BIG Business Books Vs Small Business Books

Having recently completed The Knack as noted in my prior post, I pondered why I enjoyed the book so much. I’ve read many books recently including: The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, Tipping Point by Gladwell, The Business of America by John Steele Gordon, Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubnar, The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki, Small Giants by Bo Burlingham, The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, Blue Ocean Strategy by Kim and Mauborgne and From Good to Great by Jim Collins. I also read The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (OK but not great) and City of Thieves by Benioff (Excellent!), but this post pertains to business books. I tend to place books I select to read into four categories: Small Business Books, Big Business Books, General Thought Provoking Books, and Fun Reads. Thus this list would look like this:

* General Business/Thought Provoking: Tipping Point, The World is Flat, The Business of America, Freakonomics
* Big Business: From Good to Great, Blue Ocean Strategy
* Small Business: The Knack, Small Giants, The Art of the Start, The 4-Hour Work Week
* Just for fun: City of Thieves, The Lost Symbol, Mayflower

Although I enjoy all of these categories, I derive the greatest business benefit from books like The Knack, Small Giants and The Art of the Start. These books apply directly to small businesses like mine. My own book, Your Virtual Success is geared toward small business, home based business or businesses trying to go virtual. There is a lot of practical, pragmatic, hands on advice as opposed to strategic or organizational oriented advice. The Big Business books like those mentioned above seem geared toward large corporations and teams which are buried in the muck and mire of bureaucracy, far removed from my daily routine. So if you’re a small or emerging business, a would be entrepreneur or a home office based operation, read the The Knack or Small Giants (or even Your Virtual Success), and you’ll gain some valuable small business insights – hold off on Blue Ocean Strategy or From Good to Great. And just for fun, pick up (or download) a copy of City of Thieves it’s a great read, particularly when contrasted with The 900 Days.

The 100 Best Business Books of All Time

Need a great idea?

One of the quickest ways to find a high-quality idea for your business is to read a good book.

But how do you find a “great” book, out of thousands of mediocre books?

I’m recommending The 100 Best Business Books of All Time by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten.

You will find some familiar titles among the 100 best business books included here, like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I think everyone I know has read that (or read about it)! You’re sure to find some of your favorite books in here.

More importantly, you’ll find many books that you haven’t heard of before. If you need some help with your sales, or want to be a better leader, or want to create a business that runs without you – all those titles are contained in this book.

Each book is reviewed on 1-2 pages. This is an easy book to pick up, open at random, and find a great idea.

The authors have organized the titles into 12 sections: ranging from You (improving your life, your person, and your strengths) to Leadership to Sales and Marketing to Creativity. It’s also fun to read one section at a time, to see how many different angles there are on the same topic.

In addition, the authors include sidebars on movies, novels, and even children’s books that illustrate business ideas.

Having read through about 30 of the 100 reviews, I’ve come away with an understanding of which books I do and don’t want to read. I definitely want to read Michael Gerber’s book: The E-Myth Revisited. From the review: “Gerber contends that the true product of a business is not what it sells but how it sells it. Gerber formalizes this belief in a system he calls the “Business Format Franchise.” The key is to create a systems- dependent business, not a people-dependent business.” If you’re in a networking marketing business, you know exactly what he means.

Though I love the title Orbiting the Giant Hairball, I don’t really want to read about how individuals can work for corporations, with all the benefits of a large organization behind them, AND stay in a creative flow.

I’ve also gotten important ideas from reading these short 500-1000 word reviews, without reading the full book. For example, I love the balanced scorecard concept – that there is a small number of key metrics you want to collect and review for your business on a regular basis. However I don’t think I want to read an entire book on that idea.


What would make the biggest difference in your business right now? Is it self-development for you, or more marketing help? Try finding a book on the topic, using either book I’m reviewing today or one of your existing books. There’s a great nugget that’s just right for you, somewhere in a book.

The Top 10 Business Books Ever

In this article I’m reviewing and revealing the all important “A list” top ten business books ever.

I recommend you make a note of all of these books and make a plan to read each one. It’ll take some time to read them all and there’s no rush. I can honestly say that each one of these books has changed my life for the better.

Some are more relevant to employees, others are more relevant to business owners but all are excellent books and whatever your situation I recommend them all.

Ok, here we go, starting with number ten…

10 – Who Moved My Cheese – Dr Spencer Johnson
Suitable for any age and taking only an hour to read this book is a must for anyone who is seeking something better in life. Whether it’s freedom, wealth, love or health, it’ll help you find what you’re looking for in a changing world.

9 – Buzz Marketing – Mark Hughes
This book is the one you might find surprising. You may have heard of all of the other books in my top ten but this one was a surprise to me too. Not being a well known classic, I didn’t expect it to such a fantastic book and so well written.

8 – The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
This book really is a classic. If you’ve ever wondered what makes some products or trends take off worldwide while others just fall by the wayside, this book will enlighten you. Filled with real life case studies this book is a must read.

7 – The Long Tail – Chris Anderson
We’re no longer restricted to just a few blockbuster movies, or the books in your bookstore, or the songs in your music store. The Internet has given us almost infinite choice, even in the tiniest of niches. This book explains how to capitalise on this and make money from the “long tail”.

6 – The 4-Hour Work Week – Timothy Ferris
Ever fancied outsourcing most of your business and some of you life so you can spend your time doing the things you enjoy? Of course, that’s why you’re reading this and that’s why you should read this book. It changes everything.

5 – The Richest Man In Babylon – George S. Clason
A little like Who Moved My Cheese in that it won’t take long to read and it’s suitable for all ages. It lays down the fundamental principles of building wealth which everyone should know. I’ve read it three times and I still love it.

4 – Rich Dad, Poor Dad 2 The Cashflow Quadrant – Robert T Kiyosaki
This is the sequel to number three below. It builds on the principles in the first book and details what the author calls the cashflow quadrant. Don’t be put off by the terminology, this book really did change my life for the better.

3 – Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert T Kiyosaki
Before you read the sequel above you should read this one. If you’re still doing your day job and are looking for a better life this book is a real life changer. I should warn you that this book will enlighten you so fundamentally that you’ll never think the same way about work, business or money again. Be prepared for change if you read this.

2 – The E Myth Revisited – Michael E. Gerber
Written by one of the top small business consultants in the world this book explains why most small businesses fail. More importantly it explains how to design your business so that it gives you exactly what you want from it. If every small business owner read this book I truly believe the failure statistics would reduce dramatically. I’ve read this one twice too and I plan to read it again soon.

1 – Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
This is a true classic. It’s such a classic that I bought the rights to an audio version and I give the first two chapters away free as my email list sign up incentive. I often listen to it in my car and on my iPod and I’ve even read the paper version twice. It details the results of a twenty five year study on the wealth building secrets of over five hundred of the wealthiest people in the world. It’s broken down into thirteen principles which anyone can follow. The reason it’s my number one is that it’s basically been my reference book and my business bible. If you only read one book this year it should be this one.

I hope you found this list useful. I’m currently reading Getting Things Done by David Allen which is excellent. I’ve also bought Influencer which I plan to read next. I’m always looking for new books to read so if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them, feel free to email me.