Top 5 Business books
I’ve been reading a lot of business books lately, partly for fun but mostly to try to learn more about the art and science of running a great business that not only creates profits but makes meaning as well. Here would be (in no particular order) my top 5 business books of the moment, for creatives and ‘suits’ alike…
The Art of The Start – Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawasaki worked at Apple in the 80’s and now runs a successful venture capital firm. This book covers his practical approach to launching start ups and it is worth reading for anyone thinking of starting a new business of any kind. His writing style is straightforwardly lacking in business gumpf and has plenty of practical advice to help you get off to the best start. The chapters on pitching, public speaking and bootstrapping are well worth reading twice as is heeding the opening advice to read the last chapter first.
Tony Hsieh founded Zappos.com – an online shoe store, 10 years ago and ‘married’ it to Amazon for $1.2 billion dollars. His candid and personal book not only takes you through the history of Zappos as a company but also inside their world beating customer service, on which the brand has made its millions. There are plenty of interesting insights into how exactly to go about delivering incredible customer service, why that wins in the long run and the lengths you need to be prepared to go to commit to your ideals. Enjoyable, fast paced and insight rich.
FREE – Chris Anderson
Chris Anderson is the editor of Wired magazine and often pops up at places like TED. His book is about the ‘freemium economy’ which is where many industries are heading (whether they like it or not). For example as a musician if you give away your music for free, you rapidly expand your fan base, meaning that you can sell out your live shows and make the real money. Piracy is now your friend in the digital age.
Free is worth reading because it helps you get your brain around ‘abundance thinking’, as well as how you might make money around free for yourself in the future digital economy where distribution costs are effectively at zero. The book is filled with helpful everyday examples of businesses changing their strategy and making tonnes of money by giving something away for free. Buy on Amazon.co.uk | Buy on Amazon.com
Banker To The Poor – Muhammed Yunnus
Muhammed Yunnus set up the Grameen bank with $27 dollars out of his own pocket and now lends over $2.5 billion in microcredit to the worlds poor. Although he started in Bangladesh there are Grameen banks in over 50 countries including the US and UK. How did he do it and why does it work so well? Well Banker to the Poor is part biography and part business insight book. I found it inspiring to read and it certainly challenged my expectations of what one person can do to make a difference in the world. Empowering people to help themselves is what has made Grameen so successful. Read it and you’ll be inspired to do something worthwhile.
Good to Great – Jim Collins
I have to confess that I’ve not read this book just yet – its still on its way in the post. But it is mentioned in almost every other business book I’ve read and so to not include it hear would seem foolish. The recurring nugget I keep hearing is that many companies fail to invest the time, effort and resources necessary to take them from merely being a ‘good’ company to being a ‘great’ company but that it is possible to make that change through hard work, dedication and determination. Why settle for comfort when you can achieve greatness seems to be the gist of it. Collin’s book has certainly passed the test of time and so I look forward to finding out what it takes for myself. Buy on Amazon.co.uk | Buy on Amazon.com