It’s that time in our business when we turn the page on the calendar and begin to turn our attention to planning for our success in the coming year.
There are many things you can do to boost your success next year. One of my favorite things to do is read. Not only have I always learned a lot from reading, I also gain inspiration and motivation. If you are serious about improving yourself and your business in the coming year, here are 10 books you need to read. These books are not necessarily the hottest new business titles. In fact, some of them have been around for at least a decade. But just because they weren’t all published this year, doesn’t mean the information isn’t relevant or that they are any less worthy of studying.
By the way, if you’re not a reader—or if you spend a lot of time in the car, all but one of these titles is also available in an audio format. If you prefer listening to reading, you can learn that way too. They come in print, Kindle and audio versions. I admit to preferring print versions because I like to underline, highlight and make notes as I read.
While a few of these books are geared toward entrepreneurs, they are all valuable to anyone looking to up their game in the business world. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this year’s “Books You Need to Read” list. Have you already read any? What else would you recommend?
To learn more about any of these books you need to read for success next year, or to purchase them, click on their titles to find them on Amazon.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn some money if you click on one and make a purchase. It will not cost you any extra, and I will be grateful for your support. Read the full disclosure here.
Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine
by Mike Michalowicz
When I started my first business back in the dark ages, one of the first things I was told was that I should not expect to make a profit for the first three years. And I must reinvest 100% of my profits to grow my business. Like most newbie entrepreneurs (and I was VERY young), I took that to mean I was also not going to be able to draw a salary. Looking back now, that sounds insane. According to Mike Michalowicz, it is. He’s right.
No matter what stage of business you’re at, read Profit First and get your business finances headed in the right direction. And by the way, his principles simplify accounting. (it doesn’t have to be as hard as they make it look.) And he makes it easier to manage your business profitably.
With dozens of case studies, practical, step-by-step advice, and humor, Profit First is the game-changing roadmap for any entrepreneur to make money.
Buy Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine at Amazon.com
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
by Donald Miller
In today’s economy, it’s all about connecting with your customers. And that means stories. In Building a StoryBrand, Donald Miller uses the seven universal elements of powerful stories to teach readers how to dramatically improve how they connect with customers and grow their businesses.
Building a StoryBrand teaches readers the seven universal story points all humans respond to; the real reason customers make purchases; how to simplify a brand message so people understand it; and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media. No matter the size of your business, learning and implementing the principles in this book will definitely boost your success.
Buy Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen at Amazon.com
The SPEED of TRUST: The One Thing That Changes Everything
by Stephen M .R. Covey
Trust is essential to success in today’s world, whether in business or in personal relationships. Stephen M. R. Covey shows how trust—and the speed at which it is established with clients, employees, and all stakeholders—is the single most critical component of a successful leader and organization.
Work gets done with and through people. There’s nothing more impactful on people, their work, and their performance, than trust.
The Speed of Trust demonstrates how to intentionally establish and maintain trust so you can move your business forward with greater speed and effectiveness.
And yes, he is the son of that Stephen Covey, and as worth listening to (and reading) as I found his father.
Buy The SPEED of TRUST: The One Thing That Changes Everything at Amazon.com
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
by Brad Stulberg
Whether you’re training for the Olympics or building a business, many of the principles and practices that help us achieve our goals are the same. In Peak Performance, Brad Stulberg explains these principles and how to implement them in clear language.
In addition to scientific principles, and clear explanations, Stulberg also uses many case studies and real-life examples to illustrate his points and inspire you to your own success.
If you want to take your “game” to the next level, Peak Performance will teach you how.
Buy Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success at Amazon.com
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
by Michael E. Gerber
I first read The E-Myth many years ago. It was a life-changer and a business-changer for me. This edition is all-new and updated, but still teaches those important original principles. Most fledging entrepreneurs stifle their success and burn themselves out with misconceptions. Gerber dispels those and walks you through the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective. He then shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business whether or not it is a franchise.
But perhaps the most important thing you will learn from this book (at least it was for me) is the critical distinction between working on your business and working in your business. If you can only read one book on this list as an entrepreneur, this is definitely the one at the top of the list of “books you need to read.”
Buy The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It at Amazon.com
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
by Simon Sinek
Start with Why shows that leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does.
