“Leaders are Readers.”
Best Business Books for Entrepreneurs
Reading the right business books has been a crucial – and pleasurable – part of my development as an entrepreneur. From top business strategy books to books on investment in the early noughties, through the inevitable Rich Dad, Poor Dad and the much-admired Tim Ferriss (I’m a huge fan myself), I’ve covered a LOT of reading over the years, from the best-rated business books to the under-known hidden gems.
Here, in approx. order of priority for me, but sorted a little by category as well, are my top 10 best business books of the last 10 years.
By the way, the following links are Amazon Affiliate links and by my calculation, if you buy one of the business books mentioned below, Amazon will give me the price of about a 1/7 of a cup of coffee (at average London prices). This ain’t gonna make me rich. It’s 99% about sharing these resources with you! I just thought I ought to be grown up and make the effort to use my Amazon Affiliates account.
By the way, you will never lose out by paying affiliate commissions; they are always paid the merchant (in this case Amazon).
Several mini top business books in one…
How to clarify goals
Internet business (e-commerce) basic startup strategy
This is so often the business book that inspired people I meet in masterminds or via mentoring to start their own venture. A beautifully crafted modern classic. Tim’s wry observation, humour and quest for usable truths shine through after more than a decade.
Mindset and Entrepreneurial journey
Steven Covey: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People*
Clarifying roles, goals, productivity and time management.
An classic business advice book (and life advice), which has stood the test of time.
I still use the Eisenhower Matrix which he introduced me to: basically the 2 by 2 matrix of quadrants:
|non urgent tasks
|Important/high impact tasks
|Cat. I (crises)
|Cat. II (business building)
|Cat. IV (time wasting)
Dan Kennedy: No BS Time management for entrepreneurs
Tales from the front line from a veteran direct marketer who Brought pre-internet wisdom to the internet abound in this one of the business books worth reading if you are really short of time and need help.
Very straight down the middle – eg “tame the phone” – and extremely practical. Unlike many books on time management – which take too much time to understand, let alone implement (that’s some kind of paradox) – this is immensely practical. I have a well-thumbed, well highlighted print version that knocks around my desk. Every so often, I re-read it and it’s like a session with a drill-sergeant business coach. Highly effective.
Amazon – Conceptual level
What drives Jeff Bezos, what drives Amazon. Given that, as far as I know, the only way to predict the future is to extrapolate from the past, this is one of those business books that you simply MUST read if you sell on Amazon. Period.
Understanding the first 2 decades of Amazon history should help you understand where it might go in the next few years. If nothing else, it will show you how Jeff Bezos’s mind works and how deep his customer obsession goes.
Richard Koch: The Star Principle
The Boston Consulting matrix – a Star business has two components:
- It’s a market leader (usually by revenue)
- It’s in a high-growth market (at LEAST 10% pa growth)
Amazingly, Richard Koch made himself rich by applying this strategy to his investments, rather than from writing books about it. That is rare as hen’s teeth. So this is a man to take very seriously. Another must-read business book for entrepreneurs in my opinion.
The person whose philosophy reflects this who I know best in the Amazon space is 10K Collective mastermind member, Joe Jaques, who I interviewed for the podcast.
Michael Gerber: The eMyth Revisited
(thanks to The Four Hour Workweek recommendation)
A classic on the importance of creating systems so you can delegate – and how to go about that. Another business book classic.
It also deals with the traps that we fall into moving from Self-Employed to Business creators (entrepreneurs) and the ways to deal with those. Amazon sellers are as prone to those as anyone else. Another vital book.
Perry Marshall: 80/20 Sales and Marketing
This business book is a mix of the conceptual and the practical.
Perry Marshall took Richard Koch’s book 80/20 (in itself also a classic business book for entrepreneurs or managers) and added his obsession with maths (Perry has an engineering degree and also still thinks like an engineer).
I’ve found this to be incredibly powerful in lots of counter-intuitive ways, in conjunction with the amazing companion online tool, www.8020curve.com.
This is the only business book that actually, alongside the 8020 tool site, predicted the existence of a probable market for a higher-priced, higher-level service that I didn’t have in my stable at the time.
Given that the prediction tool fit my existing data eerily welI (if you can sell a £50 product to x people, how many would buy at £97 etc etc), I had enough faith in the tool to create a service directly in response to the insight.
I had about 20 people at the time paying me £49 a month for a service, out of an email list of maybe 500. The tool predicted that if I created a service for £400, I should have 1 person buy it.
I created it and someone did indeed buy it within about a month. Spookily accurate and very powerful.
80/20 goes very deep. For starters you can have the 80/20 of the 80/20, which says that about 4% of inputs give 64% of the inputs; one step further, under 1% of inputs give around half of outputs. Power Laws, baby! All I can say is, if you have any analytical bone in your body, read it. It’s life-changingly powerful.
Chris Anderson: The Long Tail
This is one of those other business books, like the 4HWW, which has survived the test of time amazingly well.
It basically talks about the fact that products that sell few units still can in aggregate make a lot of revenue/sales etc.
This is the flip side of the usual application of 80/20 laws. Sure, 80% of products may sell fewer units individually. But put them together and it adds up to a lot of revenue. That’s the long tail in essence.
This is one of those business books that is packed with economic wisdom. It feels initially like it’s just about one idea. It is in essence – but it goes deeper than most nonetheless.
I just listened to it again after an 11-year gap and barring the odd corporate references that are a little dated, it sounds like it was written yesterday. For an easy-to-grasp yet deep and detailed business book on how the internet functions economically, this is a no-brainer.
Jim Cockrum: The Silent Sales Machine 10.0
Jim Cockrum has been selling on e-commerce markets since the early 2000s so is a veteran of eBay and Amazon.
His direct style is very helpful and he has a broad view of the marketplaces and the opportunities in them.
Although this kind of business book dates relatively fast, Jim regularly updates the versions. The latest is version 10.0.
This is a more practical, how-I-did-it business book for entrepreneurs specifically wanting to do, or involved in, Private Labelling on Amazon.
Like any more how-to focussed business books, it’s more likely to date quickly. But it is so relevant to Amazon Private Label sellers that I think it’s a very good book to read.
Adam is also a highly regarded speaker, and runs webinars for Amazon sellers.
To find out more about Adam’s next webinar (19 Sept.), CLICK HERE.
Watch 10 Best Business Books for Entrepreneurs
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