What's the best business book you have ever read?


I need inspirational and pragmatic business books.

Ideas Books Business Opportunity

asked Nov 25 '10 at 15:19
1 point
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25 Answers


If you need pragmatism, inspiration, and business all wrapped into a single book, I cannot recommend more highly The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It .

This book has done more for my business than any single business book. I read about one to two dozen business books per year for the last 4 years, but this is a rare gem that I re-read every year.

The main concept of the title is continual business development to achieve a well-documented, repeatable franchise business model. This book has completely transformed they way I develop and manage my own business; a paradigm shift if you will.

I run a manufacturing company. Everything has become a well-documented process that is part of a highly-tuned system. All the docs are in the company wiki where they can be easily updated, including pictures of how jigs are supposed to be positioned on the drill-press, etc. Now it's effortless to bring in new employees and have them hit the ground running. The best thing is now that every step is documented the system does not rely on a particular human's skill-set or knowledge, especially me as the founder. I try to think of my business as the McDonalds of the manufacturing world.

Regarding inspiration, the author presents a case-study throughout the entire book (usually at the end of each chapter to reinforce the chapter material). It is essentially a conversation between the author and a struggling bakery owner and how she overcomes adversity.

answered Nov 27 '10 at 18:33
695 points


Getting Real http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ (more IT oriented) and Rework http://37signals.com/rework/ (more business oriented),both by Jason Fried (37signals)
Those books share a great vision on modern business and how to make it work.

answered Dec 7 '10 at 08:43
138 points


The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

It's not just about the business but also about military thinking, business tactics, and beyond.

answered Dec 1 '10 at 21:11
33 points
  • How to apply it to business? – Steven 13 years ago
  • @Steven use your funding to hire an army? :) – Tikhon Jelvis 13 years ago


The little engine that could. I read it when i was really young.

answered Nov 25 '10 at 16:10
2,079 points


"Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days"

http://www.amazon.com/Founders-Work-Stories-Startups-Early/dp/1590597141 Lots of interesting interviews of major Startups' founders.

answered Dec 1 '10 at 22:31
714 points
  • This is a good book. – Ricardo 13 years ago


Before starting Fog Creek, I was very inspired by Paul Hawken's Growing a Business.

answered Dec 2 '10 at 16:02
Joel Spolsky
13,482 points
  • Did you actually applied any of the advice given in this book? just curious. Thanks for sharing. – Ricardo 13 years ago
  • err... um.... well it's more of an INSPIRATIONAL book. It was really the metaphor of "growing" a business (like a garden) rather than "building" a business (as if it were a construction project) that appealed to me. – Joel Spolsky 13 years ago
  • Whoa, I read this in high school, great book. I think it was the first business book I ever read. – Karl Krantz 13 years ago


Guerrilla Marketing, 4th edition: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business Jay Conrad Levinson

Simply Amazing.

answered Dec 7 '10 at 06:12
121 points


is a great book full of short lessons from alot of the techstars mentors and funded companies through the program

answered Dec 30 '10 at 16:52
522 points


I have really enjoyed Good To Great by Jim Collins. It uses cases studies of large companies and tries to pull out the things that they have in common in an empirical way. Are those common factors what made them successful? Hard to say. Some of the companies profiled in book can't be considered successful anymore, Circuit City for one. But are they no longer successful because the methodology of the book is flawed, or did they stop doing to the things that made them great? Again, no easy answer.

The thing I try to remember whenever I read any business book is that it is not THE answer. Building your company using the fad business book of the moment as your infallible sacred text is probably not the best strategy.

answered Dec 1 '10 at 16:06
129 points


The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun. A very refreshing look on innovation which should (hopefully) stop you from reading more books on businesses, and start you working on your business instead. :)

answered Dec 1 '10 at 17:47
159 points

answered Dec 2 '10 at 01:38
4,815 points
  • I have real doubts about the usefulness of any of Kiyosaki's advice and books. His books should be read with a mountain of salt... A search of the internet with his name and "fraud" or something similar is enlightening. For example: http://www.johntreed.com/Kiyosaki.htmlTim J 13 years ago
  • His books have always been very positive and encouraging for me... I don't do the events or games (that his company sells) that cost a lot of money... the books are very affordable and have some good advice. Have you read any of his books? The link you provided goes to a page of what it seems to be an angry competitor of Kiyosaki... I suggest people read at least one of his books and then decide by themselves. I've found most of his books very well written, entertaining and useful ;) – Ricardo 13 years ago
  • I read a few of his books. But he is clearly dishonest. Well-written does not mean the guy is on the level. It just means he has a good editor. He is in the book selling business, and his advice is highly suspect. That one link was just one example. Feel free to follow his advice, but like the other self help gurus he's found how to be at the top of the pyramid and get money from suckers. – Tim J 13 years ago


