The 20 Best Business Books

20 Best Business Books

After receiving and sorting through hundreds of responses from media outlets and readers of the blog, the titles have been whittled down to 20 and the most popular books are highly favored.

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4 hour work week

1. The 4-Hour Work Week

by Tim Ferriss
Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.
never eat alone

2. Never Eat Alone

by Keith Ferrazzi
The secret, master networker Keith Ferrazzi claims, is in reaching out to other people. As Ferrazzi discovered early in life, what distinguishes highly successful people from everyone else is the way they use the power of relationships—so that everyone wins. In Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi lays out the specific steps—and inner mindset—he uses to reach out to connect with the thousands of colleagues, friends, and associates on his Rolodex, people he has helped and who have helped him.

3. Rework

by Jason Fried
Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Read it and you’ll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don’t need outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don’t need to be a workaholic. You don’t need to staff up. You don’t need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don’t even need an office. Those are all just excuses. What you really need to do is stop talking and start working. This book shows you the way. You’ll learn how to be more productive, how to get exposure without breaking the bank, and tons more counterintuitive ideas that will inspire and provoke you.

atlas shrugged

4. Atlas Shrugged

by Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world–and did. Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged stretches the boundaries further than any book you have ever read. It is a mystery, not about the murder of a man’s body, but about the murder–and rebirth–of man’s spirit. Atlas Shrugged is the “second most influential book for Americans today” after the Bible, according to a joint survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club.

guerrilla marketing

5. Guerrilla Marketing

by Jay Conrad Levinson
When Guerrilla Marketing was first published in 1983, Jay Levinson revolutionized marketing strategies for the small-business owner with his take-no-prisoners approach to finding clients. Based on hundreds of solid ideas that really work, Levinson’s philosophy has given birth to a new way of learning about market share and how to gain it.

made to stick

6. Made to Stick

by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the “human scale principle,” using the “Velcro Theory of Memory,” and creating “curiosity gaps.”

7 habits of highly effective people

7. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen R. Covey
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity–principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.
crush it

8. Crush it

by Gary Vaynerchuk
Why NOW Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion, Gary Vaynerchuk shows you how to use the power of the Internet to turn your real interests into real businesses. Gary spent years building his family business from a local wine shop into a national industry leader. Then one day he turned on a video camera, and by using the secrets revealed in this book, transformed his entire life and earning potential by building his personal brand. By the end of this book, any reader will have learned how to harness the power of the Internet to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Step by step, CRUSH IT! is the ultimate driver′s manual for modern business.

delivering happiness

9. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

by Tony Hsieh
The visionary CEO of Zappos explains how an emphasis on corporate culture can lead to unprecedented success. Pay new employees $2000 to quit. Make customer service the entire company, not just a department. Focus on company culture as the #1 priority. Apply research from the science of happiness to running a business. Help employees grow both personally and professionally. Seek to change the world. Oh, and make money too. Sound crazy? It’s all standard operating procedure at, the online retailer that’s doing over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales every year. In 1999, Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay) sold LinkExchange, the company he co-founded, to Microsoft for $265 million. He then joined Zappos as an adviser and investor, and eventually became CEO.

good to great

10. Good to Great

by Jim Collins
The Challenge: Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning. But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?
The Study: For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

by Robert B. Cialdini


by Michael Stelzner

Leadership & Self Deception

by Arbinger Institute

The Go-Giver

by Bob Burg, John David Mann

Peaks & Valleys

by Spencer Johnson

Purple Cow

by Seth Godin

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

by Al Ries, Jack Trout

The Halo Effect

by Phil Rosenzweig

Think and Grow Rich

by Napoleon Hill

I might also add I have recently read “Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leader” by Adam Morgan and also “The Start-Up of You” by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, which I loved and did not hesitate to add to this list. Download a free Audio book

What are your favorite business books?

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  1. Fantastic list, Carissa! I’ve actually read just one book here – Guerrilla Marketing. One of my professors back in college required us to read it. It is a good book! Thanks for this – I’ll try to find and buy ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins soon and start with that (because I am keeping this list for sure). :D

  2. I like the list Carissa. I’ve read a number of these books but still have a ways to go before I finish your whole list. Like Micky said, I would also add “The Lean Startup” to the top 10 since I believe that it has a number of powerful methods that can be applied instantly to any small business. Thanks for the great info!
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