10 Must-Read Business Books for Everyone

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If you want to learn everything there is to know about starting a successful business in 2022, business books are a great place to begin.

In this article, we’ll take you through 10 business books that are must-reads for every budding (or established) entrepreneur.

We’ve also summarised the best lessons from each book, so if you don’t have time to read, you won’t have to!

Let’s get started.

1. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

Recommended for: Everyone

This book is going to teach you to stop working and start living.

This is done in 4 steps known as DEAL:

  • Step 1: Definition ― Ferris defines the difference in mindset between deferrers (those putting off life until retirement) and the New Rich

The New Rich want to do the minimum to get the maximum while the deferrers want to work as much as possible to be able to retire young.

  • Step 2: Elimination ― Eliminate the concept of time management

If 80% of results come from 20% of work, why bother with the other 80% of your work?

Focus only on things that are immediate and important.

  • Step 3: Automation ― Put your income on autopilot by outsourcing and eliminating aspects of your business that don’t need your immediate attention

Hire an assistant to do the things that need to be done, and eliminate tasks that aren’t well-defined and vital.

  • Step 4: Liberation ― Break the bonds that keep you in a specific location

If your job requires you to live in New York, a large chunk of your earnings will go directly into the cost of living in New York.

Find a way to work with geographic freedom so that you not only earn dollars but also spend in weaker currencies.

The DEAL way of life seems pretty idealistic, but if you’re brave enough to leap, you might find yourself sipping cocktails for all but 4 hours a week!

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Recommended for: College students

This extremely popular book has been helping people gain influence over others since 1936.

It teaches you how to change the way you interact with people in order to get what you want out of them without building resentment.

The book is broken up into 4 parts. Each of the parts have a standout lesson from each section:

  • Part 1 ― Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

This section teaches us to build people up rather than criticize them.

If you can show sincere appreciation for others, they will feel empowered to live up to your appreciation.

  • Part 2 ― Ways to Make People Like You

Become genuinely interested in other people, and listen when they speak to you.

Being a good listener and allowing people to talk about themselves is a sure way to get them to like you.

  • Part 3 ― How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

To win an argument, you must avoid it.

To do this, you must start by agreeing with another person's opinion.

That way, they’ll feel satisfaction from being listened to and, in turn, will be more willing to listen to you.

  • Part 4 ― Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

Replace giving orders with asking questions.

Rather than telling someone to do something, ask them what they think needs to be done.

People will take responsibility and feel pride when acting on the course of action they’ve chosen themselves.

3. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Recommended for: Beginners

Everybody loves Nike, but setting goals to build an empire as large as Nike is not something most beginners would even think of doing.

So, why not get some inspiration from Nike’s humble beginnings?

Shoe Dog is the story of Phil Knight’s 20-year mission to turn Nike into an international shoe brand.

This book will take you through the motions of starting your own business and teach you the fundamental lessons you need to know:

  • Big businesses were not always big — Even Nike (which wasn’t even called ‘Nike’ to begin with) started as an idea
  • Everything can be learned if you’re willing to put in the work — Don’t limit yourself to what you can already do, because you can do everything you set your mind to
  • The journey is more important than the money ― There was a long period where Knight was not even earning a salary, but he persevered with his brand
  • Make a decision — Many of the best decisions are made in seconds, not days ― including the name ‘Nike’ itself

This book will encourage you to just do it.

4. The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham

The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham

Source: Amazon.com

Recommended for: Beginners

The Road Less Stupid encourages businesspeople to approach the business road with fewer mistakes and more critical thinking skills.

Cunningham calls for increased thinking, planning, and risk-minimizing when it comes to business.

Being a successful entrepreneur himself, Cunningham shares what he’s learned from his mistakes so that you don’t have to make them yourself.

These are the core ideas of the book:

  • You need to start thinking strategically, not tactically
  • Don’t be afraid to take detours and make changes as your circumstances change
  • Prevent flexibility and passion drainage by putting people first
  • Start with what your customers need or want, and work backward from there
  • Understand that plans don’t always work out, but plan anyway

Remember, the path to business success has been traveled many times. Success leaves clues.

Why not learn from them?

5. Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Built to Last by Jim Collins & Jerry Porras

Source: Carousell.ph

Recommended for: Everyone

Built to Last is the result of 6 years of researching what makes the world’s 18 most long standing companies so successful.

These iconic companies include Disney, Ford, and IBM and were chosen on specific criteria, for example being established before the year 1950 and having had multiple generations of CEOs.

This is what they’ve learned:

  • The most important thing about a company is its core ideology

If a company has a strong core ideology and develops a cult-like culture, people will work hard for the company’s success.

  • Try lots of things — Don’t be afraid to experiment

You can ditch the things that don’t work, but experimenting is a sure way to find the next big idea.

  • Stop focusing on profits or specific products

These things will come and go.

You should focus on building your company and its core values so that it’s strong enough to withstand change.

  • Hire leaders from within

This technique, often called “homegrown management”, ensures that leaders are extremely invested in the company and its core values.

