: Life Advice From A Fat Lazy Slob Who Did Good
by Kevin Smith
With his characteristic sarcasm and brutal honesty, Kevin Smith shares the story of his life so far. The book reveals how Smith’s incredible ambition defied all odds to become a groundbreaking filmmaker early in his career.
Despite his successes, Smith laughs at his flaws and embraces them. If you are feeling discouraged in your life, this book will motivate you to keep going after your dreams.
The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join The Rich
by Tim Ferris
In this classic on the digital nomad lifestyle, Tim Ferriss reveals the secrets of escaping the traditional workplace. The book is a primer on outsourcing — whether for your business, your personal life, or your job.
Using the internet to ease your workload, Ferris argues you can live a more productive, wealthy, and happy life.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What To Do About It
by Michael Gerber
Michael Gerber takes a view contrary to how most small-business owners operate. In The E-Myth Revisited, Gerber explains why he believes entrepreneurs should always work on the business, and not in it.
This book will help you separate what you want from what your business needs, so you can stop getting bogged down in daily operations. Instead, you will be able to focus on what is necessary growth.
This book is a must read for every budding entrepreneur.
Like A Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You At Business School
by Richard Branson
Renowned entrepreneur Richard Branson shares the secrets that led to the success of the Virgin brand in this excellent autobiography. Branson candidly shares the lessons he learned as he started and grew his business to the level it is today.
The book is written in a question and answer format, making it easy to follow and pick up lessons as you go. It distills Branson’s wisdom, experience, and opinions on business into something relevant and useful for any entrepreneur.
by Julien Smith
Fear is the subject of this short but impressive book from Julien Smith. The book looks at the subconscious mind and how our prejudices determine what we do.
Once you are aware of The Flinch, you will want to push yourself to do things you fear most. Instead of accepting fear at face value and avoiding risks, you will recognize it as a sign of opportunity.
Smith gives you the tools to take on the risks that are required to become who you want to be.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert challenges readers to think of themselves as people who were born to create. She believes a fearless life is a creative one, whether you are writing, creating art, or designing life on your own terms.
Big Magic breaks down the creative process and teaches you to let go of the baggage holding you back from creating. The book is inspiring and promises to jumpstart your life making it more productive.
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
by Seth Godin
This is a short book delivers an important message: Quitting is not always a failure. Quitting when you hit a dip is sometimes the best decision.
Seth Godin writes about the process of learning or building anything as a curve. Everything starts out with a steep curve when you make progress quickly — until you hit an inevitable dip. The Dip is when things get hard, your progress slows or stalls, and you need to make a decision.
Read this book to learn how to know what kind of dip you are in, and whether you should keep going, or choose another path.
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
by Ron Chernow
This book about the life of John D Rockefeller Sr. offers deep insight into the life, family, and career of an American icon. Ron Chernow looks at how Rockefeller rose from humble beginnings to create massive wealth and the unconventional methods he used to build an oil empire.
The book goes deep into Rockefeller’s extensive philanthropy, while also discussing the corruption and controversy that plagued his business and personal life. Filled with brilliant and hilarious quotes from Rockefeller and those who knew him, this book goes far beyond business methods. It touches on management, religion, philosophy, and art, to provide a well-rounded understanding of an important historical figure.
Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys To Creativity
by Hugh MacLeod
This book is a call for ingenuity and originality. Hugh MacLeod offers the lessons he learned over his career as a writer and cartoonist and breaking through as a result of not following the crowd.
MacLeod’s keys to creativity include wisdom on everything from marketing, finding inspiration, and cultivating work ethic as a creative person. He argues that pursuing your ideas, however weird or unpopular, is a far better recipe for success and happiness than conforming.
The War Of Art: Breakthrough The Blocks And Win Your Inner Creative Battles
by Steven Pressfield
Going through a creative block is the toughest thing for any creative person, in art, writing, or business. In this book, Steven Pressfield names it resistance — an enemy you cannot ignore.
