Why do we read? To simply amplify the knowledge threshold, to know above and beyond, or to live up to the "Knowledge is Power" quotient. It's either one or all of these combined. Businessmen read books too. They feel it's necessary to be exposed to diverse knowledge, variant modes of thinking, and historical insights.
But knowledge is good, but how can it ideally be extracted from the vast sea that it is. Every year hundreds of business books are released. So, if a business has to pick up his/her book, then it needs to be something that ensures the best use of their time. It needs to have that quality to shape the reader’s mode of thinking.
Essentially a businessman would want to be informed of something that they don’t yet know. So, a book that can help them invest in their authenticity is often preferred. Warren Buffet, one of the most skilled investors of this decade explained why reading books is a key to success, "That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest”.
Do you still feel that there are unexplored areas that you should look into as a business person? It might be a hobby or one of the inspirational movies that every businessman should watch. But here’s a new directive for you; Get your head-start with these 5 essential books every business person should read.
‘Business Adventures’ - John Brooks
John Brooks is a New Yorker contributor and has been a classic that engages readers with the various insights of the quintessential American corporate and financial life.
'Business Adventures' also happens to be Warren Buffet's favourite book about business. Even Bill Gates has written about this classic in his blog. He said that Warren sent his copy of this book, for Bill to read. Bill Gates also points out that, although written almost four decades ago, this book still serves as being one of the best business books ever written.
The book has jotted down some of the iconic examples of companies known for their particular moment of notoriety. Be it the rising fame of Xerox or the 350$ disaster known as Edsel, these are notable accounts that still fascinate the readers and aspiring businesspersons.
Why are these stories important? They are since the readers get to inspect closely into the corporate lives and what transpired for each of these companies.
Wall Street stories can pack a jolt with its intense twists and turns, a dramatic thrust of sorts. John Brooks carefully reveals all of it, without leaving a single detail of how volatile the finance world can be.
‘The Effective Executive’ - Peter F. Drucker
This book is a ‘Definitive Guide on Getting the Right Things Done’, So, to expect the content of this magnitude, the book articulates and lives up to being that definitive. Peter F. Drucker talks about the usual things that are overlooked and avoided. Everything - intelligence, knowledge, and imagination - can be a waste if not put into a mold that churns out results.
Drucker, in his book, identifies the five essential practices to run a business effectively. From managing time to choosing what to be contributed and knowing when to mobilise, all of the essential mantras are packed in this book to help aspiring executives knit an immaculate strategy to put together an effective and informed decision.
Although the book dates back to 1966, this book still serves its relevance to all the aspiring executives to date. The guide, if implemented, can help managers or executives make the most at their respective work. Concisely written and clearly articulated, this book has quote-worthy lines like “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans”.
The book can offer fresh insights into recurrent business situations. The book, as mentioned already, by lengths and breadths covers the annals of government and business. Often demonstrating the distinctiveness of an executive, and how they drive successful business decisions, this book covers it all.
‘The E-Myth’ - Michael Gerber
The E-Myth by Micheal Gerber has been voted as the numero uno business book by Inc. 500 CEOs. This is an instinct classic that demystifies the myths of starting a business. Michael Gerber is a small business insight consultant who has several years of experience and he collected all his sharp insights into this book. The book dispels some of the worst kinds of assumptions, common expectations, and technical expertise that can become pivotal to any successful business.
‘The E-Myth’ will be walking you through the foundational steps of a business i.e. from the nascent entrepreneurial stage to the growing pains of having a more mature perspective. The book has often been touted as the guiding light for businesses to succeed.
Why is the book still relevant? It is because of its content that shows the way business is franchised or why it should not be franchised in the first place. But primarily this book draws the reader’s attention on things that are often overlooked i.e. working on vs working in your business.
‘Profit First: A Simple System to Transform Any Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine’ - Mike Michalowicz
This book has a very simple accounting plug-in mantra to transform any business into a money-making faculty. Author of 'The Pumpkin Plan' and 'The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur', Mike Michalowicz explains in this book - how the GAAP method for accounting contradicts human nature, driving entrepreneurs to be stuck in a hellish loop of operating check-check.
This book brilliantly articulates how general accounting principles can be turned around to decrease expenses and increase revenue. It tries to deal with the common human trait of utilizing available resources to turn things around. He highlights how urgency and scarcity can be your incentive. For example, a book can be read within a week or a month or a work can be done within a week or a month only when you feel the urgency or the scarcity of resources. This principle is also what the book largely talks about when it comes to revenues.
In an interview in 2019, Mike Michalowicz said, “I say, ‘How do I get the same results I’ve always had, if not better, with less money?’ And I start thinking outside the box.” This lesson is pivotal for those who are learning to streamline their revenues earned and make more informed business choices.
‘Shoe Dog’ by Phil Knight
Penned by Nike co-founder Phil Knight, this book has also made its way into Bill Gates’ must-read list of books. The story centers around a young man who felt that athletes would use running shoes produced more ergonomically.
This book manages to strike a balance in showing us his personal and business life. This riveting and candid memoir gives us a panoptic view of Nike's early days as a start-up and how it came about is one of the most iconic and profitable brands across decades.
After being a fresh business-school graduate, Phil Knight had borrowed $50 from his father to start his own company. His primary goal was to import high-quality athletic shoes from Japan which are low-cost. From selling his shoes on the trunk of his Plymouth Valiant to grossing over $30 billion revenues each year, this book does have that jolt to give entrepreneurs and business people the jolt they need before starting their own business.
Up until the memoir was released Knight was a complete mystery. This memoir gives us a look into his psyche and how he wanted to start his own company after backpacking around at the age of 24. This book details his daunting setbacks too and everything that stood between him and his success. But most importantly, this book also premises itself around very enthusiastic people who eventually become a tightly-knit group of friends. All they had to believe is in the spirit of sports, the rest became history, for a brand that changed everything.
Q. Why should a business person read books, to begin with?
A. Books are a repository of knowledge and knowledge is the key to any successful business. The books can be a constant source of information, inspiration, and strategies. They can also help a business person find newer perspectives and insights to make informed choices.
Q. What books are typically read by any business person?
A. There are many books that a business person reads to draw inspiration and guidance from. The list above has curated the top 5 business books to read, that are amongst the most sought-after business books.