The 10 best business books for anyone wanting to succeed in business

Learn from the best by reading your way through the best business books available today.

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Succeeding in business is the elusive goal of almost every company. There is absolutely no tried and tested route, and no guarantee that what has worked before will work again. However, one thing that will absolutely never harm your chances is having as much available expertise, as many new ideas and as much advice from people who have succeeded before you.

Possibly the best way to do this is still by getting your head in the books. There are many great books available to help you on to your goal of succeeding in business, while they won’t guarantee your success in business, they will push your thinking, drive your ideas and inspire you to continue trying new things.

john books

1. Business Adventures by John Brooks

It’s well known as the favourite business book of both Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, and it’s hard to think of two more glowing endorsements than those. Brooks’ book contains a series of articles that he wrote for The New Yorker Magazine in the 1960s that are insightful and still very relevant to today.

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2. We Are All Weird: The Myth of Mass and the End of Compliance by Seth Godin

The popular, provocative and prolific writer Seth Godin brings us a prophetic books about the future of the marketplace that is a must for small and large businesses. It’s a light read packed with big ideas and interesting thoughts for modern business.

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walter kiechel

3. The Lords of Strategy by Walter Kiechel

This book by business journalist, former Managing Editor of Fortune Magazine, and former Editorial Director of the Harvard Business Review is comprised of an in-depth look at the evolution of strategy since the 1960s. They say you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been, this book will give you an important history lesson.

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james c collins

4. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don't by James C. Collins

The clue to this book is really in the title. It’s about why some businesses grow and grow, piling success upon success and why others, well, don’t. Based on real world business cases, journal articles and testimony, Collins offers ideas, advice and anecdotes.

Whatever business you’re in, it should be quite clear which category you want your business to be, so why not learn from those who have succeeded and those who have failed?

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lawrence a cunningham

5. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Investors and Managers by Warren Buffett and Lawrence A. Cunningham

While this book is far more concerned with investment strategy than it is with business advice or leadership tips, it’s still an engaging read. Buffett's investment philosophy of sound logic, ruthless pragmatism and patience is a lesson for business managers as well, especially in chaotic environments.

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amy wallace

6. Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

This book by the President of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, Ed Catmull is about how to manage a business that relies on creativity and artistry. It’s full of interesting strategy, anecdotes and ideas for keeping a business fresh, the importance of trusting your people and of trusting your instincts.

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sun tzu

7. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Brought to popular attention by the money-loving Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s 1987 classic Wall Street, this book continues to be popular amongst business people today. While it won’t teach you much about modern business or strategy, it is full of insightful, short and concise thoughts that will provoke and centre your thinking on your business.

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m senge

8. The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter M. Senge

First published in 1990, this book came out quite ahead of its time and was very well-received upon release. It contains insight and experience on how to transform your business into a learning organization, one that is constantly evolving, growing and adapting to changing needs and a changing marketplace. It’s the ultimate end game, and this book will help to get you there.

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9. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

This book couldn’t have come at a better time, when productivity seems to be the top of everyone's agenda, and when being busy is being shown to be a constant drag on our ability to get important things done. This book will encourage and advise you to reduce, to prioritize the important and to stay on your own schedule.

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scott adams

10. The Dilbert Principle by Scott Adams

This book from the creator of the incredibly popular Dilbert character will not teach you much about modern business, but it will provide a humorous and charming insight on what it is (but shouldn’t) be like to be a cog in a machine. And anyway, who says business books all have to be sincere?

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