Are 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. 🙂
Essentialism By Greg McKeown
The E-Myth By Michael Gerber
Built to Sell By John Warrilow
Crush It By Gary Vaynerchuk
Ask By Ryan Levesque
Pre-suasion By Dr. Robert Cialdini
Anything You Want By Derek Sivers
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.”
The Great Pain Deception By Steve Ozanich
The Sirens of Titan By Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
“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.”
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living By Dale Carnegie
Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shredding The Three Fears That Sabotage Loyalty By Patrick Lencioni
Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination By Neal Gabeler
Brand Hijack By Alex Wipperfurth
Growing a Business By Paul Hawken
Launch – How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond Competition By Michael Stelzner
The Path with Heart By Jack Kornfield
Psycho-Cybernetics By Maxwell Maltz
The Practice of Management By Peter Drucker
Winning through Intimidation: How to Be the Victor, Not the Victim, in Business and in Life By Robert Ringer
“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
Grit By Angela Duckworth
“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.”
48 Days to the Work You Love By Dan Miller
“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.”
The Francis Effect: The Real Reason You Hate Public Speaking and How to Get Over It By M.F. Fensholt
Book Yourself Solid By Michael Port
“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”
Nuts! – The Story of Southwest Airlines By Kevin Freiberg
“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.”
The Compound Effect By Darren Hardy
“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.”
80/20 in Sales and Marketing By Perry Marshall
“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.”
See You at the Top By Zig Ziglar
“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!”
Profit First By Mike Michalowicz
“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
“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
“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.
The One Best Thing By Gary Keller
“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.”
The Slight Edge By Jeff Olson
“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.”
Scaling Up By Verne Harnish
“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.”
Influencer: The Power to Change Anything By Al Patterson
“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.”
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.
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!