Business books are published every day, and with thousands of business books out there to choose from, how do you know which books to read? Some authors publish books with the intention of sincerely helping you make more money or get out of debt, but there are hundreds of authors who simply want to make themselves money and do not really care about your financial life.
There are hundreds of books available today that can really change the way you think about money and can help improve your current financial situation. Before you buy another business book, take a minute to think about the following eight guidelines and make sure your book is not simply another get-rich-quick book that will only waste your time.
1. Check the ratings and reviews on Amazon
Amazon is a wonderful tool to help find out how people feel about the book you are interested in reading. Amazon provides a 5 star rating system in ½ star increments, so you can see if the book is highly recommended at around 5 stars out of 5, or not highly recommended at a lower star rating such as 1 star out of five. However, use caution with Amazon. You will want to read several ratings and make sure they seem genuine and legit. Many less-known authors will create fake user names and have their peers do the same to drive up their star ratings. It is a sorry way to make themselves look better and their books seem better than it may actually be. If you see that a book has similarly worded ratings and nothing but 5 star ratings, take a second look before buying the book. Also, look at the author’s other books and see how they are rated. This may help give you a good idea of whether or not the author is actually a decent, respected writer.
2. Research the author’s credentials
Use your favorite search engine and type in the author’s name. Look at his/her website and information such as publisher, any reviews in major newspapers, and whom he/she has written for in the past. If you find that the author is published by a reputable publisher such as Harper Collins, Three Rivers Press, Norton, Random House, or John Wiley and Sons, you probably have a well-known and respectable author. Also, if you can find a New York Times book review or a favorable review from a paper such as the Boston Globe, you can feel safe that the reviewer is reputable and the book will be a good read. Also, if you can find that the author has written for well-known papers or magazines in the past like Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, or other large publication sources, you can feel safe that the author has good credentials and is a talented writer.
3. Ask a friend or advisor what they recommend
Some of the best book recommendations some people will ever receive come from respected mentors and peers. For example, if you are taking business classes at a university or working in a business-related office, ask your professors or co-workers what they have read and recommend. You will find that most people are thrilled to talk about books and their personal favorites. People are always glad to give suggestions about what you should read and the most influential books they have read. Why read about what strangers think online when you can hear a first-person account of a book from someone you trust.
4. Harper Collins Business Essentials
Harper Collins produces a line of books called Business Essentials, which is a collection of business books that are the best of the best. Many colleges and universities use these books as required reading in their undergraduate and MBA classes. In this series you will find books by authors such as Michael Dell, the founders of Hewlett Packard, and Benjamin Graham. The books in this series have sold millions of copies and all of them should be required reading for any serious business person.
5. Look for books by business tycoons
If you go to your local book store and look for books with sound business advice, you will most likely find a large majority of them have get rich quick advice and will simply waste your time while reading them. Many of these authors are self-proclaimed to be rich and do not have any credentials that allow them to give you financial advice. The truth is, most business book authors are simply out to make money. However, there are authors out there that have made their millions and billions of dollars the right way, and want to tell you how they did it for your own benefit. Some people who made their money the right way are Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Michael Dell, etc. These people do not want to take your money; they already have billions of dollars. They hope only to tell you their story and tell you how anyone, including you, can go from rags to riches. You can feel good that your money is well spent on books written by business tycoons and that their advice is from the best of the best in the business world.
6. Avoid “Get Rich Quick” or “Make Millions Now” books
Everyone has heard the saying, “If it seems to good to be true, then it probably is.” The same rule applies to business books. Book stores have shelves lined with books about how you can “get rich quick” or how you can use the author’s five secret steps to becoming a millionaire. The truth is that a majority of these books are totally useless. Authors will tell you that they are self-made millionaires and living the life they always dreamed of, but will never tell you how they made the millions of dollars. Why take advice about your money from someone that you have never heard of? Instead of spending your hard-earned money on worthless books by could-be millionaires, spend your money wisely on books that are proven and written by someone notable.
7. Read the first few pages
If you usually buy your books at your local book store or online at websites such as Corner Office Books or Amazon, be sure to not only read the book reviews but also the first few pages. While reading the first 5 to 10 pages, look for sentences that may cause concern, telling you how to live the life you have always dreamed of and how you can make a million dollars fast. You can usually get a general feel for the validity of the book by taking a few minutes to read a couple of pages.
8. Look for books that have been selling for 50+ years
There are numerous books that have been published for dozens of years. You may even come across books by authors such as Dale Carnegie that are highly recommended and have been published for over 70 years now. If a book has been in publication for so many decades, you can bet it is a great read. You will also find books by authors such as Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett that are proven and full of great principles and advice. These authors are usually very old or have passed away, but their books have lived on and are time-tested to have good advice and principles valuable to business people today.