Gina Edwards

November 24, 2016

“I don’t have time to read a book.”

We’ve heard this one before. You’re too busy, too tired, too stressed, too whatever. You can invent a million reasons not to read, but that doesn’t mean you should, especially as a business owner.

You might think that by staying up-to-date on the latest news in your field, you’ve done your due diligence toward growing your company and making it succeed. Here’s a news alert: you haven’t.

While scanning headlines and reading blog posts might get you through, investing the time in reading a book and incorporating its messages could take you to another level. There is always something new to learn, whether it’s about your business, lifestyle, productivity, attitude, you name it. The depth that a full-length book can offer cannot be matched by other short-form material scrolled through on a feed.

Since the advent of audiobooks, especially, even people who don’t like lugging around heavy hardbacks or Kindles have no excuse not to take up the habit. Services like the Kindle app, audiobook providers such as Audible, or similar apps and services can provide the perfect place to squeeze in a book in 10 to 15-minute doses.

Waiting in a long line? Listen to a chapter.

On an airplane? Scroll through some pages.

In the bathroom? Ok, maybe not there.

The point is that you should stop making excuses and start reading.

To get you going, here are six books we think should top your reading list ASAP:

Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

readingFor many a startup, their main fear is failure. Since many fledgling companies face this frightening reality, guidance is necessary. By drawing from the wisdom of over forty successful founders of little-known companies such as Wikipedia, Reddit, Kayak.com, and Evernote, Traction shows readers a five-step process for gaining and maintaining momentum. Authors Weinberg and Mares elucidate how startup founders can ditch strategies based on mere speculation, and focus on creating a long-term system of success using everything from viral marketing to SEO to community building.

Read if you’re a lover of systems, strategy, and growth for the long haul.

Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You by John Warrillow

reading

While many entrepreneurs and business owners refer to their companies as their babies, there’s a fundamental flaw in that analogy: dependence. For businesses to ultimately be successful, founders must build them to function as independently as possible. According to Built to Sell, this is achieved through a system with three criteria: make your business teachable, valuable, and repeatable. In other words, your employees should be able to deliver your products and services, your business should do one thing better than anyone else, and it should generate revenue by producing products that customers have to purchase often.

Read if your ultimate goal is to sit back and watch your business succeed.

Buying and Selling a Business: How You Can Win in the Business Quadrant by Garrett Sutton

reading

The ins, outs, and legalese of buying and selling a business can make the entire operation feel intimidating and burdensome. But with Sutton’s help, it’s simpler. By revealing the strategies used to sell and acquire business investments, readers can anticipate and navigate any obstacles to a successful business sale or purchase. Through real-life stories, this book shows people how to arm themselves with the right team and tools to get a positive outcome.

Read if you want a guide in navigating the most complicated aspects of a business purchase or sale.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

reading

What turns good companies into great ones? Or for that matter, what do mediocre or even bad companies need in order to become great? Jim Collins explores such questions by studying those who made and sustained an impressive leap and comparing them to those who didn’t. His findings suggest that companies should reexamine their current notions about good leaders, the role of technology, and discipline. While Collins says his conclusions are controversial, he also vouches for their necessity in the modern business age.

Read if you’re hell-bent on building a great company.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

reading

Everyone already knows that the world’s a tough place, but what about the even tougher critic inside of you? Pressfield shows readers how to fight what might be the hardest battle of all –– the one against yourself. In The War of Art, you learn how to name this internal enemy, strategize against it, and ultimately, succeed. While it was originally written for writers, its messages are adaptable for people of many stripes –– including entrepreneurs.

Read if you want to silence that little doubting voice inside you.

Web Copy That Sells: The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy That Grabs Their Attention and Compels Them to Buy by Maria Veloso

reading

The internet moves quickly. Though a few years back, grabby, action-encouraging headlines would drive clicks, these days they just aren’t as effective. Veloso guides readers through different strategies aimed at garnering people’s attention and compelling them to convert into paying customers. From psychological tactics to targeted Facebook ads to high-converting video sales letters, these practical and proven methods can help streamline your messages to deliver a sales punch.

Read if you want the time you invest in writing to show returns.

What are you reading next?

Now that you have some ideas about which books should be on your shopping list, the question becomes not if, but when your next reading adventure will be.

If investing the time, energy, and small amount of money it requires to get a book in your hands, phone, or ears seems implausible to you, remember the payoffs. With only a few hours, you can learn lessons that address weak points in your business and ultimately push you towards more success in the long-term.

Books, even ones squeezed within a busy life, have a great payoff.

We’d argue that you definitely have time for that.

Photo credit: DragonImages


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Discussion
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  1. Joe says:

    I’m currently reading The One Thing, and really am getting a lot out of it. So many entrepreneurs feel like there is so much to do, being able to block out time and focus on the single most important thing you could be doing is tremendously powerful.

  2. I have to add Predictable Success by Les McKeown to this list, a great listen as well.

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