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The Essential Reads for Owners & Entrepreneurs

The ideas in books can be powerful in helping you move forward in your business. Below are the books we’ve found most helpful.

The E-Myth: Revisited - Michael E. Gerber

An absolute must read for any business owner. Michael’s book takes you through the process to make your business systems dependent instead of people dependent. The book is laid out as a dialogue between him and a client as the client works through the struggles of systemizing her business. He expands on each topic

There are three key lessons from this book:

  1. Having the technical skills does not mean you know how to run a business.

    Once you start a business, your role covers more than just doing the work; you now become responsible for finance, accounting, marketing, hiring, customer service, strategy, etc.

  2. Think as if your business was going to be a national franchise, then start one store.

    With this mindset, it allows you systemize every process in the business so you are able to remove yourself from activities that are not moving the business forward.

  3. Build a system of systems so your business does not rely on people’s skills.

    Relying on systems helps to ensure the quality of work being produced.

This book is not only helpful for small businesses, the principles can be applied to optimize operations and increase efficiency within most businesses.

Purple Cow - Seth Godin

A business book list would not be complete without a Seth Godin book. His latest release is another great book: This is Marketing. We picked Purple Cow because we’ve found it to be most impactful. He explains that the traditional ways of marketing no longer work and consumers are tired of boring products. He suggests to make something remarkable or you will go unnoticed.

Never Split the Difference - Chris Voss

Former FBI hostage negotiator teaches you how to have a competitive edge in any discussion. You learn how to become more persuasive; sometimes getting to no is better than getting to yes. As an owner, this book will help immensely as you will learn to better discuss sales negotiations, speaking with others, and dealing with conflicts that arise.

How to Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie

A classic, the principles from this book still hold true today. The book is broken up into four sections:

  1. Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  2. Six Ways to Make People Like You

  3. How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  4. Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

This is good read even if you don’t own a business.

The Whale Vomit Method (2nd Ed.) - Kevin Dubrosky

Kevin teaches you how to make your products and services sought after and priced accordingly. I would recommend buying the audiobook version of this book, as the paperback is priced according to the value it provides (at the time of writing this, $68.00).

Sperm whale vomit is extremely rare, and when found, worth a lot of money. It has the properties of a fixative; used by high end perfumeries to stabilize volatile compounds. It is also difficult to find this substance.

To connect this idea with your business, the vomit incredibly valuable to a very specific market (perfumeries), unique from similar options in the market (nothing is as powerful as ambergris) as a fixative, and it is incredibly difficult to get your hands on it. The combination of these three make it incredibly expensive. The idea is to follow the same three step process to charge the highest price for your products or services.

Drive - Daniel H. Pink

What really motivates us, many times it goes beyond money and the carrot and a stick train of thought. Daniel dives into the main elements of motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. The book will help you understand what makes people tick, what truly motivates them, and how you can use this knowledge.

If you like this book, you’ll also enjoy two of his other books: To Sell Is Human and When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.

The Automatic Customer - John Warrillow

This book provides the groundwork for adding recurring revenue to your business; ensuring a steady flow of business month after month. It dives into the different subscription models and how you could apply them in your own business.

Another great book by John is Built to Sell. In this he teaches how to create a solid business that is able to operate without relying too much on your personal involvement; ultimately creating a sellable business.

Contagious - Jonah Berger

If you are looking to have a big impact, but have a small budget, this book will show you how to make you products or services spread like wildfire.

From the website:

Contagious combines groundbreaking research with powerful stories. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheese-steak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the seemingly most boring products there is: a blender. If you’ve wondered why certain stories get shared, e-mails get forwarded, or videos go viral, Contagious explains why, and shows how to leverage these concepts to craft contagious content. This book provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread—for designing messages, advertisements, and information that people will share. Whether you’re a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.

Made to Stick - Chip Heath, Dan Heath

What makes some ideas stick while others don’t? This is the premise of the book. It teaches the power of storytelling and acts as a how to guide for crafting compelling narratives.

From the website:

Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the Heath brothers reveal the anatomy of ideas that “stick” and explain sure-fire methods for making ideas stickier, such as violating schemas, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating “curiosity gaps.”