Summer is here and thus starts the official season for summer vacations for those of us who’ve waited all year to unplug and step away from the office with family and friends. I don’t know about you, but for me, one of life’s greatest pleasures is opening up a book for the first time and not being able to put it down until the very last page. And of course, a beach and a cocktail on the side doesn’t hurt either.
As an avid reader, I’m always looking for good book recommendations. Whether you’re reading for pleasure through the greatest literary classics like Hemmingway, Salinger or Orwell, or for professional development to brush up on some business tactics and strategies, people in all careers are always looking for good recommendations on what’s what of books.
This year, I’ve reached out to several clients and colleagues and asked them for their favorite business book that they’d recommend picking up. If you’re heading out on vacation or are in need of a new book to read that is geared towards business, here are some of the top recommended books from our clients and friends:
1. Profit First – In Profit First, Mike Michalowicz, author of The Pumpkin Plan & The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, explains why the GAAP accounting method is contrary to human nature, trapping entrepreneurs in the panic-driven cycle of operating check-to-check and reveals why this new method is the easiest and smartest way to ensure your business becomes wildly (and permanently) profitable from your very next deposit forward.
2. Who Moved by Cheese? By Dr. Spencer Johnson. Love it for the metaphor of life – helpful in a fun way to analyze both yourself and co-workers, yourself and “successful people”, yourself and personal relationships. It can be just a fun read or one to spur introspection.
-Elizabeth Hauser, James Allen Insurance
3. How Remarkable Women Lead – Based on five years of proprietary research, How Remarkable Women Lead speaks to you as no other book has, with its hopeful outlook and unique ideas about success. It’s the new “right stuff” of leadership, raising provocative issues such as whether feminine leadership traits (for women and men) are better suited for our fast-changing, hyper-competitive, and increasingly complex world.
4. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – I love it because it blends comparison and contrast brilliantly. She uses fun, made-up words like “speechifying.” This book proves you don’t have to be an extrovert to be powerful, respected and successful. It’s a quiet gem.
– Erika Parsons, Boldthink Project Manager and Writing Coach for Erika Parsons School of Creative Writing
5. Traction – It’s a logical and easy read – giving small business owners a methodology and process to run their business.
– Nick Smarrelli, GadellNet
6. Pivot – What’s next? is a question we all have to ask and answer more frequently in an economy where the average job tenure is only four years, roles change constantly even within that time, and smart, motivated people find themselves hitting professional plateaus. But how do you evaluate options and move forward without getting stuck? Jenny Blake’s solution: It’s about small steps, not big leaps—and the answer is already right under your feet. This book will teach you how to pivot from a base of your existing strengths.
7. Delivering Happiness – Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares the different lessons he has learned in business and life, from starting a worm farm to running a pizza business, through LinkExchange, Zappos, and more. Fast-paced and down-to-earth, DELIVERING HAPPINESS shows how a very different kind of corporate culture is a powerful model for achieving success-and how by concentrating on the happiness of those around you, you can dramatically increase your own.
8. Mission- Based Management – It’s a great book that delves into clarifying the complexities in understanding nonprofit organizations, grantmakers, and the laws that govern them. Brinkeroff provides a great mix of professional expertise as a former nonprofit executive and consultant as well as some practical tools for applying within any sized organization. The best part was learning how to effectively manage a nonprofit organization and its staff through a mission-based approach. The book truly challenged us to keep mission at the center of everything we do in leading our organization.
-Derrin Slack, ProAct
9. Start with Why – Start with Why shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.
10. Unshakeable – After interviewing fifty of the world’s greatest financial minds and penning the #1 New York Times bestseller Money: Master the Game, Tony Robbins returns with a step-by-step playbook, taking you on a journey to transform your financial life and accelerate your path to financial freedom. No matter your salary, your stage of life, or when you started, this book will provide the tools to help you achieve your financial goals more rapidly than you ever thought possible.
11. Getting Things Done – This is a book that I have read three times already and will probably get back to every 3 or 4 years throughout my business career, particularly as life takes its inevitable twists and turns. One of the most profound yet simple takeaways was this: “If it takes less than two minutes, do it now!”. For a procrastinator like me, this was revolutionary. It really drives home the importance of aligning day to day tasks with your ultimate purpose and guiding principles
– Scott Whiting, Merchandise Warehouse
12. Pause – Sometimes life throws you for a loop. You’re stressed out at your job; you’re torn between work and family; your motivation and productivity are taking a nosedive. Your impulse might be to lean in and tough it out, but what you may really need to do is take a step back. Reassess your life with a clear head and dive back in with purpose and poise.
13. Designing Your Life – In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.
14. The Sweet Spot – This book is for anyone (especially multitasking women/moms) who need to create boundaries for success (and do it in a non-stringent way), Christine Carter has fun, applicable ideas for doing just that.
– Lisa Whitman, Digital Stories Media Group
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15. Sleep Smarter – We all stay very busy, and it is difficult to “unwind” at the end of the day. Shawn has several great suggestions about how to get a good night’s sleep. You will enjoy his writing style, and sleep better too!
– Cathy Langham, Langham Logistics
16. Building a Magnetic Culture – Did you know that nearly 75% of today’s workers are disengaged? The author of Building a Magnetic Culture, a world-renowned human resources specialist, lays out the best practices and missteps in developing a fully engaged workforce. This book is an easy evening read with down-to-earth anecdotes and simple to decipher statistics. If you are ready to win the next “Best Places to Work” award, this book is a great place to start.
– Melissa St. John, Relocation Strategies
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17. The 4-Hour Workweek -Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.
Let us know what you’re reading! We’d love to hear from you!