As an entrepreneur, you might be sick of the self-improvement genre telling you what to do, when to do it and how to do it. When you’re busy managing your business, you don’t need to read something that tells you you’re doing it all wrong. You won’t find any titles like that on our list. We believe that these are the only nine books you need to get your game on and to thrive.
1. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
It’s normal to feel extremely busy in modern life. And maybe you’re telling yourself you would read more, exercise more and try new things, if only you only had enough hours to do it all. In this book, Vanderkam interviews dozens of successful, happy people, and notes that they allocate their time differently than most of us. Instead of letting work, commuting and routine responsibilities crowd out the important stuff, these people start by making sure there’s time for their priorities. The best part? Vanderkam shows that you can sleep eight hours a night, exercise five times a week, take violin lessons and write a book without quitting your job, ignoring your family and throwing all of your responsibilities by the wayside.
2. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
We love anything that Godin writes, and this book is no exception. It’s all about harnessing your potential to make a difference in whatever field you choose. Godin says there used to be two teams in every workplace, management and labor. But now, there are the linchpins. These are the people who are transforming today’s workplace. They figure out what to do when there are no rules, they exceed their customers’ expectations and they pour their best selves into their work. Godin believes that linchpins are indispensable, and, in today’s economy, they get the best jobs and the most freedom. Here’s his advice: “You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must.” So go ahead and be the linchpin in your field.
3. Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together by Pamela Slim
You might not have the perfect job (yet), but you do have the option of freelancing and of volunteering to get into the field you desire. In this book, Slim gives us the tools to have meaningful careers in this new world of work. She shows us that it’s okay to be multi-passionate, and that you can connect the dots among your diverse accomplishments, sell your story and continually reinvent yourself. So embrace your quirks and passions — they’re all leading you somewhere.
4. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
As much as technology has changed business, knowing how to form meaningful connections with others is still one of the main keys to success. This classic book is just as relevant in the social media age as it was when it was first published in 1936. It gives you tips on how to handle people, how to be likable and how to change people without causing resentment. If you’re an introvert, you might find this book super-helpful.
5. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
What do Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. have in common? According to this book, the right habits. Duhigg shows why habits exist and how they can be changed. He argues that implementing keystone habits is the difference between earning billions and going bankrupt, failure and success, even life and death. When you take the time to understand how habits work, you’re able to transform your life, your business and your community. So if you’re in need of some change, this is the book for you.
6. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Sinek argues that to be a successful leader, you have to ignore the “what” and the “how” and start with the “why.” Why are you doing what you’re doing? Do you have a purpose, a cause or a belief that inspires you to do what you do? Leaders and organizations that embrace their “why” are more innovative, more influential and more profitable than those that don’t. If you’re looking to lead and to inspire, this book is a must-read.
7. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau
If there’s anyone that walks the talk, it’s Guillebeau. In his late 30s, he has already visited every country on earth, and he’s never held a “real job” or earned a regular paycheck. In this book, Guillebeau focuses on 50 people who built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a small investment (in most cases, $100 or less). He shows that these people had no special skills, just a determination to find an aspect of their passion that could be monetized. So instead of waiting for that big payout to start your business, start now. With a will, you’ll find a way.
8. Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn K. Glei
Sometimes, it seems like all we do is put out fires. We get hundreds of emails a day that make busy work the priority over doing our best work. If you’re overextended, overwhelmed and neglecting the most important things on your to-do list, this book will provide you with the wisdom to change that.
9. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
With over 15 million copies sold and translated into 38 languages worldwide, this is one of the most influential business management books of all time. It’s so good that U.S. President Bill Clinton read the book and invited Covey to Camp David to coach him on how to integrate the book into his presidency. Some of the habits that Covey highlights are proactiveness, beginning with an end in mind, putting first things first and seeking first to understand, and then to be understood. Pick it up if you want to rock your world.
Let us know about your favorite business books in the comments below. Interested in our stories? Be sure to sign up for our weekly design inspiration e-mails.