Recommended Reading List for Business Owners & Advisors

ENTREPRENEURSHIP
 
The Customer Service Zoo — Catherine DeVrye
Here is a light-hearted approach to the perennial challenges of customer service, told with the charm and experience of Australia's most innovative expert, Catherine Devrye. It's a parable about making the most of your situation, about looking after yourself, about thinking creatively, and, of course, about using common sense, which will make a difference to your customer service.
Why We Buy — Paco Underhill
Paco Underhill and his detail-oriented band of retail researchers have camped out in stores over the course of 20 years, dedicating their lives to the "science of shopping." Armed with an array of video equipment, store maps, and customer-profile sheets, the author and his team have observed over 900 aspects of interaction between shopper and store.
Dealing With People You Can't Stand : How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst — Rick Brinkman, Rick Kirschner  
Shows how to bring out the best in people at their worst. There will always be some people who resist change in all sorts of strange and nasty ways. Step by step details of how to communicate with several types of "difficult" people--from the whiner to the know-it-all.
Outrageous! : Unforgettable Service...Guilt-Free Selling — T. Scott Gross  
It's sort of a rewrite of his 1991 "Positively Outrageous Service", but the new one is more "hands on" than the first.
The Pursuit of Wow! — Tom Peters  
Extraordinary Guarantees — Christopher W.L Hart  
Hart takes a look at scores of companies and their guarantee processes. There's a stack of documentary evidence of the power of guarantees - enough to convince even the most skeptical.
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement - Eliyahu Goldratt & Jeff Cox  
2nd Rev edition (August 1994), North River Press; ISBN: 0884270610  A production plant (or accounting office) in which everyone is working all the time is very inefficient! When you read this book, you'll discover why. It is a serious management text that is written as a novel. In it, the complex Theory of Constraints is illustrated in the most elegant manner. Although it is written in the context of a production facility, the concepts are directly transferable to any organization. We regard it as a must-read for anyone who operates or consults to business. Read the reviews by other people on the Amazon.com website for their opinion if you are in any doubt about the importance and relevance of this book. An audio book is also available.
Contented Cows Give Better Milk: The Plain Truth About Employee Relations & Your Bottom Line — Bill Catlette, Richard Hadden
This great new book lends statistical evidence to the idea that happy employees are a must in any business. There's a lot of profit in happy. An easy read with plenty of practical advice for having your own happy pasture, with actual corporate stories. The "contented cows" include Southwest Airlines, FedEx, Hewlett-Packard, Wal-Mart, General Electric and 3M. - review by Brenda Wiley

