T Nation

Good Books on Business?

I know there are some current and future entrepreneurs on this site, so what are your favorite books that have directly helped you to run your business better?

I’m looking more for beginning business books, but any good one will do.

Any that cover just the basics, or any step by step, or just some real good advice.

I’ll be moving to NM next month, and if my wife finds a decent job with her degree, I’ll be able to go to school full time for a degree in business, but I’ve heard a lot of bad things about how colleges teach running a business. I guess I’ll have to keep the good, and filter out the bad.

I figure some good books could help a lot, along with the degree.

Jack: Straight from the Gut. By Jack Welch, former GE CEO who turned the company around.

Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? IBM’s turnaround.

Trump: The art of the deal, by Donald Trump

The One Minute Manager, by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.

The Ice Cream Maker, by Kenneth Blanchard.

Bang! Get your message heard in a noisy world. By the Kaplan Thaler Group.

Hope this helps and good luck with your move to NM. Which area are you moving to?

and remember you dont have to have a degree to start a business

E-Myth by Michael Gerber, hands down.

I think I read somewhere around 45 books last year and a lot of them were business/marekting/economics/psychology related.

There are a ton out there, man, but pick up this one first. You don’t want to get completely inundated with information to where you become paralyzed.

Let me know if you need anything else.

-Nate

Thanks!

Looks like a good list so far.

I’ll start with E-Myth and go from there.

I’ll start looking at all of those you suggested tmoney1.

Good point about getting swamped with so many books, Nate. I checked out the aisles of Barnes & Noble and there are way too many books on just about any subject.

‘Everything they didn’t teach you in Harvafrd Business School’ and John Malloy’s ‘Dress For Succuss’

[quote]Nate Green wrote:
E-Myth by Michael Gerber, hands down.

I think I read somewhere around 45 books last year and a lot of them were business/marekting/economics/psychology related.

There are a ton out there, man, but pick up this one first. You don’t want to get completely inundated with information to where you become paralyzed.

Let me know if you need anything else.

-Nate

[/quote]

I second this book. I read it a couple years ago but I remember it was definitely a keeper.

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston (if you’re in the tech sector, although even if you’re not it’s fairly interesting)

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks & Fraud in Financial Reports, Second Edition by Howard M. Schilit (this might never mean anything to you, but it’s relevant to me, so hey)

The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton

I didn’t really mention any ‘beginner’ books, because all you need as a beginner is a basic understanding of book keeping and taxes, as horribly uninteresting as it sounds (and is). Use some of the SBA’s tools. I’d also read through some of the resources at entrepreneur.com and inc.com

With regards to other recommendations in this thread, I dislike the one E-Myth book I’ve read (the one most people talk about, as far as I’m aware), but it’s not necessarily bad. I’d also never read anything by Donald Trump, for any reason, at any time.

[quote]Dweezil wrote:

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
[/quote]

I agree with this. Just finished it yesterday.

-Nate

[quote]Nate Green wrote:
Dweezil wrote:

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

I agree with this. Just finished it yesterday.

-Nate[/quote]

Read that a few years back as well. This is another great one.

If you are an entrepreneur and are looking to start your own business, here are two books that I highly recommend.

“The Art of the Start” - by Guy Kawasaki
Guy was there at the beginning of Apple and now owns his own venture capital firm. Great book on how to start a company in real life not in a classroom.

“Getting to Yes” - by Fisher, Ury, and Patton
It is a fact that business takes negotiating, so it is best to learn to how to do it right.

These other two books are good to read and both have some key learnings in them.

“Primal Leadership” - by Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee
More of a group psychology/leadership book, but it has some excellent lessons that can be used everyday in business.

“Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail” - by John P. Kotter
Not a book, but an article from the HBR. Change management is a skill with an increasing demand in business. Kotter’s article takes an excellent look at what companies need to do to make changes successfully.

[quote]IronDude17 wrote:
Nate Green wrote:
Dweezil wrote:

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

I agree with this. Just finished it yesterday.

-Nate

Read that a few years back as well. This is another great one.[/quote]

In addition to this, I would also recommend Built to Last by the same author. Older, but good.

Also, In Search of Excellence by Peterson and Waterman (1982) - very old, but very, very good.

“The art of business”.

Excellent question. It speaks volumes of you that you seek to learn and plan prior to executing.

  1. Never Eat Alone (Keith Ferazzi). I have provided an interesting link to the blog for your reference;

  2. The Toyota Way (Jeffrey Liker). Before a better business, comes a better you and before one does, one should have a coherent philosophy for why one does.

