Top Ten Business Books

  • 29 Jan 2020
  • By Alan Jones
  • Read in 5 Minutes

Tags: Book of the Month, business advice, business adviser, business growth, Business Tips, Leadership

Top Ten Business Books

These are our Top Ten Business Books, and our reasons why we have chosen them. We highly recommend that business people read business books to complement our advisory services and further their knowledge. A vast number of business books have been published so it can be daunting to know which ones to read first. These are our Top Ten Business Books.

1. Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Start with Why is one of the first books that we introduce to our clients as part of our leadership module, along with Sinek’s follow up “Find Your Why”.

Every business is started for a reason. Uncovering and communicating the reason why a business exits is really powerful and inspiring. In this book Sinek talks about the “Golden Circle”. Every company or organisation knows WHAT they do. These are the products we sell or the services we provide. Some companies and organisations know HOW they do what they do. The “differentiating value proposition” or “proprietary process” or “USP.” These are the things that set us apart from our competition; the things we think make us special or different from everyone else. Very few people and organisations can clearly articulate WHY they do what they do. Why is a purpose, a cause or a belief. It provides a clear answer to Why we get out of bed in the morning, Why our company even exists and why that should matter to anyone else.

Making money is NOT a Why. Revenues, profits, salaries and other monetary measurements are simply results of what we do. The Why inspires us.

Simon Sinek also refers to the way that our brains work. The Why appeals to our emotions. The problem is that WHAT and HOW do not inspire action. Facts and figures make rational sense, but we don’t make decisions purely based on facts and figures. Starting with What is what commodities do. Starting with Why is what leaders do. Leaders inspire. We hope that this book inspires you!

2. Building a Happiness Centred Business by Paddi Lund

Building the Happiness Centred Business tells a vivid story of how Paddi Lund built a “By Invitation Only” dentistry business that thrives despite having a locked front door, no signs and ex-directory telephone number. Paddi only works 22 hours a week yet makes 3 times more than the majority of his colleagues.

It wasn’t always so rosy for Paddi. He admits that he used to be a “drill them, fill them, bill them” dentist. Also, like a lot of dentists, he was very stressed and even had a breakdown. He and his staff scored 8 out of 10 for stress levels and 2 out of 10 for happiness. Paddi decided that this had to change so he literally took a chainsaw to his practice and then set about rebuilding a model business focussing on reversing the stress/happiness scores.

One of the planks of our work with owner managed business is to focus on having happy, motivated staff. Good leadership and vision, happy staff, happy customers and good systems and processes will lead to a successful business. We use Building a Happiness Centred Business as a framework for communicating the culture of the business.

Paddi Lund’s books aren’t your standard books. He likes to be different and the style of his books are different. Not everyone likes different, but we certainly do! Hope you enjoy it.

3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Recognised as one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential Americans, Stephen R. Covey was one of the world’s foremost leadership authorities, organisational experts, and thought leaders.

In 2002, Forbes named The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People one of the top 10 most influential management books ever.

A survey by Chief Executive magazine recognised The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as one of the two most influential books of the 20th century.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People audiobook on tape is the best-selling nonfiction audio in history, selling more than a million and a half copies.

And yet most people we deal haven’t read it. We practice the 7 Habits daily and encourage to do likewise.

4. Who Moved My Cheese?

Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson is one of our favourite business books for three reasons :-

  1. It is short book. It has a very powerful message contained in 96 pages.
  2. It’s a great story and easy to read.
  3. It deals with change in your work and life.

I love change. But that is part of my behaviour profile and from our use of profiling tools I know that I am in a small minority. Most people do not like or are suspicious of change. That’s ok, and change management is all about communication. Who My Cheese really helps in the change process.

It is the amusing and enlightening story of four characters who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. Cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life, for example a good job, a loving relationship, money or possessions, health or spiritual peace of mind. The maze is where you look for what you want, perhaps the organisation you work in, or the family or community you live in. The problem is that the cheese keeps moving. In the story, the characters are faced with unexpected change in their search for the cheese. You’ll learn how to anticipate, adapt to and enjoy change and be ready to change quickly whenever you need to.

5. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

The E-Myth Revisited is sub-tilted Why Most Small Business Don’t Work and What to do About It and was one of the first business books to be targeted at owner managed businesses.

The E-Myth stands for the Entrepreneurial Myth. Gerber ascertains that there are three competing roles for the business owner; the Entrepreneur, The Manager and the Technician.  The Business Owner would have had an Entrepreneurial Seizure to start their business. They were most likely doing technical work previously. What business would they start? Most likely the business that they were technically proficient in. The engineer would set up an engineering business, the electrician an electrical business, the accountant or solicitor an accountancy/solicitor practice, and so on. But just because the business owner is technically able to do the work of the business, doesn’t mean that they are technically able to run a business that does the technical work. Indeed, it can be an advantage not to know the technical part of the business, because then the business owner has to figure out how the work gets done, rather than how to do the work!

