Can a book inspire your business? Recently I was reading an article about favourite business books and it got me to thinking that maybe there was mileage in the idea that a book can inspire and help your business. So what should be on the “must read” list for budding entrepreneurs? There are of course the classics, and those that get repeated as essential reading at business schools. Book titles like the “one-minute manager” by Ken Blanchard , and “Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, as well as “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Then there is the era of though leaders like Tom Peters “Re-imagine” and “Business @ The Speed Of Thought” from Bill Gates.
Maybe if you find it hard to identify a great business book from a textbook, then a more generalist book is more to your liking. Things like Richard Bolles “What Color is your Parachute?” updated annually. Or in vogue books from the likes of Seth Godin like ”All Marketers are Liars” or “Permission Marketing”.
Then there is another approach to preparing for business. That’s the adoption of military strategy, things like Sun Tzu “The art of war” or “On War” written by Carl von Clausewitz. But what can books on military strategy, the latter written mostly after the Napoleonic wars, tell us about business? Much like “The Prince” by Machiavelli, they provide timeless insights into human behaviour, always a useful advantage in our pressurised business world.
One book I enjoyed was Hugh Davidson “Offensive Marketing”. It’s a fat tomb so I suggest you rip it into chapters and take them one at a time to read in those interim moments, like waiting for an appointment. Much more insightful when in bite-sized pieces rather than trying to read the whole thing in one go. And with most of us being able to read on our smartphones or tablets you don’t even need to cannibalise your copy.
Some books may be inspirational, some helpful (more the how to do variety), some just entertaining or thought-provoking. But one final written hint. Don’t spend too long reading. The real entrepreneurs are the doers not the thinkers/reflectors among us.