7 Most Influential Business Books Of All Time – At Least For Me

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You rarely realize you are in the middle of a personnel transformation when it is happening…that is what this post is about. Here I share the 7 AudioBooks that have had the biggest impact on my business and its direction.

The inspiration for this post came from a comment on my last post from Alistair Cochrane who proposed the idea that he could track the big changes in his business looking at his audible history.

Alistair Cochrane

Alistar, thanks for the idea and hope you don’t mind I have blatantly stolen it.

In this post I will attempt to do a similar thing and highlight what I consider was the key Audiobooks that have shaped my mindset in relation to my online business…

Of course I have a LONG way to go to have a business that embodies the learning’s from all these great books…

 

  1. Rich Dad Poor Dad

A classic book whose wealth generation strategies are questionable (highly leveraged real estate among others) but the

I was listening to this book while I drove from the University I attended in Canada down to my girlfriend (now wife) in Indiana.

The timing was right and it really opened my eyes to the idea of owning assets that can generate cash on their own. Before I considered the typical path to financial stability was a high paying job.

This transformation was instant and has been permanent.

Mental Shift #1 – Own assets not liabilities

1-RDPD

 

  1. EMyth Revisited (my #1 favorite!)

Like Rich Dad Poor Dad this book came to me at the right time and it was shortly after listening to Rich Dad Poor Dad.

The combination of the two has really set in stone the basis of my business.

Being a guy who likes systems and and after recently reading Rich Dad Poor Dad I was certain my path in any business endeavor would involve building systems that generated income producing assets.

At this stage I had not built a website, had a couple small time business starts and failures but with the idea crystallized that I would systematize whatever I did next I was searching for ideas.

Mental Shift #2 – Build systems to run businesses

2-EMyth

 

  1. 4hr WorkWeek

I am hesitant to put this one on the list because I think it really oversimplifies what building an online business takes. However it combined with working for a robotics start up company in need of a website definitely put me down the path of building, getting traffic to and making money from websites.

Mental Shift #3 – Websites and online businesses can be location independent, low overhead ways of building a business

3-4hr-ww

 

  1. Good to Great and Built to Last

Good to Great and Built to Last I have combined into #4 since I listened to them back to back and they helped

Their shift was more subtle then the others. The combination of the two books layered a lot of the framework for what it means to build a great business.

Mental Shift #4 – Set big goals, understand the reason for a business to exist and treat the business as something bigger than yourself.

4-Good-to-Great

 

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People

Having an aversion to any title that sounded personal self-helpish I reluctantly listened to this high recommended and very popular book.

Luckily I think most of the messages in this book were already instilled into me but it wrapped everything up into a nice framework.

The key takeaway for me though was that avoiding good self-improvement books was just plain dumb!

Mental Shift #5 – Set a solid framework for a lot of common sense interaction behaviors but more importantly it showed that self-improvement books were not complete fluff and shouldn’t be avoided (like I had been)

5-How-to-Win-Friends-Influence-People

 

  1. Blue Ocean Strategy

Most of the books on this list are extremely popular and there would be limited surprises so far. However, Blue Ocean Strategy gets “ok” reviews and is not as popular as the others on this list. For me Blue Ocean Strategy provided a way to think about markets that continues to influence how I monetize businesses.

My “look like a blog and monetize like a business” strategy with my student loan site and other similar sites was taken from Blue Ocean Strategy

Mental Shift #6 – Look at the intersections of existing successful businesses for opportunities

6-Blue Ocean

 

  1. The Lean Start Up

The time gap between the transformative books above is relatively short (a few month tops). However after #6 I don’t have any books that make my significant mental shift list for a few years. I listened to some great ones (Seth Godins books, anything Warren Buffet related, Who Moved my Cheese, Getting Things Done plus many more).

The Lean Start Up definitely got rid of the no transformative book drought!

Mental Shift #7 – List and test assumptions with any new business before going all in on it. Start small and get to market quickly with the minimum viable product and then iterate on it as quickly and often as possible using real customer feedback.

7-The Lean Start Up

 

 

What Books Have Influenced You the Most?