He talks about how to set up a turnkey business and is credited with coining the phrase “working on your business” rather than working in your business. Essential reading for anyone in business.

6. To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink

This is not a traditional book on sales. What we like about To Sell is Human is that Pink relates selling to the modern day environment that we live in. As technology has progressed the world of the salesperson has changed, and they are no longer the holder of all the knowledge about their product.

Pink makes the point that everyone of us sells and that selling applies to anyone in a relationship. Teachers sell to pupils, as pupils give up a valuable resource, their time, to listen to the teacher. If the teacher isn’t a good “salesperson” the pupils won’t listen. Anyone in the medical profession is in selling. Anyone who is a parent sells their kids on going to bed. The list is endless

Once you get through the first few chapters, the book really comes to life and we particularly like the section on pitching to others. This is a great book for someone who hasn’t seen themselves as a traditional salesperson, and also for anyone interested in relationship selling. Hope you enjoy.

7. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T Kiyoski

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T Kiyoski is an international best seller that tells a story about his two dads. His real dad is an income rich school headmaster. The father of his best friend is a business owner. Whilst his real father has given him an academic education, his friends dad gives him a business education. He soon learns that whilst his friend’s dad appears to be poorer than his own father, he is in fact much wealthier. He learns the difference between working for money, against making money work for you.

At Mustard we often come across business owners that are working harder and harder and longer and longer. Our passion is helping them to get their business to work for them, and not the other way around. For anyone that hasn’t already read it Rich Dad Poor Dad is highly recommended.

8. Built to Sell by John Warrillow

John Warrillow tells the story of an owner of a marketing agency, called Alex, and the problems that he faces. Not uncommon problems of relationships with clients, who have unrealistic expectations, and under value the service that they are given. Lack of clarity and leadership also leads to staff problems, and lack of systems leads to working long hours for too little return.

Alex turns to a trusted business adviser (we particularly like that part), to help him.  Ted not only helps him to make his business more successful, he helps him to build value in his business. Finally, he helps him through the business selling process to sell his business for a sum that he would never have thought possible.

We believe that every business should be “Built to Sell” irrespective whether the business owner plans to sell the business or not.

What makes a business more valuable to sell, will make the business more successful in the meantime. One never knows when the opportunity knocks to sell your business. If you aren’t in a position to sell, then you will miss the opportunity.

Hope you enjoy the book and that it helps you in building a valuable business.

9. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Emotional Intelligence is one of the 5 Insights that we take our clients through. Emotional intelligence is the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen and the emotions of others to facilitate higher levels of collaboration and productivity.

Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Quotient are terms created by two researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, and popularised by Daniel Goleman in this book first published in 1996. Goleman is often referred to as the father of Emotional Intelligence.

The full title for the book is “Emotional Intelligence. Why it can matter more than IQ.” Goleman found that when he compared star performers with average ones in senior leadership positions, nearly 90% of the difference in their profiles was attributed to emotional intelligence factors rather than cognitive abilities. The great news is that unlike IQ, EQ is a skill set that can be learned.We highly recommend this book to learn about EQ and how to improve your EQ to become a more successful leader.

10. Connect Through Think Feel Know by Clive Hyland

In Connect Through Think Feel Know, Hyland takes us through a model for understanding the brain, or more precisely the five brains that humans possess. The cranium houses three brains :

  1. The base region of  the brain is the basal region, sometimes referred to as the “stem” or “reptilian” brain. This is the area that sits above the spinal column and is the oldest part of the brain that was there from the very beginning. It is the core of our subconscious, where our basic instincts come from . Hyland refers to this as the Knowing Brain.
  2. The middle layer of the brain, known as the limbic layer, sometimes referred as the “mammalian brain” because its primary evolution was developed in mammals. This is where we experience emotions, and different levels of energy. Hyland refers to this as a the Feeling Brain.
  3. The top layer of gray mass that separates us from the animal kingdom. It is the region of the brain where we create the rules for living out our existence. It is about process, structure, systems and logic. This is where we process facts and figures, detailed evidence and complex problem solving. Hyland refers to us as the Thinking Brain.

We all use all three constituents in our brain, but we communicate predominately through one of these styles.  The book gives us examples of how to recognise these styles of communication.  What are the practical implications of this knowledge? They are many and varied. The clue is in the title – Connect through Think Feel Know.

Even though we predominately use one (or two ) communication styles . we all use all three to some extent. Even if we normally use one style in a particular situation, for example choosing something off a menu, we don’t always use that style, depending on our mood, or energy level. Adapting our behavioural style, takes a lot of energy. Adapting our communication style can be learnt. Hyland takes us through examples and case studies of how adapting communication styles has helped individuals and teams to communicate better and improve performance.  We are all for that!

Curious to know how Mustard could help your business?

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