These 8 books are recommended by Inc. Magazine — 8 Great Books To Read Before You Start Your Business
  1. Player Piano — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.  
  2. On Not Knowing How to Live — Allen Wheelis  
  3. Future Perfect — Stan Davis  
  4. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It — Michael E. Gerber  
  5. The Practice of Management — Peter F. Drucker  
  6. New Venture Creation : Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century — Jeffry A. Timmons  
  7. Startup : A Silicon Valley Adventure — Jerry Kaplan  
  8. Leadership Is an Art — Max De Pree  
The Cluetrain Manifesto : The End of Business As Usual — Christopher Locke, et al  
Seven essays filled with dozens of stories and observations about how business gets done in America, and how the Internet will change it all. This book is for anyone interested in the Internet and e-commerce, and is especially important for those businesses struggling to navigate the topography of the wired marketplace.
The Cluetrain Manifesto began as a web site (www.cluetrain.com) in 1999 when the authors, who have worked variously at IBM, Sun Microsystems, the Linux Journal, and NPR, posted 95 theses that pronounced what they felt was the new reality of the networked marketplace. For example, Thesis no. 2: "Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors"; Thesis no. 20: "Companies need to realize their markets are often laughing. At them"; Thesis no. 62: "Markets do not want to talk to flacks and hucksters. They want to participate in the conversations going on behind the corporate firewall"; Thesis no. 74: "We are immune to advertising. Just forget it." While Cluetrain will strike many as loud and over the top, the message itself remains quite relevant and unique.
Blown to Bits: How the New Economics of Information Transforms Strategy — Philip Evans, Thomas S. Wurster  
Clearly written and tough-minded, Blown to Bits is required reading for business leaders, entrepreneurs, strategists, and others concerned about the new economics of the Information Age.
The premise of the book is that the Internet can "blow away" practically any business. Blown to Bits examines how the new economy is "deconstructing" industries such as newspapers, auto retailing, and banking, while creating new opportunities for others. The authors write that the "glue that holds today's value chains and supply chains together" is melting, and that even "the most stable of industries, the most focused of business models, and the strongest of brands can be blown to bits by new information technology." Evans and Wurster, both executives of the Boston Consulting Group, argue that the Internet demands new business strategies because it provides companies tremendous "reach" for customers without sacrificing "richness," or the quality of the information about products and services. The book shows how some businesses--Microsoft and Intuit in personal finance, Dell Computer in retailing, and the Automotive Network Exchange in manufacturing supply--are thriving amid a rapid expansion of connectivity and the widespread acceptance of new technical standards on the World Wide Web.
Business @ the Speed of Thought — Bill Gates
Mr. Gates is here in an almost conversational/teaching role. He gives stacks and stacks of wonderful examples of what he calls 'the Digital Nervous System". It's a book we get a lot of "nods" on when we read it. A must-have to TRULY understand where things are moving to and the speed with which they're moving. Those involved in setting up systems will enjoy the appendix a lot. Plus everyone will enjoy Gates' insights with a group of German bankers.
The Great Boom Ahead — Harry S. Dent, Jr.  
Predicting the decline of Japan and the re-emergence of the United States as the most powerful economy on the planet, the Harvard economist offers readers practical advice on taking advantage of the situation.
The Roaring 2000s — Harry S. Dent, Jr.  
America's favorite optimist is at it again. Harry S. Dent Jr. is famous for his book, The Great Boom Ahead. It was published in 1992 when the U.S. economy barely had a pulse, "downsizing" was in vogue, and real wages were in decline. Nevertheless, Dent predicted that the U.S. would soon enjoy explosive economic growth and a healthy rise in stock prices. He was widely ignored at the time, especially by the news media, which always seem to prefer prophets of doom. Having been proven right, more or less, Dent is now back with a new book.
The McKinsey Way — Ethan Rasiel  
This book tells about McKinsey's methodologies in fairly general terms. Practical ideas.
Who Moved My Cheese? — Spencer Johnson  
If you or people close to you are going through change (or are fearful of it), this is THE book to have. It is the simplest, most delightful, most down-to-earth book you could wish to read, and you'll read it in much less than an hour.
Johnson (who co-wrote the One-Minute Manager) delivers profound messages in a down-to-earth, easy-to-read way.
Inside the Magic Kingdom — Tom Connellan  
A "One-Minute Manager" type look inside the Disney Magic. Some fabulous home truths, and a great book for team members to get them truly focusing on delivering real awesome service. Actually taken from Tom's passionate seminars. A fun read, a passionate one with heaps of great "Wow" stories told as only Tom can.
Re-Engineering the Corporation — Michael Hammer  
Hammer is the man who coined the phrase "Re-engineering" and in this (his first book on it), he truly champions the cause. An absolute must as a primer on taking a new look at processes in your business.
Make it Happen — Fiona Anson
Fiona takes some simple "Results" concepts and gives strategy after strategy on how any small business can achieve success.
True Professionalism — David Maister  
The best "concept" book of getting it right in professional practices we know. Maister's contrast of the professional with the prostitute is a classic. A must-have for all managing partners, at least.

Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results — Stephen C. Lundin Ph.D., Harry Paul, John Christensen
Here's another management parable that draws its lesson from an unlikely source--this time it's the fun-loving fishmongers at Seattle's Pike Place Market. In Fish!, the heroine, Mary Jane Ramirez (recently widowed and mother of two), is asked to engineer a turnaround of her company's troubled operations department, a group that authors Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen describe as a "toxic energy dump." Most reasonable heads would cut their losses and move on. Why bother with this bunch of losers? But the authors don't make it so easy for Mary Jane. Instead, she's left to sort out this mess with the help of head fishmonger Lonnie. Based on a bestselling corporate education video, Fish! aims to help employees find their way to a fun and happy workplace. While some may find the story line and prescriptions--such as "Choose Your Attitude," "Make Their Day," and "Be Present"--downright corny, others will find a good dose of worthwhile motivational management techniques.
The New New Thing : A Silicon Valley Story — Michael Lewis  
Describes how the pursuit of power at its highest levels can lead to the very edges of the surreal.
Based on the story of Jim Clark, the founder of Silicon Graphics and Netscape, the book documents how he was going to turn health care on its ear by launching Healtheon, which would bring the vast majority of the industry's transactions online. Much of The New New Thing is devoted to the Healtheon story. It's just that Jim Clark doesn't do startups the way most people do. "He had ceased to be a businessman," as Lewis puts it, "and had become a conceptual artist." There have been a lot of profiles of Silicon Valley companies and the way they've revamped the economy in the 1990s. The New New Thing is one of the first books fully to depict the sort of man that has made such companies possible.
The Spirit to Serve : Marriott's Way — J. Willard Marriott, Kathi Ann Brown
The Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International explains how he built his corporation into a ten-billion-dollar enterprise, offering elementary yet effective principles for motivating employees, cultivating customer loyalty, and more.
From Worst to First — Gordon Bethune  
This book is full of fantastic, practical stuff. It traces the story of Continental Airlines' rise from mediocrity to award winner in three short years. More to the point, it's a great text on leadership and what's required to get a company moving forward. Each chapter is full of gems. The chapter on measurement is simply great. This is a must, must read! You'll love it.
Pour Your Heart Into It — Howard Schultz  
As CEO of Starbucks Coffee, Schultz has built the company cup by cup. He has taken a simple product and turned coffee into an obsession and a marketing phenomenon. Starbucks opens a new store every single day - read the book to learn the secrets.
Body & Soul — Anita Roddick  
A VERY different person and a very different book. Here's the founder of "The Body Shop" telling us how she did it, and how it's possible to succeed by doing things differently.
The Nordstrom Way — Robert Spector & Patrick D McCarthy  
The inside story to America's no. 1 customer service company. The Nordstrom story is a fascinating one - a must-read for anyone wanting to build a company on the service ethic.
McDonald's - Behind the Arches — John F. Love  
A look inside the world's most promoted brand. It's the full story of Ray Kroc – from how he got started to how he laid the foundation for where McDonald's is today.
Virgin King — Tim Jackson  
Virgin Atlantic CEO, Richard Branson, has risen to fame and fortune. This book tells all of the Virgin/Branson story. He's an extraordinary one-in-a-million person. This book gives you the reasons why.
Nuts — Kevin Freiberg & Jakie Freiberg  
Southwest Airlines is an amazing airline - they have more "records" than any other airline. A sensational book about a sensational airline and about how leadership makes a real difference.
Maverick — Ricardo Semler  
A Brazilian businessman's story about his success. How he built a successful business whilst inflation was running at up to 900%. This is perhaps the ultimate book on the power of teams and the power of working on not in your business.

