In every business, there will be moments when you’ll face uncharted territory. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Even though it may not feel like it while you’re in the midst of a challenge, people have been solving business problems for centuries. In fact, there are entire books about it.
Even though it may feel tough to take a step back and sit down with a book, feeding your mind with thought-provoking and insightful business advice can inform decisions in your day-to-day operations and improve your business overall. Here’s a list of some top-recommended reading material for business owners of all kinds.
- Shoe Dog by Phil Knight- This New York Times Best Seller is a memoir by the founder of Nike, which outlines how the brand grew from a small startup to one of the most profitable corporations in the world.
- Business Adventures by John Brooks– This book outlines 12 tales from the world of Wall Street, comparing some of the most notable examples of corporations that have been defined by moments of fame or notoriety.
- The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham– Widely regarded as the “stock market bible,” this book serves as a guide to developing long term investment strategies while protecting investors from making common mistakes.
- The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen– Often cited by Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, this book describes successes and failures of companies and explores how some companies fail simply because they do everything “right.”
- The Outsiders by William N. Thorndike- The stories of 8 unconventional CEOs and their radically rational blueprint for success.
- What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-Smart Executive by Mark McCormack- Management philosophies, sales negotiations, and even basic observation are all areas that many businesses struggle with. This book, written by a top entrepreneur and leader of the sports marketing industry, provides insight into some of the less tangible areas of successful business operations.
- The Smartest Guys in the Room by Peter Elkind & Bethany McLean– This book (which was later made into an academy award nominated documentary film), outlines the Enron scandal—the largest bankruptcy in American history.
- Data-Driven Marketing by Mark Jeffery– Awarded Best Marketing Book of 2011 by the American Marketing Association, this book serves as a clear guide for using data-driven results to track and learn from your marketing efforts.
- Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hseih- Zappos CEO explores how a great company culture can improve the entire business—ultimately proving that happiness has power to impact the bottom line.
- Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant- It can be easy to get caught up in pursuing individual success, but this book explores how our interactions with others influences our success. This book provides a visionary outlook on work, interpersonal relationships, and productivity.
Even though it may feel tough to take time out of your busy life to sit down and read a book, tackling a couple chapters before bed each night may serve as the inspiration you’ve been searching for to improve the internal processes of your business. All of the titles on this list have been written by reputable authors, businessmen, and scholars. Many of them have sparked inspiration for some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs. There’s no reason you can’t put these resources to use in our own pursuits as well.