I was asked a great question by @twestonkendall on twitter the other day. He asked me what the top three business book are that have influenced how I think about business. My first reaction was to refer him to my Guru reading list on my website. But then I thought about it a little more. I created the reading list on my site to offer resources to people running, or thinking of running, small businesses. But I think that Todd was asking a different question. Maybe he wasn’t and I completely misread it, but I thought it had a little different flavor.
The books that influenced the way I think are not necessarily books designed as resources for small business owners. So here, in no particular order, are the books that have shaped the way I look at business. I did cheat a little. I made my first list and just couldn’t trim it down to any less than four. So there.
This is a great book that really helps to illustrate the difference between the doing the work side of a business and the business side of running a business. A GREAT read for people thinking about running a business.
I really loved this book. It is a great showcase of how much of a social science economics really is. A shockingly large number of seemingly irrational actions are explained by the art (and science) of economics. It would serve anyone well to understand this and to keep it in mind.
A great primer on the more theoretical side of economics. Where Freakonomics shows you how the science can be applied to random, everyday scenarios, this book gives a great primer on most of the major ideas and concepts in economics. A must read for any business person.
This is a fiction book, which might make you wonder why it is on this list. But anyone in business knows that there is one rule. All the best ideas and plans and theories generally don’t survive first contact with the customer. Enter Scat, the main character. His story proves that “fake it until you make it” is perfectly legitimate and is really, at the end of the day, what we are all doing. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it works and then you get screwed. You just never know.
So there you go. Obviously nearly every book I have read has influenced me in some way. But these four have had the biggest impact.