10 essential books for business owners that you should read this World Book Day

If you’re a business owner, or you are considering starting your own company, there’s plenty you can learn from the experts who have been there, seen it, and done it themselves.

So, to celebrate World Book Day on 4 March, here are ten essential books that all business owners and execs should read.

The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

Many business owners struggle to balance working on their business with working in their business. This can often lead to long hours, and an unsatisfactory work-life balance.

In this step-by-step guide, Ferriss explains how he went from working 80 hours a week to four hours a week, how you can eliminate much of your work, and how you can outsource many of the day-to-day tasks you deal with.

The 4-Hour Work Week also features more than 50 practical tips and case studies that will inspire you to do things differently.

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer

Over two decades, Netflix has transformed itself from a DVD mail order service into one of the leading entertainment brands in the world. So how did they do it?

In this book, Netflix chairman and CEO, Reed Hastings, teams up with business school professor Erin Meyer to share the secrets of their success. From a policy of radical honesty to unlimited holidays and abolishing financial approvals, Netflix has created a truly unique culture that has revolutionised the tech industry.

If you’re interested in creativity, productivity and innovation, this book makes the secrets of the Netflix culture accessible for the first time.

As Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, says: “I had the privilege of learning from Reed personally and studying the Netflix culture. The insights in this book are invaluable to anyone trying to create and sustain organisational culture.”

Atomic Habits by James Clear

People often think that, when you want to change your life, you need to think big. However, real change frequently comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions: doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call.

This New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller, Clear reveals how these small changes – “atomic habits” – can grow into life-altering outcomes. Using examples of Olympic gold medallists, CEOs, and scientists, the changes outlined here could have a significant impact on your career and your life.

Enough: How Much Money Do You Need For The Rest Of Your Life? by Paul Armson

How much money do you really need for the rest of your life?

Many people have no idea where they are heading financially. You may have assets, a business, and income but do you know what it means for you and your future?

Having an insight into how much you actually need can be enlightening and put you in control. Then, once you’ve read Enough, talk to us about how lifestyle financial planning can put you on the road to financial freedom, and how to establish just how much is “enough” for you.

The E Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber

Even though The E Myth is now 35 years old, it remains essential reading for anyone starting up a business.

Gerber’s main premise is that to grow, companies need policies, procedures, infrastructure, and consistency so that the business can be run by someone other than the owner. Unfortunately, that kind of structure is something most small businesses lack.

So, if you’re interested in how you can develop your business to make your exit seamless, this book is for you.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Here, award-winning author Malcolm Gladwell explores the phenomenon of “blink”. He shows how a snap judgement can be far more effective than a cautious decision and how, by trusting your instincts, you’ll never think about thinking in the same way again.

Gladwell believes that decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as a decision made cautiously and deliberately.

When we have a hunch, our unconscious is sifting through the situation in front of us looking for a pattern, throwing out the irrelevant information and zeroing in on what really matters. We are so good at this that it often delivers a better answer than more deliberate and protracted ways of thinking.

Blink shows you how the power of these snap decisions could fundamentally transform your relationships, the way you create and communicate, and how you run your business.

No Filter by Sarah Frier

In 2020, Sarah Frier won the £30,000 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award for No Filter, the inside story of Instagram and its relationship with owner Facebook.

Roula Khalaf, the chair of the judging panel, said the book tackled “two vital issues of our age: how big tech treats smaller rivals and how social media companies are shaping the lives of a new generation”.

The book describes the evolution of Instagram, and how Facebook’s takeover paid off royally. Frier also recounts how Instagram’s founders grew increasingly disgruntled and ultimately quit Facebook, after their creation became entangled in “a corporate struggle over personality, pride and priorities”.

100 Things Successful People Do by Nigel Cumberland

This handy paperback offers lots of bite-sized words of wisdom for entrepreneurs, developed by Cumberland in his 25-year corporate career.

As well as enlightening you with 100 things you can do, it’s full of inspirational quotations and personal reflections from the author himself, giving the tips credibility. It’s perfect for dipping into it throughout your working day when you need a bit of motivation.

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson

This excellent biography of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of recent years is based on more than 40 interviews the author had with Steve Jobs before his premature death.

Isaacson’s research also included interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues. The biography tells the story of the roller-coaster life and intense personality of the creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker

Would you use the word “effective” to describe your managerial style? If not, or if you’re not sure, then Peter Drucker’s 1967 classic The Effective Executive should be on your reading list.

To thrive as a leader, Drucker says that you need to figure out how to get the right things done. That includes great time-management skills, the ability to work productively, and knowing how to delegate tasks to the best people.

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