The world is full of business books. I went to the books category of Amazon and searched for “business books” and got over 100,000 results. Even if football is canceled and no new TV shows or movies come out this fall, I still don’t have time to read 100,000 books.
Occasionally people ask me for book recommendations, so I am going to highlight six books that you should read if you want to operate a successful company where people will enjoy working for years.
Before I give you the book recommendations, first let me give you a two-sentence summary.
I am keeping things brief so that you have more time to read the words of people much smarter than me.
The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. The best way to read Lencioni is to read his individual books . A book like “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and “The Ideal Team Player” are his top two books and follow his standard two-part formula. Section one is “The Fable” and Section two is “The Model.” However, “The Advantage” takes all of his books and puts all of “The Models” into one easy-to-apply book.
The Effective Manager by Mark Horstman. If you read this book, become a member of Managers Tools, and tune in to the weekly podcast with the same name, you won’t need to develop a management-training program for your company.
Getting Things Done by David Allen. If you need more time in your life, you’re out of luck, we all get the same amount of time. If you want to be more organized and want to clear your mind all at the same time, you will want to read this book. When this book was recommended to me, the person said, “Get both the audio format and a physical copy. When you are reading, have a notepad and paper with you so you can take notes as you listen and read.” It is excellent advice. This book involves changing some of your systems, so you need to read it over a series of weeks. There is also a workbook to use if you want to take a short cut.
Traction by Gino Wickman. This book outlines a system for running your business called EOS. The system lines up with three books above. If you want to include more people within your company in its growth or the long-term health of your company, this book is for you. I know dozens of companies that have put EOS in place at their firms. I have never heard of a company who regretted the move. There is a companion book written in a fable format called “Get a Grip.”
The next two books are short and concise. You will finish them before the plane lands. (If you ever go on a plane again).
2 Second Lean by Paul Akers. Lean means a lot of different things to different people. It can be a business school complex, or if you read this book, you can make it something simple. The book is excellent if you want to improve yourself and the things around you. Once you have improved yourself and the things around you, this book can help you transform your entire company. The internet is full of videos demonstrating 2SL concepts.
Slay the E-mail Monster by Lynn Coffman and Michael Valentine. The subtitle is “96 ways to Dramatically Increase Productivity.” If you follow the advice in this book, your e-mail problems will go away. Of course, it is hard to change habits, and we all think our circumstances are unique.
If I had a dollar for every person who told me this book would work for everybody – I could afford to buy each of you all of the books on this list.
That is it—my entire list. I understand there are many more books worth reading. Some of those books are more interesting than the books on my list. My list focuses on practical books. They are books you can use to put in place systems and principles for running and working at your business.
(If you insist on more information, continue reading).
Some other books I recommend fit into more specialized categories. For example, the three below are the best books I have found on specific facets of a business.
- The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn is a book on customer service.
- A Sense of Urgency by John Kotter is a book on accomplishing change.
- Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish is a book on strategic planning.
People like John Maxwell (Leadership), Jeffery Liker (Lean), the Heath brothers Dan and Chip (Marketing), Charles Duhigg (Habits), Marcus Buckingham (finding and using your strengths), Jim Collins (business case studies), and Daniel H. Pink (Motivation). Simon Sinek (Motivation) and Dave Ramsey (Personal Finances), just to name a few, all have piles of books worth reading.
The people at Vital Smarts like to write books in teams, and all their books are excellent, especially if you want to improve communication.
It appears TV isn’t going to be worth watching any time soon, so grab a book and improve yourself.