9 Business Books You Should Have on the Bookshelf

These Great Business Books Could Change Your Professional Life for the Better

Books on bookshelves

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Warren Buffett is a voracious reader. Mark Zuckerberg tries to read a book once every two weeks. I’ve constantly got my nose in a book. Yes, reading keeps me informed, but it all expands my worldview, opens my mind to new ideas and prompts me to share my own thoughts.

Here are nine business and personal finance books that have made a difference in my life. Some are classics, others are based on new research but all have something important to teach us.


Extreme Ownership: How Navy SEALS Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. The authors saw extensive combat as SEAL officers in Iraq. They use heart-pounding stories from that experience to illustrate lessons about leadership and organization. At the core of their message: Leaders at every level must take full responsibility for what happens on their team or project. Even if a subordinate three layers down screws up, the manager must step-up, own it, and fix the problem.


The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. The blunt truth about the challenges of being an entrepreneur from a successful venture capitalist and business owner. Horowitz’s insight is powerful stuff for both entrepreneurs and managers.

The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton ChristensenEven wildly successful companies can be undone if they ignore disruptive developments in their industry. This examination of “disruptive innovation” is said to be a favorite of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and the late Steve Jobs.

Personal Growth

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This original self-improvement book reminds us that interpersonal relationships and our interactions with others are key to professional success. It doesn’t matter how good your ideas are if you can’t get buy-in from others. The same is true in personal life. Carnegie offers insights and proven tools for connecting with people and persuading them to your point of view.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. Another great book from the master of self-improvement. Carnegie helps the reader understand the costs of worry, how to recognize destructive worry, and break that cycle. The book is surprisingly spiritual, including his advice to embrace gratitude, avoid revenge and strive to create happiness for others.


Purple Cow by Seth Godin. The quirky marketing guru explains the importance of setting yourself apart in the marketplace by creating a product that is literally “remarkable,” meaning people notice it and remark on its traits.

Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear by Frank Luntz. The communications expert, pollster and Fox News Channel regular believes that generating the right emotional response is often more important than getting an intellectual reaction when crafting your message. Words matter, he reminds us. And specific word choices matter a lot.


How To Retire Happy, Wild and Free by Ernie Zelinski. Happy, successful retirement isn’t all about money. Zelinski’s holistic guide to explains how to plan for a great post-career life by putting money in perspective (so you need less to retire), staying healthy and engaging in stimulating activities, hobbies, and pursuits.

You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think: The 5 Money Secrets of the Happiest Retirees by Wes Moss. I’m really proud of this book, which shares some themes with Ernie Zelinski’s. I get into some very practical advice based on my research with retirees, both happy and unhappy. The happiest retirees share mindsets and habits that we should all adopt as we build for the future. The book also offers very specific insight on building an income-investing portfolio to fund your dream post-career life.

If you don’t have a reading list of your own, start one today and make time to start reading. Constant learning is critical to success in our ever-changing world, and books – now, as always – provide a storehouse of knowledge.

Disclosure: This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only. It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.