39 Business Books That Will Grow Your Business

39 Books That Will GROW Your BusinessAre you looking for a business book that will help grow your business? With so many business books on the shelves today, the choice may seem overwhelming. So we polled these marketing and business experts to discover what business book had the biggest impact on the growth of their business. And this is what we found.

It started with a simple question: “Which book has had the biggest impact on growing your business?”

I posed this question to almost every guest on the Agents of Change podcast. In my mind, there’d be 10 – 12 popular titles and then a number of outliers. I could already envision the awesome infographic on Business Books You Need to Read in 2017 we’d make of these books, along with the faces of all Agents of Change.

Alas, it was not to be. Out of the 47 people who responded we got 37 different, unique titles. 

That’s one messy infographic. The most popular title only got 4 recommendations. Only 7 books were mentioned by more than one person.

The beauty of this is that there’s no one path for everyone to follow. The book that will have the biggest impact on growing your business depends on what you’re looking for.

By the way, in case you’re interested in picking up any of these books, I’ve linked to Amazon for you, but please feel free to buy a copy from your local bookstore. And since Amazon doesn’t pay affiliate fees to people in Maine, I put my Dad’s affiliate code in there because he lives in Massachusetts. Dinner’s on you, old man.)

And what’s my choice for the book that had the biggest impact on growing my business? I’ll tell you at the end of this post. 🙂

Read on…

Essentialism  By Greg McKeown

kate-erickson“This book has had the biggest impact on growing my business in 2016 because it taught me how to say NO. One of the biggest struggles we all face as entrepreneurs (and let’s be real: human beings) is that we “don’t have enough time“. When we learn how to say no to the things that don’t help us move our business forward.”
jamie-masters“The best book to really be efficient and happy in your business that increases your revenue and bottom line!”
fabienne-raphaelThis book came in my life when multitasking, overworking, hustling and overwhelm were my problems as an emerging entrepreneur.  That book taught me the Essentialist Lifestyle.  I now focus on what is necessary, I believe in routine & habits.  It opened my eyes to all the time I’ve wasted putting energy on things that distracted me from where I wanted to be in my life. And it totally shifted my mindset and put me on the path of a life with less stress, more energy & bigger accomplishments. Now, when I face a new opportunity, instead of asking myself : ‘How can I make this fit ? ‘, I say : ‘Is that Essential ?’ And it makes a HUGE difference.”
Fabienne Raphael 

morgan-sutton“This was the first book I read of 2016, it helped me shape the year into our best yet. It’s a great read if you are looking to understand how to make more effective, productive choices that benefit your business and your daily life.”

The E-Myth  By Michael Gerber

jay-baer“It taught me an important lesson about how to work on your business instead of working in it. Mandatory reading for anyone looking to grow and scale a small company.”
kate-ahl“It rocked my world as a business owner and I now see my business as serving me instead of me serving it.”
john-hargrave“Great book that explains how to grow your business into a “machine” that’s both repeatable and scalable. We can get so busy working “in” the business that we forget to work “on” the business — this book shows you how to think like an entrepreneur.”  

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Built to Sell  By John Warrilow

dave-kerpen-copy“Until I read Built to Sell, I was building a company, Likeable Media, with my wife Carrie, without any real understanding of how to build a sustainable, growable, sellable business. I read Built to Sell, and then Carrie read Built to Sell, and then we had our whole executive team read it. Then we grew Likeable Media over 3000%, and then I launched a second, much more scalable company, in Likeable Local. TOTAL GAME-CHANGER.”
gini-d“Oh man! This is like asking me to name my favorite child. It’s completely unfair and someone will get their feelings hurt. I first read it when it was published in 2011, but I didn’t fully grasp how my service business could take advantage. Fast forward to today and I’m five years wiser with the goal to build a multi-million dollar professional development site on Spin Sucks. Re-reading the book helped me think through the possibilities and fully grasp one-, three-, and five-year plans.

