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15 Valuable Business Books That Can Bolster Your Skill Set

15 Valuable Business Books That Can Bolster Your Skill Set

According to many studies, the value of an MBA is declining. As more and more people pursue business degrees, and as colleges make those degrees more convenient, the value of the knowledge associated with an MBA is becoming less and less powerful. However, for those seeking to gain business knowledge, there are many cheap and affordable alternatives to an MBA. For that reason, we have compiled a list of 15 short business books that are a valuable alternative to costly educational programs.

1. How To Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff

How To Lie With Statistics is a valuable alternative to any business statistics class. While not necessarily based heavily in math, this book does give the reader a thorough knowledge of how people use numbers to manipulate facts, to create hypotheses, and, most importantly, how to obscure the truth. Grab this one and learn how you’re being lied to on a daily basis.

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    2. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson

    Who Moved My Cheese is an important work detailing valuable business lessons through the parable of two mice caught in a maze. Each day they realize the cheese is not in the same place it was yesterday; this imitates how the goals of a business change and change often, and how the best businesses are able to readily adapt to those changes.

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      3. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

      In addition to being prime water-cooler conversation fodder, The Tipping Point makes clear how an idea, business or otherwise, turns from an idea into a trend into a social epidemic. Using examples such as the popularity of Hush Puppy shoes in the ’90’s, The Tipping Point identifies three types of people that contribute to social epidemics and lays out how these types of people can be used to create epidemics. It is a business book that is valuable for marketers and others concerned with how trends form.

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        4. Rich Habits by Thomas Corley

        In Rich Habits, Thomas Corley lays out the results of his five-year study in which he observed the daily habits of both rich and poor people. Rich people were more likely to engage in regular routines such as brushing their teeth or calling friends on their birthdays. This work is special because Corley takes some simple data and makes it into a highly readable, pocket-sized work.

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          5. Good to Great by Jim Collins

          This intricately data-driven study by University of Colorado professor Jim Collins makes his case for why many businesses fail, and what drives those that succeed. Good to Great uses many visual metaphors to make clear how certain companies moved from average to amazing, while others struggle. Collins’ terms “The Hedgehog Concept” and “The Flywheel and the Doom Loop” are vital to the vocabulary of any successful business person.

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            6. Turn the Ship Around! By L. David Marquet

            Marquet, a retired Navy submarine captain, lays out brilliant leadership methods that he developed during his tenure as a leader of men in trying circumstances. In the take-orders culture of the military, Marquet become wary of giving commands that could not be followed, so he turned each of his individual sailors into leaders instead of followers. Turn the Ship Around is an important study of how to empower those in your command to use their minds.

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              7. Thinking Fast, and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

              In Thinking Fast, and Slow, psychologist Daniel Kahneman spends his efforts deconstructing the reasons why people are often misinformed at the first glance, and how leaders can control their thinking to make sure they are not hoodwinked by logical fallacies or by their own emotions. This work is a brilliant piece of writing that delves deep into how our brains don’t necessarily operate efficiently in the short-term, and gives insights about how we can train ourselves to think more coherently long-term.

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                8. The Black Swan by Nassim NicholasTassib

                In The Black Swan, many misconceptions about the impact of the highly improbable are diagnosed and dissected. Many business leaders read this book to understand how wrong they are often are, and the impact of their wrong-headedness on others. This is a brilliant read.

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                  9. Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky

                  Alinsky’s book is a manifesto on how to create grassroots support of any idea, no matter how ridiculous or ‘radical.’ Alinsky’s work is often thought of as more of a handbook on how to organize political, but this is the book that created the idea of personalizing trivial issues, and holds many positive thoughts on how to galvanize people.

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

                    In the early part of the 20th Century, How To Win Friends and Influence People more or less started the self-help movement. This book is a powerful tool on how to negotiate with others, how to influence conversations, and how to look good while doing both. No business leader should go without it.

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                      11. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

                      This work is by an Icelandic psychologist and goes thoroughly in-depth on how creative and scientific types dial into their trade and really begin to experience oneness with their work. A brilliant study on how to tap into your potential, Flow is not to be left off this list.

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                        12. The Balanced Scorecard by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton

                        The Balanced Scorecard is all about creating an optimal strategy and implementing it through accurate performance measures that naturally drive goals to completion. These book has a three-pronged approach to justifying strategy, creating measures that will drive the company forward, and optimizing those measures.

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                          13. Sam Walton: Made In America: by Sam Walton

                          What better way to find out about effectiveness in business than by reading the words and perspective of one of the most successful CEO’s in history. Sam Walton’s story is equal part effective narration of his mindset and shrewd business advice.

