My Ten Favorite Business Books

Last week I spoke at the Owen Business School at Vanderbilt University. One of the graduate students asked me for a list of my favorite business books. I thought I’d share my list here.

Lots of Books at the Library - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #2193842

Photo courtesy of ©

These are in no particular order. I may think of others, but these are the ones that come to mind first.

I intentionally did not list any Thomas Nelson authors. I wanted to avoid the politics involved when one author is listed and others are not. I will say though that I devour anything by John C. Maxwell. He is a dear friend and has had a huge influence on my own leadership style.

Question: What are you favorite business books?
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  • University Update

    My Ten Favorite Business Books

  • Clément Laberge

    I would certainly put on my list Orbiting the Giant HairBall from Gordon MacKenzie.

  • Belevenissen

    Jippie weer een lijstje

    van Michael Hyatt. Zijn 10 favoriete managementboek. Een actueel lijstje. Made to stick is net uit. You are the message lijkt me zeker ook een aanrader. Pierre is geen lijstjesfan (Zie Twistlijstjes), ik wel. Tips, je eigen lijstje. Reageer of stuur e…

  • Brian Mitchell

    While not all of these books may be considered in the business category, some have challenged my thinking on convention marketing practices.

    • Why We Buy by Paco Underhill
    • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
    • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
    • Madison & Vine by Scott Donation
    • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
    • Buzz Marketing by Mark Hughes
    • Radical Marketing by Sam Hill and Glenn Rifkin
    • Often Wrong, Never in Doubt by Donny Deutsch and Peter Knobler
    • The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR by Al Ries and Laura Ries
    • The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout

  • Michael Hyatt

    The Ries and Trout books are all excellent. I especially liked The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding. I also love Guy Kawasaki’s work. Selling the Dream is one of my all-time favorites.

  • Scott

    My favorite read of tha last few years is “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis. A “non business” book with many business take aways. I love anyone who asks the question “are we doing this only because we’ve always done it that way.” Doing it the same old way is a business killer. To watch this question asked and the “old way” of doing things turned upside down was absolutely inspiring

  • Tony Jacobs

    Don’t forget the old classic “IACCOCA”.

    I can honestly say that it impacted me more than any other secular book that I have ever read. It helped me make a transition in my life.

  • george

    “The World is Flat” by Thomas Freidman was a good view of the business world today.

  • Jim Seybert – Intutive Futurist

    OK – I’ll mention a Thomas Nelson title I re-read every year:

    Management Methods of Jesus – worth going back to each year for a reminder. Best in its class – bar none.

  • Nick

    My two favorites are both by the same author: Max DePree. Both are short, but jam-packed with good stuff. Titles are “Leadership is an Art” and “Leadership Jazz.”

    Excellent books!

  • Mark Long

    _Surfing the Edge of Chaos_ by Pascale, Milleman, and Gioja. I like this book because most of the case studies eventually show that while things could or did go right for a while at the companies being examined, eventually management veered off track for different, yet significant, reasons. The lesson to be learned, I think (at least for me), is that “excellence” is a process, not a product, and that you have to keep investing energy in moving forward as opposed to ever giving in to the tempation to rest on your laurels.

  • chris goeppner

    ah yes, the e-myth by gerber.

  • Allen Arnn

    Jim Collins’ little monograph showing how “Good to Great” plays out in the social sector is golden.

  • Jody T Fransch

    John Maxwell is one of my favourite authors too. His books have had a tremendous impact on my life. Just like you I tear apart anything he writes.

    Another book that I really enjoyed and learned a lot from was Jack Welsh's autobiography called "Jack". Definitely a great read providing many insights into his leadership style and how a top corporation runs.

  • http://link Miss83

    Many, probably most, of these are chemical engineers or technicians rather than chemists per se. ,

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