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Comments

  1. Fantastic! I’ve read 3 from your 7 so I’ve got 4 ideas for new books )

  2. I have to say thanks to you Jon… inspired by your last article, I unsubscribed to all the podcasts and now set the goal of listening to 1 audiobook a month… that means I will just listen to one book over and over again in a whole month in order to get the most out of it before switching to the next one.

    I’m listening to “Rework” by 37signals now.

  3. Ryan Kaufman says:

    I’ve recently listened to the Lean Startup on Audible and it was a fantastic read/listen. Most on your list I have read before, but some I only made part way though before abandoning. I’ll revisit those again though since you brought them up since they may be much more relevant now than when I read them 4-5 years ago.

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Ryan

      Thank you for the post. I think its a good idea to go back and revisit them again.

      Cheers

      Jon

  4. Good selections, Jon. I’ve only read two of these (1 & 3), if you were to round this out to a top 10 list I’d recommend adding The Slight Edge.

  5. Here’s a few good ones I got from Audible Jon…

    Brandwashed
    The buying brain
    The 48 laws of power
    Mastery

    Regular books…

    Eat that frog
    Millionaire fastlane

    Some are stretching it to fit into ‘business books’ but still good.

  6. I was a big fan of the 4-hour work week. While even Tim has come out and said some elements of the book aren’t really achievable or recommended anymore (like checking email once a month) some good nuggets can still be had. I think the biggest takeaway for me from this book was how i can automate or hire someone to complete the non skilled tasks that I waste my time on.

  7. ANDREW LEMON says:

    Some great suggestions Jon. I’ve read a few of books already, and some a should probably come back to. For example Robert’s Rich Dad Poor Dad I read years ago now, but had some great advice – and really helped to change a mind set in how I saw things around me. Keep up the great articles Jon, always a worthwhile read and one of the few business emails worth opening these days.

  8. Hey Jon, I just listened to 3/4 so far of The E-myth Revisited based on your recommendation. And I have to say, it’s an outstanding audiobook! I think some stories he tells trail on a little too long, but overall the book is a gem.

    I found out I shift between the Entreprenuer and the Technician personalities and I have very little of the Manager personality. This book is helping me balance that and is also helping me see the bigger picture of automated systems.

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Josh

      Thanks a lot for the post, and I am glad it has been helping you out so much. The balance in job responsibility at your own end is never easy.

      Cheers

      Jon

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Josh

      Thank you for the post. It’s not easy balancing the two and they do overlap.

      All the best.

      Cheers

      Jon

  9. This is a nice list Jon. The very nature of my work does not allow me to listen books in audio form. However, I read business books in my smartphone while commuting to my workplace. I have read only No. 5 from the above list. However, there are few recommendations (my must read list):

    (1) Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B Cialdini – Famous marketer Yanik Silver told that if all the books in his marketing arsenal are lost except this one, he will rebuild his entire business using tactics of this one single book. In my opinion this book should be a required reading for all marketers and business people. Full of real life example of how and why people says Yes to a proposal, this book is a real gem.

    (2) Great by Choice by Jim Collins & Morten Hansen: The third in the trilogy of Built to Last Series, this is the best of the three. It tells in vivid details : Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck- Why some thrive despite them all. This is a highly motivating book which should be another required reading for all. It tells us why preparation is so important in every business. The example of South Pole race between Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott is so striking and powerful that it get permanently etched in memory.

    (3) The Millionaire Fastlane by M J Demarco : A real testimony to the famous Abraham Lincoln’s quote: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. Clearly shows why creating a proper system is so important. Not very popular but a very good book indeed.

    (4) Work the System by Sam Carpenter : Real life story of a guy who changed his loss making business into a thriving one by systematic improvement in it. Available free of cost on the website, in many ways this book is priceless.

    I hope that you’ll also like these books Jon.

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Eklavya

      Thank you for the post. I’m glad that this has draw your attention. I seems that you have been able to target what is most relevant to you, which is great.

      Cheers

      Jon

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Eklavya

      Thank you so much for the post. I am glad that this has been so helpful and that you have been able to target things that matter most to you.

