Inspiration from business books cluttering the shelves of many business people can be hard to locate. There are so many, and most offer value, but which are the ones that will truly make a difference and help your business stride ahead?
As difference-makers, five books potentially shine out from the bulk. Each of these books offers something unique but also follows through on a theme. Two have been around for decades while the three others are more modern. In different ways, they all look to make you rethink how you should approach various aspects of business and, as a collection, provide a pathway to being a better business person.
Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People
Achieving success through making personal connections is the substance of Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People." With the objective of any business to sell their products, Carnegie concentrates on showing you how you can influence their decisions and thus become successful.
He argues that most people have definable traits and that understanding these is a way in on a more personal level. Being able to strike personal relations often results in better deals both in terms of sales, purchasing and in the ability to influence other decisions that someone may make related to your work.
Showing that the interpersonal skills you can learn from one aspect of life are helpful in another is one of the great standouts this book provides the reader.
Bill Ryan's Fix Your Why
Although a relatively new book, "Fix Your Why," has begun to have a profound impact on the way to think about and conduct business in the pursuit of success.
The enormous amount of knowledge Ryan brings to the business arena radiates through in almost every chapter. He has personally built two substantial real estate companies in Chicago, and everything he espouses comes from his personal experience of the hardened business world.
Rethinking your approach to both your business and your life is at the center of his ethos. He concentrates on making you understand the importance of the 'why' in any business scenario, making it the fundamental question that you ask with every business decision.
He shows that you can rearticulate the 'why' by thinking creatively and bring out the open concepts that have previously flicked in and out of the shadows of your previous thinking.
Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich
Again, an older book, the relevance of "Think and Grow Rich," is as strong as when it was first published. In a similar vein to Bill Ryan's "Fix Your Why," it is a book that tackles your thought process for approaching business.
Hill firmly believed in positive thinking and driving forward to achieve success. He argued that perseverance always pays off in the end, and ultimately most blocks on your path could be broken through with persistence.
He considered the utilization of alliances and networks crucial to this goal and that it was imperative that you surround yourself with people who thought in a similar way to yourself as it would have the result of pushing each other forward to success.
Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: The Story of Success
Continuing the theme set by the first three books on the list, Gladwell's "Outliers: The Story of Success," starts to look at concrete examples of how a different way of thinking, and alternative approaches have pushed certain companies to the zenith of success in their industries.
Although he stands by the concept of hard work, he suggests that gaining true proficiency in any field takes on average three and a half years of work, he looks at how talented people recognized and seized the opportunity when they were presented.
As with Hill's "Think and Grow Rich" he talks about how to give yourself a better chance of success with strategic partnerships and alliances, although these should as much be directed to society as individuals.
Harvey Mackay's Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive
A slightly lesser known title, Harvey Mackay's "Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive" is every bit as valuable, if not more so, than the other titles on the list.
In this book, Mackay takes you into the trenches and shows you how he was always just that little bit more intuitive than his competitors in building up his multi-million dollar envelope business.
Mackay is all about the little details; if you read it last, you can see how the ideas in the other books have influenced him. From knowing every detail about his customers to writing ordering information on the roof of his trucks, he got himself noticed.
Picking business books that will make a difference is not straightforward. No business is the same as another, and each entrepreneur will be at a different stage of his journey. Tens of thousands of business-related books have been published, each relevant to someone in some way.
Here the books suggest providing an overarching approach to the way you think about business, how to think about it in an alternative way to your competitors, and then apply this to everyday issues and situations.