Business Books

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14 Best Business Books to Read in 2021

In an effort to better understand the whole thing, we have compiled a list of books dealing with business development, strategy, planning, and innovative business ideas along with other critical aspects. Below is the list of such business books that every beginner should read –

  1. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup ( Get this book )
  2. How to Win Friends and Influence People ( Get this book )
  3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action ( Get this book )
  4. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies ( Get this book )
  5. Understanding Business ( Get this book )
  6. The Business of Options: Time-Tested Principles and Practices (Wiley Finance) Hardcover ( Get this book )
  7. Money Makers: Inside the New World of Finance and Business ( Get this book )
  8. The Hard Thing About Hard Thing: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers ( Get this book )
  9. Romancing the Balance Sheet: For Anyone Who Owns, Runs or Manages a Business ( Get this book )
  10. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon ( Get this book )
  11. Start Your Own Business: The Only Startup Book You’ll Ever Need ( Get this book )
  12. Bill Gates: Business Lessons ( Get this book )
  13. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t ( Get this book )
  14. The Little Big Small Business Book ( Get this book )

Let us discuss each of the business books that you must read along with its key takeaways and reviews.

Business Books

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#1 – Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

by John Carreyrou

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

About the book

The book is a riveting inside story of the spectacular rise and appalling downfall of Theranos, a multibillion-dollar American biotech startup. The book featured in Bill Gates’ list of the best book for the year 2018.

Book review

The book is a fascinating account of how Theranos scammed investors and people to become one of the unicorns of its time. The book is authored by the very journalist, John Carreyrou, who broke the story of deception to the world and pursued it to the end. Given that the author himself is largely responsible for exposing the fraud, you get a very close look into the actual happening of the company in this book. It is an interesting story of a woman, Elizabeth Holmes, who dressed up like Steve Jobs and was worshipped as the youngest self-made female billionaire ended up broke in the jail charged with fraud. Overall, the story has everything – heroes, villains, political intrigue, twisting and turning subplots, and plenty of surprises.

Key Takeaways

  • The book has all the ingredients of a thrilling fictional story, but what makes it all the more fascinating is the fact that it actually happened.
  • It is an inside story of how a young talented woman at her prime built a huge scam and befooled investors who were no rookies.
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#2 – How to Win Friends and Influence People

by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends & Influence People

About the book

This book provides you guidance on how you can change your behavior so that the world view and treats you differently in a good way. It is one of the best guidance for developing business and communication skills.

Book review

The book explains to you how you can market yourself in a better way, both at a personal and professional level. It guides you on developing your character in such a way people around you perceive you as a pleasant and confident person. In client-facing roles, it can help you improve your professional appearance so that you are able to win new clients. The author has provided much practical advice that can be useful with public speaking and business relationships. He has also shared some plain techniques that can help people with social anxiety and introverts overcome their fear. However, there is one major flaw with the book that most of its examples are from very old time and hence you might not be able to relate to them as you won’t know them. Nevertheless, it is a good book that can definitely improve your professional and personal behavior.

Key Takeaways

  • It is one of the best self-help books available and can be more than useful only if you can follow its suggestions.
  • It is a must-read for people who struggle with their interpersonal skills.
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#3 – Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

by Simon Sinek

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

About the book

The book discusses what differentiates true leaders from the average person and how they are able to inspire the millions around them and in turn are able to achieve remarkable success in life.

Book review

The core idea of the book is that great leaders or successful companies can easily explain why they are doing something, unlike most of us who can hardly come up with a satisfactory answer to the question – WHY. Essentially, the author suggests you pursue your passion, know why you are doing it and based on it have a vision because it is only then that true success can be achieved. some interesting examples and working case studies The only major issue with the book is that there are innumerable repetitions of some of the catchphrases. Nevertheless, this is a great book that will inspire you to see the bigger picture so that you can take the leap towards professional greatness.

Key Takeaways

  • If you are struggling to figure out what exactly you want to do in your life when you grow up, then this is just the book that the doctor ordered for you.
  • It is a must-read for you if you wish to take the leap to become a great leader of a great company someday.
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#4 – Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

by James C. Collins & Jerry I. Porras

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Good to Great, 2)

About the book

As the name clearly suggests, this book speaks about visionary companies while it crushes many myths, offers fresh insights, and provides useful real-world guidance to build companies that can stand the test of time.

