The Best Business Books You Must Read in 2021

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Best Business Books

Succeeding in business requires a good amount of resilience, adaptability, and drive. Business school might give you all of the logistical information you’ll need to run a business, but often the most valuable advice is likely to come from those who have real-world experience in this area.

Listed below are thirteen of the bestselling, highly acclaimed books about business and entrepreneurship. These books that we consider to be the best business books offer invaluable advice that’s been tried and tested by some of the most notable, experienced entrepreneurs of our time.

Best Business Books

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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How to Win Friends & Influence People
  • How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie 1998 Paperback New
  • Brand New
  • Officially Licensed
  • Dale Carnegie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Originally published in 1936, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is marketed as ‘The Only Book You Need to Lead You to Success’. Carnegie gives advice not only on how to succeed in business but also in life in general.

If you find yourself struggling in social settings or not handling daily situations in the best or most effective way, Carnegie could have some useful tips for you. His guidance is tried and tested, with loyal readers and fans all over the world. Carnegie teaches his readers how to get what they want while being sensitive to the feelings and beliefs of others.

This book gives you all of the advice you will need to become a more likable, sociable, and successful version of yourself. Whether you’re looking to embark on a totally new career, secure your dream job, or just make subtle but substantial changes to your life, this bestseller is likely to be an insightful read.

2. The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

One Thing
  • JOHN MURRAY PUBLISHERS
  • Gary Keller (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/29/2021 (Publication Date) - John Murray Press Learning (Publisher)

Gary Keller is chairman of the board and co-founder of the largest real estate company in the world, Keller Williams Realty, Inc. Along with his co-author Jay Papasan, Keller has compiled all of his best advice with regards to achieving all-around success in every area of your life in The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.

This bestselling book tells you how to effectively prioritize your time and energy to dial down your stress levels and master the things that matter most to you. Keller is focused on improving productivity by eliminating distractions and unnecessary stressors.

The advice is simple and straight to the point, it’s not necessarily groundbreaking stuff, but Keller’s tried and tested methods make getting results easy. It puts you on the path to transforming your life through small, actionable steps that can be implemented immediately. 

3. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

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The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
  • HarperCollins
  • Gerber, Michael E. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 10/14/2004 (Publication Date) - Harper Business (Publisher)

For anyone not familiar with the E-Myth, Michael Gerber claims that the definition is two-fold:

1. The myth that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs

2. The fatal assumption that an individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run said business

Gerber argues that these are the two common misconceptions that cause most small businesses to fail. In The E-Myth Revisited, he walks readers through a step-by-step guide on how to avoid these mistakes and apply franchising principles to any business; taking you and your business from entrepreneurial infancy to assured success.

Gerber has extensive experience in business and has plenty of guidance to share. Named ‘World’s #1 Small Business Guru’ by INC Magazine, he has dedicated his career to creating successful start-ups and teaching business owners how to transform their enterprises.

4. Company of One by Paul Jarvis

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Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business
  • Jarvis, Paul (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 01/14/2020 (Publication Date) - Mariner Books (Publisher)

Paul Jarvis began his business career as an internet consultant and corporate tech designer, working with an impressive resume of companies and entrepreneurs to build their online brands.

Company of One tells readers why staying small is the next big thing for business. Jarvis argues that the key to sustainability and success lies not in creating and growing a new start-up, but in working independently as a Company of One.

For anyone who is looking for advice on how to successfully grow their business in terms of its size and scale, this book is probably not for you. But if you like the idea of working for yourself, by yourself, and making good profits without the headache of managing employees or the stress of working on a freelance basis, Jarvis’ methods might be a good fit for you.

5. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz 

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The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
  • HarperBusiness
  • Hardcover Book
  • Horowitz, Ben (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 03/04/2014 (Publication Date) - Harper Business (Publisher)

In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz takes a straight-talking, no-holds-barred approach to business, covering all of the common difficulties and issues that you are likely to encounter as a business owner, and how best to tackle these head-on.

Horowitz is a highly reputable, successful entrepreneur and shares his wisdom in this refreshingly honest book. His writing style is relatable and often humorous while dealing with sensitive topics such as hiring and firing friends or family members, and knowing when to cash in and when to draw back.

If you want a realistic yet inspiring view of business, this is one of the best business books and could be a great choice for you.

6. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

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Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition
  • Collins Publishers
  • Robert B. Cialdini (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 12/26/2006 (Publication Date) - Harper Business (Publisher)

Robert Cialdini’s New York Times Bestseller has sold more than four million copies worldwide and is a highly influential book when it comes to business and entrepreneurship. Cialdini explains the psychology behind persuasion and how you can get people to say “yes” using ethical means in business and everyday life.

His theory is based on six primary ideas or principles:

  • Reciprocation
  • Commitment and consistency
  • Social proof
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Scarcity

By using these principles in the way Cialdini advises, he claims that they will allow you to change the behaviors of others.

This might seem a little unorthodox but when used in a business context, Cialdini’s advice has actually proven extremely effective. His methods are based on proven scientific research but should, of course, be utilized responsibly.

7. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

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The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
  • The Lean Startup
  • Hardcover Book
  • Ries, Eric (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 09/13/2011 (Publication Date) - Currency (Publisher)

The Lean Startup is an approach that can be used by any startup to increase capital efficiency and leverage more effective human creativity. Eric Ries details what he claims to be an effective method for taking start-ups out of their ‘fog of uncertainty’, and on to the path to becoming a successful, sustainable business.