Simon Sinek asks “Why are some people and organizations more innovative, influential and profitable than others?
It isn’t necessarily because they have some great idea or one-of-a-kind product. It’s because they understand that people respond to your “why.” When you can clearly communicate your why, and it’s a why that resonates with your customers, you have the power to motivate, inspire and succeed.
Buy Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action at Amazon.com
Business Boutique: A Woman’s Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves
by Christy Wright
“Mompreneurs” may be the fastest growing segment of the entrepreneurial population. More and more women are looking for opportunities to use their gifts to make money and provide for themselves and their families doing something they love.
Christy Wright understands this. She’s one of them. If you’re ready to become one, this book is a step-by-step guide to get started in a doable way. She not only explains business principles, but how to manage your time so you can enjoy both your business and your life. She covers critical but often overlooked basic business information like calculating prices, planning for taxes and keeping the books.
If you’re ready to leave the corporate life for a more family-friendly career, this book should be at the top of your list. By the way, while it’s written for women, the principles in this book can apply to entrepreneurial men as well.
Buy Business Boutique: A Woman’s Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves at Amazon.com
by Tom Rath
Do you want to have the opportunity to do what you are best at every day? Would you like to know your strengths so you can put them to work for you?
Very often, we tend to overlook the things that are our strengths. If you’re like me, you’ve been told more than once to focus on overcoming your weaknesses, instead of capitalizing on your strengths.
Taking the StrengthsFinder assessment was an eye opener for me. After completing the and reviewing my top five results, I made some small tweaks in my business that opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me. Not only did I realize my top strengths were some of the activities I enjoyed the most, but it helped me see how I could do a better job of putting my strengths to work for my business and my clients.
I was so amazed by the results, I immediately upgraded to request the complete report of all 34 StrengthsFinder themes. And I pull out my results and I review them regularly as part of my business planning and review.
This book includes clear explanations of each of the 34 talents. And it includes strategies for applying those strengths and access to the reference website with all kinds of useful resources.
Available exclusively in StrengthsFinder 2.0:
(using the unique access code included with each book)
- Personalized Strengths Discovery and Action-Planning Guide for applying your strengths in the next week, month, and year
- A more customized version of your top five theme report
- 50 Ideas for Action (10 strategies for building on each of your top five themes)
Buy StrengthsFinder 2.0 at Amazon.com
Worth Every Penny: Build a Business That Thrills Your Customers and Still Charge What You’re Worth
by Erin Verbeck and Sarah Petty
My first “grownup” business was photography. In fact, I still engage in professional photography on an occasional basis for select clients. It is a difficult industry to achieve sustainable financial success, and it definitely hasn’t gotten easier with the advent of digital photography.
While this book is focused toward photographers, the principles are applicable to anyone in a creative or customer-experience focused business. Authors Erin Verbeck and Sarah Petty, both seasoned photographers and marketers, show you how to succeed without falling into the discount trap.
Their focus in on creating customer experience and combining it with specialized offerings, and they show you how to capitalize on those and how to market those experiences and offerings.
The authors’ strategies are enhanced by real-life business experiences and vivid anecdotes from all types of business owners–restaurateurs to contractors to professional service providers and photographers. The advice in Worth Every Penny will inspire you to live your passion and pass it to your customers. The result: a profitable business that avoids succumbing to the pressure to discount.
Buy Worth Every Penny: Build a Business That Thrills Your Customers and Still Charge What You’re Worth at Amazon.com
Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One
by Jenny Blake
What’s next? is a question we all have to ask and answer more frequently in a world where the average job tenure is four years, roles change constantly even within that time, and smart, motivated people find themselves hitting professional plateaus. But how do you evaluate options and move forward without getting stuck?
According to Jenny Blake, the answer is “pivot.”
Pivoting is a crucial strategy for Silicon Valley tech companies and startups. And it can also be a successful strategy for individuals looking to make changes in their work lives. I know my career has pivoted more than once and often in unexpected directions. Some of those pivots would have been much less challenging if I had had this book to read.
This book will introduce you to the Pivot Method and show you how to take small, smart steps to move in a new direction–now and throughout your entire career.
Since change seems to be one of the few constants in life, why not get better at it? Your success depends on your ability to navigate change well and this book can help you do so.
Buy Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One at Amazon.com