Book review

The book is the result of very extensive and exhaustive research work carried out by the authors. They did a research project at Stanford University for half a dozen years to finally identify 18 companies that have performed exceptionally well in the stock market and have sustained close to ten decades. The author also presents the comparison between the successful companies and their peers in the same industry to figure out what features actually differentiate these great companies from their rivals. Another important aspect of the book is that it is filled with several real-world examples, which are organized into a coherent framework of applied business concepts that managers at all levels can follow.

Key Takeaways

  • It is the blueprint for building companies that can prosper and thrive in the 21st century and beyond.
  • It is a thoroughly researched book that is presented in an easy-to-read manner.
  • Every upcoming leader must read this book as it can help them develop the skills required for managing sustainable companies.
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#5 – Understanding Business

by William Nickels (Author), James McHugh (Author), Susan McHugh (Author)  

Understanding Business

Book Summary

An excellent introductory edition on business development which details some of the fundamental principles with a great deal of clarity. It is part of a learning program aimed at enhancing the overall understanding of business concepts and their applications in the real world. Currently, in its 11th edition, this work has been recognized as high-quality learning and training resource by educators. One of the key advantages afforded to the reader is the kind of accessibility it affords to rather complex concepts, bringing additional value to the work. In short, a complete primer on the basic concepts and processes that form a part of business development designed to enhance student performance.

Key Takeaways

A highly commendable learning book compiled by expert authors for business students. The entire focus is on enhancing the awareness of business concepts and help readers become acquainted with the application of principles in real-world situations. Designed to be highly accessible in terms of its language, structure, and approach, this is a valuable introductory work to business studies.

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#6 – The Business of Options 

Time-Tested Principles and Practices (Wiley Finance) Hardcover

The Business of Options: Time-Tested Principles and Practices

Book Summary

This book looks upon trading in options from a management perspective and analyzes at length what is needed to run an options business. Usually, books are written to deal with options trading strategies and techniques from the point of view of a trader, however, looking at it from a business point of view allows this author to bring in broader strategic aspects and how unpredictable human behavior might affect the way things are supposed to work in the real world.

He masterfully deals with things like the statistical basis for successful options trading and balancing profits against managing risks without necessitating a lot of mathematics and instead adopt more of an intuitive approach to the subject as a whole. These are some of the things which make this work a value addition in the collection of any professional options trader and especially those looking to manage options trading as a business.

Key Takeaways

This book deals with managing options trading as a business rather than purely as a trading activity. The unique approach adopted by this author helps bring out the more intuitive aspects of options trading while analyzing from a management perspective. He covers several aspects including trading, policy and risk management involved. A balanced yet novel treatise on options trading from a business owner’s point of view.

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#7 – Money Makers: Inside the New World of Finance and Business

by David Snider  (Author), Chris Howard  (Author)  

Money Makers: Inside the New World of Finance and Business Hardcover February 16, 2010

Book Summary

This edition offers a rare glimpse in some of the most selective business fields including venture capital, hedge fundsHedge FundsA hedge fund is an aggressively invested portfolio made through pooling of various investors and institutional investor’s fund. It supports various assets providing high returns in exchange for higher risk through multiple risk management and hedging techniques.read more, private equity, management consulting, and investment bankingInvestment BankingInvestment banking is a specialized banking stream that facilitates the business entities, government and other organizations in generating capital through debts and equity, reorganization, mergers and acquisition, etc.read more among others. The authors draw insights from the interviews of some of the industry leaders in their respective fields to make this work an invaluable resource for those interested in acquiring a practical understanding of these competitive areas in finance.

Readers can learn a great deal about the hidden workings of the financial industry and what it takes to really make entrepreneurship work. One can find nuggets of wisdom about the business world which they rarely come across in standard works on the subject. On the whole, a complete package for those interested in enhancing their knowledge of specialized areas in finance.

Key Takeaways

An interesting book on the ‘secrets’ of the business world revealed through the interviews of top business leaders by the authors. They interviewed successful venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, management consultants, and private equity professionals before compiling this work for the laymen to be able to find useful information to enhance their understanding of how the business world works.