LEADERSHIP TO GO THE DISTANCE

On Becoming A Leader — Warren Bennis  
This is one of the classics on leadership. Bennis reminds us that leadership can’t be taught but it can be learned/ He explains lucidly what you need to do to become a leader. This is a must-read for anyone who is in, or aspires to be in, a leadership role. An audio book version is also available.
Credibility — James Kouzes & Barry Posner  
A great leadership book. As the title suggests, it IS all about credibility: how to get it, how to exude it.
The Leadership Challenge — James Kouzes & Barry Posner  
These two guys write great leadership books. This one is no exception.
Built to Last — James Collins  
A classic treatise on why some companies last AND grow much longer and faster than their competitors. The answer might surprise you - just as it surprised Collins when he was researching the book. Although naturally focused on large businesses, this is a great book on which to build a great business.

TOP TEN HISTORICAL LEADERSHIP BOOKS

Gavin Shaw of GNS Group in Melbourne, Australia passed on this list of the Top Ten Historical Books from a newswire he received. It's an interesting list.
  • The Heart of an Executive: Lessons on Leadership from the Life of King DavidRichard D. Phillips  
  • Leadership Secrets of Jesus — Mike Murdock  
  • Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun — Wess Roberts  
  • The Founding Fathers on Leadership: Classic Teamwork in Changing Times — Donald T. Phillips  
  • Leadership Lessons From The Civil War — Tom Wheeler  
  • Robert E. Lee on Leadership: Executive Lessons in Character, Courage, and Vision — H. W. Crocker III  
  • Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times — Donald T. Phillips  
  • Churchill on Leadership: Executive Success in the Face of Adversity — Steven F. Hayward  
  • Patton on Leadership: Strategic Lessons for Corporate Warfare — Alan Axelrod  
  • Reagan on Leadership: Executive Lessons from the Great Communicator — James M. Strock  
The Great Game of Business — Jack Stack  
In the early 1980s, Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation (SRC) in Springfield, Missouri, was a near bankrupt division of International Harvester. That's when a green young manager, Jack Stack, took over and turned it around. He didn't know how to "manage" a company, but he did know about the principle of athletic competition and democracy: keeping score, having fun, playing fair, providing choice, and having a voice. With these principles, he created his own style of management -- open-book management. The key is to let everyone in on financial decisions. At SRC, everyone learns how to read a P&L -- even those without a high-school education know how much the toilet paper they use cuts into profits. SRC people have a piece of the action and a vote in company matters. Imagine having a vote on your bonus and on what businesses the company should be in. SRC restored the dignity of economic freedom to its people. Stack's "open-book management" is the key -- a system which, as he describes it here, is literally a game, and one so simple anyone can use it. As part of the currency paperback line, the book includes a "User's Guide" -- an introduction and discussion guide created for the paperback by the author -- to help readers make practical use of the book's ideas. Jack Stack is the president and CEO of the Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation, in Springfield, Missouri. The recipient of the 1993 Business Enterprise Trust Award, Jack speaks throughout the country on The Great Game of Business and Open Book Management.
Mind of a Manager, Soul of a Leader — Craig R. Hickman  
The co-author of the best-selling Creating Excellence shows why it is vital to integrate the strengths of both the orderly, rational mind of the manager and the visionary, creative soul of the leader.
In this groundbreaking book, Craig Hickman challenges conventional wisdom -- the worship of the "leader" -- and shows why the skills of a good manager are also necessary for powerful performance. Offering a wealth of insights drawn from over 15 years as a top management consultant, Craig Hickman shows the ways in which the strengths of these two distinct personality types complement each other. From the strategic analyzer and the strategy planner, to the concrete thinker and the visionary, to the nit-picker and the risk-taker, he shows how each individual perspective contributes to overall success. While specific chapters are grouped around five major organizational success factors, it is designed for rapid, random access depending on the reader's interests.
The 80/20 Principle : The Secret of Achieving More With Less — Richard Koch  
In what is certain to be deemed one of the most original, provocative, and powerful books of the decade, successful entrepreneur and investor Richard Koch shows readers how they can achieve much more with much less effort and time, and fewer resources, simply by concentrating on the all-important "20 percent" principle. Nationally targeted publicity. Online interviews & promos. Business radio satellite tour. National print ads.
First, Break All the Rules : What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently — Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman  
The greatest managers in the world seem to have little in common. They differ in sex, age, and race. They employ vastly different styles and focus on different goals. Yet despite their differences, great managers share one common trait: They do not hesitate to break virtually every rule held sacred by conventional wisdom. They do not believe that, with enough training, a person can achieve anything he sets his mind to. They do not try to help people overcome their weaknesses. They consistently disregard the golden rule. And, yes, they even play favorites. This amazing book explains why.
The One-Minute Manager — Ken Blanchard  
This is an "age-less" book. Ken Blanchard "coined" the phrase "The One-Minute Manager" by writing this breakthrough book – a sensational read for those who truly do want to be effective managers. Read it in 20 minutes, use it for a lifetime.
The Max Strategy — Dale Dauten  
A gem! A VERY DIFFERENT "One-Minute Manager" type look at life through the eyes of Max. Absolutely super stuff with great stories and some inspirational quotes too. Again, a gem!
Further Up the Organization — Robert Townsend  
Probably the easiest business book to read there is. Few chapters are more than a couple of pages, and it is all organized alphabetically. As you read it, you find yourself saying "This is really great stuff, and so full of common sense.” It makes you feel like giving copies to everyone you meet. It's another "must have", in that you'll find it useful for one-liners AND for capturing seemingly complex issues in simple terms. Some years ago Robert lent a copy to his former landlord who, after reading it, found he was so affected by it, he promptly gave up the job he had and went straight back to teaching. (This man is not one of those who failed to return the book, by the way!).
Managing for Results — Peter Drucker  
Drucker is, for many, the absolute "guru" of management authors. This is one of his best, a no-nonsense look at getting results through people and systems.
The Circle of Innovation — Tom Peters  
Probably one of Tom's most passionate "call to action" books, and essential reading. This one is another "must-have."
The Fifth Discipline — Peter Senge  
Lots of stuff here on creating learning organizations and so on. 
 
