What do Benjamin Franklin, Sheryl Sandberg, Steve Jobs and Nike founder Phil Knight all have in common? Each of these incredible leaders credits a big part of their success to reading. And they’re not alone. Recent studies have shown the majority of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read an average of four to five books per month.
Luckily, great books and the lessons they contain are not limited to super executives at mega-big corporations. They’re available to anyone. The only problem? There are so many great titles out there that selecting just one can be overwhelming.
So to help out, we decided to ask some real-life business owners and leaders what book has made the most impact on their business and leadership skills—excluding EntreLeadership, Dave’s practical step-by-step guide for growing a business. Here’s what they had to say.
The Book: Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin
Why I Love It: It gives a different perspective, leading me to view business differently. I no longer feel the need to seek friendships just for business, and I am not hesitant to strive to operate a successful business. Instead, I am able to help people and develop relationships for the sole joy of knowing people, which, in turn, ultimately results in more business. —Josh C. Allen, Director of Operations, Attorney, The Allen Firm, Stephenville, Texas
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The Book: Linchpin by Seth Godin
Why I Love It: It asks the question, “Are you indispensable?” It applies to all aspects of life and speaks to all team members, not just the C-suite. —Armen Alajian, Owner, ARTO Brick, Gardena, California
The Book: The Art of Possibility by Benjamin and Rosamund Stone Zander
Why I Love It: This book is full of beauty and unlocks so much of the mystery of leadership. There's a part of the book on "giving an A" that totally rocked my world. —Ashton Gustafson, Owner, Bishop Realtor Group, Wichita Falls, Texas
The Book: Business by the Book by Larry Burkett
Why I Love It: Business by the Book was the first business book I read. It changed the way I viewed business, and it let me know that being a businessman was not a second-rate occupation. —John Patterson, President and CEO, Word International, Elon, North Carolina
The Book: How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell
Why I Love It: The very first sentence in the introduction had my attention right away with this quote: “A person who knows how may always have a job, but the person who knows why will always be his boss.” It changed how I think and view others’ value. I especially benefited from learning how to practice “focused thinking.” —Pat Farmer, Marketing Director, Farmer Environmental Group LLC, Carrollton, Texas
The Book: It’s Your Ship by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff
Why I Love It: The book showed me that by thinking and doing things differently, you can take anything and make it great. I now look at problems differently and come up with alternative solutions. —Preston Cross, President, Four C’s Construction, Fresno, California
The Book: Good to Great by Jim Collins
Why I Love It: Good to Great teaches you to be a level-five leader. —Aaron T. Walker, Professional Life and Business Coach, Hendersonville, Tennessee
The Book: Earn the Right to Win by Tom Coughlin
Why I Love It: It’s a no-nonsense approach to being proactive and feeling a sense of urgency. —Glenn W.E. Ford, President, B&E Precision Aircraft Components, Southwick, Massachusetts
The Book: Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn by John C. Maxwell
Why I Love It: If you've been playing the game longer than 15 minutes, you quickly learn that overcoming and managing loss is a critical skillset that's seldom talked about. The book's given me a better perspective and improved my thinking. It gets rid of the myth that you'll eventually get good enough or grow enough to never have a loss or setback. It's part of the journey. Winners learn how to overcome and prosper from their losses. —Boyd Smith, President, TechKnowledgey, Goshen, Indiana
The late President Harry S. Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” More than a half century later, it still holds true. Books are one of the fastest ways to learn and grow. So what are you waiting for? Pick one up today!
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