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#8 – The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

by Ben Horowitz  (Author)  

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Book Summary

A brutally honest book on what it takes to not only start a venture but successfully navigate the obstacles one encounters on the path to success. Ben Horowitz draws from his personal experience of developing a company, managing, selling, or buying one and investing in a good prospect whenever possible. He talks straight, talks witty, sometimes using some of his favorite lyrics to drive his point home about an array of topics ranging from the decision-making to psychology of managing a startup and hiring or firing friends or close acquaintances as well. This is sort of an unconventional work that works to fill in the gaps in usual business development thinking that could lead to the demise of the venture itself. A complete insider’s view of how businesses are built bought, and sold along with managing the psychological aspect in the right manner which plays a key role in the entire affair.

Key Takeaways

A narrative-of-sorts of business success and failures is turned into an unconventional business development guide to help entrepreneurs figure out their way around potential blockades. Ben Horowitz accomplishes this feat without making much noise in this work which is nothing less than a force to reckon with when it comes to defining the challenges faced by new ventures and start-ups. He cites not only from his experiences in tough decision-making but also treads on matters rarely considered of import, for instance, how to deal effectively with friends and develop a psychological edge to be your own CEO.

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#9 – Romancing the Balance Sheet: For Anyone Who Owns, Runs or Manages a Business 

Romancing the Balance Sheet: For Anyone Who Owns, Runs or Manages a Business

Book Summary

An informal overview of what it takes to manage a business efficiently and how every decision and action can potentially impact the performance of a business. The author lays down in clear terms the fundamentals of intelligent financial management and how being in the know about the balance sheet can hold the key to managing things better. Though the work might seem focused on the balance sheet itself, in fact, it represents an unconventional approach to help develop an understanding of larger business dynamics as well. The author explains how to use the working capital properly along with a better understanding of marginal costing, leverage, and funds flow among other things.

Key Takeaways

An unorthodox view of balance sheet analysisBalance Sheet AnalysisBalance sheet analysis interprets the company's assets, liabilities and owner's capital in a certain period. It provides an accurate picture of the organization's financial health and position to the investors, shareholders and institutions.read more and its central significance to efficient financial management in a business. The author discusses relevant factors including working capital managementWorking Capital ManagementWorking Capital Management refers to the management of the capital that the company requires for financing its daily business operations. It is important for the company in order to maximize its operational efficiency, manage its short term liabilities and assets properly, avoiding the underutilization of the resources and avoiding the overtrading, etc.read more, leveraging and funds flow while stressing on the fact that any and almost every action and decision could potentially impact the balance sheet one way or the other. An excellent treatise on financial business management which engages with the readers very well.

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Also, have a look at Finance for non Finance Training

#10 – The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon 

by Brad Stone  (Author)  

[Brad Stone] The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and The Age of Amazon - Hardcover

Book Summary

It traces the amazing story of the evolution of Amazon from an online bookstore to the largest e-commerce venture in the global marketplace. The author describes the journey of Jeff Bezos as an entrepreneur extraordinaire who was not afraid to dream big and worked diligently to make Amazon ‘The Everything Store’ until it was no longer a dream. The work talks about the challenges faced by Jeff and how he came to learn that he would need to overlook short-term profits and plan strategically in order to grow big in the long term.

The success story of Amazon can help any entrepreneur learn what they might need to succeed and how one can overcome insurmountable odds to create one of the largest business ventures ever. This work won the Goldman Sachs and Financial Times Business Book of the Year award as the first book by this author, which speaks volumes for the quality of his writing.

Key Takeaways

A detailed account of Amazon’s rise and rise, which describes how Jeff Bezos worked hard to transform an online bookstore to the world’s largest e-commerce venture. The author describes the much-talked-about Amazon business model and how Jeff Bezos developed this strategy to give up some of the short term gains to emerge as a winner in the longer term and succeeded at it as well.

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#11 – Start Your Own Business

The Only Startup Book You’ll Ever Need  

Start Your Own Business, Sixth Edition: The Only Startup Book You'll Ever Need  

Book Summary

This book is designed to help entrepreneurs successfully navigate through the maze of business concepts and practices and launch and manage a start-up with minimal issues. Composed by the staff at Entrepreneur Media with more than three decades of experience on their side, this work offers practical workable guidelines to go about building a business from scratch and acquire an understanding of every conceivable aspect to be able to function efficiently. Some of the key areas covered in this work include changing sources of funding for a startup, strategies for successful marketing, and striking profitable partnerships. Apart from addressing the question of business structureBusiness StructureBusiness structure is the legal framework adopted by a company to execute business activities in compliance with the corporate rules and regulations. An organization can be a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company or corporation.read more and employee policies, this work also tackles the issue of tax requirements, providing information on the latest guidelines in its current edition. In short, it is a complete guide to launching a start-up and managing it well enough to be able to turn it into a successful business venture.

