Great Business Books We Recommend

One of our Core Values is an Insatiable Desire to Improve.  We attend conferences, and we read.  A lot.  This list is what we view to be the “A list” of most helpful books we recommend to our clients. If you are interested in the book, click on the title and you will be redirected to Amazon.

Leadership

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, Willink & Babin    An excellent outline of how taking accountability to the extreme creates a superior leadership culture.  Written by Navy Seals whose leadership skills had literal life-or-death consequences, the book provides a number of theses, supported by military combat examples, then provides an interpretation of how each applies to the business world.

Getting More: How You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life, Diamond  This book redefines negotiation in terms of a mindset that the most successful negotiators focus on ensuring that the other party gets its most important needs met.

Nuts!, Freiberg & Freiberg  This study of Southwest Airlines, written in the 1990s, provides great insight into how conscious culture can be a key contributor to success.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, Hseih  Another study of  how conscious culture can drive success and survive rapid growth. This is the story of Zappos, told by its founder, Tony Hseih.

Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm, Harnish  A great summary of the principles that John D Rockefeller used to drive success, even as his business became large and complex.

Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t (Rockefeller Habits 2.0), Harnish  This book takes Mastering the Rockefeller Habits to the next level by providing a step by step blueprint for living the habits within your business.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, Ferriss  This best seller outlines how to create leverage and focus on your calendar to enable hyper-effectiveneness.

The 40 Hour Work YEAR, Fritz  A best seller for the business owner who desires to remove himself from daily involvement in operations of his business.

The Power of a Positive No: Save The Deal Save The Relationship and Still Say No, Ury  How one simple word can improve your effectiveness in the workplace.

Your Company Sucks: It’s Time to Declare War on Yourself, Stevens  Great and good companies require constant tending,  without which they will rapidly “suck”. The gravity of the business world is mediocrity (or worse), and Stevens outlines the major causes and how to combat them.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Duhigg  Habits are not changed via willpower; they are changed by leaving the Cue and Reward intact but changing the Routine in a current habit.  This excellent primer has great implications for creating a more effective business culture.

You Win in the Locker Room First: The 7 C’s to Build a Winning Team in Business, Sports, and Life, Wiley  Culture is a key driver of success.  A culture that expects success can turn a team that has been losing or failing into a team that wins.

Planning

Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm, Harnish  A great summary of the principles that John D. Rockefeller used to drive success, even as his business became large and complex.

Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t (Rockefeller Habits 2.0), Harnish  This book takes its predecessor, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, to the next level by providing a step by step blueprint for living the habits within your business.

Management

Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition, Patterson & Grenny  An excellent primer for how to conduct conversations that are important and emotionally charged in a manner effective to all parties.

First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, Buckingham  The common practices of great managers, across any industry, defy the traditional “isms” of management. This book details what they do, and why it is effective.

Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay, Kaye & Jordan-Evans  Your employees should be a differentiating advantage over your competition. How to create a positive relationship between management and employees, reduce turnover, and increase happiness and productivity.

Hiring

Topgrading for Sales: World-Class Methods to Interview, Hire, and Coach Top Sales Representatives, Smart PhD  Most businesses have either a poor system or no system for hiring. They settle for “good enough” to fill positions, and end up with a mediocre team. Topgrading is a specific process to identify the best candidates with the right talents and attitude, creating an “A team”.

Who, Street & Smart PhD  This book takes Topgrading to a higher level.  It lays out a plan to attract far more A player candidates.  Then it recommends a very structured, very deep interview process that ensures hiring managers attain a true picture of each candidate.  Short and easy read.

Marketing

Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding, Rudov  Traditional marketing has often focused on gaining the attention of a target market.  Rudov argues that this approach misses the point.  EVERY buying decision is emotional, not rational.  Therefore, we shouldn’t be focused on getting attention — mindshare — but rather in gaining gutshare  — an emotional connection with our target market.  Not just theory, but good suggestions for how to implement.

Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, Ferrazzi  One of the world’s leading experts on developing  meaningful business relationships, Keith Ferrazzi explains the importance of generosity – and quirkiness – in relationships, and outlines a process to identify and connect with the right people.

Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter), Krug  Someone has clicked on your website. Great!  Now what? This book explains that you have to make the user experience brainless, or the browser will leave quickly.

The 29% Solution: 52 Weekly Networking Success Strategies, Misner  An excellent primer on effective marketing, written by the founder of the largest networking organization in the world, BNI.

Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive Goldstein, Martin, & Cialdini  This book provides 50 proven ways to impel people to take action. The academic work comes from the emerging study of “Persuasion Science.”

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP tweet Book01: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign,  Alexander, PhD  Thought Leadership is one of the most effective ways to develop credibility and visibility, but also one of the most difficult. This primer outlines a process to attack the challenge.

Sales

Hyper Sales Growth: Street-Proven Systems & Processes. How to Grow Quickly & Profitably., Daly  An overview of principles of great sales leadership.

The Accidental Salesperson: How to Take Control of Your Sales Career and Earn the Respect and Income You Deserve, Lytle  There are levels of sales relationships, defined by the level of trust and credibility established with the buyer. Most salespeople never connect past level one. This book describes how to develop a higher level relationship with prospects and clients, which will lead to a far higher level of sales.

Growing Sales, Merritt  Written by one of our firm’s principals, this is a concise outline of how to build better processes in marketing, sales, sales leadership, and client service.

Five Minutes With VITOMattson & Parinello  One of the biggest pitfalls of selling is engaging with a person who does not have decision-making power. But it’s tough to get access to “the big guy.” This book describes how to connect with, and then communicate appropriately with, that Very Important Top Officer who has decision-making authority.

Everything Counts, Everyone MattersMendelson  Short but excellent primer on how to navigate the process of selling to large organizations.

The SPEED of TRUST: The One Thing That Changes Everything, Covey  No interaction can occur until a certain threshold of trust is established. While the trust required to purchase a pencil may be lower than the trust required to hire a financial advisor, trust is a necessary factor in both decisions. This detailed book explains that trust-building is a process that can be accelerated.

Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, Goldstein, Martin, & Cialdini  This book provides 50 proven ways to impel people to take action. The academic work comes from the emerging study of “Persuasion Science.”

Social Media

Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter), Krug  Someone has clicked on your website. Great! Now what? This book explains that you have to make the user experience brainless, or the browser will leave quickly.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP tweet Book01: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign,  Alexander, PhD  Thought Leadership is one of the most effective ways to develop credibility and visibility, but also one of the most difficult.  This primer outlines a process to attack the challenge.

Systems

System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business, Beye  A short but sweet blueprint for creating better workflow processes in a business.

2 Second Lean (How to Grow People and Build a Fun Lean Culture at Work & at Home, 3rd Edition), Akers  How to develop a culture of Kaizen, the Toyota culture of continuous improvement, in your business. And how to make it fun!

Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits!: 4 Keys to Unlock Your Business Potential, Crabtree  Business owners do not have to be financial experts, but they do have to follow certain basic principles, and measure and manage a few key metrics, to be successful.

Client Service

The Ultimate Question 2.0 (Revised and Expanded Edition): How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World, Reichheld  How can you determine objectively if you are doing better or worse than you competition in the eyes of your clients? The Net Promoter Score is growing in popularity as the best tool. Further, it is being applied as a tool to measure performance of managers.

Negotiation

Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition, Patterson & Grenny  An excellent primer for how to conduct conversations that are important and emotionally charged in a manner effective to all parties.

Getting More: How You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life, Diamond This book redefines negotiation in terms of a mindset that the most successful negotiators focus on ensuring that the other party gets its most important needs met.

The Power of a Positive No: Save The Deal Save The Relationship and Still Say No, Ury  How one simple word can improve your effectiveness in the workplace.