I've recently read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss and have to say, it's got me rethinking how I do everything. ... especially the end goal, and how I 'really' want to be spending my time.

answered Dec 30 '10 at 17:22
John Mac Intyre
1,086 points


Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore is probably one of the most important books for tech companies of all sizes.

answered Dec 4 '10 at 08:15
Karl Krantz
334 points


Building Wealth: The New Rules for Individuals, Companies, and Nations in a Knowledge-Based Economy [Paperback]
Lester C. Thurow

I have a hardcover that I reread every year.
Infact I have every book Lester Thurow has written.

http://www.amazon.com/Building-Wealth-Individuals-Companies-Knowledge-Based/dp/0887309526/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291188704&sr=8-1 Also

Fortune Favors the Bold: What We Must Do to Build a New and Lasting Global Prosperity [Paperback]
Lester C. Thurow

answered Dec 1 '10 at 18:11
Rp Joe
149 points


Think Big and Kick Ass - Trump

answered Dec 3 '10 at 02:11
344 points


The best book I have read is "How to get Rich" by Felix Dennis. This is the best book I have ever read, and I am following his tips to the letter. He gives sold, business advice to anyoone who wants to start their own business, its very practical and down to earth. Why would you start a business? To create wealth of course.

answered Dec 7 '10 at 01:56
76 points

answered Dec 7 '10 at 06:17
121 points


For a quick, fun read that may give you perspective on why teams hit problems, try "Management Fleas & Leadership Flies." Just a bite-sized book.

Then for one of the great business thinkers, for me the person who most consistently inspires me to challenge 'common sense' and universal praxis is Charles Handy. If you want one of his books to start you off, I suggest "The Age of Unreason."

answered Nov 25 '10 at 22:11
Jeremy Parsons
5,197 points


I really enjoyed First, Break all the Rules - practical, effective strategies on management techniques culled straight from Gallup polls. That is, if you're managing any one.

answered Nov 26 '10 at 15:44
315 points


Winning Through Intimidation by Robert J. Ringer I searched through used bookstores for years before finding this 1970's-era paperback. Don't let the provocative title turn you away - it's really about how not to be intimidated by others.

Among Ringer's gems is that there are only three types of people in the business world...

  1. Those who tell you outright that they're out to get all your chips, then proceed to do just that.
  2. Those who tell you that they're not after your chips (you deserve your fair share, after all) and then go after your chips anyway.
  3. Those who tell you that they're not after
    your chips and really mean it ,
    but, due to extenuating
    circumstances, regretfully find it
    necessary to go after your chips.

Pessimistic? For sure, but also very pragmatic.

answered Dec 30 '10 at 07:26
Brandon King
959 points


I think the best books are the ones that teach you a lot. (Maybe it’s just me but i don’t like to read books with a few nuggets of useful information or rebranded/reworded think and grow rich books) A book im reading right now has taught me a lot about business it’s called "Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers “Written by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. Its easy to read it has clear explanations with examples. I Like it so much that i will read it again.

answered Dec 2 '10 at 06:02
Sergio Alvarez
46 points


What a great reading selection we have here. I'll add one of my favorites, Small Giants by Bo Buckingham. It chronicles entrepreneurial companies like Steam Anchor Beer and others who run their businesses by an entirely different set of values. That book inspired me to seek clients who share my values of being collaborative.

answered Dec 3 '10 at 02:43
Dina Eisenberg
16 points


Three books I highly recommend:

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield (Paperback - Apr 1, 2003)

Eric Sink on the Business of Software

and of course Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days by
Jessica Livingston

answered Dec 3 '10 at 04:01
Bob Walsh
2,620 points


if you are in UK then I would recommend the "The Financial Times Guide to Business Start Up 2011"

Best book for teaching you the really practical issues surrounding the creation of a new business irrespective of the type


answered Dec 31 '10 at 22:54
241 points


I'm halfway through "The Ultimate Sales Machine " by Chet Holmes.

It's not what you think.

Yes, the book does tell you how to be a better salesperson, but it does so with an holistic perspective - the organizational advice is practical and will help your entire team function better.

Time management, people skills, even marketing - many subjects beyond sales are covered here, and done in an easy-to-read, pithy way. I've enjoyed it, and I highly recommend it.

answered Jan 2 '11 at 01:59
Josh Sam Bob
1,578 points

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