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9 Great Business Books Every Professional Must Read

I’m a voracious reader and have been since childhood. Reading not only feeds my knowledge base, it also gives me fresh perspectives and helps spawn new ideas of my own. I’ve actually been inspired mid-chapter to put down a book and write, based on thoughts prompted by my reading!

Whether you share my passion for books or not, here are 9 business and personal finance books you should read at your first opportunity. Some are timeless, some are new – all will make you better at your job and life.

Related: How To Devour A Book A Week


How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This classic reminds us that success requires more than technical proficiency. You have to be able to sell your ideas and vision to bosses, subordinates, clients, and partners. The same is true in personal life. Carnegie offers specific insights and proven tools for wooing people to your way of thinking without bullying arguing.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. More wisdom from the king of self-improvement. Carnegie helps the reader understand the costs of worry (health, lost productivity) and how to reduce it. Many of his lessons are surprisingly spiritual, including his advice to embrace gratitude, avoid revenge and strive to create happiness for others.

Related: How To Take An Extended Vacation Without Feeling Guilty


Extreme Ownership: How Navy SEALS Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Two former SEAL officers share leadership advice illustrated with examples from their extensive combat experience in Iraq. The cornerstone of their philosophy: Leaders at every level must take full and complete responsibility for what happens under their management. Even if a subordinate five layers down messes up, the manager must step-up, take responsibility and fix the problem.


The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen. This Silicon Valley classic explains the theory of disruptive innovation, and how even wildly successful companies can be undone if they ignore disruptive developments in their industry. (Newspapers, I’m looking at you!)

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. A successful business owner and venture capitalist shares the unvarnished truth about the challenges of running your own business. Good lessons for both entrepreneurs and managers.

Related: 5 Ways To Raise An Entrepreneur


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 reminds us that words matter – and specific word choices matter a lot. Luntz offers anecdotes and advice while imparting the lesson that one carefully crafted speech, sales pitch or ad can change everything.

Purple Cow by Seth Godin. The quirky marketing guru and prolific blogger explains the importance of differentiating your product or service by creating something that is literally “remarkable,” meaning people notice it and remark on its traits.


How To Retire Happy, Wild and Free by Ernie Zelinski. An excellent “holistic” guide to retirement. Happy, successful retirement isn’t all about money. Zelinski explains how to plan for a great retirement by putting money in perspective, 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 know! I know! But I’m really proud of this book, which echoes some of the themes of 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.

Related: Five Big Pre-Retirement Mistakes To Avoid

These are some of the books I keep on my bookshelf. How about you? I’d love to hear what you think I should add to my bedside reading pile.


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