Education is key to building a thriving business. One of the main things that highly successful people have in common is that they spend a lot of time reading. This list of the best business books will help you up your game as a business owner.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most influential business books you can find. I’m betting you’ll at least find some that you haven’t read yet–and some that will change your life and your business in fantastic ways.
The Best Business Books For Those Committed To Success
We’re sharing 52 of the highest-rated business books; one for each week of the next year. Make yourself a promise that you’ll read your way toward a more successful business and personal life.
1. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales From The World Of Wall Street
Microsoft founder Bill Gates calls this the best business book he’s ever read. This book of true tales about defining moments in the history of major companies will help you learn from the mistakes of business giants like Henry Ford–so you don’t have to learn by your own errors.
Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales From The World Of Wall Street by William N. Thorndike Jr.
2. The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs And Their Radically Rational Blueprint For Success
This book was listed #1 on Warren Buffett’s recommended reading list in his Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder letter for 2012. The book recounts how some of the business industry’s top CEOs bucked traditional business management rules and gained huge profits because of it.
The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs And Their Radically Rational Blueprint For Success by William N. Thorndike Jr.
3. The Essays Of Warren Buffett: Lessons For Investors And Managers
Speaking of Warren Buffett, who doesn’t want to learn about business success from the fourth wealthiest man in the world? This collection of his famous “shareholder letters” will provide you a lifetime of business and investing knowledge and is definitely one of the best business books out there.
The Essays Of Warren Buffett: Lessons For Investors And Managers Edited by Lawrence A. Cunningham
4. How To Win Friends And Influence People
Dale Carnegie tells you in this all-time bestseller book how you can take any situation and make it work in your favor. You’ll learn tips like how to win people to your way of thinking, change people without arousing resentment and more.
How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
5. The Art Of War
This book is an ancient Chinese military handbook that dates back to the fifth century B.C. What does it have to do with business? A successful business comes from the ability to strategize well, and this book will give you powerful tips on how to do that.
The Art Of War by Sun Tzu
6. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action
Simon Sinek’s book will give you key insight as to why some people are more innovative, influential and profitable than others. You’ll learn what some of the world’s greatest influencers have in common, and how their common traits can influence your level of success.
7. Lean In: Women, Work, And The Will To Lead
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, shares inspiring insights here for women in business. She’ll show you how to rise above fear and take new risks that can result in greater business success than you’ve ever dreamed possible.
Lean In: Women, Work, And The Will To Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
8. First, Break All The Rules: What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently
The world’s greatest managers have vastly different styles and backgrounds. The one thing they do have in common is an eagerness to break conventional rules in a big way.
This in-depth study of history’s greatest managers will help you see how not following the rules can lead to great success.
9. The Personal MBA: Master The Art Of Business
Post-graduate degrees are time-consuming and expensive. Save yourself some money and fast forward your path to success by getting an unofficial MBA.
Josh Kaufman shares essential knowledge on marketing, entrepreneurship, negotiations, operations and more in this all-encompassing business read.
The Personal MBA: Master The Art Of Business by Josh Kaufman
10. The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons In Personal Change
This book was written in 1969, but it’s still teaching people everywhere how to create a “great life of enduring purpose.” Learn how personal change can result in big-time success, both personally and professionally.
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons In Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
11. Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap… And Others Don’t
Jim Collins shows you how good companies, mediocre companies, and even bad companies can achieve monumental success. The data-driven analysis shared here will show you that there is no “one thing” that makes a company successful, but instead, there are several key concepts that influence major business success.
12. The Wealth Of Nations
Adam Smith penned this 1776 book to influence economists, government and organizations on which practices build wealth–and which tear it down. This book is full of timeless advice written in simple explanations.
The Wealth Of Nations by Adam Smith
13. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building A Business When There Are No Easy Answers
Ben Horowitz draws on his Silicon Valley experience to show you how to create and run a start-up business. He confronts the tough stuff about business building head-on, and he shows you how you can overcome adversity and drive through to success.
14. Guerilla Marketing: Easy And Inexpensive Strategies For Making Big Profits From Your Small Business
Jay Levinson wrote this book in 1983 to show the small business owner how to implement a take-no-prisoners approach to growing and marketing their business.
The updated and expanded fourth edition will show you how to make his insights work in the 21st century.
15. In Search Of Excellence: Lessons From America’s Best-Run Companies
This book studies the secrets of 43 of America’s best-run companies. You’ll learn about principles of management, and people-oriented, profit-maximizing business practices.
In Search Of Excellence: Lessons From America’s Best-Run Companies by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.
16. Built To Last: Successful Habits Of Visionary Companies
Business great Jim Collins partnered with Jerry Porras to discover how 18 truly exceptional and long-lasting companies beat out their top competitors.
This best business book assesses each company from start-up to large corporation status, and asks “What made this business better than their competitors?”
Built To Last: Successful Habits Of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry I Porras
17. Reengineering The Corporation: A Manifesto For Business Revolution
From Amazon: “This book leads readers through the radical redesign of a company’s processes, organization, and culture to achieve a quantum leap in performance.”
