10 Business Books to Awaken the Business Guru in You

What makes a successful businessman or woman?

The following books may help answer that question by shedding light on some of the world’s foremost entrepreneurs, CEOs and business gurus who have worked hard their entire life and are sitting at the helm of some of the biggest and most successful organizations. Read on for the 10 best business books that may awaken the business guru hidden in you.

10. Awaken the Giant Within, by Toni Robbins

First Published: 1990

What It’s About:

Toni Robbins talks about his own life experiences that have influenced and shaped the views he holds today. He takes readers through the art of focusing their thoughts and emotions towards achieving their goals in life. The author is a subject matter expert on the science behind peak performance. He is one of the foremost influencers in the United States, who not only educates but gives practical advice on achieving goals through his techniques.

Why You Should Read It:

Toni Robbins is the master of explaining how to scientifically aim for entrepreneurial success by taking control of your emotions, finances, relationships and body. His approach to getting the most out of life focuses on self-improvement by understanding the self first. The techniques that Robbins offers are practical and can be used by anyone who wants to take control of their present and future.

Best Quote:

“In life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know.”

9. Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell

First Published: 2008

What It’s About:

In this book Malcolm Gladwell takes readers on a journey of exploring some of the most successful names in history while asking the question, ‘what makes them different?’He draws attention to the fact that while we tend to know exactly who is successful and what that person is like on the surface, no one really explores that person’s past. This means exploring their culture, their generation, their family, and the little experiences that make them who they are today.

Why You Should Read It:

This is a fresh twist on the idea of how successful persons become as successful as they are. Gladwell discusses the secrets of software billionaires, why Asians are good at Math, and how someone becomes a great soccer player. These and other unique topics that the book explores makes it a must-read for anyone interested in a new perspective on success.

Best Quote:

“Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from.”

8. Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki

First Published: 1998

What It’s About:

In his book, economist Kiyosaki talks about having two father figures as a child. One was his biological father, a highly educated but poor man, and the other was his best friend’s father. Despite being an eighth grade dropout, Robert’s best friend’s father was a self-made millionaire. He imparted important life lessons to Robert, which he discusses in this enlightening memoir of sorts, which was a New York Times bestseller.

Why You Should Read It:

The book puts forward the argument that budding entrepreneurs will ask themselves at some point: does a traditional job provide better financial results than owning your own business? The concept of financial wealth is discussed by Kiyosaki in astoundingly simple terms for even those who are just starting out on their path of financial knowledge. The way in which the author compares two starkly different figures, who played pivotal roles in his life, is something that is fascinating to read about.

Best Quote:

“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.”

7. Creativity Inc., by Ed Catmull

First Published: 2014

What It’s About:

The story revolves around Catmull, a physics student in Utah with love for animation and discusses how he grew up worshipping Disney cartoons. The book charts his rise in the animation world and talks about running a creative company in today’s highly competitive era.

Why You Should Read It:

If you are a fan of the brilliant Pixar movies such as Toy Story and Up, then this behind-the-scenes look at the rise of one of its co-founders will be fascinating. Catmull studied physics and computer science at college under the guidance of one of the most influential people in computer graphics, Ivan Sutherland. The story of how Catmull moved into the animation business should be a sheer joy to read. Today, Catmull is President at not only Pixar, but also Walt Disney Animation Studios, two of the most successful animation companies in the world.

Best Quote:

“Only 40 percent of what people think actually comes through their eyes, and the remaining 60 percent is filled in based on memory or patterns collected from past experiences.”

6. Zero to One, by Peter Thiel

First Published: 2014

What It’s About:

Written by the founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel who is also a venture capitalist, talks about building a successful business from the ground up. One of the concepts behind the book is that successful startups are often based around secrets and the title Zero to One refers to doing something new. Throughout his book, Thiel encourages readers and future business leaders to always think for themselves. The key to success, he says, is not being the best at something that everyone else is already doing, but through escaping competition altogether by doing something unique that no one else has done.

Why You Should Read It:

Thiel is definitely one of those people whose advice holds gravitas in his chosen field of work. He is a visionary and also one of the first people to invest in Facebook. What he has to say, you need to read!

Best Quote:

“Monopoly is the condition of every successful business.”

5. Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, by Peter Diamandis

First Published: 2012

What It’s About:

Diamandis talks about the great divide that exists in the world we live in today. The privileged few have lived in stark contrast to the majority of the world. While it is commonly said that this divide will never be closed, various factors are playing a part in enabling the opposite of that. The author discusses how four forces, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, the Rising Billion and exponential technologies, are playing their part in changing the world as we know it.

Why You Should Read It:

Diamandis approaches the topic of change in a novel manner by examining everything humans need, by category – food, water, healthcare, education, energy, and freedom. He then discusses individuals who have continued to leave a lasting impact in each area. A great book for those who want to understand the world we live in today and what lies in the future, from a technological point of view.

Best Quote:

“Abundance is not about providing everyone on this planet with a life of luxury—rather it’s about providing all with a life of possibility.”

4. The Virgin Way, by Richard Branson

First Published: 2014

What It’s About:

The owner of the Virgin empire, Richard Branson, faced some tough challenges along the way. The rise to the top was not easy, and along the way, he took on major competitors such as British Airways. He also faced great losses against other giants such as Coca Cola. In this honest view of his life as the leader of the Virgin Group, Branson sheds light on his leadership style, how he mixes family and fun, and how he listens to his employees. Branson has also openly admitted to never having read a book on leadership in his life!

Why You Should Read It:

Read it to see how a middle school dropout with dyslexia beat all odds to become a huge success. He has never worked a day for someone else and while his thinking is known to be outside-the-box, there is a method to his unique style, as this book proves.

Best Quote:

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

3. How Google Works, by Eric Schmidt

First Published: 2014

What It’s About:

As the title suggests, this book demystifies the activities taking place behind one of the world’s most successful companies. How does Google stay ahead of competition? How does it help its employees become the best they can be? These and many other questions are answered by the former CEO of Google, who first started out at the company as a business executive from Silicon Valley. Schmidt discusses the shift of power that has taken place in recent years, thanks to the major changes in technology related to cloud computing, the Internet and the mobile phone.

Why You Should Read It:

When the author of a book has been ranked the 100th richest person in the world by Forbes magazine, you know you need to read their book on business and success. What Eric Schmidt adds to the highly interesting story of how technology evolved into what we see today is definitely worth a read.

Best Quote:

“If you focus on your competition, you will never deliver anything truly innovative.”

2. Console Wars, by Blake Harris

First Published: 2014

What It’s About:

This book describes the thrilling journey behind a company called Sega that was formed by a small group of rebels who went on to compete head on against gaming giant Nintendo. What ensued was a nail-biting duel between two companies that could not be more different on the surface, at least. In 1990, Nintendo held global monopoly over the video gaming market while Sega was a small burgeoning company that seemed harmless, until Tom Kalinske took charge of it and transformed it into Nintendo’s biggest rival, thereby changing the video game industry forever.

Why You Should Read It:

If you find yourself rooting for the underdog in movies and books, then this real life battle should keep you hooked. It includes interviews with former employees of both companies and is a hard-to-digest, but an absolutely true account of how an underdog beat a global giant, leading to the billion dollar gaming industry that exists today.

Best Quote:

“There was no such thing as a magic touch, and it wouldn’t have mattered if there were, because the only thing it takes to sell toys, vitamins, or magazines is the power of story. That was the secret. That was the whole trick: to recognize that the world is nothing but chaos, and the only thing holding it (and us) together are stories.”

1. The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

First Published: 2013

What It’s About:

In the quest to find the answers to some of the world’s most common questions, Duhigg explores the power of habits. He argues that every individual, organization and society become products of their habits. Inculcating these habits is inevitable, he says, and they have been carefully cultivated over generations. The human brain is wired to crave habits and this is the main reason why we form certain habits. This book makes a comparison between successful and unsuccessful people, studying how their choice of letting go of bad habits or embracing positive habits has an impact on their business.

Why You Should Read It:

If you wonder why people behave the way they do, and if you are fascinated by habits of successful people, and want to know whether people control their habits or is it the other way around, then this is the book for you. It is a study of how even the smallest habit has the power to impact your life and your business.

Best Quote:

“Habits are malleable throughout your entire life.”

Conclusion

Whether you are considering starting your own business, or simply hoping to learn more about some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, each one of these top business books has something to keep you turning the page.

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