Top 10 Business Books for 2021

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2020 has been a rollercoaster. 

From the CoronaVirus Pandemic to the US election it's been a hard year all-round

You might be thinking of starting a new business in these times or growing what you already have, the next ten books will help you along the way and inspire you to not give up on your dream of being your own boss (yay!). 

Get ready 2021 here we come!

So starting at number 10 and counting down, let dive right in!

1. Best business books for college students

1.1. Book 10: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Book : How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

If you do some searches you’ll find this book on every ‘Greatest Business Books’ list out there. 

Written in 1936 but it’s still very relevant. 

It’s a guide on how you can interact better with people and this will translate into more profit for you. 

You’ll find most new books on communications and building relationships borrow concepts from Dale so it’s fitting that his book is the first one I recommend to you.

Below are 10 takeaways from his book:

  • Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation
  • Arouse in the other person an eager want
  • Six ways to make people like you
  • Become genuinely interested in other people
  • Smile
  • Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  • Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
  • Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely
  • Win people to your way of thinking

1.2. Books 9&8: Expert Secrets and Dotcom Secrets both by Russell Brunson

Expert Secrets and Dotcom Secrets by Russell Brunson

The reason I’ve bunched these two books together is a) they’re by the same author b) you must read Dotcom after Expert.

They’re value for money because you’ll soon come to find a lot of business books have a lot of wishy-washy motivation quotes - which is great if you’re into that sort of thing. 

The main reason you buy these books is so you can get insider secrets from successful people who’ve traveled the road before you (because you could honestly get those quotes on Pinterest or something). 

These two are gems that give you step-by-step info on how to start your own online start-up and nail the marketing too. 

The marketing strategies in Dotcom are very significant to implement in online businesses

Expert Secrets is completely different from Dotcom Secrets - you will get ideas on creating a business on your own if you don't already have any. 

You learn the tactics on how to create an expert business.

As a bonus, depending on where you are in the world Dotcom Secrets is free you’ll only need to pay shipping for it. Yup, that’s right, it’s free. No catch. Nada.

Here are a few takeaways from these gems:

  • To progress is to teach
  • Figure out your epiphany
  • Attractive Character/Relative Character
  • There are only 3 markets - Health, Wealth and Relationships
  • How to get more customers
  • How to create funnels
  • And much much more

Do yourself a favor and get these two.

2. Best business books for beginners

2.1. Book 7: The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham

Keith's latest book “The Road Less Stupid” is about adopting the discipline ofThinking Time” which will enable you to run your business more effectively, make more money, and dramatically increase the likelihood of keeping that money.

Who better to help you through this than a man who lost his fortune and built it back up from scratch again? 

In the book, you’ll find 704 questions used by Keith in his ‘thinking time’.

Here’s a quick jot-down of some key concepts from this book:

The 5 Core Disciplines of Thinking

Find the Unasked Question — Create a question that will result in clarity and generate better choices.

Separate the Problem from the Symptom — Identify the real obstacle that is blocking my progress.

Check Assumptions — Differentiate the facts from the story

Consider 2nd Order Consequences — Clarify the risks and the possibility/cost of being wrong.

Create the Machine — Create the executable plan and identify the resources (people and money) required to solve the real problem and make forward progress.

2.2. Book 6: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

In The Lean Startup, investor Eric Ries discusses scientific, systematic lean manufacturing strategies so those just starting their businesses can make fast decisions in a fast-evolving world. 

Ries uses real-life examples to illustrate the concepts he talks about.

Here are a few takeaway points from this vital book:

  • Planning a lot before you start your startup might be futile because you do not know how the audience will receive it. But the ‘Just Do It’ approach, although it might work for Nike will mean you’re just operating in chaos so what do you do? Find a middle ground. This is what Riles calls the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop.
  • Experiment, experiment, experiment.
  • Success is not delivering a feature, success is learning how to solve a customer’s problem.

3. Best business books for women:

3.1. Book 5: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

In my humble opinion, all women in all industries should read this book. 

I know this book received a lot of criticism along the lines of she is blaming women for the stereotypes that exist along the ladder and so on.

But I think in her interview with Eric Schmidt on CHM Revolutionaries she addressed this point so well. 

Now I’m going to paraphrase this but she said something along the lines of ‘women need to do these extra things like smile and be approachable. 