These tips are what’s kept huge companies at the top for over 70 years, so you really can’t go wrong by giving them a try!

6. Dotcom Secrets by Russell Brunson

Dotcom Secrets by Russell Brunson

Recommended for: Online businesspeople

Russel Brunson embodies online business success, so he’s the perfect mentor when it comes to your business journey.

Dotcom Secrets is a playbook for online businesses to build high-converting sales funnels ― it’s essential for online business owners to know how to guide users through a funnel.

The digital and audio versions of the book are freely available for download here.

DotCom Secrets offers some tips to readers that include:

  • Start by identifying your dream audience, and adjust your offer accordingly
  • Build your sales funnels (and value ladders) with just one person in mind
  • Follow the Seinfeld Method where you email leads (with valuable and interesting content) daily

The book also gives you funnel scripts, so you can learn how to build funnels using proven methods.

On top of that, Brunson walks you through the 23 building blocks of a sales funnel to ensure that you get the gist of it.

If this book sounds like something that could benefit you, you might want to check out our in-depth review of it as well as Brunson’s other books, Expert Secrets and Traffic Secrets.

7. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Source: Amazon.com

Recommended for: Beginners

After a couple of startup failures, Eric Ries began thinking about what it takes to build a great company ― that doesn’t fail.

He realized that in both cases of failure, the focus was on the product and its launch, rather than on the building of the business itself.

Ries believes you should always start with customer research and build an MVP (minimum viable product) for immediate testing to ensure that the product truly fits your goals.

He also suggests that you follow the “5-Whys” to pinpoint the cause of a failure.

Here’s an example of the 5-Whys in action:

  • A new release broke a key feature for customers. Why? Because a particular server failed
  • Why did the server fail? Because an obscure subsystem was used in the wrong way
  • Why was it used in the wrong way? The engineer who used it didn’t know how to use it properly
  • Why didn’t he know? Because he was never trained
  • Why wasn’t he trained? Because his manager doesn’t believe in training new engineers; because they’re “too busy”

From this, we learn that the problem isn’t that a server failed, the problem is that the manager doesn’t believe in training new engineers.

8. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Recommended for: Women

Sandberg is an extremely successful businesswoman, being a former executive at Google and the current Chief Operating Officer at Facebook.

The book is full of case studies and anecdotes that anchor its points about inequality and prejudice in the workspace.

These are the 5 best tips for businesswomen from the book:

  • Be more open to taking risks in your career

Stop focusing on what you can’t do, and focus on your ability to learn quickly.

  • Stop people-pleasing

Sandberg was once told by Mark ZuCarousellckerberg that her desire for everyone to like her would hold her back.

  • Your career is a jungle gym, not a ladder

Ladders are limiting. Thinking about a career as a jungle gym will open you up to creative exploration and lateral career moves.

  • Start fantasizing about your career

Come up with long-term dreams and goals to grow your career.

  • Start your own Lean-In circle

Meet monthly with a group of other working women to share fears, discuss ideas, and draw strength and encouragement from each other.

Ladies, it’s time to lean in and start leading your business life.

9. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki & Sharon L. Lechter

Source: Amazon.com

Recommended for: Everyone

Rich Dad Poor Dad is a book written as a set of parables that advocates for the importance of financial literacy and independence, as well as the principle of investing.

It compares the ‘poor dad’ mentality with the ‘rich dad’ mentality and encourages the latter.

The ‘poor dad’ mentality is the belief that you should get a stable job and work your way up the ladder.

This mentality never allows you to obtain financial security.

The ‘rich dad’ mentality shifts away from climbing the ladder to owning it ― this is a far more entrepreneurial outlook.

These are the essential takeaways from this iconic business book:

  • The rich buy assets, not liabilities
  • Financial literacy can only be learned through experience
  • Learn to sell
  • Fear and self-doubt are your greatest barriers to success
  • Always think in terms of opportunities

These tips may seem simple, but the book has sold over 32 million copies!

Sounds worth reading to us.

10. Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

Traction by Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares

Source: Amazon.com

Recommended for: Everyone

Most startup failures are not attributed to a failed product but rather to a failure to gain traction.

This book gives you 19 channels to gain traction as well as a 3-step framework to select the best channels for your business.

The channels are typical marketing methods such as SEO, Offline Events, Affiliate Platforms, and Content Marketing.

These are some of the things you’ll learn in the book:

  • You can use tools and keyword research to improve your SEO and search engine rankings
  • You can get targeted media coverage to reach more customers
  • Improve your email marketing by sending staggered sets of prompts and updates
  • Try to find and use offline advertising channels that your competitors aren’t using

The main actionable tip we can give you from this book is that traction doesn’t come easily ― you need to come up with a strategy.

Luckily, a strategy is exactly what you’ll get from working with this book.

11. Conclusion

That wraps up the 10 best business books that you need to read in 2022.

If you’re not a big reader or you just don’t have the time, have a look at the actionable tips that we’ve pulled from each book which will set you in good stead.

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