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5 Business Books for Your Grown-up, Back-to-School Reading List
  • 14 August 2017
  • Daniel Vahab

5 Business Books for Your Grown-up, Back-to-School Reading List

Oftentimes, school districts provide their students with required summer reading lists and encourage pupils to continue developing their minds during their time off. But back-to-school reading lists aren’t just for kids. Small business owners who choose to read a well-rounded selection of best-selling business books will be able to stay on top of industry trends and find new sources of daily inspiration. Here are five books that should be on your grown-up, back-to-school reading list.

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

First published in 1936, this bestseller provides timeless insights on communicating and growing strategic relationships. In particular, this text covers topics such as how to make the desired first impression and how to give criticism. Throughout the book, Carnegie stresses the importance of giving praise and asking questions. Overall, How to Win Friends and Influence People serves as a valuable reminder of the importance of forming the necessary business connections.

2. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

In The Thank You Economy, new media icon and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk preaches that social media is today's form of word-of-mouth. By leveraging these social platforms, you can keep your finger on the pulse of what drives and inspires your target market.

In the book, Vaynerchuk suggests that you add a personal touch to your social messaging by showing that you actually care about your customers—not just about promoting products or selling to them. He supports his key arguments by citing case studies that highlight the ROI of social media marketing. Overall, Vaynerchuk stresses the importance of building relationships through these social channels and explains how doing so will put you at a competitive advantage.

3. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry

In Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry argues that emotional intelligence (EQ)—which refers to one's ability to effectively identify and manage emotions—is the most important factor to success and how it is something that can actually be learned and developed over time.

For instance, Bradberry offers an anecdote about a colleague named Dave who effectively manages his emotions. When Dave receives stressful business news, he doesn’t dwell on it. Instead, he takes the news in stride, quickly adjusting so that he can develop a productive strategy to resolve the issue. Overall, this book provides many useful tips on how to manage your own EQ at work—even in stressful or heated situations.

4. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

Would you prefer to work only four hours a week? In his bestseller, entrepreneur Tim Ferriss teaches you how you can get the most out of short periods of concentration. In many ways, this concept aligns with the famous Pareto principle, which argues that 80% of your results come from a mere 20% of your efforts.

When it comes to your personal obligations, Ferriss suggests that you lump together similar activities—such as laundry and groceries—thereby maximizing your time and productivity. As for work-related tasks, he recommends that you replace in-person meetings with e-mail communication—and outlines the importance of setting clear objectives with a firm end time.

Ferriss also recommends that you examine the sunk costs for your efforts—which will help you determine if it would be better for you to cut your losses and move on. After all, just because you started a task—and devoted a lot of time, energy, and revenue toward it—doesn’t necessarily mean you should continue. While most small business owners will not be able to make ends meet by working only four hours a week, this book provides a variety of helpful tips on how you can increase your productivity.

5. Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It by Dorie Clark

In Stand Out, thought influencer Dorie Clark teaches you how to build your own personal brand and illustrates how you can discover the next big thing and develop a customer community around it. Clark also offers a variety of real-life examples on how to use these ideas in your own business. For example, the author explores how you can grow your network through interviews—and specifies that you should know who you want to connect with ahead of time. After that, you need to clearly express to the potential interviewee why it would be worthwhile to connect with you. Once you establish your credentials with the interview subject, Clark recommends making a genuine connection. By keeping these lessons in mind, you can establish credibility and build trust in your customer community.

No matter your experience or expertise, there’s always more you can learn to take your business to the next level. By developing your own personalized, business reading list, you can find new ways to gain valuable insights for yourself and share them with your team.

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