The top five "must read" books which will help you grow a business

By: Craig McKenna

Date: 15 June 2011

There are hundreds of business books available and many of them say the same things but I have yet to come across one which doesn't have at least one gem of wisdom in it somewhere. However, reading them all is not really possible! After a quick poll of my Twitter followers I have compiled a short list of five “must read” books and we welcome any more suggestions below.

Freakonomics / Superfreakonomics by Stephen J. Dubner/ Stephen D. Levitt

These two books are my personal favourites and use different and interesting scenarios to look at “The Hidden Side of Everything”. I found these books very useful from a business growth angle in the way they offer a different perspective on why people are motivated or driven to do certain things. The reason why customers buy something is an extremely powerful piece of information in business. Two very easy reads and very thought-provoking.

Rules For Renegades: How to make more money, rock your career, and revel in your individuality by Christine Comaford-Lynch

This is in essence the career story of a very successful woman who didn't always follow the conventional rules of business. It's another interesting read and contains a lot of very easy to implement ideas and approaches if you are looking to grow your business.

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber

This is the book that almost 75 per cent of the responses I got through Twitter recommended. Personally I found it hard work — there is a lot of stuff to take in, although there is no doubt that it makes complete sense and is an absolute must for any list such as this. The book is based on the logic that the traits that make entrepreneurs into entrepreneurs are traits that don't make good business people and it offers systems and ideas that will help them with that transition.

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier-Hansson

This is the only book on this list that I haven't read yet but it is on its way from Amazon as I type. It was recommended by Michelle Rodger of Tartan Cat and she knows what she is talking about. After reading many online reviews of the book I couldn't leave it off this list. In a similar fashion to Rules For Renegades, Rework challenges conventional business rules and will make you uncomfortable with some everyday practises. To grow a business effectively in the current climate it is necessary to look outside our comfort zones. I am looking forward to the sound of this book coming through my letterbox soon.

Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk

This is a book that came highly recommended but took me a long time to get round to as I felt it wasn't aimed at either my client base or me. I was very wrong. It does seem to be angled at people who are unhappy in their jobs and encourages them to take their passion and turn it into a business but the principles, ideas and rationale behind them are very relevant and powerful for any small business aspiring for growth.

A massive thank you goes to all who contributed ideas for this list through Twitter including Tim Barlow of Attacat, Kevin Ashcroft of OCD, Dan Frydman of Inigo Media, Michelle Rodger of Tartan Cat and the guys at Kennedy and Co.

And finally a special mention has to go to Dr Richard Norris, his new book “Hoof it!” is certainly worth a read.

Craig McKenna is a managing partner at The Growth Academy.

You can follow Craig (@Craig_McKenna) and Start Up Donut (@StartUpDonut) on Twitter.