One thing nobody tells you when you start a business is that the growth of the business is directly related to your growth as a person. But when you’ve got your head down in the (often all consuming) process of building and running a business, it can seem impossible to find time to do things that will help with your personal growth, even if you’d really like to.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of must-read books to help you grow as a business owner. They’re all relatively quick reads, and you can pick them up and put them down as you need to. Whatever you do, make sure that you do allow yourself the time to really dive into at least one of them. Think of it as continual professional development — it’s just as important, and your business will thank you for it.
1. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
One of the classic books in the entrepreneur’s canon, The 4-Hour Workweek is one of those that pretty much everybody says they’ve read, even if they haven’t — it’s just that central. It’s a great read for business owners, whether you’re an online entrepreneur or you own a more traditional brick and mortar business, because the strategy and inspiration that Ferris provides can be modified and applied to pretty much any kind of business.
But the biggest reason we recommend this book is because of the type of mindset shift that Ferris models. Once a workaholic, he managed to completely revamp his business (and make much more money in much less time) after realising that what he really wanted was to life life now, not decades down the road.
2. Leading by Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson won 49 trophies in his 38 years of managing football teams, and he’s regarded as one of the most successful managers of all time. So if you’ve been thinking that Leading is just a book about sport (or worse, one more boring biography of a retiring star), think again.
Ferguson’s book is a great primer on leadership in general, not just in football, and many of the lessons he shares can be easily applied to many different types of businesses. We especially recommend this one if you’re getting to the point in your business that you’re really needing to step up as a leader. You might not be leading Man U to victory, but you’ll need some of Ferguson’s wisdom on your own pitch!
3. The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters
Everyone struggles against themselves sometimes. But when you’re a business owner, your internal struggles have a much greater range of impact than just yourself. That makes it absolutely essential to have a great understanding of yourself and your mind, and one of the best places to start is by reading The Chimp Paradox.
In it, Peters uses the model of an internal chimp in your brain to teach you how to understand how your mind is working at any given time, how to get a handle on your thoughts and emotions regardless of your external circumstances, and how you can use this information to get more of what you want in your business and your life.
4. Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins is a giant in the motivation world, and for good reason. His pivotal book Awaken the Giant Within gives you a whole new way of thinking about the world, your life, and your role in it.
It’s the perfect book to read when you need to up-level your mindset, which is, of course, the key to your success with anything, whether it’s in the sphere of your business or your personal life — and Robbins’ four step method for success makes a great metric to measure your actions and progress with.
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
A lot of people think of Stephen Covey’s book in terms of purely personal development, but it’s a great book for professional development as well. Unlike many other self help books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People focuses on aligning yourself with external principles based on an abundance mindset, then using a series of habits to achieve the results you want more effectively.
For best results…
Don’t just read the books and forget them. There’s no point in actually spending the time to read these books if they’re not going to actually help with your personal development, so make sure that you’re actively interacting with the book so that the principles and strategies in them really sink in.
This is going to look different for every person, but you might want to take notes, ask yourself questions about the books, discuss them with other people, or even incorporate them in your business as team books or required reading for new hires. Whatever you do, just remember that the hardest part is getting started. The idea of personal development might seem daunting, but once you pick up one of these books, you’ll be hooked — and it’s all downhill from there.