Since I tend to be systems driven, I love books that take you through a business system the author has developed. Business authors who tell stories of their real-life experiences or those who use practical case studies I find not only useful but also very educational. Learning from people’s successes (and failures) can be quite inspirational.
Here are five must-read business books that I either have on my desk or on my iPad.
If you are in sales, and I know most of my readers are, you’re going to want to read Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff. Mr. Klaff pitches money-raising deals and has designed an extraordinary sales approach. His book provides real-life stories about his hits and misses using an out-of-the-box sales technique. If you have ice in your veins and high self-confidence, this sales process is for you! Mr. Klaff also provides companion materials that include pitch decks, videos, and additional articles. Good stuff.
You would think that one of the founders of Pixar would know a little bit about creativity, right? Sure enough, this might be the best book ever written about the subject. Catmull offers great stories about how Pixar came to be. But, the core of the book is his management approach to creativity. He provides his unique step-by-step process along with specific examples on what works, what doesn’t, and why. If you think of yourself as a creative person or you want to learn more about how to manage the creative process, this book is for you.
You might be thinking – ugh, another boring book about BIG DATA! True, this is a book about big data. But, Mr. Foreman (the Chief Operating Scientist at Mail Chimp)
provides a practical users guide on how to approach data that can result in solving business problems. Rather than write about higher-end statistical formula better suited for mathematicians, Mr. Foreman offers data solutions using Excel. And, if you are not an Excel expert, Foreman walks you through how to use Excel to help achieve specific objectives.
4. Jab, Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
Jab, Jab Right Hook is a blueprint for social media marketing strategy. Mr. Vaynerchuk, a best-selling New York Times author, provides real-world examples of how companies use social media platforms to engage with customers, build relationships, and get results. He provides excellent examples of what works, what doesn’t work, and why. It’s an excellent perspective about a (still) emerging media.
Zook and Adams, consultants with the Bain and Company, have written a book about how some of the best run companies design business systems that are repeatable and scalable. Based on a multiyear study of more than two hundred companies, the book stresses the value of repeatability in business, showing how the “big idea” today is really made up of a series of successful smaller ideas driven by a simple and repeatable business model. Zook and Allen show how some of the world’s best-known firms combine a core differentiation model with speed, adaptability, and simplicity to land them at the top for long periods of time. If you work in the franchising business, the concepts within this book apply to what you are attempting to accomplish every day.
Do you have a favorite business book? Let me know about it! Share your favorite(s) in the Comments section.