Last week I got an email from a friend who reads this blog asking me to make book recommendations for a friend who wants to start reading business books. From a list of all the books I have on business, I made a list of what I consider some of the very good books to get anyone started on learning more about business if that person is not a business student.
I made recommendation based what I though were the best books for anyone who is a beginner and wants to know more about business based on my reading list. I never studied business as a discipline. Everything I know about business I got from reading some of the books here. I will admit the list is not comprehensive. It has nothing on finance, operations and core management. I left them out for good reason. The recommendations are also based on my area of interest. As you can see I am more interested in strategy and marketing than finance or operations.
Here are my recommendations by category.
1.The Personal MBA- Josh Kaufman: This I recommend for anyone who wants to understand the rudiments of business from a generalist point of view. Everything in a normal MBA curriculum is covered here. And the best part is Josh learnt everything all by himself without an MBA and wrote a book for average people who want to understand business.
1.To sell is Human-Daniel Pink- This is a new book from Daniel Pink. In case you dont know, you are a sales person. Regardless of your professional affiliation or career choice, everyone is selling something. If you a career person, you are selling your skill to the potential employer so they can employ you. Your sale is successful when you are hired. If you are an academic or even philosopher, you are trying to sell your ideas to the world. Like his other works (Drive: The surprising Truth about what motivates Us and A Whole New Mind), Pink uses evidence from scientific research to argue that we all need to learn how to sell.He also provides very basic selling tips everyone can find useful. I recommend for non sales people who want to understand how to better sell what they have to offer the world.I recommend everything Daniel Pink.
1.Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion- Robert Ciadini- This book is rated as one of the best books on marketing. Robert has a PHD in Psychology and he uses that background to offer an in-depth expose on how marketing strategy works. And How Marketers depend on human psychology to sell.
2.Purple Cow– Seth Godin I like everything Seth Godin. As such I wouldn’t write a book recommendation without including something from Seth Godin. The idea in this book is simple. Nobody sees a normal cow while driving around and says, ‘wow, a cow!’ But if the cow was purple, you will get a different reaction. You will stop to look at it and wonder why is this cow purple. This book opens your mind to coming up with ideas that are ‘remark- able’ as Seth calls it. Something worth making a remark about.
3.All Marketers Are Liars– Seth Godin. Like all Seth’s books, he tries to debunk a generally accepted fact or myth depending on where you stand.Marketers tell Stories to sell things to us. That’s how they establish connection.Seth believes all marketers are liars. I am not sure if I agree but I’ll let you make up your mind after reading this book. By the way, I recommend everything Seth Godin.
1. The Innovators Dilemma & The Innovators Solution– Clayton Christensen, in 2011, Clayton was voted by thinkers50.com as the greatest business thinker alive. When you read his books on Disruptive Innovation, you will understand why. These books ( Innovators Dilemma and Innovator’s Solution) establish the idea of how small, negligible changes in technology through innovation can disrupt an industry.
2. Blues Ocean Strategy– W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne- Chan Kim is a Professor in the prestigious INSEAD Business School in Fontainebleau in France. Together with Renée, they wrote one of the most important books on Strategy. Blue Ocean Strategy. The idea of a Blue Ocean is simple, there is a lot of the competition in an industry leading to a lot of blood so that becomes a red ocean. What smart companies is create a whole new market rather than compete in the over crowded world.The ipod when it was introduced was a blue ocean for Apple. It changed the scope of their competitiveness radically. Same for the ipad.
3. Good to Great– Jim Collins- Jim Collins’s book is one of the best books you will read on why some companies like Coca-Cola, P&G, 3M have survived for years and some companies who started around the same time as they did failed.It’s one of the best business books you will read.
4.Competitive Strategy: Michael Porter, No one should read a strategy book without reading something from Michael Porter. Porter a Harvard Professor is the modern day father of Strategy. His books and theories on the 5 Forces has radically shaped business thinking. I recommend anything Porter.
Do you have any business books good for beginners that is not here and was very helpful in your understanding of business as a non business person? Please share in the comments section.