Crush It  By Gary Vaynerchuk

chris-ducker“I picked up that book very late in 2009, not knowing too much about Gary. I read the entire thing in one sitting. And I’ve read it several times since. Crush It really got me thinking about the power of an online personal brand. Especially with the use of video infused into it. It enabled me to gain the confidence to get on camera and put myself out there – not just on video, but online. Period. It was a game changer for me and my business.”
amy-schmitt“This is the first book I picked up. This is the one that changed it all and made me see how I could take ownership in my passion and turn it into a career I would love. And I’ve been at it ever since!”

Ask By Ryan Levesque

pat-flynn“An amazing book that helped me discover how to determine who was in my audience, and how to best serve them. Because of his book, I’ve been able to learn how to segment my list (increasing open rates from 20% to over 60%!), and even develop courses for specific groups of people who follow my brand.”
donna-mortiz“If you think you know your audience or target market then this book will blow your mind – It has made me think about my business and how I talk to my readers, subscribers and customers totally differently now –  how I survey and segment the messages I send to them.  It’s a book that has been a big catalyst for change in my business and I am looking forward to 2017 using the ‘Ask Method’.”  

Pre-suasion  By Dr. Robert Cialdini

tim-paige-copy“The reason for impact is implicit, so the title it is.”

Anything You Want By Derek Sivers

denise-wakeman“This manifesto by the founder of CD Baby has profound insights about how he grew his one-man business serving musicians to a multi-million dollar web company. Sivers’ philosophies on customer service and doing business in his own way, helped me see I can create a business the way I want vs. the way everyone else expects it to be done. I’ve read the book at least 4 times and have gifted it to many clients.”
scott-n“It’s short, simple, and insanely applicable. Plus, it tells a full, real story about his business. Even if you aren’t looking for business advice, it’s still a really great book!”

Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends  By Tim Sanders

Andy Beal Headshot“It helped me to understand the immense value in simply helping others without any strings attached.”

Entrepreneurship and Innovation By Peter Drucker

“This book has had a tremendous impact on me is. It lays out a framework for institutionalizing innovation in an organization.”

Mark W. Schaefer
Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions

The Great Pain Deception  By Steve Ozanich

james-wedmore“This Summer, I threw my back out and experienced the worst pain ever. I could not move. This book gave me a chance to reflect on what matters and establish a more balanced life. I was healed in 3 days, and 2 weeks later I had one of the most successful (and fun!) promotions ever!  I generated +$60,000 in 4 days while traveling in Croatia.”  

The Sirens of Titan  By Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 

andrew-shotland-300x300“I won’t spoil the plot for your readers but the story revolves around why human civilization exists. When I find myself confronting obstacles with my business, I often reflect on the answer Vonnegut provides and quickly realize what a waste of time it is stressing about stupid stuff.”

Andrew Shotland 

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living By Dale Carnegie 

david-pride“I’ve had a couple years packed with family heartbreak and that can make growing my business challenging, that book helps me keep perspective and not lose focus.”

Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shredding The Three Fears That Sabotage Loyalty By Patrick Lencioni 

andy-crestodina“It’s a classic for anyone in the service industry. Drop the ego, listen actively, and help your clients grow. 

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination By Neal Gabeler

hugh-culver“It has taught me more about determination and what it takes to be the best than 20 years of reading business books. If you thought you knew the man behind the mouse, think again.”

Brand Hijack  By Alex Wipperfurth

jason-falls“While it’s more of a word-of-mouth marketing primer, it changed the way I thought about marketing and even sales and led me down the path of community building and social media as a way to do both.”

Growing a Business  By Paul Hawken

jeffkorhan-copy“Great lessons about bootstrapping a business, including the advice to resist taking cash that can prevent the business from learning the tough lessons necessary for sustained growth. In addition to that, the investors kill your entrepreneurial spirit because they own you.”

