When I started on my journey of finding the most influential business books, I was amazed at the sheer volume of average books. Everyone agrees that reading business books is a great way to build your knowledge and grow your business.
However, it is hard to narrow the list to only the great ones. The great ones will not only impact you profoundly, but also have you referencing them for years to come. Every time you re-read them, you will learn something new.
The following ten books have guided me for a decade now. They focus on enjoying the roller coaster ride of growing a business to developing mental strength everything in between. I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I did!
Top 10 Most Influential Business Books of All Time
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Chase your Personal Legend. The Alchemist inspires you to chase your dreams and have faith that everything will fall into place. The book details the story of a boy who chased his Personal Legend and gave up the security of his life and all of his possessions to fulfill his dreams.
Similar to entrepreneurship, you need to have faith to chase your dreams with enthusiasm in the face of adversity. If you do so, the world will conspire to help you achieve it.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Dale Carnegie explains the key to building a network and a strong community is to focus on building meaningful relationships. Show interest in others and add value to their personal or professional life without expecting anything in return.
In the last 6 months, I have gained a circle of new partners and friends, which took time and effort but it is a long-term investment. Focus on improving the lives of others and in turn, your life will dramatically improve.
3. “Think and Grow Rich” – Napoleon Hill
““The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”
Napoleon Hill encourages the reader to define your goal, have a strong desire, and take massive action. A strong desire will not only produce immediate results but it will create momentum to push through any obstacles.
There will not be a clear path to your destination. However with enough fuel, you can create your own path and motivate others to join in achieving your goals.
Focus on the fundamentals – write down your goals, look at them everyday, and concentrate on the reason driving you. This is a formula for you to be successful.
Most Influential Business Books to Guide You
“Becoming a member of the NR(New Rich) is not just about working smarter. It’s about building a system to replace yourself.”
Tim Ferris focuses on creating a business that targets a specific audience, provides compelling upfront value, and operates independently of you. Run multiple tests and experiments on your product before launching your business.
Do not make the mistake of creating an expensive product and hoping that the customers will come. By having an independently run business, you will be able reap the benefits of your work throughout life instead of saving it all for the end.
“Are you working on something that can change the world? Yes or no? The answer for 99.99999 percent of people is no. I think we need to be training people on how to change the world.”
Peter Diamandis in Bold explains how more entrepreneurs should focus on solving global problems and how the task is highly achievable. First, global problems are above the line of credibility. Being above the line of credibility is when a new idea gets introduced and you immediately accept it and are ready to support it.
Second, there is less competition for global problems since people are focused either on their own small problems or problems within their own community. We need more entrepreneurs to focus on changing the world and it begins by changing your mindset. It is possible to make a global change and this book will give you the blueprint. Begin now.
“Every great, successful person I know shares the capacity to remain centered, clear and powerful in the midst of emotional “storms.”
This is definitely one of the classics. Your mind, body, and spiritual states should all be united and conditioned regularly. Condition yourself, develop a system to face adversity, and continuously work on improving yourself.
By focusing on the fundamentals, you will form the building blocks to become successful. When building a business, you will face a number of setbacks and if you are not mentally strong, your mind and body will suffer and you may make poor decisions.
“If you want to make your business and your marketing memorable, then your marketing needs to tell a story.”
Jeff Walker has a formula for launching your business. Create a story, give away free material to solve a problem (upfront value) for your target audience, maintain constant communication, and then launch your final product.
By taking these steps, you will create a loyal community and build a lean business organically. Do not rush into pitching your product or pushing the sale but focus on the larger vision of building a passionate group for your product. This is critical for later pitching new products and scaling your business.
Other Influential Business Books
“Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.”
Ries and Trout discuss how being the ‘first to market’ brings a considerable edge to your product: however, you need to create a lasting impression in your audience’s minds. With the age of information overload, people have a limited amount of mind-space for products or activities.
Your business needs to be associated with a single word and be exclusive in your customer’s limited mind-space. In a society filled with choices, you need to learn how to differentiate yourself consistently and effectively. The 22 laws have stood the test of time.
“The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic, long-term learning process, and not to live in a shell of static, safe mediocrity. Usually, growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or safety.”
Be a constant learner and expand your skills. If you are not growing and learning then you are dying. Josh Waitzkin has a formula to learn complex topics across many disciplines in a very short amount of time.
Indirectly, he contradicts the 10,000 hour principle to become an expert discussed by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers. For example, Waitzkin distinguishes between two ways of how people approach learning, innate versus entity.
In the entity approach, a particular skill is viewed as innate: thus, losses are viewed as undefeatable obstacles. However, using the incremental approach views losses as opportunities to further master the skill. He emphasizes the importance of taking an incremental approach.
Learning to take an incremental approach can help you master new skills in both your personal and professional life.
10. “Meditations” – Marcus Aurelius
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
Find peace in your mind. Do not let the pains and pleasures of the world dictate your emotions. If you do not control your emotions, they will control you. It is important to measure success by your own principles and not let them be dictated by outsiders.
During the early years of your business, you will face skepticism, doubt, and criticism. If you have a clear long-term vision and maintain a positive outlook, you will find your own success. Stay even keel, keep your emotions in check, define success by your standards, and focus on your vision.
My journey is not yet complete. I want to continue adding other influential business books to this list with your help. I have compiled a list and I highlighted my favorite takeaways. Now, I urge you to share your own views and build on this list. In the comments below, please leave the name of one of your favorite business books. I would love to hear from you.
I leave you with my final thoughts: build strong relationships, give back to your community, find your inner peace, and always chase your Personal Legend. Enjoy the ride!