5 Business Books that Changed my Life

by Jeremy Robinson
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I LOVE learning new things and deepening my skill set. That’s why I read over 50 books a year, with about 70% of the titles being focussed on business or personal development. It’s one of the best ways to keep my mind nimble while ensuring that I’m constantly growing and applying new ideas.

The books I’m sharing with you below are significant because they contained big or new ideas that have literally changed my life – and have the potential to change yours too!

Getting things Done

If you have ever struggled with overwhelm and the feeling that there is so much to do that you don’t even know where to start, Getting Things Done could change your life. But be warned, this is not a book you just read, it is a book you DO.

David Allen’s classic was a revelation for me when I first read it nearly 15 years ago, and I still use his principles today. As a self described “creative person”, organization had always been a challenge for me. However, Getting Things Done provided me with a set of distinctions that allowed me to build a complete personal organizational system that multiplied my creative output and substantially reduced my stress.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

The Millionaire Next Door

Nearly everyone wants to be rich, but very few people take the time to understand what it REALLY takes. This book is a reminder that income is only half the equation. Generating real wealth generally requires a frugal lifestyle as you build up the  principle that will allow you to achieve financial freedom. However many high earners eschew prodigious saving as they get caught up in a consumptive lifestyle, leading them to overspend on “keeping up with the joneses” and missing out on the opportunity to meet their financial goals.

Rather than the typical  “mindset” prosperity hokum that you find in so many success books, the Millionaire Next Door uses statistical analysis to make clear point: getting rich has less to do with income than it does with adopting an understated lifestyle and becoming a prodigious saver.

One caveat:  this book is about 20 years old and is due for a revised version. If you are in your 20s or early 30s I might instead suggest, the book Set for Life which makes similar points for someone starting their career who is looking to attain early financial freedom.

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy

 

The Compound effect

There are a lot of motivational books out there, but this is one of the best I’ve found. Darren Hardy has a no BS approach that clearly articulates what it takes to be successful over the long term. Hint: there are no shortcuts. Get over it.

In essence, it comes down to little decisions you make everyday, the ones that may not seem to make much – or any – difference in the short term. However, in the long term consistently doing a  few of the right things over and over again will compound exponentially, allowing you to achieve anything – if you’re willing to stick with it through the hard times.

I’ve listened to this book twice and will continue to return to it whenever I need a mindset refresh and a kick in the ass  to remember that success is hard – but achievable with consistent effort.

The Compound Effect

 

Street Smarts

I just love Norm Brodsky’s no-nonsense way of writing as he shares anecdotes about businesses he has run or worked with, with an emphasis on financial planning. This is one of the best books for small business and startups that I’ve read. There is no formula here, just the insights and perspective of a seasoned Entrepreneur who has launched and run numerous businesses.

No matter what stage you are at – planning, startup, or growth mode, Brodsky’s hard won experience through failure and big success makes him a highly credible and charismatic virtual mentor.

Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs

 

Get a Grip

Get a Grip is a parable about a struggling company as it works through the process of implementing a management approach called the Entrepreneurial Operating System. This is not a particularly entertaining  book, however it is an excellent introduction to the principals of the Entrepreneurial system itself, in a more digestible format than its companion  book, Traction, which is a step by step breakdown. ( you may want to purchase Traction as a reference if and when you decide to Implement EOS)

The Entrepreneurial Operating System has had a profound effect on the way we run SoYoung and I have introduced it to a number of other businesses I have worked with, who also swear by it’s principles. While geared towards small businesses with at least 20 employees, I’ve found that majority of principles can be applied to any company to help move from reactive to proactive decision making.  

Get A Grip: How to Get Everything You Want from Your Entrepreneurial Business

Honorable Mentions

I wanted to keep my list short, but here are a few more books that have helped me over the years and could make a big difference to you

Atomic Habits – James Clear

Building a Story brand – Donald Miller

The 1-Page Marketing Plan – Alan Dib

Positioning – Al Reis, Jack Trout

 

Super Entertaining Business Books

Most of these books trace the journeys of big businesses. Any business insights you get from them books will be purely anecdotal, but they are all super-entertaining reads that will give you greater insight into the world we live in. 

Disney War

In the Plex

The Everything Store

Creativity Inc

The Four

Flash Boys

Bad Blood

Hatching Twitter

Have you read any of these 5 business books that will change your life? Interested in reading them? Have a questions? Leave a comment below!

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