12 books you need to read if you want to run an awesome business

The cheapest form of education is reading. For just a few dollars and a few hours, you can get access to the thoughts of leaders in our world on any subject that interests you. The single book I think everyone must read is How to Read a Book.

Reading is so much more than just letting your eyes absorb the words on the page. Reading is learning and writing is thinking. Unfortunately, for most of us, school removes all the joy of reading because it merely trains us to memorize and repeat back information. By reading How to Read a Book you’re going to learn how to read effectively for comprehension.

I read it in 2016 and it improved what I get out of a book by the time I was 50 pages in. The more I read it the more information I get out of each book I read.

I think that learning to learn is so important if you want to have an awesome business that I’m going to spend the whole month of August showing you how to get the most out of the books you read and the courses you take.

Today, here are the top books I recommend to make your business better.

Marketing

If you only read three books on marketing your business this year then these are the three you need to read. Consider them a crash course in effective marketing.

1. Book Yourself Solid

Book Yourself Solid is one of the best books out there to help you find your niche and then build a great marketing funnel so you always have clients. Be warned though — you need to commit to doing the work. If you skip it (like I did the first 4 times) then you’ll get a bit out of it, but not what you could.

One good reading of this book, along with the exercises, can transform your business.

Get Book Yourself Solid on Amazon

2. Duct Tape Marketing

There are lots of marketing books out there for sure, but this one is so awesome because it just gives you a solid, proven approach to marketing that you can use in your business. It tries to cover your ‘ideal client’ but Book Yourself Solid does this much better.

Get Duct Tape Marketing on Amazon

3. To Sell is Human

Do sales feel icky? I mean, who wants to do sales? You just want to do your craft and people should come to you, right? The fault in that, though, is that people won’t come and we’re all in sales already.

Read To Sell is Human and start to understand that when we get people to use our services or purchase our products we’re helping them. We’re providing value to them. Without the awesomeness we provide they’d be worse off.

In that light sales is a service you provide to help people, and it’s nothing to feel ‘icky’ about.

Get To Sell is Human on Amazon

Entrepreneurship

Want to have all the mechanics of your business running well? Here is your three-book guide to making that happen.

1. EntreLeadership

Author Dave Ramsey isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Even though I love his material, he’s more than a bit over the top for me often. Despite that, EntreLeadership is a great book to learn how to run a business.

Wondering about how to move your team from simply hourly/salary wages and to pay them on performance? Dave talks about how he does that, among many other things, that will help your business kick ass.

Get EntreLeadership on Amazon

2. Growing a Business

This is an ‘older’ book which doesn’t even come in a digital format. I actually didn’t realize this and ordered it in a spree of book-buying, only to forget about it and then get a paperback book from Amazon.

Contrary to our current tech bubble, author Paul Hawken advises that simple money doesn’t solve problems, but only allows non-profitable companies to continue to lose money and become a bigger problem. He’s not opposed to taking investment, but it’s not the magic pill it’s often made out to be. Execution of a good idea by the right team is really what’s key.

Get Growing a Business on Amazon

3. Start with WHY

Simon Sinek calls it your WHY. Jeff Goins calls it your purpose (or your story). What they both mean is the reason you do what you do. My WHY is:

I help people run the business they want so they can live the life they want to live.

Running everything I do through that filter helps me decide what I do each day and which new business endeavours I choose to take on.

If you want to start finding your WHY read Start with WHY. Next up (yup, sneaking a fourth book in though it’s mentioned later as well) is The Art of Work by Jeff Goins.

Get Start with WHY on Amazon

Productivity

1. Deep Work

Deep Work is probably the best book I read in 2016 (maybe ever) for my productivity. Almost all of us need large swaths of time without interruptions to get our work done well. This in a world of devices and jobs that are designed to interrupt us.

Deep Work shows you why you need these large chunks of time without distraction and how to get them in your job.

Read my full review of Deep Work

Get Deep Work on Amazon

2. Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done (or GTD) is a book that’s been around for a while and it’s still great. I read this book every couple years to brush up my productivity habits. GTD isn’t quite for everyone, but take the principles in the book and tweak them as needed to suit what works for you.

Get Getting Things Done on Amazon

3. Enough

Do you have ‘enough’ in your life? How would you even know if you have enough since every metric we have to measure against is one of extreme excess?

This book by Patrick Rhone is a great series of essays to reset what’s enough. I say it’s a productivity book because it goes hand in hand with Deep Work. The stuff around us creates so much distraction and by cutting down what we own we cut down that distraction and can get more done.

Read my full review of Enough

Get Enough on Amazon

If you’re looking for a list of top 10 books on productivity then check out my previous post listing the 10 books I think you should read in the productivity space.

General

1. How to Read a Book

Most things we’ll be doing five years from now don’t exist today. The things you’re doing today are going to undergo massive changes in the next two years. Your ability to learn all these new things is what will keep you working and help you stand out from the crowd.

How to Read a Book is one tool that’s going to help you learn to learn. I think that almost everyone has lost that ability to really dig in and learn. They jump from list article (ironic that this is one) to list article and barely touch the surface of any topic.

We need to stop this and dig deep into the world around us. You can start that by sitting down with How to Read a Book and learn to read a book effectively.

Get How to Read a Book on Amazon

2. The Art of Work

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins is all about finding your purpose. Your purpose should inform everything you do all the time. It’s the reason you exist but it’s a hard thing to find for so many.

I love how Jeff approaches your ‘story’ as the path to your WHY/purpose. Read this book to get a better handle on what you should be doing with your life.

Read my full review of The Art of Work

Get The Art of Work on Amazon

3. The Happiness Advantage

You want to be happy right? Well of course you do — it would be ludicrous to assume that you want to be unhappy. Now the question is, how do you get there? How do you build resilience?

That’s what The Happiness Advantage tackles. Most people assume that happiness comes as a by-product of success, but the opposite is true. You’re happy and then you’re successful. Read this book to learn how to turn your mood around and become more successful in your business.

Read my full review of The Happiness Advantage

Get The Happiness Advantage on Amazon

There’s my list of books you need to read to become a great business owner and a great person. If I could only get you to read two books I’d suggest How to Read a Book and Deep Work. Just reading those two will help you learn everything faster and get more done as you cut distraction.

photo credit: wiredforsound23 cc

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