From author to farmer to marketer, every career path requires an understanding of basic business principles. Of course, while gaining practical hands-on experience is probably the best way to gain this much-needed knowledge, not everyone has the time (or opportunity) for an internship.
Fortunately, books are the next best thing.
After reading over 100 business books in the last few years, I’ll help kickstart your study of this crucial topic with 5 of the best business books your library card can borrow.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
Jason Fried and David Hansson
This is my personal favorite. While many business books offer the details needed to register a trademark or design a website, Rework stands out by looking at the big picture. Using short, engaging chapters, this book provides crucial advice such as “meetings are toxic” and “planning is guessing.” Although much of this advice in Rework can feel like common sense, you will find yourself returning frequently to review these seemingly obvious ideas.
When it comes to customer service, a small deli in Michigan consistently tops the charts. In this fascinating book, one of the co-founders of the Zingerman’s Deli shares his secrets to providing outstanding customer service. Based on their experience serving 500,000 customers a year, Weinzweig explains the practical steps from how to train your staff to how to measure their success. I challenge anyone to read this book without getting excited about customer service!
One of my favorite business authors, Jeffery Fox has written a dozens of books. But this one particularly stands out in light of our current national unemployment problem. Whether you’re job hunting or hiring, this book deserves a place on your shelf. In Don’t Send a Resume, Mr. Fox explains many ingenious, yet simple methods to landing your dream job. For instance, rather than talking about yourself and your goals during an interview, ask questions and show how you can solve the company’s problems. This book is both a primer for out-of-the-box thinking and a manual for successful job hunting.
Noah Goldstein, Steven Martin, Robert Cialdini
Quite possibly the most enjoyable research paper you’ll ever read, this short volume introduces you to 50 ways to be persuasive. Unlike many books of its kind, the claims in Yes are actually proven with scientific studies. As you thumb through its pages, you’ll learn why people who move to Florida are more likely to be named Florence, why using the word “because” could improve your results by as much as 34%, and why being the smartest person in the room can actually hurt your productivity.
The first personal finance book published in America, this 30-page gem is worth its weight in gold. Using Franklin’s signature quotes, this book was originally published as the preface to the 1758 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack, but it provides great insight today as well. From the classics (“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”) to the currently crucial (“Think what you do when you run into debt; you give another power over your liberty”) this book is well worth the hour of reading time.
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