From compiling the top business books from 35 different sources, the top recommended books for small businesses for 2020 are: “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Dr. Robert Cialdini, and “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss.
As we’ve progressed into March, I set a goal to read 5 good business books over the next 2 months. I realized after watching a video from one of my favorite YouTubers, that there’s a lot of “must read” books for business owners that I haven’t read yet. I always say that the best time to improve yourself is now, not to wait, so I did a little research.
In fact, I did a lot of research, and after compiling lists of the best books from 23 different websites and 12 different YouTube videos, I had a list of 101 different books. Keeping track of which books were mentioned multiple times, I condensed the list down to 36 titles that were mentioned by at least 2 sources. Then I jumped on Amazon to see how many stars each had, and each title had at least 4.4 stars – confirming that many other readers also enjoyed these books. That left me with this list, in order of most mentions and then highest rating. Note: I love spreadsheets.
Of this list, I’ll be reading the top 5 in full. I have a Kindle Unlimited account so one of the books on my list is included free with that subscription. For the other 4 books, I’m checking them out from our public library but I might still buy some of these titles from Amazon.
I have a great plan for the rest of the books on my list. Since I have limited time, I’ll listen to an audio summary that highlights the main points. Then, for books that I want to really digest the knowledge on, I’ll later read in full. The service is called Blinkist and each book is condensed down to 15-20 minutes, and they give you a summary of the book and give you the main take-aways. After signing up yesterday, I’ve already listened to 4 book summaries. If you’re the kind of person that likes to listen to podcasts or YouTube videos, I highly recommend this. It’s $100/year if you want to sign up.
Here’s the top 5 books for small businesses according to my research. I’ve included links to each on Amazon and a quick summary. Scroll down for the remaining 31 books in my list.
Top 5 Books For Small Businesses
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
From the 35 sources I researched, this book was recommended 9 times, by far the most recommended title on the list. This book was also voted the #1 business book by Inc. 500 CEOs. The author dispels the myths around starting your own business and grounds your expectations to be more reality-based. He talks about working on your business rather than in your business and encourages you to treat your business as if you’re creating a turnkey or franchise business. For a small business, this book tells you how to create a business that works.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
From Stephen Covey, “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” This is one of the professional habits that the author encourages. Written in 1989, this book was an international bestseller and still remains one of the most mentioned books for businesses. Covey focuses the book on the personal and professional habits that we, as business owners, should have to both shape how we see the world but shape how the world sees us.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This book has been a bestseller for a very long time and for good reason. This book is a guidebook for “dealing with people” and that’s a skill that is timeless. From making a good first impression, to how to criticize people, to tricks on better conversation, this book gives real-world examples of how to use each of the principles he covers.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
This book covers how the human mind can be “persuaded” through various techniques. It’s meant to aid the reader in defending against these techniques and also how to use them within your own business. He walks through 7 principles of persuasion, with examples, that work.
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
The full title is “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich”. This book presents a way to balance your work processes and outsource small daily tasks to virtual assistants. This author tells of his journey from working 14-hour days for another company to his own highly automated business. The book spent more than 4 years on The New York Times Best Seller List.
31 More Good Business Reads
- Built to Last by James Collins and Jerry Porras
- Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
- Crush It! By Gary Vaynerchuk
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- Good to Great by Jim Collins
- Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker
- Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell
- The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
- Traction by Gino Wickman
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
- Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- High Output Management by Andrew Grove
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
- The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker
- Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
- Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol Dweck
- Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles
- The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau
- The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp
- The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
- This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Although I’ve read some of the books in this list, as of writing this article, I haven’t read the top 5 recommended books. After I read them over the next 2 months, I’ll update this article with my thoughts.