The best business book I ever read
'Aussie John' recommends recommends the bestseller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Photo: Nic Walker
A slew of new business books comes onto the market every year, each one promising the secret of success and riches. Discerning which are useful and which are a waste of your time is a daunting task, so we asked 10 successful entrepreneurs to tell us which business book they got the most out of and why.
1. Jodie Fox, founder, Shoes of Prey
Buzz Marketing by Mark Hughes
This book was behind (co-founders) Mike, Michael and my first attempt at something business-wise, and resulted in an incredibly successful guerrilla marketing stunt. Author Mark Hughes shares lessons from his experiences, including driving users of Half.com from zero to eight million in three years by making Half.com newsworthy, agitating word of mouth and being 100 per cent dedicated to the cause. It's a brilliant source of inspiration on how to approach your marketing in non-traditional, fresh, creative ways.
2. John Symonds, founder, Aussie Home Loans
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey
When I started Aussie in 1992 I was really impressed with the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I highly recommend this book as it makes good sense.
3. Michael Malone, founder, iinet
Five Frogs on a Log by Mark L. Feldman and Michael F Spratt
Mergers and acquisitions are comparatively easy. However, once the deal is done, bringing two businesses together is not easy at all! This book is a bit of an airplane read, quite succinct, but the messages are important. Nothing is more important after doing a deal than keeping everyone informed, and that (particularly) applies even if the news is bad. People naturally want to know what happens next, for the business and for them as individuals.
4. Lawrence Boyle, founder, Wild Cards & Gifts
Shoptimism by Lee Eisenberg
This book contains 300 pages of outstanding material on the impulses which drive people to shop. Some ideas are simple, yet others more complex. It differentiates men and women, the young and the old. Each consumer category has its own triggers and this book details them all.
5. Carolyn Creswell, founder, Carman's Fine Foods
Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround by Louis V. Gerstner
I've always believed that having a happy, engaged workforce is very important for a successful business. I enjoyed reading about the turnaround of IBM from a disengaged culture to a really engaged workforce and the power that they were able to harness to culminate in the company turnaround and financial success.
6. Matt Barrie, founder, freelancer.com.au
DICE 2010: Design Outside The Box, an online video by Jesse Schell
(Although not a book) Jesse Schell's mind blowing talk on gamification opened my mind on how user behaviour can be tweaked to the micro level, driving engagement (and revenue) by an order of magnitude, all in the context of fun.
7. Larissa Robertson, owner, SCO Recruitment
Double Double by Cameron Herold
The book is full of practical and inventive ways to produce double digit growth in your business.
After I read the book I gave it to my entire management team to read. It was inspirational and exciting and gives a whole new meaning to the idea of business planning. I found a real synergy with my own ideas and values and Cameron's. I believe that synergy is key when reading and adapting business ideas from any book and speaker. There are many different ways to run a business and many great books but unless you have a synergy with the author and their ideas they won't work for you.
8. Naomi Simson, founding director, RedBalloon
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
From this book I learnt that motivation comes from peoples' experience of autonomy, mastery and their sense of purpose – carrot and stick incentives are a thing of the past. Money in the workplace is never a gift according to the research in Drive, where Pink specifically outlines the short term 'high' of cash. At RedBalloon we implement reward, recognition and incentive programs and team building events and these are all based on the delivery of memorable experiences, which can be shared with the people who matter to us most. And we practice what we preach with the same benefits enjoyed by our own employees. That's why I found this book so helpful, as it put evidence to what we've known for a long time: life experiences make people happier than material possessions.
9. Sue Ismiel, founder, Nad's
*Sue Ismiel, pictured above, second from right, with her daughters
The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy
This book captured my attention and I just could not put it down. I began to understand unique abilities in me that helped me achieve success in my life.
This book taught me about the infinite intelligence that is stored in our subconscious mind. A prayer is answered when the subconscious mind responds to our thought. I learnt about the “power of my thought” and I began to understand that my deepest desire to create this product for my daughter's needs provided me with all the answers I needed to accomplish my goal.
Little did I know back then that I was tapping into the powers of my subconscious mind by the mere fact that I refused to take no for an answer. The rejection of others such as the manufacturers and the marketers I approached in the early days never dampened my enthusiasm in any way.
10. Tony Lattouf, co-founder, Hairhouse Warehouse
The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy
The Power of Your Subconscious Mind was inspirational because life is about what you think is what you are. Success comes to those who are success conscious. Dreams come true; success is 99 per cent persistence and 1 per cent ability.
- What's your favourite business book, and why? Leave a comment