World Book Day – Recommended Business Books

On March 3rd 2016, Schools around the UK and Ireland celebrate World Book Day, where children are given book tokens and take part in related activities which encourage them to read more. Reading to learn isn’t something that should stop when you leave school; in fact many business owners make reading part of their own CPD (Continuing professional development). To celebrate World Book Day we spoke to many of our partners, friends and colleagues to ask them about the books that have influenced their business life and why they would recommend it to others.

John Townsend – Get Ready for Business

Recommendation – Making it happen by John Harvey-Jones

Management is ultimately about people. It is an art, not a science, the artistry lies in the combination of skills, perceptions, intuitions, and combined experiences. Tasks don’t get done without the commitment of those who have to execute it, making it happen is the most important part of any idea. Setting the direction is important but how it is going to get done matters more, the people need to be ‘switched on’, and ownership of the strategic objective must be transferred to those who are to implement it . Ordering people around doesn’t work well, It must be the power of good delegation.

Management is about change and maintaining a high rate of change, without change nothing is possible, whether it’s comfortable or not, it is inevitable. He predicted that the future of the organisation would have to adapt to the needs of the individual, rather than the other way round. This would release energies, creativity and imagination of a different order from before. In less than three years, he reorganised the chemicals giant from top to bottom, Harvey-Jones had turned ICI’s bottom line from a loss into a £1 billion profit and doubled ICI’s share price.

Ruth Mort–  H2o Divers

 Recommendation – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

I am reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People right now and one of the quotes I have read and re read is:
When we honestly examine our deepest feelings, we realise our perception were that he was basically inadequate, somehow “behind”
No matter how much we worked on our attitude w worked on our attitude and behaviour our effort were ineffective because despite our actions and our words what we had really communicated to him where “you are not capable” “you have to be protected”
We began to realise that if we want to change the situation we first had to change ourselves and to change ourselves affectively wish this had to change our perceptions. I really like this and think it’s quite useful, well it has been for me!!

Russell Hogarth – Creative Communities Group

Recommendation – Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

As a lifelong dyslexic, I’ve never been a massive reader of books.  I’ve actually been published, more than I have read.  However, I was inspired as a young boy by the book Robinson Crusoe. It probably has something to do with the survival instinct that the book portrays and me having to make do with the limited resources he had to hand.  The other book that I always refer to is The road to Nab End by one of my honorary fellow colleagues William Woodrufff – it describes a young man growing up in Blackburn in 1916, the son of cotton weavers who went on to be an accredited member of Oxford University. He wrote passionately throughout his life and retired as a professor at the University of Florida in 1996.  I’m one many entrepreneurs who went to the University of Life.

Miranda Hutchinson – Business Growth Consultant and Coach

Recommendation – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

I think one book that stands out is Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of highly effective people.
I first read it over 25 years ago, and still have a copy on my bookshelf and refer clients to it regularly.  They are simple habits to do yet can be profoundly life changing. Habit 2 is all about beginning with the end in mind – and having a personal mission statement.
So often as business people we start something because we are moving away from something.  It’s much more motivational to move towards something positive, don’t you think?

Irene Conlin – Managing People Toolbox

Recommendation – Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson

I must given away 100+ copies of this book over the years to people who needed a helping hand when going through or preparing for change, either at work or in their home life.
As human beings we all have to deal with an ever changing playing field and I predict ANYONE would find an abundance of insights in this short book which takes less than 2 hours to read.
“Cheese” is a metaphor for what you want to have in life.
When people get the story, interpret it for their own situation and apply some new thinking and actions, life is changed for the better.

Robert Binns – Cotton Court Business Centre

Recommendation – Steve Jobs – The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs – The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson is the book that has had the biggest influence on the way I do business.  For me, the main leadership lessons gleaned from this book were his approach to simplicity, and taking responsibility of processes and products from end to end.  This book has plenty to offer anyone starting out in business, with lessons about management, innovation, fulfilment and being the best.

Liz Hardwick – DigiEnable

Recommendation – Springboard: Women’s Development Workbook (Personal Development)

I was introduced to this book in 2012 and it has revolutionized my life! I understand that’s quite a statement, but it has.
This workbook can be stand-alone for anyone, or used as part of the Springboard Women’s Developement course I completed a few years ago.
This book contains exercises, case studies, best practice examples and personal development concepts, to offer a step-by-step process for getting you to think and work on you and your business. What sets this book apart from other CPD books I’ve read, is that it doesn’t just focus on business (or your work situation) but personal, financial, spiritual, family, life goals, the world we live in, your suport network and how to make things happen in a way that connects with you.
My favourite bits taught me who my “energy zappers” are, how to make goals that work, and how getting recognition is only 10% about performance, the rest is about image and exposure – a massive eye opener for me as I’ve always felt being good at what you do should be enough.
A well-worn book on my shelf, I often refer back to, a definate one to add to yours.

Jeremy WaiteHead of Digital Strategy, Salesforce Marketing Cloud EMEA

Recommendation – How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Written in 1936 and as relevant today as it was yesterday. The world is getting faster and faster (5 second attention spans in 2016) and the amount of data we generate is getting bigger (digital universe will be 40X bigger by 2020). All that being said, the way that we build meaningful relationships with people hasn’t changed for hundreds of years, which makes Dale Carnegie’s book, in my opinion, one of the most important business books ever written.

Nice anecdote: In his training sessions in the 1920’s, Dale Carnegie suggested that people use “big ideas, small words and short sentences” and reduce any public remarks down to 90 second sound bites (because people’s attention spans were too short)!

Paul Heyworth – Business Mentor

Recommendation – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

The book that changed my thinking on business was “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey. Many of the Habits pointed me towards a different way of viewing, not only business, but the world in general. In particular, however, Habit 7, “Sharpen the Saw” was the one that changed my approach. The Habit speaks of a man cutting a log and struggling to finish in time. It is suggested to him that if he were to stop cutting and spend some time sharpening the saw his task would be easier completed. He replies that he doesn’t have time to stop. This highlighted to me the value of making time to review what you do on a regular basis.

Tom Smith – Fully Booked Marketing

Recommendation – The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

The E Myth was a complete game changer for me and one of the first business books I ever read. I have ran my business based on Michael Gerber’s principles ever since. If you’re in a business, getting bogged down with ‘the delivery’ and not growing as quickly as you would like, this book is for you!

Darren Jenkinson – DigiEnable

Recommendation –  Engagement from Scratch! By multiple authors

Engagement from scratch was a book that I picked up as I was browsing through an online bookstore one day. It caught my attention for two reasons. First, the list of authors on the cover contains a number of names I’ve always respected including Guy Kawasaki, Derek Halpern and Jeff Bullas to name a few. Secondly, it reinforced the belief I already had that that everyone has a story to tell and blogging allows you to tell that story and build a community in the process.

It’s not exactly a book, as in a story from start to finish, but more a collection of blogs and articles from those who have been blogging successfully for years. It doesn’t seem to be a well-known book but it’s one that got me thinking about how sharing a little, and offering to help is the best way to build an audience and consequently a business.

Is there a book you would recommend to other business owners, why not leave us a note in the comment section below.

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