17 Must-Read Business Books

Table of Contents

There are hundreds of thousands of business books out there. Michael Parrish DuDell from Forbes estimated that 11 thousand business books are being published every year. It’s almost 1000 books a month.

I’ve already read hundreds of business books. I don’t exaggerate. I read 10-30 books a year. Most of them are related to business somehow: being an entrepreneur, leading the team, selling, marketing, and many other topics and skills are crucial for an entrepreneur. Being on my own a couple of times, I’ve been trying to do a business I thought was worth pursuing. I failed.

But I kept reading.

These days I write book reviews as I read them. I want to grasp the feelings and insights I have while reading. The summaries get long and comprehensive.

But now I want to share a brief list of books I’ve read in the past and find valuable.

1. 4-hour week

by Timothy Ferriss

A book about lying. At least, that’s how I remembered it. It’s supposed to be a classic for passive income pursuers, and it’s vastly recommended and cited. It’s very inspiring for young entrepreneurs and corporate employees, but I don’t find it useful for my case.

It’s a paradigm shift kind of book, though. It serves as a starting point for people stuck in the rat race and can’t find a way out. It helps you question the way you were living.

So if I praise it so much, why I started with the lying thing? I know many people will say that you can’t do business without breaking some rules. Especially in Poland (where I come from), a formerly Soviet-controlled country with a kind of in-blood ethos of fighting the law. Some multi-billionaires started this way, and they say you MUST break the rules to become successful.

Of course, to be innovative, you should question the status quo but not necessarily breaking the law.

Timothy Ferris broke some rules and is bragging about it. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t favor it. 

Still, the book is a classic, and you should read it if you haven’t already.

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Steven Covey

That is my way. It’s about shaping your character, which is the most appreciated, respected way. It’s not easy, but it leads to a good life, full of self-respect and good relationships: with your family members, wife, kids, employees, boss, coworkers, neighbors, everybody. 

All his books are well written, making the author’s point in many different ways, from different angles. All of it to make sure it will shape your mind and condition you to change your life in a good way.

All of Covey’s books are full of inspiring and authentic stories. That makes these books easy to read and so convincing.

3. The 3rd Alternative: Solving Life’s Most Difficult Problems

by Steven Covey

Cooperation on steroids. Synergy trigger. It teaches you how to resolve conflicts diplomatically, with understanding and compassion. You could think: “why should I read a whole book about one habit only if I read 7 habits already”? You should, because it deepens the topic, helps you incorporate the thinking, and build the habit. 

4. First Things First

by Steven Covey

Personal and team development habits. Same as other Covey’s books, it’s a paradigm shift as well. It will guide you through a simple yet powerful way o planning and executing your tasks. It enables you to think in a broader perspective, considering all of your roles. (I didn’t know I care about so many things.)

Want some work-life balance? Read it, and you’ll gain so much more! I don’t know where I would be if I haven’t read it. Honestly, it’s that good!

5. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

by Gary Keller

It’s practical. That book shows you a clear path and the reasons behind it. I used to read this one and Essentialism in turns over and over again.

6. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

by Greg McKeown

It’s awesome! I’ve fed myself with this many times. Brainwasher. It cleans up your brain.

Why we often feel overloaded? What’s truly important? How our habits drive our lives? What are the most crucial points in our daily routine that shape our day?

It’s complementary with The ONE Thing and First Things First. Different angle, but it gets to you. 

7. The Power of Habit

by Charles Duhigg

Powerful. You will find two kinds of stories: description of science experiments on how we develop our habits and stories about managing companies or teams in terms of building habits. You’ll learn about mechanics and results.

8. Atomic Habits

by James Clear

I haven’t finished that yet, deliberately. Why? Because it’s inspiring. I practice building up my habits gradually with many setbacks. I come back to this book after a week or two and get inspired again and again. 

It explains habits for individuals in a more practical way. Good read!

I recommend you to sign up for a newsletter James Clear is sending every Thursday with inspiring quotes.

9. Speed of trust

by Stephen M. R. Covey

Why we trust? How can we make other people trust us? It’s an excellent book written by Steven Covey’s son.

10. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living

by Ryan Holiday

I read this book already for the second year. Not because it’s so dull, you can’t read more than a page a week. It’s food for your mind I found worth consuming every day, piece by piece, digesting it slowly but surely.

It’s based on well-known works of stoics like Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, or Epictetus.

11. Will it fly?

by Pat Flynn

It’s a paradigm shift book for every entrepreneur, but it’s not only that. Pat shows you how to save time and money and figure out if your business may have any chance of being profitable AND good for YOU. This book is a practical guide with step-by-step instructions you just need to follow, and you’ll get great insights. 

12. The Four Steps to the Epiphany

by Steve Blank

Comparing to Will It Fly? it’s “same same, but different,” as my Indian friend likes to say 🙂

This book is a must-read for every entrepreneur because it shows how different startups should define and test their hypotheses. By startup, I mean a company in an early phase, not only a technological startup.

It’s full of big mistakes stories during the dotcom bubble, pivoting and getting your first clients, called “earlyvangelists.”

It’s also a good paradigm shift book, showing you what you should be doing in the first place to make sure you’re investing your time and money right. It’s complementary to Patt Flynn’s “Will It Fly?”.

13. Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

by John Warrillow

An inspiring novel about an entrepreneur who’s stuck in his company and wants to sell it. A lot of tips on thinking of an idea for a profitable, scalable product. Even if you offer services, which are not exactly scalable, at least most people see them that way.

You don’t want to sell your company? No problem. You’ll gain a sense of peace doing the business in a much better way.

14. E-Myth Revisited

By Michael E. Gerber

It’s a paradigm shift book, preventing you from starting a business only because you’re a well-paid specialist. It’s called myth because many people think they will be better off going on their own. They don’t know that being a specialist does not necessarily mean you will be a successful entrepreneur. Great stories, great read.

15. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

By Eliyahu M. Goldratt

Theory of constraints in the easy-to-digest form of a business novel. For entrepreneurs who want to identify their bottlenecks and work the way out of the extremely time and energy-consuming businesses.

It explains how to identify bottlenecks and how to deal with them. Intuitive, inspiring, and helps your business prosper.

16. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

by Robert Kiyosaki

It’s a classic book helping you understand how finances work. What’s cash flow, and why should you work on it? What is considered a good investment? What increases cash flow and what’s not? Is cash a king?

If you want to incorporate his thinking and change your money habits truly, you should definitely consider buying his game CashFlow 101. You can cheaply download it for your mobile or get a board game.

17. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team 

by Patrick Lencioni

I’ve not only read it but actually incorporated the whole process in the hotel I’ve been running for two years. And it got me positive results. It was worth trying because I got better relationships with my team, and they developed some great ideas by themselves. Managing became much easier.

Summary

Of course, it’s not a complete list of all good business-related books I’ve read in the past. I will add more titles in the future and categorize them.

I hope you didn’t know about at least one book from this list. Let me know in the comments which book you think must appear here.

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