MARKETING TO WIN
The Invisible Touch — Harry Beckwith  
Opens your eyes to marketing with four key concepts: price, brand, packaging, and relationships. Based on the author's extensive business experience. DLC: Service industries--Marketing.
Selling the Invisible — Harry Beckwith  
A comprehensive guide to service marketing furnishes tips and advice on how one can apply one's business knowledge to any area of sales and marketing, from a home-based consultancy to a multinational brokerage firm.
Differentiate or Die : Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition — Jack Trout and Steve Rivkin  
This is a great book about differentiating your company from your competitor's. It outlines the fact that our world is becoming even more competitive.
Outrageous! : Unforgettable Service...Guilt-Free Selling — T. Scott Gross  
It's sort of a rewrite of his 1991 "Positively Outrageous Service", but the new one is more "hands- on" than the first.
The Loyalty Effect — Frederick Reichheld  
Probably the most well-researched book ever written on why it makes so much sense to concentrate on the customers we have rather than spending money to create new ones. A foundational book.
Maximarketing; The New Direction in Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Strategy — Rapp & Collins  
Many people regard these two as the original "direct" marketing gurus. They're not, but their book is excellent at de-bunking a lot of myths and replacing them with great common sense.
Building a Chain of Customers — Richard Schonberger  
Great stuff here about lifetime value and really focusing on valuable customers.
Customers for Life — Carl Sewell  
This man runs one of the most successful car dealerships in the world in Dallas, Texas. His "take" on creating customers for life is one worth emulating. A quick read and a good one.

FOR YOUR PERSONAL INTEREST
7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen Covey  
This is Covey's "master work", in our view. It's a "back-to-fundamentals" look at the way we live our lives. Absolutely essential reading.
Unlimited Power — Anthony Robbins  
One of the most inspirational speakers of our times. Great motivating stuff for our teenagers (again, a must-have) and for ourselves.