We live in a world where you can go online and watch a talk from pretty much any prominent individual from the past two decades. That's pretty amazing, but I still find magic in the written word.
In this post I wanted to share some of the books I've read over the years that have helped me develop in business. I'm not including biographies here, that's a whole other post.
In no particular order, here goes.
Onward by Howard Schultz, ceo of Starbucks Coffee Company, is one of the few books I've read more than once. It's about how Starbucks navigated the stormy waters of the economic downturn in 2008 by recognising that their problems could not be blamed on what was happening in the markets. Instead, they were the result of many years of complacency and a focus on increasing shareholder value.
This is the best book on leadership, focus, and corporate strategy I've ever read.
The Innovator's Dilemma
The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton Christensen is a modern day classic. The book explores the theory behind sustaining vs disruptive innovation. How small companies can outmanoeuvre their larger competitors, and how large corporations are often unable to achieve true innovation.
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh is a great story of how Zappos”“and the legendary Zappos culture”“came to be. This book is a manifesto for how to bring happiness into the lives of your customers and employees. Business is only boring if you let it be.
Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson talks about an alternative strategy for running a business. The founders of the popular project management tool Basecamp, challenge many of the accepted business norms like working long hours and growing as fast as possible. This refreshing outlook is sure to give comfort to many entrepreneurs who just want to run a small, sustainable business.
If you're going to read any of the books on this list, make it this one.
A Book About Innocent
I stumbled across A Book About Innocent when I was researching the Innocent brand for a project I was working on. The book explores the story of how Innocent drinks came to exist and what the company does to make it's employees and customers happy. This is the second best non-BS business book I've ever read (second only to Rework).
Pick up the physical copy of this one if you can. The illustrations really come to life on the beautifully thick paper stock.