The average american reads 5 books per year. The average CEO reads 60. Coincidence?
Below you’ll find the 10 books that most influenced me professionally.
This is by far the best business book ever written in my opinion. Companies and businesses are made of people, and this book has pretty much all you need to know about how people think, behave, and about how you can use those dynamics to accomplish your goals.
For instance, after reading this book I developed the habit of remembering and calling every single person by his or her name, from the waiter who is serving me coffee to the CEO of a company. Why? Because this small gesture signals to people that you care about them, and this will make them much more willing to listen to you, help you and so on.
This is just one of the many principles and concepts covered in the book. If you haven’t read this book yet, buy a copy and place aside to your bed to you read a bit every single day!
The biggest lesson I took away from this book is to always start with the end in mind. The author has a really interesting exercise where you need to imagine and write down the words that you would like to be read at your funeral. That is, what kind of man or woman do you want to be, in the very end? Once you know your end goal it becomes much easier to draw a plan of action to get there. This applies to your life as well as to personal and professional projects.
And guest what, starting with the end in mind is just one of the seven habits of highly successful people. Read the book and you’ll discover the other six!
I was reluctant to buy this book because the author, Grant Cardone, gave me the impression of being rich for teaching people how to be rich. After researching a bit I discovered that he actually started many successful businesses, and the reviews on Amazon were pretty good, too, so I decided to give it a try. Boy am I glad!
Grant has a very different way of thinking about success: it’s not something you decide to go after but rather your obligation! It’s your ethical and moral duty to be successful! The book made me review how I was approaching many aspects of my life, and it propelled me to change in many ways.
If you are curious, the 10 X rule has two main components: settings goals that are 10x higher than what you initially planned or think is viable, and then taking action and putting effort that is 10x higher and more intense than what you think is normal or planned for initially. Not impressed? Read the book!
Probably the best book I have ever read about starting a business. Eric Ries argues that the goal of companies should not be to offer products and services, but rather to learn how to solve the needs of their customers, and how to build viable businesses around solving those problems.
For instance, instead of spending 12 months developing a product with all the features you can imagine for a particular segment, launch an MVP (minimum viable product) in 3 months and start getting customer feedback as soon as possible, using that launch as a chance to learn from your customers. This second approach will give you much better chances of coming up with a product that has real market appeal and potential.
Throughout the book you’ll find ways of doing such validated learning with scientific rigor.
This book tells the story of how Jorge Paulo Lemann, an investor and the richest man in Brazil, and his partners Beto Sicupira and Marcel Telles. Together they managed to build one of the largest investment firms in the world, owner of international brands such as Burger King, Heinz, Tim Hortons and Kraft Foods.
Throughout the book you will learn the concepts that guided the trio in turning around many of the businesses they acquired over the years, and you’ll be able to apply those concepts on your own projects.
Peter Thiel is a Silicon Valley legend (he is one of the PayPal co-founders), so I came to this book with high expectations. Guess what, it surpassed them.
After reading the book you’ll understand why going from 0 to 1 is much more difficult, and thus much more rewarding (financially and otherwise), than going from 1 to 100. You’ll also understand why you should always aim for a monopoly, why sales are just as important as your products, and so on.
This is the second book I read from Charles Duhigg, and I almost included both in this list. The first one is called The Power of Habit, and you should read it as well.
I included Smart Faster Better instead because I found it to be more pragmatic. That is, I changed more stuff in my life after reading it than after reading The Power of Habit.
In the book you’ll learn what motivates people, what strategies the Marine Corps use to motivate and get the best out of the new recruits, why making decisions and feeling in control of things is of utmost importance and so on.
Suppose you have a cousin or aunt who is great at making cakes. I mean, she is the best damn cake maker in town, or in the state! She loves to do those cakes, and she recently got fired from her job. Would you recommend to her opening a pastry shop?
Careful there! Just because someone is good on the technical side of things (e.g., making cakes) it doesn’t mean that he or she will be good on the entrepreneurial/managerial sides (e.g., actually building and running the business).
That is what Michael Gerber calls the E-Myth, and by reading the book you’ll understand what are the requirements for building a successful business.
Recommending Think and Grow Rich on a list of top business books is a cliché, I know. But the book does cover some very important aspects related to the mindset of becoming successful, and that is why I couldn’t leave it out.
This book will remind you that it all starts with ‘why’ you are doing what you are doing. What do you desire? Unless you identify that, you won’t have as much fuel and energy as you could. You will also understand the roles of imagination, knowledge, auto-suggestion, faith and so on in attaining success.
The core principle behind the Blue Ocean Strategy is value innovation. That is, a set of actions that will allow a company to affect, at the same time, its cost structure and its value proposition to buyers. The result will be a product or service offering that will cost less to produce than that of competitors (because non-essential features will be discarded, for instance) and will be more valuable to customers.
When a company manages to do that, it will create for itself a blue ocean with no competition, which is the opposite of the red ocean, where fierce competition takes place on several fronts. A great example provided in the book is the Cirque du Soleil case.