Running your business is hard enough, I bet you didn’t expect to also be assigned homework! You have to read to keep up with new business trends and marketing strategies; you have to read to keep yourself relevant; you have to read as you continue your growth as an entrepreneur.
The truth is, the literary market is saturated with “How To” and “Yes You Can” business books, and while there are plenty out there that I haven’t read, I have certainly read enough to discern which books have permeated my mind and altered my strategy. Ironically, the books I’m about to recommend to you do not talk about what’s current and what’s new because I don’t find that useful as a foundational tool. While it’s important to remain abreast of #trending, I believe it’s key to first hone in on a clear vision, a clear market, and a clear flexibility. Once you’ve mastered these key elements, #trending is a lot easier to grasp.
I am listing these in no particular order and using my Amazon affiliate link to show you where to find the books:
From Good to Great by Jim Collins
One of the greatest – no pun intended – points that Jim Collins makes in this book where he studies how companies move to sustained growth over a fifteen year period is that real change takes real time. He explores management and entrepreneurialship as a captain of steamship stewarding his/her crew. It takes slow, steady movement and buy-in – whether by employees, family members, or even yourself – to establish leadership. It means asking the tough questions to all the stakeholders, in our case, that would be our customers and investors, to drive the decisions. He explains the force of change should not be forced.
Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
Who Moved My Cheese? ties in so well with From Good to Great because while Collins’ book explores change, Johnson’s book focuses on how to view change with a positive attitude. He discusses the need for flexibility, planning, and foresight to handle both the intended and unintended consequences. Using simple language, he creates a hierarchy of understanding about the expectations of change and changing our expectations.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell, famed writer for The New Yorker, best known for his break-out book, The Tipping Point, discusses what exactly makes a mathematical outlier. Translating standard deviation and statistics into a readable narrative, he explains how it takes 10,000 hours of practice at anything to create an outlier, like Bill Gates. Using business and real-world examples, such as how Korean Air shifted from one of the world’s worst airlines to a 5-star airline with stellar customer service and safety records, he illuminates that anyone with enough diligence can make him/herself an outlier.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey. This quote from Covey’s highly-proclaimed work was a profound eye-opener for me; I realized how much time I spent wasting on what is ultimately unimportant. In this book, Covey breaks down 7 habits into numerous charts, graphs, and mantra-like-aphorisms to reframe your thinking. He challenges you to dismiss many of your old methods of managing time, relationships, work, and more to lead a rich and fulfilling life.
Spend a little time to read every single day and use it as an opportunity for both “you” time and professional/personal growth. Whether you block out a half hour before bed, DVR your favorite show, skip on social media, or simply “clock-out” of your small business, taking this time to read each of these books will greatly impact your thinking to make you accountable, effective, flexibile, and a leader.
Do you have any other reading recommendations for small business owners? I would love to hear them in the comments section and add them to my Amazon Wish List!