Launch – How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond Competition  By Michael Stelzner

ian-cleary“My blog is the source of the majority of business I get and the reason it was successful is because I followed the guidelines outlined by Mike Stelzner in his awesome book.”

The Path with Heart By Jack Kornfield 

martin-shervington“Since being back in the UK I’ve reconnected with my old collection of books, and this one reflects wanting to build a business, and a life, I love living everyday. It is working out well too.”

Psycho-Cybernetics By Maxwell Maltz

greg-hickman“Building a business really requires someone to create a strong sense of self-awareness. The teachings of Psycho-Cybernetics are timeless because they are based on solid science and provide a prescription for thinking and acting in a way that leads to quantifiable results.”

The Practice of Management  By Peter Drucker 

john-jantsch“The title says management but turns out it was one of the first books to get me to see marketing as a system.”

John Jantsch 

Winning through Intimidation: How to Be the Victor, Not the Victim, in Business and in Life By Robert Ringer

wes-schaeffer“Despite the title of the book, Ringer gives valuable insight into how you can position yourself to negotiation from a position of strength without being pushy or antagonistic. You need to learn how to do this because in every encounter in life a sale is made: You either persuade others to your point of view or they persuade you to theirs. The choice is yours.”

How to Win Friends & Influence People By Dale Carnegie

jordan-harbinger“Most business is people doing business with those they know and like, and many bemoan “it’s all about who you know” -this book turns that into your advantage instead of the other way around.”

Jordan Harbinger 

Grit By Angela Duckworth

daniel-lemin“Starting and building a business is terrifying and not for the faint of heart. Duckworth’s stories illustrate why it’s not brilliance that wins the day; it’s passion and perseverance. You don’t need a “big” idea to win. You need grit.”

Daniel Lemin 

48 Days to the Work You Love By Dan Miller

cliff-ravenscraft“Prior to creating my own online business, in January 2008, I had lived my entire adult life as an “employee” only working jobs that “paid the bills.”  This book gave me a whole new perspective on “work.”  I discovered that it was truly possible to create work that is meaningful, fulfilling and profitable.  Today, I have a difficult time distinguishing my work from play.”

Cliff Ravenscraft  

The Francis Effect: The Real Reason You Hate Public Speaking and How to Get Over It  By M.F. Fensholt 

andy-saks“It helped me understand why people “freak when they speak” in public, so I could become a better public speaker myself, and do a better job training and coaching others in public speaking.”

Andy Saks 

Book Yourself Solid By Michael Port

sue-b-zimmerman“Hands down, Michael Port’s book Book Yourself Solid has had the biggest impact on my business!! The notion of ONLY working with clients who make you happy and feel like work is your life’s purpose and what you are meant to be doing everyday is hard to grasp when you are first starting out in business. When you apply the principles in his book and think is this a “Red Velvet Rope Policy Client” every time you have an opportunity to work with a client your standards become set in stone and you end up working with with people who make you feel more fulfilled”

Sue B. Zimmerman 

Nuts! – The Story of Southwest Airlines By Kevin Freiberg

charles-chadwick“A book that’s had a big impact on me and my business over the years is Nuts! – the story of Southwest Airlines and their recipe for business and personal success. Three of many critical keys I took away were; Act like an Owner – No matter what your role, always act like an owner and know your business, Question Authority and Challenge Convention, and Don’t Fear Failure. These spoke to me on two levels. Professionally, I’m in the highly competitive field of marketing automation so it’s important to be engaged, ask questions and be bold. I feel like these takeaways are a good reminder for my personal life as well.” 

Charles Chadwick 

The Compound Effect  By Darren Hardy

mari-smith“Success isn’t created overnight, but over time with small daily decisions that compound. I love Darren’s straightforward approach to life and business, and especially his system of accountability to get more of the right things done.”

