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5 business books to inspire you

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Earlier this fall, I published my selection of the 25 best business books

You can find the full list at best business books.

In case you missed the titles, I wanted to share with you five of the business books that had the biggest impact on my career.

If you have additional books you’d like to add to that list, leave a comment or send me an email at [email protected].


5. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time (Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 2nd edition; January, 2007) By Brian Tracy

Background: I’ve read many of Tracy’s books, but Eat That Frog! is the one that resonated with me. As a lifelong procrastinator, I needed a plan and Tracy provided me with exactly what I was looking for—the “21 most effective methods for conquering procrastination and accomplishing more.”

Takeaway: If you want to get an item marked off your to do list, do it first thing.

Quote: ”The first rule of frog eating is this: If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.” 


4. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds (St. Martin’s Press; March, 2014) By Carmine Gallo

Background: As advisors, more than likely you are speaking to groups of people weekly if not daily. But is your message hitting its mark? TED and associated Tedx conferences are being viewed at a rate of 1.5 million times a day through live events and a variety of video and podcast outlets. There’s a reason for that—the TED formula.

Takeaway: Effective speakers keep their messages short, entertaining, emotional and to the point.

Quote: “Great communicators reach your head and touch your heart. Most people who deliver a presentation forget the “heart” part.” 

3. Thinking, Fast and Slow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition; October, 2011) By Daniel Kahneman

Background: I’m fascinated by what people think and even moreso by what causes them to think the way they do. Bookshelves are littered with pop psychology trash. That’s not what Kahneman’s book is about. A Nobel Prize winner in the field of behavioral economics, Kahneman’s research uncovers “both the surprising miracles and the equally surprising mistakes of our conscious and unconscious thinking.”

Takeaway: It takes both the rational and the intuitive mind to bring about the best decisions.

Quote: “The expectation of intelligent gossip is a powerful motive for serious self-criticism, more powerful than New Year resolutions to improve one’s decision making at work and at home.” 

2. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; October, 2011)

By William Strunk Jr., E. B. White

Background: The ways in which we communicate have evolved through social media and mobile devices, but the idea of developing a clear, strong message has not (and I hope never will). If you’ve never read The Elements of Style, beg, borrow or steal a copy and read it today. If you read it long ago in school, grab your dog-eared copy and read it again, today.

Takeaway: Say what you mean in as few words as possible.

Quote: ”Use definite, specific, concrete language.” 

1. How to Win Friends & Influence People (Pocket Books; October, 1998; originally published in 1936)

By Dale Carnegie 

Background: Back in 1995, with two graduate degrees and a Dilbert-like career going for me, I made a bold move: I took a Dale Carnegie course. It was the best career move I ever made.

Takeaway: If you want to win friends and influence people, you need a burning desire to better understand the people you interact with.

Quote: “My popularity, my happiness and sense of worth depend to no small extent upon my skill in dealing with people.”