The focus of The Lean Startup is on innovation and consistent adaptation to allow continuous growth and development of the business.  Ries’ approach has proven successful for readers across the globe and has also been cited as the source of his own success.

With extensive experience in creating successful start-ups (after some initial mishaps and failures), Ries definitely knows what he’s talking about when it comes to business.

8. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

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Outliers: The Story of Success
  • Outliers The Story of Success
  • Gladwell, Malcolm (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 06/01/2011 (Publication Date) - Back Bay Books (Publisher)

Outliers is a unique and insightful book, taking readers on a journey that spans multiple decades and various artistic and entrepreneurial disciplines.

Malcolm Gladwell argues that rather than focusing on the unique characteristics or personality traits that may facilitate a person’s success, we should be focusing on where they come from, their upbringing, and the experiences that lead them to where they end up.

He draws upon numerous pop-culture references from The Beatles to famous athletes and talks us through what it is that makes them unique and how this has contributed to their success. Subliminally, Gladwell’s writing leads readers to look at their own stories and how they can forge their own path to success, without emulating the characteristics or methods of others.

Outliers is entertaining and has received excellent reviews. If you’re looking for a unique take on business and what it takes to be successful, this one could be well worth a read.

9. Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss

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TOOLS OF TITANS
  • Ferriss, T. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/01/2016 (Publication Date) - Penguin Random House UK (Publisher)

Timothy Ferriss is a well-known and highly respected name within business and particularly business-related literature. He has written four bestselling books and has extensive experience as a tech investor and business advisor.

Ferriss also hosts his own podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, on which he interviews successful performers, athletes, and professionals from numerous different backgrounds and industries. In Tools of Titans, Ferriss has compiled all of the best advice, tips, or tools that these guests have cited as reasons for or contributors to their own success.

The book is referred to as Ferriss’ ‘ultimate notebook of high-leverage tools’, and provides some great, unusual, yet actionable advice as well as an insight into the unique lives of various high-profile successful individuals. 

10. The Power of Broke by Daymond John and Daniel Paisner

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The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage
  • CROWN BUSINESS
  • John, Daymond (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 04/18/2017 (Publication Date) - Currency (Publisher)

Star of ABCs Shark Tank, Daymond John is one of the most renowned and respected entrepreneurs in the United States. He is also the founder of the global lifestyle brand, FUBU, and has achieved immense success as a business owner and branding consultant.

The Power of Broke draws upon John’s experiences with starting up new businesses on extremely tight budgets and how he believes this to be the driving force behind his success. He is a firm believer that desperation breeds innovation and being broke can actually provide entrepreneurs with the drive needed to succeed.

John also drafts in the experiences and expertise of some high-profile friends, including guests encountered through shark-tank, musicians, and various other business owners who started out with very little and are now enjoying the fruits of their labor with highly profitable, successful businesses.

This book was an instant bestseller and it’s easy to see why, fuelled by John’s charismatic and humble approach to business and his realistic yet inspiring outlook on life.

11. Zero to One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

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Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future
  • Peter Thiel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 09/15/2014 (Publication Date) - Virgin Books (Publisher)

Zero to One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters urges readers to reconsider what they think they know about innovation. It might be easy to believe that there are no truly original ideas left; that everything has been done and the big breakthroughs have been made. Thiel and Masters argue that in order to progress in any industry or area of business, you must dispel these common misconceptions.

Doing something new, according to Thiel and Masters, takes you from Zero to One. Repeating someone else’s steps takes the world from One to Nil.

This is an optimistic read that just might give you the push needed to unlock your own creative potential. An international bestseller, Zero to One has received widespread critical acclaim, including excellent reviews from some of the most notable entrepreneurs of our time, so this book is well worth a read.

12. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

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The Compound Effect (10th Anniversary Edition): Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success
  • Hardcover Book
  • Hardy, Darren (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 09/15/2020 (Publication Date) - Hachette Go (Publisher)

Darren Hardy is an influential businessman and thought leader and is responsible for the success of numerous large-scale businesses through his mentorship and guidance.

The Compound Effect is a straightforward guide to achieving incredible things in business, relationships, and all areas of your life. The book is premised on the fine-tuning of seemingly small, everyday decisions and habits that can either derail or solidify your route to success.

Hardy covers topics such as motivation, keeping momentum, and uncovering the secrets of super achievers and how these methods could also be the key to your own success. Hardy is straight-talking and gives a no-frills look at what it means to maximize your potential.

13. The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

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The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
  • The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
  • Hardcover Book
  • Ferriss, Timothy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 448 Pages - 12/15/2009 (Publication Date) - Harmony (Publisher)

The second listing from Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Work Week is another of Ferriss’ bestsellers. It has garnered significant attention as one of the best business books since its release, due largely to the seemingly bold claim that readers can achieve substantial wealth and success by working only four hours per week.

Ferriss talks his readers through what he refers to as the blueprint for working less and earning more. He offers step-by-step guidance on how to transform your entire life by outsourcing your work, negotiating with clients or employers, and trading long working hours for short, productive bursts which he claims will enable you to live more, work less, and earn a monthly five-figure income with no management.

It might seem too good to be true, but with testimonials from thousands of readers across the globe, Ferriss’ approach has some grounds to it. Even if you’re not looking to quit your job right away and reinvent your entire life, some of the tips and tricks laid out by Ferriss may enable you to make small changes that could ease your workload and leave you with some additional income.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to invest in a new start-up, or are seeking out methods for taking your business to new levels of growth, the best business books are bound to give some insightful advice and guidance that could prove invaluable to your overall success and happiness. 




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