Great leaders learn every day, and reading great books is the one of the best ways to learn. I’ve been fortunate enough to read some excellent books over the last fifteen years – books that have inspired me to change the way I see the world, my business, and the opportunities in front of me.
1) What Color Is Your Parachute? 2013: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard Bolles
I read this book when I was 21 years old and didn’t know what to do with the rest of my life. It helped me go from a Crunch n Munch vendor at the ballpark to a top salesperson at Radio Disney.
2) Permission Marketing : Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers by Seth Godin
No author has influenced me more as a marketer, business person and writer than Seth Godin. I could have easily included 9 books just by Godin – Purple Cow, Tribes, Linchpin, Poke the Box & his latest, Icarus Deception are all amongst my favorites. But Permission Marketing described social media marketing before it existed.
3) The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
This classic, one of three by Gladwell (Blink & Outliers are the others), demonstrates how successful products are launched, how ideas spread and how a trend can take off. It’s influenced me a great deal, as a word of mouth and social media marketer.
4) Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins
Collins is scientist of great companies – and this is his best work – chock full of case studies and simple yet profound principles like Level 5 Leadership. Even though I read this book when my company was only a handful of employees, it inspired me to want to build something great, and enduring.
5) Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm by Verne Harnish
It’s hard to believe I even had a business before I read this book by the founder of my favorite business group, Entrepreneurs Organization. Verne’s 1-page strategic plan is now used by both companies I’ve founded, and thousands of other companies. And our management teams use much of the methodology from this book.
6) The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber
This is a must read for any small business owner – especially “technical” owners such as lawyers, accountants, florists, restaurateurs, consultants and dentists.
7) Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You by John Warrilow
Make no mistake – if you are an owner or leader at a business – this is a great, super valuable read, even if you or your owners have no intention or ever selling the business.
8) Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
No matter what you do, this easy read will change the way you think about your work. It is so simply written, with small words and big pictures – and yet contains profound wisdom about how to be more productive and successful without being a workaholic or sacrificing anything.
9) The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable About Restoring Sanity To The Most Important Organization In Your Life by Patrick Lencioni
Along with Seth Godin, Patrick Lencioni is my favorite business author. I’ve read and love The Advantage, Getting Naked, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and The Five Tempations of a CEO. But the reason I’ve selected this one as my favorite, is that, as I’ve written before here, our ultimate legacy isn’t our career, but our family.
10) Likeable Social Media, about the role of social media in today’s society and how organizations can best leverage it, and, recently.