As a young professional, solopreneur, or freelancer there is so much to learn. But the time we have to learn from the very best is so limited. Also, we don’t have time to sift through the millions of pages of business books out there to find something truly useful.
So we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council this question:
“What was the best business book you read last year?”
Enjoy their unique and insightful answers. Then jump on Amazon to order your favorites. You’ll soon be shortening your learning curve and be that much closer to achieving success.
“Contagious: Why Things Catch On” by Jonah Berger
Berger tells us how to communicate with others in a way that makes a deep impression on them. His methods will greatly increase the chances that people will talk about you, your company or product. His mentor was Chip Heath, the author of another prolific book on a similar topic, “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.”
“Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs” by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham
I am way outside of the “startup” phase in my business life, but I still found this book incredibly helpful as a reminder for what I need to focus on, and I’ve recommended it several times since finishing it a few months ago. It is a rough overview, but their advice is spot on for making sure you are profitable right away.
“Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…And Why the Rest Don’t (Rockefeller Habits 2.0)” by Verne Harnish
After listening to the audiobook of “Scaling Up,” I then bought three books: one for myself, one for my operations manager and one for my sales manager. We read each chapter in the book and then discussed it, one lesson at a time. After all, the book is packed with practical tools and exercises to help you plan and grow your business.
“Signals: The Breakdown of the Social Contract and the Rise of Geopolitics” by Pippa Malmgren
In “Signals: The Breakdown of the Social Contract and the Rise of Geopolitics,” Malmgren clearly and simply explains major economic forces and recent events. Most importantly, she teaches the reader how to interpret the signals around them to understand what is happening in the economy — while there is still time to react.
“Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends” by Martin Lindstrom
This important book emphasizes seemingly small details that make a difference. Linstrom isn’t trying to say big data isn’t important, but that it’s easy to overlook many points that you wouldn’t otherwise notice by looking at the big picture. For all of us, creative thinker or not, the book reminds us that important clues often hide in plain sight.
“The Consolations of Philosophy” by Alain de Botton
De Botton explores the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, who proposed that we must look at leadership and life as gardeners. Sure, plants can be ugly and unwieldy at their roots. But someone who knows their potential can cultivate them to bear beautiful flowers and fruits. To be a true leader is to see the potential in someone. Then help them reach it.
“Borrowing Brilliance: The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others” by David Kord Murray
This book provides an insightful and practical step-by-step breakdown on coming up with innovative ideas and solutions. It also shows how unique and original ideas can actually come from other ideas, and how to borrow from the best (while coming off as unique). In the end, I really enjoyed the focus on defining the problem and gathering idea ingredients.
“Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success” by Shane Snow
In “Smartcuts,” journalist Shane Snow takes readers through successes of U.S. Presidents, shoe designers and music legends. More important, Shane chronicles how they achieved success. In a fascinating dissection of what it takes to succeed, he also encourages readers to “switch ladders,” a process by which an individual can greatly accelerate growth.
“The Start-Up J Curve: The Six Steps to Entrepreneurial Success” by Howard Love
A quick read, “The Start-Up J Curve” contains anecdotes that surround and support the six-step framework he proposes. As a result, the biggest benefit it offers is a way to cut through all of the day-to-day noise and focus on what you should do to succeed.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched Business Collective. This free virtual mentorship program helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.