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I read. A lot. Books are an essential part of my education, especially my entrepreneurial education. I’ve read business books that I wondered why they were written, and I’ve read books that changed my business and have become library staples.
It’s not that I just read for business. At any given time I have at least three books in my reading pile and several eBooks on my phone in case I have to wait somewhere. I am rarely without a book in hand.
I read fiction, I read non-fiction, I read mystery, I read adventure, I read history, I read biography and I read business.
And I remember what I read. Some of it’s bad and I wish I could forget it but most of it’s good. Every book makes an impact on my brain (if it doesn’t I probably won’t finish it. When I was younger I would, but now I’m getting older and I realize I don’t have enough time for useless books), some make an impact on my life. To see some of the books that changed me personally, read this post.
Today I’m sharing a few of those go-to books that changed my business. I love business books. I love to see what makes people—and businesses—tick. I want know how I can do better and be better–and do it more creatively. I have a constant need to be learning something new and stretching myself.
As I review this list it somehow doesn’t surprise me that two of my five top books come from Ken Blanchard and company. I have read quite a few other books from his company that have positively impacted my life and business. I may or may not have half a shelf in my business bookcase devoted to his easily readable and implementable gems.
And the other three authors also occupy several books worth of space in my bookcase. Not only did they write these books that changed my business but I’ve also learned from their other writings, and the opportunity to meet Dr. Covey, and Jack Canfield in person.
To purchase any of these books, and see if they can change your business for the better too, just click on the titles to order them on Amazon.com.
5 Books That Changed My Business
by Stephen R. Covey
This was the first business book I read as an adult. I can’t even remember how long ago I read this. Many years ago, I worked for a large insurance company and every week they had us listen to a chapter of this book on tape (it’s one of the few audio books I actually bought). At the time, I didn’t know who Stephen Covey was but it all sounded so familiar, like I already knew these principles. I just didn’t know how to put them into words. It really helped me to begin defining my direction and thinking about purpose. I refer back to it often, reading it usually once a year or so. You can find it on Amazon here.
by Jack Canfield
Another of my favorites. I found it at the library and liked it so much I went out and bought my own copy. Like most people, I first got to know Jack Canfield through his “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books. As a writer, the success of those books and the story of their initial publication was inspirational enough to get me hooked on finding out what else he had to say. Simple and step-by-step, but by no means easy, this book walks you through everything you need to know to set you firmly on the path to business success and personal satisfaction. You can find it on Amazon here.
by Jim Steffen
This book was a real game-changer for me. I was a compulsive goal setter and list maker. If it isn’t written down, it simply doesn’t exist in my world. Now I am a goal achiever and I have learned the power of MINs (MIN stands for Most Important Now) and prioritizing realistically. My productivity has gone up and my frustration has gone down.
Aligned Thinking is written in the form of a novel, as are many of the Ken Blanchard series. This makes these books easy to read and implement. I read it the first time by myself, and the second time with my husband to see if we could implement its principles in our personal lives, as well as business. This is another book I found at the library and then bought to re-read and study. You can find it on Amazon here.
by Tim Templeton
When I first went into business both as a writer and a photographer three decades ago, my business was built solely on word-of-mouth. I got my first regular writing gig at a small monthly paper published by the mother of one of my college classmates. I built my photography business with a clientele made up of family friends and then friends of those friends. I did very little work for people with whom I didn’t already have some connection. I didn’t advertise (except in the little monthly paper I wrote and did photography for) and I was plenty busy.
And then I moved to another state. I had to start over in a place where I did not know a single person. No one knew what an amazing photographer I was and I had zero client base. I began studying marketing in earnest. I learned how and where to advertise and I got out and started meeting other people in the wedding and event industry (photographing weddings and events is one of the quickest ways to build a people photography business) and learning to network, though I didn’t know that’s what it was called at the time.
Not long after, Tim Templeton published this little book and I began to understand why what I was doing worked and how to do it even better. And then I moved again to another state where I didn’t know anyone, re-invented my business and jumped right in to my favorite type of business building: networking.
And this book is still relevant and useful and still a book that’s changing my business. You can find it on Amazon here.
by Mike Michalowicz
Profit First might just be the book that changed my business most. It completely changed my thinking about business finance and profit. I will admit that keeping the books has never been my favorite part of business. But Profit First changed the way I think about “keeping the books.”
Its premise that you should plan for profit from day one, is also completely opposite of what I was taught when I first started in business many years ago. I was told that I should not plan to make any money in my business for the first three years, that I would have to return 100% of my income into growing my business. Yes, that meant no salary for up to three years.
Author Mike Michalowicz not only challenges that thinking, but takes you step-by-step to creating a profitable business right from the start. This book should be required reading for every entrepreneur. You can find Profit First on Amazon here.
Which books have changed your business? Tell me what I need to my reading pile—and why.
By the way, if you’re looking for more business books that can make a difference for you, check out these four books to help you build your business.