I found many of the principles articulated in the Toyota Way to be useful in terms of thinking about how I might make my own life “processes” more conducive to greater efficiency, more amenable to the surfacing of errors/inefficiencies quickly, thereby rendering me more capapble of constant growth of…perpetual evolution. I found it to be a worthy book - more than I imagined (but, perhaps, it just resonated with me personally). In any event, and again, for your reference and convenience, I have provided a link to an executive summary of the 14 principles espoused in Toyota Way.

I hope that you find these materials to be useful.

To digress at great length, I offer the following thoughts (from a piece that I wrote in April 2006).

Some Speculative Thoughts on Connection:

Everything is connected. Everyone is connected.

A butterfly could break wind somewhere in Guatemala and this could result in me getting a headache.

Fascinating.

Really.

(Incidentally, do butterflies break wind)?

So, distance notwithstanding, there is already a relationship between you and I. An as yet undiscovered one, to be sure, but a relationship nonetheless.

This notion, that everything and everyone are somehow connected gives rise to an interesting question:

How would our interactions differ if we treated each other not as strangers but rather as people who know that they already share some connection? How would we treat “strangers” (take for instance, the people on this site) if we approached our interactions with them as a means to discover what our connections were?

Would we be warmer? More positive? More inquisitive and open to listening (as opposed to being self-centred and preoccupied with ensuring that our perspective and priorities were well on their way to being firmly rammed down another’s throat)?

Would a warmer, more positive, more inquisitive and open approach, in turn lead to a better quality of interaction and more respectful and/or enduring relationships (much in the manner of a self-fulfilling prophesy)?

I dunno. Maybe.

And…

If we viewed ourselves as connected, again in an unknown but very real way, to all other people, would we go out of our way to not just avoid hurting other people but to actively foster their well-being and help them achieve their objectives? If we did this, if we all did this, would not each of us benefit from having a community of people that in their individual capacities was, in some small or large way, doing something to foster our well-being and help us clarify and/or move towards our goals?

I dunno. Maybe.

And…

If we viewed ourselves as connected in a very real way to all other people around us, could we somehow claim this pre-existing connection as giving us a right…an entitlement to seek dialogue with or solace from any other human being and thereby relieve the sense of isolation that overcomes all of us from time to time

(What, after all, is so ignoble, disgraceful or dishonourable about one human being wanting to reach out to another to gain solace, to share joy, to increase awareness or understanding, to know, to be known)?

Maybe it’s time for all of us to allow for a little intellectual drifting and paradigm shifting.

That’s the interesting thing about a change in perspective: The sky is still blue. The grass is still green. Nothing changes. Everything changes.

What if - your outcomes in life depend upon not what happens to you but rather, what you decide to make happen?

What if - everything (big or small) that you do or refrain from doing affected literally EVERYONE else?

What if we all reached out to nurture the talent that resides in the people around us?

In a completely connected and interrelated universe, a change in one, results in a change in all. What if, your next idea changed everything…for absolutely everyone?

Yours, is the magnificent power of one. Be a butterfly. Move your wings. Change the universe.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”

John Muir - environmentalist, naturalist, traveler, writer, scientist.
(1838 - 1914)


Acquire knowledge. Share knowledge. Learn. Grow. Together.

Quest

http://nevereatalone.typepad.com/blog/2006/05/best_life_possi.html
http://www.si.umich.edu/ICOS/Liker04.pdf

Awesome stuff!

Thanks again. I have a lot of reading to do, unfortunately I’m a relatively slow reader.

I bought E-Myth last night. Can’t wait 'till it gets here.

[quote]blok wrote:
and remember you dont have to have a degree to start a business[/quote]

Good point. I’ve heard that a lot, but I think it would be easier to get a loan if I have a degree.

The overall presentation, and showing how you can make money might be more important, but I’ll take anything that will help.

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
blok wrote:
and remember you dont have to have a degree to start a business

Good point. I’ve heard that a lot, but I think it would be easier to get a loan if I have a degree.

The overall presentation, and showing how you can make money might be more important, but I’ll take anything that will help.[/quote]

actually its easier to get a loan if you have cash… :wink:

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
blok wrote:
and remember you dont have to have a degree to start a business

Good point. I’ve heard that a lot, but I think it would be easier to get a loan if I have a degree.[/quote]

This is true, you don’t have to have a degree, but your degree is something that stays with you forever, and can’t be taken away from you.

You can use it for so many fields, and it’s versatile, so definitely get your degree.

What does anyone think about the “for Dummies” series of books?

I think they have at least 2 about business; Business for Dummies, and I think the other is Entrepreneurs for Dummies.

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
What does anyone think about the “for Dummies” series of books?

I think they have at least 2 about business; Business for Dummies, and I think the other is Entrepreneurs for Dummies.[/quote]

I think it would be a good starting point to understand the foundation, but I wouldn’t rely 100% on it for your entire business model.