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                            14. The Art of the Start 2.0 by Guy Kawasaki

                            Kawasaki’s The Art of the Start 2.0  is a diagram of entrepreneurship and how to build something from the ground up. Kawasaki is thought of as a visionary on many subjects; I, myself, was once in a webinar in which he taught social media skills to many, free of charge. If anyone can do it yourself, it’s you, and if anyone can show you how to do it yourself, it’s Kawasaki.

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                              15. The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman

                              Friedman has several works that could make this list– most notably The World Is Flat– but The Lexus and the Olive Tree gains the last entry because they truly make the reader delve into and even embrace globalization and the shrinking and complicating of business process as they occur. Read about how geographical and geopolitical boundaries are necessary to be maintained even as business circumvents them all.

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                                Featured photo credit: 42-15181265/Rhodri Utility Warehouse Distributor via flickr.com

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                                1 How to Be Productive at Home and Make Every Day a Productive Day 2 7 Things to Remember When You’re Going Through Tough Times in Life 3 20 Productive Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter and Happier 4 Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony 5 The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

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                                Last Updated on May 24, 2019

                                How to Be Productive at Home and Make Every Day a Productive Day

                                How to Be Productive at Home and Make Every Day a Productive Day

                                If you’ve ever wondered how to be productive at home or how you could possibly have a more productive day, look no further.

                                Below you’ll find six easy tips that will help you make the most out of your time:

                                1. Create a Good Morning Routine

                                One of the best ways to start your day is to get up early and eat a healthy breakfast.

                                CEOs and other successful people have similar morning routines, which include exercising and quickly scanning their inboxes to find the most urgent tasks.[1]

                                You can also try writing first thing in the morning to warm up your brain[2] (750 words will help with that). But no matter what you choose to do, remember to create good morning habits so that you can have a more productive day.

                                If you aren’t sure how to make morning routine work for you, this guide will help you:

                                The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

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                                2. Prioritize

                                Sometimes we can’t have a productive day because we just don’t know where to start. When that’s the case, the most simple solution is to list everything you need to get accomplished, then prioritize these tasks based on importance and urgency.

                                Week Plan is a simple web app that will help you prioritize your week using the Covey time management grid. Here’s an example of it:[3]

                                  If you get the most pressing and important items done first, you will be able to be more productive while keeping stress levels down.

                                  Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, also has great advice on how to prioritize. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

                                  How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                                  3. Focus on One Thing at a Time

                                  One of the biggest killers of productivity is distractions. Whether it be noise or thoughts or games, distractions are a barrier to any productive day. That’s why it’s important to know where and when you work best.

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                                  Need a little background noise to keep you on track? Try working in a coffee shop.

                                  Can’t stand to hear even the ticking of a clock while writing? Go to a library and put in your headphones.

                                  Don’t be afraid to utilize technology to make the best of your time. Sites like [email protected] and Simply Noise can help keep you focused and productive all day long.

                                  And here’s some great apps to help you focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

                                  4. Take Breaks

                                  Focusing, however, can drain a lot of energy and too much of it at once can quickly turn your productive day unproductive.

                                  To reduce mental fatigue while staying on task, try using the Pomodoro Technique. It requires working on a task for 25 minutes, then taking a short break before another 25 minute session.

                                  After four “pomodoro sessions,” be sure to take a longer break to rest and reflect.

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                                  I like to work in 25 and 5 minute increments, but you should find out what works best for you.

                                  5. Manage Your Time Effectively

                                  A learning strategies consultant once told me that there is no such thing as free time, only unstructured time.

                                  How do you know when exactly you have free time?

                                  By using the RescueTime app, you can see when you have free time, when you are productive, and when you actually waste time.

                                  With this data, you can better plan out your day and keep yourself on track.

                                  Moreover, you can increase the quality of low-intensity time. For example, reading the news while exercising or listening to meeting notes while cooking. Many of the mundane tasks we routinely accomplish can be paired with other tasks that lead to an overall more productive day.

                                  A bonus tip, even your real free time can be used productively, find out how:

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                                  20 Productive Ways to Use Your Free Time

                                  6. Celebrate and Reflect

                                  No matter how you execute a productive day, make sure to take time and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. It’s important to reward yourself so that you can continue doing great work. Plus, a reward system is an incredible motivator.

                                  Additionally, you should reflect on your day in order to find out what worked and what didn’t. Reflection not only increases future productivity, but also gives your brain time to decompress and de-stress.

                                  Try these 10 questions for daily self reflection.

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                                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                  Reference

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