Even our male counterparts don’t have to do it because in the long run it’ll get more women in leadership positions so that the next generation of women won’t have to do that’ which I found to be a profound and very true statement.

Schmidt dubbed it Feminism 2.0 - where the original feminist approach was the more aggressive one and 2.0 is using these stereotypes in women’s favor to achieve the end goal. 

There’s a lot to take from this book so below I’ll list a few key points:

  • There’s an ambition gap for leadership roles between genders. Women tend to settle for non-leadership roles.
  • Sit at the table instead of spectating from the side.
  • Learn to take criticism.
  • For interviews, ask “What is your biggest problem and how can I solve it?” to stand out among the rest.
  • The #1 criterion for picking jobs should be fast growth.
  • In negotiations, let the other side make the first offer.
  • Women need to be empowered at work & men need to be empowered at home.
  • You can’t have/do it all

3.2. Book 4: Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

book: Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

This book caused a little controversy because of Rachel’s personal life. 

But if we’re sincere, it wouldn’t have been a problem if she was a man. Which is part of the reason why it’s made it to my list.

This book will help you grow a thick skin, which every woman needs in the corporate world, and helps a lot in implementing goals you’ve set for yourself. 

Below I’ll put the three main concepts that the book is written on the foundation of:

  • Excuses
  • Developing good habits
  • Skills to acquire - more to the point, the skill of planning and executing

4. Best business books of all time

4.1. Book 3: Built To Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Book: Built To Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Built to Last is a book that has been thoroughly researched and will open your eyes to new astounding ideas about companies.

Collins and Porras portray that not all ideas will guarantee you success unless you possess specific characteristics.

 The astounding yet scary part is that there is no right or wrong – all that matters is your purpose, passion, vision, and values.

Built to Last is organized into a framework of real-world concepts and is incredibly detailed. This book serves as an easily applicable blueprint.

What makes these companies so great that they last decades or centuries. 

Key points:

  • Have to have a core (values and purpose of your company) and preserve it but at the same time stimulate progress.
  • Building a company that people want to work for and not just get a paycheck at the end of the day.
  • Trial and error is the key. Experiment to find your niche.
  • You have to listen to the market. 

4.2. Book 2: Traction by Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares

Book: Traction by Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares

Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares highlight the reason most startups fail which is a lack of customers. 

With simple language and frameworks, their concepts provide solutions. 

It covers all of the available marketing channels, both traditional and digital, as well as how to choose the right channels for your business.

Key points:

  • Focus on marketing from day 1. Don’t treat marketing as an afterthought. 50% of your time on your product and the other 50% of your time on your product.
  • Find the most effective marketing channel. There are many ways to market but make sure you find the ones that help you then focus on them.
  • Identify where you are today and what metric do you have to achieve to know that you’re moving in the right direction. Then create a clear path to where you want to be.

4.3. Book 1: The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek is the step-by-step blueprint to free yourself from the shackles of a corporate job, create a business to fund the lifestyle of your dreams, and live life like a millionaire, without actually having to be one.

 It’s about working smarter and not harder

Our culture praises being busy instead of being productive.

Book: The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

This book didn’t resonate with everyone one who first picked it up, but when you read it a second or a third time (and that’s easy to do because it’s an easy, light read) you get the message. 

You don’t have to follow these steps to the tee but to feel satisfied in your business you should be building something where you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, which is essentially what everyone wants and what is addressed in this legendary book.

Key Points:

  • We can accomplish a lot more if we manage our time more effectively.
  • Do less meaningless work so you have the time to do meaningful things. There's no need to do 8 hours of work if you could finish your work in 6 hours. The 2 hours are gone to waste.
  • Outsource unimportant things that you don’t like doing (like mowing the lawn) so you free up your time.
  • Doing nothing isn’t the end goal. Doing things that will fill up your time doing what you find meaningful is.

5. Conclusion

So we have a good list (if I do say so myself) that will help you get on your way to improving and executing what you need to do to get your business going. 

What’s wonderful about books is that people compact their experiences into these pages and you can avoid so many mistakes just by reading these books.

The trick is in applying these concepts and making a success of yourself, which if you’re reading this post I’m sure you’ll achieve great success. 

See you on the flip-side!

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