My Top 5 Business Books
My personal collection of books over the last 4 years
The firebrands of industry are not so because of how they performed academically, but largely because of their hunger for more knowledge and information. Up until the age of 21, the only books I've read were textbooks for school. However, all that changed when I got into the business world and picked up my first book 4 years ago. Since then, I've gone through about 60 business books based on the skills I wanted to and needed to learn at that point of time. Your business is largely a reflection of your personality and your standards, a combination of your principles and values, a mixture of the entrepreneurial spirit that you've nurtured over the years, and one of the best catalysts for this change is books.
1. THE E-MYTH
Michael Gerber talks about the three personalities required to run a successful company. Since most businesses are founded first by the technician, they have little or no experience on how to delegate and lay a proper foundation for sustainability. What happens eventually is that they move into a state of micromanagement where either quality turns poor customer complaints increase and the sales plummet, or their health gives way first with the stress. I read this book every year to change my perception. It's the best I can recommend. To summarize : He says, Work ON your business and not IN.
2. HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE
How to Win Friends and Influence People is an evergreen classic written by Dale Carnegie back in the 1900s. While it may seem to be a personal development book, I see it as a book in salesmanship. The greatest salesman in the world isn't he who walks into your office with a crisp grey or brown suit and through trickery gets you to sign above the dotted line. In fact the greatest salesman in the world ISN'T EVEN HUMAN. He's the 4 legged creature that comes at you wagging his tail about as he has his eyes firmly fixed on the food you have for him, he needs no elevator speech at all. It's taught me to walk into customers offices with a notepad in hand, ready to write down problems and come up with solutions. It's taught me to make a personal friend out of everyone, through genuine care.
3. ART OF THE DEAL
Trump documents his early 1970s days from buying the New York Commodore Hotel and structuring a deal with the Hyatt chain all with hardly any money down all the way to the Trump Towers and the Atlantic City Casinos that he built. Its a real treat for the capitalist inside us while still making us very aware that leverage is a two edged sword. Please understand that I am not propagating this book as part of a political agenda and solely from a business aspect. It also gives us a clear picture of how wars of this century are fought, in pinstripes.
4. ATLAS SHRUGGED
One of only two novels on my bookshelf, the other being The Alchemist, both timeless classics. Atlas Shrugged written by Ayn Rand in 1957 is still a popular book today. Through over 1000 pages of fiction Ayn Rand portrays the perils of socialism. Atlas, in this case played by the producers in society, must carry the weight of the world on their back past all bureaucratic hurdles. If you've ever wondered what the universe would look like without the producers, and have strong political opinions, this book is for you. It can also help us identify producers within our organizations and justly compensate them before its too late.
5. LOSING MY VIRGINITY
Billionaire Richard Branson writes about his early days building the Virgin group all the way back from starting student magazine from his basement. Banson also writes in detail about personal relationships and life in general and how they are intertwined with corporate identity. Through his experiences of nearly being shot down in China, or Iran or drowing at sea from a boat or while trying to go around the world in a hot air balloon, it has everything to keep you flipping pages hours at a stretch.
I wrote this blog post particularly because as business owners if we aren't moving forward or feel like we are, anxiety will get the better of us. While everyone is on home standby during this COVID-19 pandemic, the only thing we can work on is ourselves.
- Ian Nazareth