      Cheers

      Jon

  10. Hey Jon,
    Great list! I read 3 of them. Blue Ocean Strategy was a bit hard to get into at first, it seemed more academic than most books I’ve read (Not really light reading in the evenings..), but by Chapter 2 I was hooked, great read! Every time I see Hershey’s Kisses I remember the book.

    Rich Dad Poor Dad was a great book for me as well. In hindsight I think Robert doesn’t really give any instructions for getting started, but he DOES make you realize that anybody can do it. I’d say reading that back in 2009 was what started me down the path I’m on now. 4hour work week was the one that led me to look online.

    Haven’t read the others yet, but a few of them are on my to-read list, so great to hear you loved them as well.

    Oh yeah, I’d recommend Robert Cialdini’s “Influence” as well, it’s like I had a lightbulb moment on every single page with that one.

    Cheers man,

    Dom

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Dominic

      Thank you for the post and for the ideas for future reading. I’m always eager to read up and expand my knowledge.

      Cheers

      Jon

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Dominic

      Thank you for the post.

      Those are some great suggestions. Il get looking into them.

      Cheers

      Jon

  11. Great collection of books Jon,
    Those are really awesome books and I’ve read few of them. I’ve read Rich Dad Poor Dad and some other series of Robert Kiyosaki including the one he wrote with Donald Trump: (Why We Want You to be Rich) and I must confess that his books are really meaty indeed.

    Other books that really impacted my life positivly are— Think and Grow Rich and The Richest Man in Babylon and also Who Moved my Cheese and The One Minute Manager. I will highly recommend these books for anyone who has not read them before.

    Right now, I’m reading E-Myth Revisited and I’m enjoying it so far.

    Thanks for sharing.

    BTW: I sent you an email 2 days back, don’t know if you got it?

  12. Nice share Jon :) Gotcha read all 6 except 4 hr work week !

  13. Nice selection Jon. Another book I really like is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Have a good one!

  14. John, great article and good concept… tracking your evolution in business to the books you have listened to or read. For me personally the 4 Hour Work Week was the first one that really opened my eyes and got the gears turning in my brain to begin thinking of ways to start generating my own income streams.

    • Jon Haver says:

      Thanks for the comment. I’m glad that my article has helped you find success in generating income.

      All the best.

  15. I really like Rich Dad Poor Dad and the one by Dale Carnegie. I haven’t read the others and will be adding them to my to read list.

    This is out of topic, but am asking anyway. While looking for expired domains, I’ve seen a number of “Got an HTTP 302 response at crawl time” in Way Back Machine. What does this mean? And does seeing these mean you should not buy them?

  16. Craig Bashman says:

    Some really great books in this list. I think I have pretty much read all of the classics but I’m finding some little gems out there this year. The last great business book I read was ‘One Dot, Two Dots, Get Some New Dots’ from David Silverstein. Anyone who hasn’t read that book needs to check it out. It’s a fairly quick read but I found it to be such an inspiring resource.
    http://www.davesdots.com/

  17. Jon, as I’ve read most on your list I have to say you’re on target. One of the real values of this post was inviting recommendations of others. Lots of ideas there. I’ll add “How to Talk to Anyone” by Leil Lowndes. It’s not directly business, but actually spending so much time behind a computer, it’s good to understand the science of communication in real world interactions. Much of it covers how to pick up on the business nomenclature of people in other fields so you can exchange ideas or at least leave a good impression; yes, how to pick up girls stuff is in there as well :)

  18. Ethan Aiken says:

    Jon these are great.

    My favorite so far was the E-myth revisited. I can really see how much his insistence on making processes has affected your business and all of your articles on your blog.

    Thanks!

  19. Jon,
    Just discovered your site. It’s awesome. Big fan of business books myself. Have read all of those on your list. These are some must reads in my opinion:
    The Click Moment by Frans Johansson
    The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin
    Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
    The Go Giver by Bob Burg
    The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
    The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
    Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz
    $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
    Anything written (or recorded) by Jim Rohn
    Definitely will be stopping by more often!
    Martin
    PS I’m just now reading “Promise of a Pencil” by Adam Braun (recently interviewed by Pat Flynn) and it’s amazing and inspiring.

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