Advertising
Advertising

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.

statistics

    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.

    20150612163726-1

      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.

      Advertising

      250px-Thetippingpoint

        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.

        rich

          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.

          good2great

            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.

            Advertising

            turn-ship-around

              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.

              Daniel_Kahneman

                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.

                blackswan

                  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.

                  Advertising

                  Rules_for_Radicals

                    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.

                    friends

                      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.

                      flow_cover

                        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.

                        Advertising

                        ba

                          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.

                          wa

                            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.

                            Art-Of-Start-2-674x1024-674x1024

                              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.

                              The_Lexus_And_The_Olive_Tree_first_edition_cover

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

                                More by this author

                                25 All-Time Best Inspirational Sports Quotes To Get You Going 10 Signs You Are Probably An Ambivert 4 Ways Extreme Races Change Your View 4 Ways Baseball is the Perfect Metaphor for Life 5 Reasons Why You Should Have Total Strangers as Roommates

                                Trending in Productivity

                                1 How Does Setting Goals Lead to Success? 2 9 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020 3 Your Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better & Waking Up Productive 4 6 Things To Do Every Day To Ensure You Stick To Your Goals 5 Less Thinking, More Doing: Develop the Action Habit Today

                                Read Next

                                Advertising
                                Advertising
                                Advertising

                                Last Updated on June 29, 2020

                                How Does Setting Goals Lead to Success?

                                How Does Setting Goals Lead to Success?

                                As well as being the founder of Lifehack, I also help people on a one-to-one basis through life coaching.

                                I’ve been doing this for more than 10 years now and have helped hundreds of clients reevaluate their lives and turn inertia into progress and failure into success.

                                A common theme I’ve noticed with many of my clients is that they don’t have any definite goals to aim towards.

                                This has always surprised me, as goal setting is frequently recommended by self-improvement gurus, performance coaches, and business leaders. It’s also something that I learned at university and have implemented successfully in my life ever since.

                                If you’re similar to the majority of my life coaching clients and you don’t have any definite goals to aim for, then you’re missing out on what is probably the most powerful personal success technique on the planet.

                                The good news is—you’ve come to the right place for help with this.

                                In this article, I’ll explain exactly what goal-setting is and how you can put it into action in your life. As you’ll discover, it’s a key that can open many doors for you.

                                An Introduction to Goal Setting

                                Goals can be big, small, short-term, long-term, essential, or desirable. But they all share one thing: They will give you something to aim for.

                                This is important. As just like a ship without a destination, if you have no goals, you’ll end drifting aimlessly.

                                Advertising

                                Goals give you purpose. They also give you drive and enthusiasm. In other words—they make you feel alive!

                                If you’ve never spent time setting goals before, then here’s what I recommend you to do:

                                1. Take some time to evaluate all areas of your life (health, career, family, etc.).
                                2. Determine which of these areas need a boost.
                                3. Think of ways in which to achieve this (for example, if you want to boost your health, you could eat less and exercise more).
                                4. Set some definite goals that you would like to achieve.
                                5. Write down these goals, including the date you want to accomplish them by.

                                Now, before you get started on the above, I want to make one thing clear: Goals are not wishful thinking!

                                By this, I mean that while your goals should be ambitious, they shouldn’t be unrealistic or verging into fantasy land.

                                For example, wanting to be promoted at work would be a realistic goal while wanting to be President of the United States might not be. (Of course, feel free to prove me wrong!)

                                If you’re new to the world of goal setting, then I’d recommend you start with easy-to-achieve goals. These could be things such as eating a healthy breakfast, walking more, taking regular breaks from your screen, and sleeping early.

                                These simple goals might take you a month or so to achieve, including making the daily practices a habit.

                                Once you’ve successfully accomplished these goals, you’ll find your self-confidence grows, and you’ll be ready to set yourself some bigger goals.

                                Here are a few examples that you might want to choose or adapt to your personal circumstances:

                                Advertising

                                • Run a marathon
                                • Buy a new car
                                • Learn a new language
                                • Travel around the world
                                • Change career
                                • Retire early
                                • Write a book

                                I’m sure you can think of many more things that you would like to achieve. As the famous Shakespeare line neatly states: “The world is your oyster!”