Updated for the 21st century and the new economy.
Reengineering The Corporation: A Manifesto For Business Revolution by Michael Hammer and James Champy
18. Traction: How Any Start-Up Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth
The authors of Traction don’t mince words: Building a successful company is hard. However, they also show you how you can consistently grow your customer base.
Traction gives you 19 secrets for building your customer base and for finding the right customers for your business.
Traction: How Any Start-Up Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
19. Dotcom Secrets: The Underground Playbook For Growing Your Company Online
Dotcom Secrets is not another how-to book on internet marketing. Instead, it’s Russell Brunson’s experiential guide born out of working with hundreds of thousands of businesses.
This online business success playbook was created after a decade of helping online businesses see what works and what doesn’t.
Dotcom Secrets: The Underground Playbook For Growing Your Company Online by Russell Brunson
20. Zero To One: Notes On Start-Ups, Or How To Build The Future
Peter Thiel insists in this book that successful start-ups are largely about innovation in an ever-changing world. This read will teach you how to ask the questions that will help you find value in unexpected places.
Zero To One: Notes On Start-Ups, Or How To Build The Future by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
21. Grinding It Out: The Making Of McDonald’s
Ray Kroc franchised first McDonald’s store when he was 52 years old. From there, he proceeded to grow it to be one of the largest fast-food corporations in the world.
The success story behind McDonald’s is about much more than french fries. Learn Kroc’s secrets to record-breaking business success.
Grinding It Out: The Making Of McDonald’s by Ray Kroc
22. Breakthrough Advertising: How To Write Ads That Shatter Traditions And Sales Records
Although written in 1966, the advertising secrets in this book still hold true for one main reason: human behavior has remained unchanged. Eugene Schwartz will show you why “The greatest mistake marketers make is in trying to create demand.”
23. 10x Marketing Formula: Your Blueprint For ‘Creating Competition Free Content’ That Stands Out And Gets Results
Garrett Moon shows you how to overcome the common marketing roadblocks and get ten times your normal marketing results. And he’ll teach you strategic shortcuts for getting fast results.
24. Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy To Cure The Blank Page Blues And Attract A Profitable Audience
Author Pamela Wilson uses 30 years of experience to teach you how to create consistently excellent content that’s effective and fun to put together. Her strategies work for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer content.’
25. Getting Past NO: Negotiating In Difficult Situations
This book can show you how to turn your biggest adversaries into negotiating partners. You’ll learn how to stay in control under pressure, diffuse anger, and hostility and more.
This state-of-the-art best business book on negotiation will help you learn how to deal with tough people, tough times and intense negotiations.
Getting Past NO: Negotiating In Difficult Situations by William Ury
26. Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
This is one of my very favorite books for business and for life. Chris Voss is a former international hostage negotiator for the FBI who learned first-hand how to negotiate in the most intense of situations.
His tactics work in business negotiations, personal situations, and pretty much anywhere life leads you.
27. Win Bigly: Persuasion In A World Where Facts Don’t Matter
Who would’ve thought you could learn about business from a cartoonist? Dilbert creator Scott Adams used the Trump election to discover how to study and learn about the art of persuasion.
Now he’s sharing those secrets with you. Learn how to successfully persuade others, and how to resist tactics of emotional persuasion when they’re used on you.
Win Bigly: Persuasion In A World Where Facts Don’t Matter by Scott Adams
28. No B.S. Direct Marketing: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing For Non-Direct Marketing Businesses
This book promises to deliver a list of little-known, radically different, profit-proven direct mail strategies for any business. What’s more, the strategies shown are backed up by proven success stories from an elite consultant team.
29. Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business And Influence–And How You Can Too
Gary Vaynerchuk uses both timeless principles and revolutionary ideas from real-life examples of successful entrepreneurs to show you how to develop and grow your personal brand.
Whatever your business, Gary’s techniques in Crushing It can work for you.
30. Invisible Selling Machine: 5 Steps To Crafting An Automated Evergreen Email Campaign That Makes Money While You Sleep
If you’re interested in true passive income techniques that help you make sales in your sleep, you’ll want to read this book. Ryan Deiss’ techniques can show you how to turn strangers into friends and lifelong customers.
31. Virtual Freedom: How To Work With Virtual Staff To Buy More Time, Become More Productive, And Build Your Dream Business
It’s common for entrepreneurs to try and do everything themselves. Virtual Freedom shows you how to outsource the smart way so you can focus on business growth.
32. Idea To Execution: How To Optimize, Automate And Outsource Everything in Your Business
How did Ari Meisel and Nick Sonnenberg get their start-up from “initial meeting” to “up and running” in less than 24 hours? Idea to Execution will show you. Learn how to use the latest tools and innovations to make your business dream a reality.
Idea To Execution: How To Optimize, Automate And Outsource Everything In Your Business by Ari Meisel and Nick Sonnenberg
33. Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits: 4 Keys to Unlock Your Business Potential
Greg Crabtree’s easy-to-follow, step-by-step format will teach you how to understand the financial factors that will help you avoid business failure. Learn how to use key financial indicators that can take your business from “start-up” to “million-dollar success.”
34. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What To Do About it
This revised version of the classic (The E-Myth) walks you through every stage of the life of a business. Author Michael Gerber will show you the difference between working on your business and working in your business.
35. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
Just as there are laws of physics, Al Ries and Jack Trout share the 22 laws behind successful marketing. Ries and Trout use real-life examples from successful companies to show you how each law can help grow your business.
The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout
36. Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Marketspace And Make Competition Irrelevant
This interesting read gives you insight on how to grow your business by not competing with your business rivals. Instead, you’ll learn how to grow your business by discovering untapped market spaces that are hungry for growth.
Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Marketspace And Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
37. Shoe Dog
Learn how Nike founder Phil Knight went from selling imported tennis shoes out of the back of his Plymouth Valiant to owning one of the world’s most recognizable name brands.
This is the story of the quintessential business start-up, and how it evolved into a company that boasts $30 billion in annual sales.
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
38. Company Of One: Why Staying Small Is The Next Big Thing For Business
Not every entrepreneur wants to grow into a large corporation. Paul Jarvis will show you how to deliberately run a small, yet successful business that allows you wealth and freedom. This is one of the best business books for small businesses.
39. Tools Of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, And Habits Of Billionaires, Icons And World-Class Performers
World-renowned entrepreneur Tim Ferriss has interviewed more than 200 world-class performers on his famous podcast. He shares a wealth of tools and tips that he’s gleaned from hanging out with earth’s most successful people.
40. Outliers: The Story Of Success
Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, was written to show you what makes the difference between the world’s most successful people and the rest of us. The secret lies not in what they do, but who they are, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
Outliers: The Story Of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
41. The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, A Tight Budget And A Hunger For Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage
Shark Tank’s Daymond John shares how being at the bottom of the financial barrel can be your greatest springboard for business success.
42. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets Of Being Productive In Life And Business
Charles Duhigg explores the science behind productivity. It turns out that the world’s most successful people view the world and their choices in profoundly different ways from the mainstream population.
43. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable
Author Seth Godin says you’re either remarkable or invisible, and that the choice is yours. But how does one go from being invisible to remarkable? The answer is counterintuitive to what you’ve likely heard before.
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable by Seth Godin
44. Midas Touch: Why Some Entrepreneurs Get Rich–And Why Most Don’t
Donald Trump is a hot topic in today’s world. But love him or hate him, there’s no denying he’s a wildly successful businessman. In this book, he teams up with real estate magnate Robert Kiyosaki and both men share their tips for becoming world-changing businessmen.
Midas Touch: Why Some Entrepreneurs Get Rich–And Why Most Don’t by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki
45. Startup Opportunities: Know When To Quit Your Day Job
Startup Opportunities touts itself as the go-to guide for anyone with a great business idea. The goal of the book is to help you position yourself to win from the very beginning.
Startup Opportunities: Know When to Quit Your Day Job by Sean Wise and Brad Feld
46. Virtuous Leadership: An Agenda For Personal Excellence
This book defines each of the classical human virtues most essential to leadership. The goal? To be your practical guide in the quest for excellence, both professional and personal.
Virtuous Leadership: An Agenda For Personal Excellence by Alexandre Havard
47. The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, And Habits Of Elite Entrepreneurs
Kevin Johnson’s book will give you insight into the beliefs, characteristics, and habits of the most successful entrepreneurs, from Mark Zuckerberg to Spanx founder Sara Blakely.
48. The Ten-Day MBA: A Step-By-Step Guide To Mastering The Skills Taught In America’s Top Business Schools
This is another book aimed at giving you a discount on your time and money, while still helping you learn the secrets taught by top business schools. From leadership to negotiation to financial planning, you’ll get a crash course in the world of the MBA degree.
49. Small Business, Big Vision: Lessons On How To Dominate Your Market From Self-Mad Entrepreneurs Who Did It Right
Your business may be small, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Learn expert strategies from seasoned entrepreneurs such as:
- The one-page business plan
- Sustainable business practices
- Effective social media marketing
- Whether to hire employees or outsource
Helpful for both new and seasoned entrepreneurs.
50. 24/7: The First Person You Must Lead Is You
Rebecca Halstead is a retired Brigadier General from the United States Army. She shares leadership principles that can transcend and help you rise above any roadblock.
24/7: The First Person You Must Lead Is You by Rebecca Halstead
51. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful
Marshall Goldsmith is a seasoned executive coach that will take you from where you are to the pinnacle of success. If you want to go to the very top, this is the book for you.
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith
52. High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way
If you can learn to adapt these six powerful habits, you can help your life go from ordinary to extraordinary. Burchard is one of the world’s highest-paid performance coaches, and he shares his tips for success in this book.
High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard
Take a page from the playbook of the most successful business people and get reading. If you commit to the powerful habit of reading daily and choose the very best business books, you’ll most certainly find yourself climbing closer to all of your dreams and goals.