Whatever form of business you’re in, the knowledge you glean from books will be a bedrock to sustain you through trials and failures, and can help you boost your successes. As we enter 2020, here are 19 books to spark ideas and creative thought, and put you on solid footing to achieve your goals.
1. The Execution Factor: The One Skill That Drives Success by Kim Perell
The Execution Factor offers a straightforward approach to success by identifying 5 traits shared by people who know how to effectively accomplish their dreams and achieve their goals. Kim Perell is a highly successful startup entrepreneur, executive and angel investor. She shows that the ability to achieve success isn’t entirely based on having a great idea, an advanced degree or a high IQ. Perell believes the ability to execute is the difference between success and failure.
2. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin
In a typical farmyard setting, nothing would get your attention quite like a purple cow. According to Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow, this is the secret to successful marketing strategies -- be different and exciting, generate interest and be remembered. Run-of-the-mill tactics are bland and leave your business faceless and characterless. If you want to be remarkable and get ahead of competitors, you have to make people do a double take.
3. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell examines people who have achieved success so extraordinary that it lies outside the realm of normal experiences. He explores the factors that make the difference between successful and unsuccessful people. Filled with anecdotes that identify common misconceptions, Gladwell’s book shows that success is not just a matter of IQ, but a combination of hard work and opportunity.
4. You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero
You Are a Badass at Making Money crystallizes the concept that financial abundance begins with your mindset. Jen Sincero combines hilarious personal narratives with “aha” concepts to help you grasp your earning potential and get real results. Channeling the sass and wit that made her first You Are a Badass book a bestseller, Sincero helps readers identify and overcome their limiting beliefs surrounding money.
5. How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life by John C. Maxwell
The world's most successful people have one thing in common: they think differently from everyone else. In How Successful People Think, John C. Maxwell lays out 11 specific ways of thinking you can practice to live a better, happier, more successful life. The book treats thinking as a discipline: the more you work at developing these skills, the better at them you’ll be.
6. Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life by Gary John Bishop
In this straightforward handbook, author Gary John Bishop gives readers the tools and advice to break through the crap that’s weighing them down. Bishop wants you to become the best version of yourself that you can be. First, though, you need to stop getting in your own way by filling your head with negative self-talk. Unfu*k Yourself will help silence that hateful inner critic and get you feeling more positive about yourself and your life.
7. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink
Timing is of the utmost importance in our lives. According to Daniel Pink, time of day can have a huge impact on our decision making, how well we learn and our ability to be effective and productive. Drawing from research in psychology, biology and economics, Pink reveals in When how we can best time our lives to succeed. He offers strategies for self-improvement and shows how we can we use hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule.
8. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
In Principles, author Ray Dalio shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined and used over the past 40 years to create unique results in both life and business. Through these principles, Dalio shows that any person or organization can achieve their goals. Dalio founded the investment firm Bridgewater Associates in 1975, which has become one of the largest and best performing hedge funds in the world.
9. Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life by Daymond John and Daniel Paisner
Daymond John knows that a killer work ethic can pay off. He founded a clothing line on a $40 budget by hand-sewing hats between his shifts at Red Lobster. His brand FUBU now has over $6 billion in sales. Rise and Grind is the highly anticipated follow-up to John’s bestselling The Power of Broke. He shows how grit and persistence helped him overcome the obstacles and fueled his success. He delves into the hard-charging routines and winning secrets of those who have ground their way to the top.
10. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't by Jim Collins
How is it that some companies defy the gravity that seems to hold so many other businesses down and achieve long-term success and superiority? In Good to Great, Collins identifies and evaluates the factors that allow elite companies to make the transition from merely good to truly great. Using metrics on businesses’ financial performance, Collins and his research team identified companies that fulfilled their criteria for “greatness” and analyzed how they achieved success.
11. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World by William H. McRaven
Inspired by a powerful commencement speech that Naval Admiral William H. McRaven delivered to the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin, Make Your Bed presents 10 life lessons McRaven gleaned during his military career. Building on the core tenets of his original speech, which went viral with over 10 million views, McRaven recounts tales from his own life and from those he encountered during his military service who dealt with hardship and made tough decisions with determination, compassion, honor and courage.
12. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson M.D.
For decades, The One Minute Manager has helped people achieve success in their professional and personal lives. This book, which offers a classic parable of a young man looking for an effective manager, is more relevant and useful than ever. And while the principles it lays out are timeless, this new edition has been updated to help readers succeed more quickly in a rapidly changing world.
13. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
Whether you’re the marketing director of a multibillion dollar company or the owner of a small business, Building a StoryBrand will forever transform the unique value you bring to your customers. The StoryBrand process is author Donald Miller’s solution to help businesses clarify their marketing messages and connect with customers. Miller focuses on 7 universal story points that all people respond to and that will drive customer purchases.
14. See You at the Top: 25th Anniversary Edition by Zig Ziglar
See You at the Top is a perennial best seller that has changed the lives of countless people. It teaches the value of a building a healthy self-image, clarifies why goals are important and how to set them, and then motivates you to reach them. This revised edition stresses the importance of honesty, loyalty, faith, integrity and strong personal character. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to change the way you think about yourself and your surroundings.
15. The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries
Before you create any sort of business you’ll want to read The Lean Start-Up, as it can save you time and money you’d likely have wasted otherwise. Eric Ries looks at why most startups fail, and how those failures are preventable. His approach builds companies that are both more efficient and leverage human creativity more effectively. His methods rely on “validated learning,” rapid experimentation and specific practices that shorten product development cycles.
16. The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss
Solo entrepreneurs can learn a lot from Tim Ferriss, who made lifestyle design popular. This is a must read for anyone with an entrepreneurial itch, or anyone who dreams of escaping the rat race to live their life the way they want. Ferriss details smart strategies like outsourcing, following the 80/20 rule and automating processes. Forget the concept of working decades for retirement. The 4-Hour Work Week is a blueprint for how to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements.”
17. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie’s groundbreaking and enduring best-selling book has carried countless people up the ladder of success. How to Win Friends and Influence People offers simple advice than can help you build popularity points and expand your network. Among the important lessons it offers: 6 ways to make people like you, 12 ways to win people over to your way of thinking and 9 ways to change people without arousing resentment.
18. Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk
If you’d like to turn your hobbies and passions into internet gold, Crush It! is a great playbook. Gary Vaynerchuk explains the why and how of creating irresistible personal brands and how to turn your interests into a real business. Vaynerchuk provides readers with step-by-step advice on how to harness the power of the Internet to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true.
19. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
There's more to being successful than an impressive salary and title. Media mogul Arianna Huffington shows readers how to create a lifestyle where success is measured by something more meaningful and personal than just money and power. The Huffington Post founder shares personal anecdotes and insight on leading a happy and successful life, in and out of the office. Thrive is an excellent guide for those aspiring to elevate employee morale and well-being.