Key Takeaways

A powerful introduction to building a business and learning the art of business management composed by none other than the experienced staff at Entrepreneur Media. The authors have brought their expertise on board, providing useful information on virtually every aspect of business planning and development, tracing step-wise progress of the venture as it passes through various stages. This work offers guidelines on sources of funding for a startup, utilizing technology and available marketing tools and techniques and understanding taxation guidelines among other things.

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#12 – Bill Gates: Business Lessons

Fundamental teachings from the richest man in the world. Business lessons applicable to YOUR problems

by Michael Winnicott  (Author)  

BILL GATES: BUSINESS LESSONS: Fundamental teachings from the richest man in the world. Business lessons applicable to YOUR problems (BUSINESS LESSONS FROM GREAT BUSINESSMEN)

Book Summary

Learn from the life lessons of Bill Gates, one of the world’s most successful individuals ever, and discover the secret to meeting challenges successfully and succeeding in business and life. This work sheds light on the life journey of this global icon and offers insights into his thought process as he faced odds and worked to overcome them, which might inspire, motivate and educate a lot of entrepreneurs, businessmen and people from other walks of life on the art of navigating obstacles. Readers can learn how to make calculated risks and pick up some of the success habits which worked very well for him and might work for them as well. In short, a power-packed book with enough practical lessons for anyone with a hunger to succeed.

Key Takeaways

A revealing insight into the life and times of Bill Gates, a global business icon, the world’s richest man, and a man of many epithets like that. Not only in the business world but people from all walks of life can benefit from the lessons imparted and his success habits could really be something to learn for anybody who is driven to succeed.  A must-read for anyone willing to learn a few things from his business lessons.

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#13 – Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

by Jim Collins  (Author)

Good to Great :: Why Some Companies Make the Leap &_Others Dont_

Book Summary

A detailed book on why some companies go on to achieve greatness while others with seemingly good potential dwindle with time and are sidelined in the longer term. Jim Collins goes the extra mile in this study to identify a similar pattern in companies that went on to become great from good when measured with the help of stringently defined criteria.

The fundamental question remains that why some good companies fail to grow bigger in the long term while others which were nowhere even in the competition go ahead to consistently outperform the market over the years. Surprisingly to many, the findings of the study go against the commonly accepted wisdom of what is supposed to work for companies in the long term. A highly recommended study for managers and CEOs and a logical sequel to the ‘Built to Last’ by the same author.

Key Takeaways

A pinpointed study aimed at finding out the secret behind the success of some companies who keep on performing exceptionally well while others simply fail to do so. The study adopts stringent criteria for measuring and comparing the performance of some companies in order to find out what differentiates them when it comes to performing consistently well and growing from good to great in a rather literal sense of the word. A must-read for business managers and CEOs as well as students and finance professionals to acquire a better understanding of evaluating companies objectively on their merit.

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#14 – The Little Big Small Business Book 

by Micah Fraim  (Author) 

The Little Big Small Business Book

Book Summary

This edition is useful for growing your small business and maximizing your profits and savings. The author offers 17 unique ideas to achieve these goals which are simple enough in application but can make a world of difference to your business. Challenging the conventional thinking that it always takes a lot of strategies and planning to run and grow a small business, the author provides a simple framework for achieving your business objectives with a minimal amount of effort and risk.

An ideal companion for anyone looking to grow their own business and enhancing their profits and sales with a practically feasible amount of effort and planning.

Key Takeaways

An unconventional guide for small businesses on how to implement some of the little ideas offered in this work with the potential to make a big impact in terms of the outcome. Usually, people take on too much upon themselves in terms of planning and strategy which is difficult to implement.

By contrast, this author presents straightforward ideas in easy-to-understand language for small businesses to perform better. A highly recommended read for anyone interested in starting a small business or someone who already owns one.

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This has been a guide to Business Books. Here we have compiled a list of top 14 books dealing with business development, strategy, planning, and innovative business ideas along with other critical aspects. You may also refer the following books –

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