8 Books to Read to Be a Better Business Owner

Running a business requires the right mix of leadership, motivation, and organization. Fine-tuning your skills to be a great leader doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and self-analysis to better understand what is required of an effective business owner, manager, or team leader.

Luckily, there are many professionals who’ve gone before you and took notes. Those notes were then translated into full-length guidebooks to help with your own self-improvement on both a business and a personal level. Lots of books are available to help you redefine yourself as an inspiration to your employees and many, having stood the test of time, are still considered to be highly relevant in today’s world of business.

Take a look at the following starter list of books you can refer to when seeking advice on better business management:

  1. Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989)

A world-famous expert in leadership, Covey detailed the mastery of becoming a better person on the inside in order to become an effective leader on the outside.  While Covey passed away in 2012, his business self-help book continues to sell. Over 20 million copies (and counting) of this best-seller have been teaching business owners how to develop their personal vision and manage their relationship with self in order to better manage real world relationships.


  1. Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936)

With over 15 million copies sold, this best-seller from famed leader Dale Carnegie continues to provide solid advice to assist modern managers in the principles of positively influencing relationships in the workplace and beyond.  Carnegie’s valuable advice withstands the test of time, dealing with the basics of human emotions.


  1. Daniel Goleman’s Primal Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence (2013)

Goleman is a behavioral science writer and world-renowned psychologist who has collected data for the book from decades of his findings on leadership study. He concludes emotional intelligence is necessarily for developing smart leaders and encourages business owners to focus on the four areas of emotional intelligence (self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship management) to build stronger relationships.


  1. Liz Wiseman’s Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter (2010)

Wiseman analyzed 150 executives from around the world and highlights the five most important qualities of effective leaders. This best-selling business help book provides insight into the differences between managers who inspire and motivate everyone towards success and those who suck every ounce of energy from their team members. Stephen R. Covey penned the foreword in this must-read business guide.


  1. Gary Burnison’s The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership (2012)

Burnison is the CEO of Korn/Ferry International, the largest executive search firm in the world. He is certainly qualified to provide sound advice and guidance on being an effective leader, believing in his own sense of personal responsibility for those working for him.  In his business guide, Burnison focuses on his twelve most critical points of leadership which includes inspiring others to embrace change, developing strategies to achieve a vision, and building teams powerfully aligned with purpose. He refers to great leadership as the eighth wonder of the world.


  1. Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman’s First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently (1999)

Buckingham and Coffman, part of the Gallup Organization, have analyzed great managers from all facets of life. Their book provides an in-depth look at the common trait shared by these wise leaders – they do not hesitate to break rules conventionally accepted in the real world. From top leaders of Fortune 500 companies to small entrepreneurial startups, the authors showcase how these rule breakers excel at doing what others won’t.


  1. Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose (2010)

The CEO of Zappos offers a closer look at what makes a successful corporate culture thrive. Most of the advice is inspired by Hsieh’s own experience captaining his own shoe empire. He also relates sound advice from his days playing poker and how he related those lessons to doing business.


  1. Paul Marciano’s Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work: Build a Culture of Employee Engagement with the Principles of RESPECT

Marciano provides insight on motivating employees without bankrupting the company. He takes a closer look at the motivational strategies companies have been using for decades and provides practical advice for updating your business ideals. Keeping employees happy isn’t always about the mighty dollar and Marciano gives solid advice on how to make that happen.

Recognizing the need to fine-tune your skill set for better management is a good first step. Reviewing the advice of true leaders of business management is a solid next step in the process to becoming a better leader, an effective motivator, and an inspiration to others. These books are just a small example of what is available to help keep you on the right path to building a stronger team and reinforcing your business foundation as a whole.  Contact NSA for help improving the efficiency of your organization.

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