                                Now, the trick with big goals (as I’ll show in an example shortly) is to break them down into small, bite-sized chunks. This means you’ll have a big end goal, with smaller goals (sometimes referred to as objectives) helping you to gradually achieve your main aim.

                                When you do this, you’ll make big goals more achievable. Plus, you’ll have an easy way to track how far along the road to your goal you are at any given point in time.

                                Let’s see this in action…

                                Going from an Idea to a Global Success

                                Everything starts with an idea.

                                And there appears to be no shortage of good ideas in the world. But there is a shortage of people willing to put these ideas into action!

                                This is the essential step that will move you from being a dreamer to an achiever.

                                Back in 2005, when I first had the idea for Lifehack, I really only considered it to be a platform to record some of my productivity and self-improvement techniques. I’d developed these during my time at university and as a Software Engineer at Redhat.

                                However, based on the number of views and positive feedback I received on the first few articles, I quickly realized that Lifehack had the potential to be a popular and successful website—a site that could help transform the lives of people from all across the world.

                                Advertising

                                It was at that point that I decided to set some goals in place for Lifehack.

                                The way I did this was to set specific targets for different areas of the business:

                                1. Number of articles published
                                2. Amount of time spent writing and promoting the articles
                                3. Number of new readers
                                4. Number of new email subscribers
                                5. Revenue generated from ads

                                For each of the above, I set weekly, monthly, and yearly targets. These targets were realistic but were also ambitious. In addition, I wrote down the necessary steps to take to achieve each target within the specified time frame.

                                This goal setting had a powerful impact on my motivation and energy levels. Because I could clearly see what needed to be done to achieve each goal, I found a purpose to my tasks that made them exciting to complete. Each small target achieved took me closer to accomplishing the bigger goals.

                                For example, my initial goals for writing articles were for just five a week, which equated to 20 per month and just over 100 per year. However, as I dedicated more and more time to Lifehack, I found I was able to exceed my initial goals.

                                This led me to increase the numbers. Of course, there’s a limit to how many articles one person can write. So when the readership began to exponentially increase, I started to hire other writers to help me out with the site’s content.

                                From my initial goal of just over 100 articles per year, I’ve used goal setting to help Lifehack publish more than 35,000 articles to date. This is now the largest collection of original self-development articles in the world.

                                And in terms of readership—this has skyrocketed from a few dozen in 2005 to several million in 2020.

                                And of course, I have many new goals for Lifehack, including expanding our range of online courses.

                                Advertising

                                My original goal has always remained the same though: To change people’s lives for the better.

                                Goal Setting Can Transform Your Life

                                If you haven’t yet experienced the incredible power of goal setting, then now’s the time to get started.

                                Build a definite picture of what you want to accomplish, break it down into small, achievable steps, and then start taking action!

                                You’ll be able to change all areas of your life using this method, including boosting your health, improving your relationships, and transforming your career. You may also want to use goal setting to start a new hobby or plot a path to a prosperous and peaceful retirement.

                                So please don’t wait for success to drop in your lap (which it is highly unlikely to do). Instead, decide on exactly what you want, then make a plan to get it. This is the secret to lifelong success.

                                Legendary motivational speaker and author Paul J. Meyer said it well:

                                “Goal setting is the most important aspect of all improvement and personal development plans. It is the key to all fulfillment and achievement.”

                                Final Thoughts

                                Now, let me leave you with five questions that will help you think about your future:

                                1. What would you like to be doing in 3, 5, and 7 years?
                                2. What things make you happiest?
                                3. How can you share your knowledge and experience?
                                4. Who can help you achieve your goals?
                                5. What would you like to be your legacy?

                                Take plenty of time to think about these questions. When the answers come, you’ll be able to start building a picture of how you’d like your life to be—and what goals you need to set to make this picture a reality.

                                More Tips on Setting Goals

                                Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

                                Read Next