“Wisdom… comes not from age, but from education and learning.” ― Anton Chekhov
Small business owners and entrepreneurs out there: how many of you are self-taught?
We’re guessing quite a few. What you learn on the job or in the classroom can provide a solid foundation, but most business owners learn by trying, failing, and trying once more.
By experimenting. By learning from what others have done. By taking free classes or listening to podcasts or Googling anything related to their business.
And by reading books.
There are plenty of leadership and business-related books out there, but some stand out from the crowd and can provide you with tools, insights, and knowledge to be a better leader and business owner.
Here are eight books every business owner should read that will help you to develop your leadership skills and make your business thrive.
First published in 1936, Dale Carnegie’s book on how to work well with others, make people like you, win people to your way of thinking, and effectively lead resonates as much today as it did when it was first published over 70 years ago.
Even though communication techniques have changed drastically with the digital age, the principles of this book are still relevant. After all, at the heart of every business is people, and in order to be successful as a business owner, you need to be able to get along with others.
Research professor Brené Brown is known for her groundbreaking work on the power of vulnerability, and in one of her newest books, “Rising Strong,” she talks about a common phenomenon in all parts of life, but especially in business: failure.
For inevitably in life, we will fail – especially if we are being vulnerable. But in this work, she discusses how to “rise strong” when this happens, sharing interviews with Fortune 500 leaders and other professions. Learn how to fall, get up, and try again, bravely – hallmarks of what it takes to be successful.
Regardless of the type of industry you’re in, Michael Porter’s text on competitive strategy will help you think of how to position your business and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Will you position yourself as a low-cost provider? Or will you position your business based on the different services or products you bring to the table? Will you serve a broad array of industries or a niche market? Use Porter’s book to learn to develop and refine a competitive strategy for your business.
For many business owners and entrepreneurs, coming up with ideas isn’t a problem. What’s hard is translating these ideas into action. In Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan’s book on this topic, they write about how not to only execute your ideas, but to execute them well.
This book provides a practical primer on making ideas tangible by using and mastering a specific set of techniques and behaviors. You’ll learn how to master the discipline of getting things done and execute change at your company.
While Brené Brown’s discusses how to “rise strong” after you fail, Spencer Johnson’s bestselling work, “Who Moved My Cheese?” tackles another topic that affects everyone: change.
Many people don’t like change. But the fact is, things do change. Life is full of change. In this book, Johnson shows you how you can use change to your advantage by anticipating, acknowledging, and ultimately, accepting it.
If you haven’t already read one of John C. Maxwell’s numerous books on leadership, you’ve probably heard of him – and for good reason; he has written some of the best leadership books to date in the modern age. “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” is no exception.
To grow as a leader or business leader, Maxwell provides 15 laws to digest and then use to develop ways to grow. He starts out with one law to understand first: growth doesn’t just happen. Learn to build off this truth and grow in your life.
Management expert Michel Robert discusses the importance of strategic thinking and offers pragmatic, tried-and-true methods to assemble a strategic team, identify what truly drives your company, determine what your focus will be, and launch companywide initiatives for core strategies.
Robert’s book will help you to step back and really examine your business at its core. You’ll get to the heart of what makes your organization tick and how you can be strategic in your business model.
Learning isn’t something that stops after we graduate from high school or college. We are always learning, even if we aren’t conscious of it. But to be successful as a business, your company can’t be static or stay the same. Learning is a key part of helping you stay competitive.
In his book about this topic, Peter M. Senge writes about how a company needs to learn faster and apply what you’ve learned better than your competitors. He writes about how to create a business that is a learning one and how this can benefit your company in the long run.
So, the next time you download an audiobook or ebook, head to your local bookstore, or order a book online, why not try one of these books?
You may be surprised. You may be challenged. But most importantly, you will learn.