10 Best Business Books of All Time
Table of Contents
Good books have a way of sticking around. A good book is a great investment. If you’re stuck on what to read to improve your own life personally or professionally, these business books are the perfect place to start. Each of these books is highly acclaimed and regularly recommended by successful people in all walks of life. Start reading these books to transform your life and improve yourself today:
1. Good to GreatBy Jim Collins
What separates successful companies from others? Why are some businesses consistently successful while others are one hit wonders?
Collins dives into this question and explores the defining characteristics shared by many great companies over the years. Through his research, he compiled a set of factors that tend to be present in top companies around the world that have been highly successful for many years, including Coca-Cola, Intel, GE, and Merck.
This book goes into the 4 main characteristics and explains what they mean, why they matter, and how they influence the evolution of a company from good to great.
If you’ve already read this book, check out the follow-up, “Great by Choice”.
2. Shoe DogBy Phil Knight
Phil Knight is one of the co-founders of Nike. This book gives you an up close and personal look at the history of Nike in the early days as well as Knight’s own journey as a co-founder.
Anyone aspiring to run a business should read this memoir. It’s a real and raw look at the tough decisions that need to be made, the difficult circumstances that can come along, and the amazing triumphs which can result from putting in the work.
This is an inspiring book that gives a fantastic glimpse into one of the world’s most recognizable brands at a time when no one knew their name.
3. Deep WorkBy Cal Newport
The principles in this book have been applied widely since its release and continue to remain relevant as we face increasing levels of distraction. Within these pages you’ll take a look at what it means to engage in deep work and how to harness that to gain an advantage in a distracted world.
Newport’s guide is especially helpful if you struggle with cognitively demanding tasks. You’ll get actionable tips that you can start doing immediately to improve your workflow and make everything you do more effective.
Behind everything in this book is the idea that deep work can help you produce at an elite level. You’ll be able to do better work, learn complex things, and apply your mental energy to getting things done on a regular basis.
4. The Long GameBy Dorie Clark
Whether you’re in charge of a business or you’re taking charge of your professional life, Professor Dorie Clark’s book gives a helpful framework for switching away from short-term thinking to planning for long-term success. In a marketplace that’s highly concerned with instant results, this is a surprisingly difficult thing to master.
Every action we take now leads to some result in the future. By taking control of your daily life, you can make sure the decisions you make are putting you on the right path to achieve what you really want in 5, 10, or 50 years.
The principles explained in this book can help you to better see the benefits of looking to the future and equips you to fight back against the pressure for short-term gains. You’ll learn about compounding benefits, strategic thinking, and the transformational power of planning for your future.
5. Company of OneBy Paul Jarvis
What if constant growth and scaling up aren’t the only way to professional fulfillment?
As an entrepreneur, small business owner, or freelancer, or even an executive, constant growth feels like the only option for success. This is the myth that Paul Jarvis takes on in his book, Company of One.
Get a new perspective on what it means to run a successful business. Included in this book is a blueprint for developing steady revenue streams in your business, setting up a small business model for yourself, establishing your revenue goals, handling unexpected situations, managing clients, and so much more.
Even if you’re not interested in running a purposeful small business, it’s good to know your options and expand your view of how people work.
6. Tools of TitansBy Tim Ferriss
What do today’s top performers and highly successful do differently than you?
Rather than making assumptions, find out for yourself. Ferriss’s book Tools for Titans is a thoroughly researched and vetted collection of actionable time management hacks to help you use your time wisely and excel in your field.
More than 200 people were interviewed for 2-3 hours each to make this book a reality. From the military to biochemistry, athletics, and entertainment, people who have found success in all walks of life have contributed to this collection of work.
The life lessons in this book will help you make strategic changes to your daily routine that will assist you in achieving more with your time. These are realistic things you can do on your own, even without the same access to resources as the famous and successful people who recommend them.
7. OutliersBy Malcolm Gladwell
Success stories are very inspiring, but don’t always help us achieve more in our own lives. This book from Malcolm Gladwell provides a unique perspective on successful people from many various walks of life.
Rather than focusing exclusively on what these outliers are like personally, this book gives more context to success by helping you see the whole picture. You’ll see how culture, family, generation, upbringing, and personal experiences all play into success, not just personality and individual characteristics.
This is a great book that equips you to look more deeply at success stories and glean more from them to apply to your own life.
8. Smarter Faster BetterBy Charles Duhigg
This book is a follow-up to the highly acclaimed book “The Power of Habit”. Switching the focus from why we do certain things to how we can improve the things we’re doing, this book delves into how we can change our behavior to become more productive beyond ticking things off from our to-do list, or just achieve a better balance in life.
Duhigg brings together the personal stories from highly successful people and scientific research into behaviors and mental thought patterns. The combination of data and storytelling makes a complex topic easier to understand and apply on your own.
This is an excellent breakdown of how we can get better at the things we’re doing without having to expand more of our energy.
9. The Motivation MythBy Jeff Haden
Haden tackles the myth that motivation is an external force that picks and chooses who will be successful and who won’t. He uses this book to demonstrate that motivation comes as a result of setting up processes to reach your goals rather than motivation being the cause for your actions.
Remove the mystery from motivation. Find out how to make yourself more motivated, how to use that motivation to help you succeed, and how to apply processes to continually re-motivate yourself for long-term success.
This is a great book for anyone who has struggled with self motivation. You’ll learn what it takes to start from nothing and get on track to accomplishing big goals, even if you don’t feel like you can.
10. The Hard Thing about Hard ThingsBy Ben Horowitz
Are you prepared for the challenges of running your own business, leading others, or going through your professional career?
Horowitz addresses the challenges that come from everyday work activities for entrepreneurs and others. These are the unpredictable problems and crises where appropriate actions can make or break your business. The strategies discussed in this book can help you be prepared for the unexpected and handle any issues as they come.
This is a great read because it dives into topics that aren’t usually addressed by other writers. You’ll get an inside look at dealing with real, everyday problems you’re likely to face in the future rather than just looking at huge, abstract problems or overly generalized examples.
The right book can change your life and your business.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a business owner, an employee, a freelancer, unemployed, or otherwise, these books can transform how you think and act to help you get more done, make better decisions, and create the life you want to live.