5 Must-Read Business Books

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The self-employment bug is in the air…and it’s highly contagious.
How do we know?
Exhibit 1:
The explosive growth of coworking spaces. These airy, light-filled, lease-free flexible office arrangements are popping up in droves and teeming with entrepreneurs who gather to collaborate and innovate.
Exhibit 2:
A recent Forbes article suggests a record number of Americans scratched the entrepreneurial itch in 2013. Data released by Babson and Baruch Colleges suggests that last year 69% of new businesses in the U.S. started at home and that 15 to 20% of our workforce is engaged in running a startup or a more established business.
Exhibit 3:
We can personally attest to a surge in demand from our clients for small business tasks such as website development, logo design, social media scheduling, and PowerPoint creation.
Once we became a trusted resource, clients wanted a one-stop-shop. In addition to handing off those pesky time-consuming tasks that we happen to love (like negotiating with your phone carrier on overage charges, or seeing if “unbundling” your cable is even an option) clients wanted us to sort through their inbox and file them accordingly (how nice would it be to open up Outlook and see a big fat goose egg–zero–emails!).
We were only too happy to oblige. We hustled back to the drawing board, built up the team we needed to sufficiently add to our repertoire, and launched our Premium Service offerings.
Now, we’re proud to be a go-to resource for affordable outsourced business services.
As we send each of you off with a newly launched website or punched up logo, we’re silently applauding you. We’re rooting for you. We want to see you succeed. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of five actionable business books that’ll provide you (or the newly minted entrepreneur that you love) with the advice, insight, and tips they need to persevere.
Afterall, coming up with the idea is the easy part, where entrepreneurs often fall short, is in the execution. You’re the glue that holds it all together. You’re going to need to become a master delegator, persuader, communicator, team builder, and goal setter. Our top 5 picks address each of these issues.
1. The Four Hour Workweek, Timothy Ferriss
Whether you’re in a soul-sucking job, or trapped underneath your own business, Tim Ferriss teaches you how to “escape the 9 to 5, live anywhere, and join the New Rich.” He’ll break you of misconceptions, such as the need to work 40+ hours per week to be successful, and instead advocates newfangled ideas such as a series of “mini retirements.” He’ll show you everything you need to establish a business that runs without you, and get you focused on how to streamline, eliminate distractions, and automate.
2. Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill
One of the best-selling books of all-time and an acknowledged wealth-creating tool, Think and Grow Rich has sold over 70 million copies–and for good reason. Napoleon Hill, a former advisor to President Roosevelt, spent 20 years interviewing 500+ of the world’s most successful businessmen (the likes of Andrew Carnegie), packaged his extraordinary findings, and unlocked the secret to success for millions. He refused to see success as the result of luck or background or even intelligence. Instead, the common thread he uncovered was persistence and the refusal to recognize failure. Each of the magnates he spoke to possessed a deeply held belief that they’d achieve their dreams, and they were unflappable in their determination. With his 13 “Laws of Success,” Hill deconstructs the mental barriers we place to acquiring wealth and lays out a roadmap to success.
3. The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey
This #1 best seller sets up your framework for personal effectiveness. The seven habits are simple rules for life, but also timeless principles and powerful tools. This book focuses on cultivating personal development, so that you can become more effective in how you work and relate with other people. At the heart of the book, is a deep appreciation of the fact that we’re all interdependent, we need each other to achieve our best outcomes.
4. The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber
Seen as guiding light for successful businesses, the most often quoted piece of wisdom in this book is: “work on your business, not in it.” Gerber offers business owners a much needed shift in perspective, encouraging delegation, and counter intuitive to most entrepreneurs, encourages them to set up systems that allow their business to run without them. The book’s Amazon review covers it quite nicely: “Gerber walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolecence growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial stage.”
5. How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie
Good relationships are the foundation of a successful business, and that’s what makes this book a great read for small business owners. You will need to excel at working with people. If done incorrectly, managing employees can be one of the most draining tasks a business owner faces. Ever wonder how to establish loyal relationships with the people that work for you, and get them to do what you want…without being a dictator? Dale Carnegie masters the art of “influence” and persuading others to emotionally invest in your business.