The only thing I love more than business and marketing is learning more about it! Here are some extremely useful and insightful books that have helped me along my way through university and beyond. I hope you enjoy if there is any book that you think should be on this list email me – I’ll buy it and I’ll read it!
So up first…
The Art of War – Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu was an ancient general and warfare strategist who greatly influenced military tactics with The Art of War – Divided into 13 chapters, each can be translated into strategic rules or guidelines for your business – context is king and when you change the context of what Sun Tzu is talking about it becomes a completely different book. The enemy is your current situation, the battlefield is your office and the commanders and generals are your managers and project leaders. It might not be a good tool for inter-office disputes over staplers and the such, but this is a must read.
The Three Tensions – Dodd & Favaro
Whether you work in a big business or small this book will apply directly to your strategies and tactics. It looks at the balance between profitability and growth and other conflicting trade-offs that occur in most businesses around the globe – here we read actionable ideas that will actually help deal with these issues, which are all based upon the research of 20 companies over a span of 20 years. Interesting and in some cases life-changing. Buy this book.
Marketing Myopia – Levitt
At only 25 pages, taken from the Harvard Business Review where it was originally an article, this is a shorter read than most but this is definitely the case of quality over quantity. Here Levitt addresses why companies of the past have failed when they misunderstood what kind of business they were in and no longer catered to their customer’s needs and explains how to get your eye back on the ball and deliver what your customers actually want.
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind – Ries & Trout
I’ve met people who look at this book like a bible, positioning is a fundamental piece of a marketing strategy of a business and is also one of the most banded around terms out there without people really knowing how to do it right! Ries and Trout take a common-sensical approach to position, in conjunction to providing real marketing examples (like the best books) it gets the point across about what positioning actually is, understanding the human mind and fighting to get into it!
Honorable mention: Principles and Practice of Marketing – Jobbe
Start-up businesses often fail, this is the unglamorous truth that puts off a lot of people off starting their own business. I’ve never started my own business so I have zero experience in this, but I have read books which I suppose are the next best thing! Here are the books that I’ve been told to read by the people who do know, which when the time comes of starting my own business will definitely see me well prepared.
The Four Steps to the Epiphany – Blank
Time and time again I hear and read how much people value this book. The guy who first told me to read it actually described this as his ‘bible’, I’m not religious but I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s a damn good book and rightfully valued. It is basically a “how to” guide for anyone that’s bringing a product to market or coming up with a business, marketing or sales plan all implemented in a step by step strategy. Another case of an awesome book being packed with real-life examples (recurring theme much?) to help get points across and tell you what to do and what not to do. Even as someone who isn’t about to start his own business I found this very valuable in the other aspects of my career. Buy it, read it.
Do More Faster – Feld & Cohen
The first line sets the tone for the rest of the book “It is a cold, hard fact of business life that most startups fail” – No bullshit, straight to it, let’s find out how to make them a success. Packed with real examples from real entrepreneurs Do More Faster is organized into seven key themes and addresses what needs to be done to arm you with the knowledge to give you the best possible chance of being a success. There are obviously no guarantees! Just read it and make your own mind up!