Mari Smith 

80/20 in Sales and Marketing  By Perry Marshall

patrick-allmond“I love this book because it expands on the 80/20 philosophy by Richard Koch which constantly reminds us that 80% of our success only comes from a small 20% of the things we do. I use this daily when I think about the things I should and should not be working on. Find a project manager and delegate, delegate, delegate.”

Patrick Allmond 

See You at the Top  By Zig Ziglar

joel-comm“As a young man, this book helped set the trajectory for my successful career. Zig’s down-to-earth approach which begins with your personal character demonstrates how to live with integrity and passion in your private and public life. Zig and his book were a huge influence on my life!” 

Joel Comm 

Profit First By Mike Michalowicz

jill-stanton“This book was a game-changer for how my husband (Josh) and I structure our business financially. It challenges the age-old belief that we entrepreneurs need to prioritize our business first and ourselves second and gives you the strategies you need to make your business work FOR YOU, instead of the other way around. It was a breath of fresh air reading it and the audiobook is one of the funniest, most entertaining business books I’ve ever listened to.”

Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs  By Karen Berman and Joe Knight

jen-lehner“Essentially, before this book I was running my business like a lemonade stand. I really didn’t have a clue how to understand the story that my numbers were telling me. This book completely schooled me on how to not only understand what is currently happening in my business, but how to plan for the future.”

Thinking, Fast and Slow By Daniel Kahnamen

jon-goodman“I choose this book above all others not just because I’ve read it four times, but because so many other popular books are simply re-workings of Kahnamen (and his various partners) research. I want to understand people, how they act, why they act, and why often what they say is not what they actually want. In order to do this, I feel that the best way is to go to the source, and this book is the source. 

Jon Goodman 

The One Best Thing  By Gary Keller

ross-kaplan“I know this is a popular one, but I really think The One Thing By Gary Keller has had the biggest impact. It’s so easy to want to take on that “one extra thing” but when I stay focused on that 20% that brings in 80% of the results, I’ve found my business to grow much faster.”

Ross Kaplan-Winn 

The Slight Edge By Jeff Olson

stephanie-sammons“This book is a great reminder that it’s the little steps we take each day that lead to the bigger successes. But it’s as easy to say no to those small daily tasks as it is to say yes. Focus on saying yes to those tasks that lead to your bigger goals even when you don’t feel like it. Consistent daily progress is essential to achieving your goals.”

Stephanie Sammons 

Scaling Up By Verne Harnish

daniel-faggella“I learned of a number of 9-figure companies reading this book, and so I dove into it myself and implemented the ideas of metrics tracking and managing weekly / monthly meetings with our team. Fourteen months later we had a great Business Insider write-up about our growth – the book helped us to focus on key growth metrics during a period of rapid customer acquisition, and to keep team morale and focus on point. It’s not about “tactics”, it’s about how to grow a company to scale into a potentially global enterprise, and the insights about how to run / manage teams is invaluable.”

Daniel Faggella 

Influencer: The Power to Change Anything  By Al Patterson

david-lee“Although I can’t single out THE most important book, this is one of my top favorites because they so clearly communicate why the typical approaches to influencing people don’t work, and what we need to do instead (the major strategy being to create a “virtual reality experience” by telling stories rather than hoping the “take away message” will be convincing.”

David Lee 

Wrapping Up

There were some great books in there…some I’ve read, some I’ve bought but not read, some I’ve borrowed but not returned….

What did I choose? Well, I was surprised to see that my first runner up, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini was not on the list, although two people chose his follow up, Pre-Suasion. (I just finished Pre-Suasion, and although I enjoyed it, it didn’t change my life the way Influence did.)

The book that probably had the biggest impact on the growth of my business is Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends and Friends Into Customers.  No book gets social media and digital marketing the way that one does. It completely changed the way we market here at flyte.

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What’s your business book choice?

Was yours not one of the 39 books listed above? Then let us know in the comments below which was the book that had the biggest impact on growing your business!

Rich Brooks
You can’t spell Brooks without books