The book looks at resistance, and the many ways this force keeps you from your most important work. Once you are aware of it, you will start to recognize procrastination, self-doubt, and fear of failure as resistance, and stop allowing them to derail your projects.
Pressfield gives you the key to creating anything in this funny, yet deadly serious book. He argues that discipline and work ethic are the most critical contributors to creative success. This book will compel you to stop waiting for inspiration and just get to work.
Linchpin: Are you Indispensable?
by Seth Godin
In a world where companies lay off their workers every year, employees are looking for ways to remain relevant. This book teaches precisely that.
The tendency to play it safe and blend in is what makes you invisible, and therefore dispensable. Instead, Seth Godin challenges readers to boldly share their ideas, lead with uniqueness, and think of each day as a work of art.
Think and Grow Rich
by Napoleon Hill
Think and Grow Rich is one of the best business books of all time. Napoleon Hill interviewed and studied the big names in business in Depression-era America. His resulting book, initially published in 1937, is a look at the mindset of those who succeeded in achieving great wealth.
The driving force behind success, according to Hill, is a strong desire and passion. This is one of the earliest books in the self-improvement genre. Although short on actionable advice, Think and Grow Rich will motivate you to set lofty goals and work hard every day to achieve them.
The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing: Violate Them At Your Own Risk
by Al Ries & Jack Trout
The fundamentals of marketing are broken down into 22 essential rules in this comprehensive primer. Written by marketing professionals Al Reis and Jack Trout, these laws of effective marketing are ignored at your peril.
Rather than a tactical manual, this book goes deep into the underlying principles that govern any marketing endeavor. Concepts of positioning, becoming top of mind, leadership, and sacrifice will help you think bigger and improve your marketing.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
by Robert B. Cialdini
After 35 years of research, Robert B. Cialdini produced this simple, yet complete study on what makes people change their behavior. The book outlines the weapons of influence and teaches readers not only to use them but to guard against them.
Concepts and practices employed in marketing are explained in depth, with examples and stories to illustrate effectiveness. Learning to use ideas like scarcity, social proof, and reciprocity will help you succeed in your marketing.
80/20 Sales And Marketing: The Definitive Guide To Working Less And Making More
by Perry Marshall
Renowned consultant Perry Marshall provides a twist on the traditional marketing advice. This book teaches that focussing on the top 20 percent of your customers leads to bigger profits.
The book offers advice on analyzing not only your customer base but your skill set and your staff to identify the highest value work in your business. Beyond the 80/20 principle, the book offers specific strategies on marketing and growing a business online, such as split-testing headlines and using ads to find high-quality leads.
The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
by Gary Keller
Gary Keller has the answers as to why most time management and productivity systems fail. He argues against multitasking and helps you narrow your focus to one thing that will move you closer to your goals.
This book is full of eye-opening realities that will explain why you aren’t getting the results you want in your business and personal life. The One Thing will help you eliminate the habits keeping you from success, and create maximum impact.
Crush It!: Why Now Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion
by Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk aims to inspire you to create a passionate and fulfilling life through entrepreneurship. In this motivational book, he talks about how he transformed his local family business into an international brand.
He goes on to describe how to use powerful digital marketing tools to grow your personal brand and create a business around what you love. If you are looking to monetize your passion, this book will provide motivation and guidance to get started.
Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed
by Alexis Ohanian
Co-founder of one of the world’s most popular online communities, Reddit, Alexis Ohanian has a lot to say about the power of information and community. Further, he has much wisdom in launching and operating tech startups.
Ohanian shares his life story in this engaging and inspiring read, of creating Reddit in his dorm room, cashing out for millions, and going on to start many more successful ventures. This book will convince young entrepreneurs that the era of being meek, following the rules, and asking permission is over.
What Are Your Top Business Books?
I created this list to help you find the books you need to move your business forward.
And although I have listed 101 of the best business books of all time, it is foolish of me to think I have listed every book worth mentioning.
So now I turn it over to you…
What are your top business books of all time?
What are the must-read books for entrepreneurs?
Or your favorite business audiobooks?
Let me know in the comments.