In over 30-plus years as an entrepreneur, I’ve been through many ups and downs that I never would have survived without the help of my favorite business books or Top 9 Books for Business Success .
My intent in sharing the wealth (literally) of this list is to introduce you to the books that have brought me where I am today, surrounded by an incredible team and growing faster than I ever imagined.
I’ve divided my picks into three categories: mindset, practical, and quantum business. The mindset books will set up the foundation you need to flourish (and this goes for everyone, not just business owners), while the practical will provide specific tools and systems to help your business see real growth. And quantum is all about accelerating results as you push past the limitations of time.
While you don’t have to read them in this order to gain all the insight, the general flow of numbers 1 through 9 moves from building the solid foundation of a strong mind, learning key practical steps, and stepping out into bigger realms.
- Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It, by Kamal Ravikant
YES, this is a business book that you can apply to any aspect of life. Before reading it, I’d always rolled my eyes at the idea of “learning to love yourself is the greatest love…” Whatever.
But when a friend recommended it, I read it in 45 minutes, took on doing all the exercises to begin to consciously practice self-love, and I was surprised to find that it works!
I found a way to love myself regardless of anyone’s opinions of me. I was astounded to discover how much anxiety disappeared from my life. Turns out, when you’re not worried about what other people think of you, a lot more becomes possible.
And this extends to business. Without practicing self-love, you’ll always be vulnerable to being swayed by your fear of what others will think, or become beholden to what they want you to do. You’ll never be able to take the necessary risks or make big moves to grow your business or accomplish your highest goals.
I also fulfilled a life-long dream and bought a beach house and lost 50-pounds. Big wins from reading a little book!
- The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, by Don Miguel Ruiz
As you practice the art of loving yourself no matter what, this book will show you how to create a life with minimal drama and maximum productivity.
Ruiz’s four agreements are simple, but they take a lot of vigilance and holding yourself accountable to put into practice.
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best.
I have read this several times, and I have found that if you stick to these tenets, it will help prevent and/or minimize most of life’s unnecessary dramas that would otherwise take up mental space and rob you of energy.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey
This book goes well with The Four Agreements, because it shows you the Habits that enable you to live up to the Agreements with greater consistency.
I use at least a few of these habits every single day, especially when I am experiencing a roadblock, either professional or personal. There’s always a habit I can employ to clear the way and help move things forward.
The two habits that have become second nature: “begin with the end in mind” and “think win-win.” The one I need to remind myself to use most: “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown
If you’re like me – highly creative with lots of ideas (and also prone to move toward bright, shiny objects) – then you might often find you are not sure what to do, which road to take, or what opportunities to capitalize on. Highly creative minds see so many possibilities, it can be difficult to determine what to do.
Essentialism presents a way of thinking about opportunities that will force you to evaluate not just what you could do, but what you must do.
One of Stephen Covey’s seven habits is doing what’s important before doing what’s urgent. But how do you know what’s important? Before you can truly implement this Covey habit, you first need to get clear on what is important.
Reading Essentialism is an essential step towards this aim.
- Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
This is a classic – possibly the first ever business self-help book. And though it was published in 1937, Hill’s success principles are timeless. Napoleon Hill is the root guru of business mindset coaching, so why not learn from one of the best?
The real value you’ll get from this book is that it trains you to adjust your attitude. It gives you the tools you need to retrain your brain on how you think about your goals and setbacks, so you won’t immediately give up when you hit the first roadblock.
It is particularly helpful to prepare you for the inevitable frustration that comes with being a business owner, especially when you aim to grow.
For instance, one of Hill’s sayings is, (I’m paraphrasing) “inside every challenge lies the seed of an even greater opportunity.”
Every time I confront a massive challenge, and I notice myself fixating on the problem, I direct my mind to look for the opportunity. This has led to every single one of my biggest business breakthroughs.
If you adopt this mentality, you can find a way through much faster. Also, you’ll begin to feel grateful for the challenges that come your way when you recognize that each one is an opportunity in disguise.
- Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine, by Mike Michalowicz
One of my clients once said, “it’s not how much you make, it’s what you keep that counts.”
I never forgot that.
At the time that I read Profit First, I was struggling with this. I was making over six figures, but I was somehow always broke, and I didn’t understand where all the money was going.
When I started to implement Michalowicz’s teachings, things turned around quickly. By using his model, I now always have extra money in the bank, so that the inevitable ups and downs of business don’t impact me as much as they used to.
(Be sure to check out my podcast interview with Mike here.)
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work, by Michael E. Gerber
This was my first ever introduction to how to scale a business.
My first business coach introduced me to this book. At the time, I had a personal fitness training business that I was struggling to grow. The E-Myth Revisited introduced the idea of systematization. It showed me how I could use systems to provide a consistent experience for my clients and a turnkey operation.
This knowledge enabled me to build my business to the point that I was able to sell a one-on-one service business that was valued at an unprecedented $400,000. All because of the systems that I had created.
- Take Back Your Life, by Sally McGhee
I require that anyone who comes to work on my administrative team reads this.
It is the first and only book that provides a set of tools to help me ensure that shit gets done. Using her system, I am able to carve out realistic time segments to complete a project and delegate specific tasks within that project to members of my team.
Before I had this tool, I was drowning in sticky notes, random note pads, and 17,000 unread emails. I got headaches from all the items I was trying to hold in my mind.
I knew what I had to do to grow my business, but I couldn’t execute all that well because I wasted so much energy trying to hold it all in my brain.
Sally McGhee’s book helps me capture thoughts and turn them into specific next actions with a due date.
Though it takes a bit of practice to truly implement, I promise it will be worth it.
- You2: A High Velocity Formula for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps, by Price Pritchett
This is the shortest book on the list, but it’s loaded with value.
It shows you how to create quantum leaps in your business by looking at one thing differently: time.
You2 teaches that time is a mental construct. We can grow at quantum speed when we stop slowing ourselves down by tethering our goals to time.
I re-read this book every year. And I glean something new each time.
The Bottom Line is This:
We all need books to make us better at everything we want to master. I am so grateful that these 9 authors decided to write the books listed here. Your reader needs YOU to write YOUR book so that they can become who they need to be too.