I am an avid reader who particularly enjoys reading cutting edge business books.  I believe the only way I can remain competitive in my fast-paced business environment is by learning from the masters.  Do you have an area of weakness that is preventing you from going to the highest level in your profession?  Find a book that addresses your weakness.  These authors have compiled incredibly insightful books on a variety of topics.  What follows are the twelve best business books in my resource library.  They are presented here in alphabetical order.

  • Are YOU Ready to Succeed: Unconventional Strategies to Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life, by Srikumar Rao

This book is a summary of Dr. Rao’s teaching of a course at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business titled “Creativity and Personal Mastery.”   The premise of the book is that you are the author of what success means to you.  He provides many readings and exercises for the reader to undertake to answer the ultimate question of what brings joy and fulfillment to you personally.  The book has excellent insights in human behavior.  I know that many of you will dismiss this book as being too “touchy-feely.”  Don’t do it.  It is filled with lots of practical applications.

  • Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Kerry Patterson, et. al.

A crucial conversation is where the stakes are high, opinions vary and emotions run strong.  In other words, all of us on a regular basis have crucial conversations with bosses, business associates, friends and family.  This book shows you how to respond in those critically important conversations so that everyone feels safe to express their opinions and conflict can be resolved amicably.

  • Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher & William Ury

This is another excellent book on negotiating agreements.  The authors’ premise that any method of negotiation may be fairly judged by whether it meets the legitimate interests of each side, resolves conflicting interests fairly, is durable and takes community interests into account.  Some of the chapter titles hint at the methods used for negotiating agreements – Invent Options for Mutual Gain, Focus on Interests, Not Positions, Insist on Using Objective Criteria and What If They Use Dirty Tricks.  This book is the recognized classic on negotiating agreements.

  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Can a good company become a great company, and, if so, how?  The author believes any company can become a great company if it conscientiously applies the framework of ideas discussed in this book.   The author identified companies that made the leap from good to great results and sustained those results for at least 15 years.  These companies were then compared to a group of companies that failed to make the leap.  The author identified seven concepts that transformed a good company into a great company.

  • Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends by Tim Sanders

In the old economy people could be unsympathetic, mean-spirited, or unkind without any repercussions.  Today that behavior can be detrimental to your career.  The premise of the book is that those of us who use love as a point of differentiation in business will separate ourselves from our competitors.  Love is defined as the selfless promotion of the growth of another.  The author identifies six reasons why “Bizlove” is the new paradigm in business relationships.

  • Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World: A Step-by-Step Guide for Anyone with Something to Say or Sell, by Michael Hyatt

This is the only new book I read in 2017 that made it onto my list of best business books of all time.  Michael Hyatt is a master at social media marketing.  The book is a how-to manual loaded with practical ideas on how to become an influencer in your field, first by blogging and then by using the social media platforms of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.  This book is destined to become a classic.

  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey

This book was first published in 1989 and is a recognized classic on self-improvement.   Of all the books on this “Hall of Fame” list of business books this is the one that has had the most powerful influence on my life.  As the title of book suggests, those who develop these seven habits become successful in business and in life.  If you are limited to reading one book, this is the one I would recommend.

  • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John Maxwell

This book is the best I’ve read on the topic of leadership.  It brings clarity and understanding about leadership while providing step-by-step methods of practical instruction.  It is filled with interesting real-life stories that provide support for each of the twenty-one irrefutable laws of leadership.

  • The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, by Michael Gerber

There is a fatal assumption that those who go into business typically make.  They believe that if they understand the technical work of business, they know how to successfully manage a business.  Wrong!  This is the reason why 80 percent of all businesses fail in the first five years.  To make the leap from working in your business to working on your business is the critical step that most entrepreneurs fail to make.  And this is what this book is all about.  It is a how-to manual on why you hire others to do the work while you, the owner, focus on the important decisions that can make or break a business.

  • The Great Game of Business, by Jack Stack

The premise of this book is that the best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and most importantly, a stake in the financial outcome, good or bad.  This book shows how to develop a financial reporting system so everyone can keep track of the profitability of the company.  And if the company does well, the employees receive a financial incentive in the overall success of the company.

  • The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino

Originally written in 1968, this book is a classic on the topic of sales principles told in the format of a parable.  Everyone should read this inspiring book.

  • The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller

What’s the one thing you can do such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?  That question is the premise behind the book.  I’ve read lots of books over the years on goal setting, setting priorities, living a disciplined life, etc.  In fact, I believe I could write a creditable book on the topic.  So it is with grudging admiration that I realize that the authors of The ONE Thing were able to broach the subject with several new insights about this topic.  Kudos for them!

Not sure you want to invest the time to read one of these books?  Then go to my Recommended Reading List on my website where you can read a short summary of the book by clicking on the blue page icon located in the right column of the row with the book title you’re interested in reading.

So what business book have I missed that you would highly recommend?  I welcome the opportunity to hear your suggestions.