Summer Reading… it’s not just for your kids

I often get asked, whether by those already in business or those thinking about starting a business, “Can you tell me a good business book to read that may answer questions for me?”  Unfortunately, no book provides the answers to all business-related questions (that would be way too easy). Business professionals have those that are their favorites for different reasons, so I wanted to share mine.  Many of these books you’ve likely heard of before and some have been on the “must read” list for decades.  I’ve listed them in the order that I would prioritize them, but each of them is an excellent read.


For Better or For Work  by Meg Hirshberg

This book may have just come out this year, but it is so outstanding, that it now tops my list of “must reads”.  Billed as a survival guide for entrepreneurs and their families, it really delivers on all fronts.  At many points throughout the book I felt as if I were reading from my own diary.  Hirshberg chronicles her life (and that of her family’s) from startup to success and also embeds hundreds of interviews from entrepreneurs of all sizes and results.  This book discusses how a business affects all those involved with the day-to-day operations and those involved with the owner.  Just because your spouse or children are not part of your business in a full-time capacity, don’t think that the business is not a part of their everyday life.  What I enjoyed most is how Hirshberg spoke about her own fears and struggles within her husband’s business.  She talked about where she felt they may have fallen short and shares those experiences to hopefully shed light for all readers.  That honesty about the tough times is what so few people ever share, but so many need to be thinking of from the get-go.  This book is a great read for those who are thinking about going into business, those who are already in business and their families.


The EMyth Revisited by Michael Gerber

About 20 years ago, someone suggested I read this book.  Not only did I read it, I go back to it often.  The principles outlined do not have to change with the times.  Sure we all want the freedom provided by owning our own businesses. But how do you transform your job into a business and actually attain the freedom sought? Are all of us cut out to be our own boss?  From the first chapter, Gerber discusses how, even though you may have an excellent talent, you may not make the best operator of a business.  Gerber also talks about the importance of systems as well as outsourcing duties.  This used to always be the first book I’d recommend to someone who’s thinking of working for themselves.  The E-Myth is the book that brought to its millions of readers the singular idea of working ON your business rather than just IN it.


Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

At the turn of the current century, this book set a tone for anyone who is preparing to run their own business. It provides an insightful look into the author’s views of why you go into business for yourself and who you should be looking out for once there.  The reader gains a mindset about basic principles of money that should be taught to everyone. Kiyosaki does not shy away from sharing the downsides along with his successes.


How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

What else needs to be said about a book that was written three-quarters of a century ago & is still recommended & relevant today?  Some may think this is a self-help book, but it’s much more than that. It’s about personal relationships and learning how the mind works inside social interactions. No matter the industry you are in, relating well with others is a necessary quality.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

This book takes a long look at setting personal priorities and not simply focusing on what’s right in front of you at this moment.  “To begin with the end in mind” is something all business owners must do, otherwise the early stages would be seemingly insurmountable.


Together, these five books encompass the best strategies, thoughts and emotions a business owner faces.  While it would be fantastic to have all these ideas in one book, taking the time to hear five different perspectives isn’t a bad thing (just a lengthy one).  Do you have a favorite business book?  If so, tell us what it is (especially if it’s not one of the books we already mentioned) and why.

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