Top 10 Business Books

Last year I read over 50 business books and this year I’m on pace to do at least one per week.

But to be honest, the majority of these books would be better off as simple magazine articles.

And so to save you from wasting time reading the mediocre business books, I’ve reviewed the books on my shelf and I’m going to share the top 10 books that have had the great impact on my business.

10 – “Think & Grow Rich” and “Grow Rich with Piece of Mind”

Almost everyone knows about “Think and Grow Rich”, but few people know of or have read Napolean Hill’s follow up, “Grow Rich with Piece of Mind”. I recommend you read both.

9 – “The E-Myth” and “The Power of Full Engagement”

I admit, I’m cheating a little by giving you two books at once a few times here, but hey, it’s my list.

These are both classics. You’ll discover the importance of systems in Michael Gerber’s E-Myth, while getting a new perspective on time and energy management in the Full Engagement book.

8 – “Bringing Out the Best in People” and “Switch”

The former is a book on building and motivating your team. It is NOT an easy read, as it is full of scientific research on how to inspire people to act. But it is a powerful book.

A more enjoyable read, but just as important, is “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath. If you’ve ever wanted to change your own behavior, or a client’s behavior (or even that of your spouse), this book will show you how.

Both books emphasize the rewarding of small changes that help you build up to making the biggest changes. It’s a formula that works.

7 – “Instant Income”

Not too many people know about this book, but it is one of the most practical books I’ve ever read on how to increase your sales, client retention, and overall revenues. It is packed with strategies that you can put to use immediately. I just realized I need to read this one again.

6 – “Crush It” and “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs”

Two of the best speaker-entertainers in the world. If you could only read one, pick the Jobs book. After reading about his passion and vision, this book was the catalyst for me to get an Ipad.

5 – “The Go Giver”

Neat and tidy little book. You’ll discover 5 simple rules that will help you set up a lasting business, all based on becoming a person of extreme value to others. So simple, isn’t it?

If you like this, you’ll also like the management and meeting books by Patrick Lencioni, written in similar fashion.

4 – “Good to Great”

I put off reading this business classic for years, and to be honest, I expected it be another one of those books that could have been summarized in a 5 page magazine article.

I was pleasantly surprised at being wrong. This was my introduction to the importance of having Core Values and a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). I’ll tell you more about those when we get to the most important book I’ve ever read.

3 – Anything by Dan Kennedy

From his hard-to-find autobiography (“Unfinished Business”) to his “Ruthless Management of People and Profits”, I’ve read every book by Kennedy, and they are ALL worth it. If you are struggling to get stuff done, his “No BS Time Management” book is even better than the 4-hour Work Week, and you should start there.

For mindset, No-BS Wealth Attraction is 1000x’s better than watching “The Secret”, and his books on “Direct Marketing” and “The Ultimate Sales Letter Formula” are mandatory reading for internet marketers.

2 – “Man’s Search for Meaning”

This is not a business book, but instead a book about the human spirit and what people can overcome.

This book chronicles the horrors of World War II as seen through a concentration camp survivor, and should be mandatory reading for every high school student (and adult).

After you’ve read this book, you’ll never have a “woe is me” attitude towards life or business again.

Everyday you hear someone say, “Oh, I could never do that…”, but the truth is, if they stopped complaining and tried it, they’d learn pretty quickly that they could.

And despite it’s gloomy content, there is still a positive lesson to take away, that is, as humans, we are are capable of much, much more than we might believe.

Never, ever, EVER give up.

1 – “The Rockefeller Habits”

By far the most practical business book I’ve ever read, focused around building a team, a vision, and a future for your business.

Like many on this list, it is not an easy read, and it includes several exercises you’ll need to do to lay out a 90-day plan and long-term vision. I’d suggest setting aside three 90-minute blocks to get through the entire book.

The end results of your focused work will be an incredibly powerful blueprint for the future of your business.


I hope you enjoyed that list, and I hope that you’ll share your favorite books with me as well. Just post in the comments below.


Everything you need to know has already been said,

Craig Ballantyne

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance.” – Viktor Frankl

  • 3
  • Great post Craig, have got through 5 of these and will be ordering the rest today on amazon, thanks for the tips

  • Bryan

    Thanks again craig

    I remember about two years ago you made a similar list and I read every one of them.

    Mans search for meaning really changed the way I look at lifes ‘hardships’ and I don’t think I’ve worried or stressed a day since.

    Thanks man.

    Sorry I missed Vegas too.

    Bit of a trek from Ireland 4-5 times/year 🙂

    Keep up the good work!


  • Tom


    Have you read Drucker’s The Effective Executive, Taleb’s Black Swan or Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson? I think all could be contenders for the list.

    Thanks for everything you do.


    • Anonymous

      I’ve read Drucker and Taleb, and you are right, they are both really good. I will look up the Conversations book.

  • David

    The recommendation of Think and Grow Rich is absolutely spot on. It is the principal catalyst that finally got me out of the Navy after 12 years at age 30, and into my own business career. Reading that little book gave me the courage to go back to school for my MBA and to never look back. That was in 1978. After 30 years of owning and operating my own small businesses and with periods of working for others, I happily retired in Panama, am running a small trucking business, investing in the agricultural industry and very content. Along the way I read many, many useful books but I credit Think and Grow Rich as the start. For anyone currently “wishing” they could change….read it and just do it!


    • Anonymous

      Nice, thanks David!

  • Thanks for a great list Craig! I also have a Kindle which is really dangerous since I can now buy books without leaving my house! I am going to get Switch and Crush It they have been on my list for a while so glad to hear them rated so highly.

    I am also a huge Dan Kennedy fan and read whatever he writes!

    To add to your list I would suggest:
    The War of ART by Steven Pressfield which is a great book for entrepreneurs to overcome resistance that gets them from reaching their goal or putting themselves out there.

    The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes- I have coached clients on his program and the results are amazing. The book will shift your thinking on sales it is not the usual sales book.

    Thanks for the inspiration Craig!!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Stacey.

      Appreciate the suggestions.

      I agree about Chet’s book. Very practical.

      I’ve also read Pressfield’s book, but I don’t know, I just didn’t “get it”.



  • Awesome list. I have read 7 books off that list. I like to read Think and Grow Rich once a year. I just finished the E-Myth last week, timeless principles.

    I think i’ll make Switch my next read.

  • Dyf

    I recommend anything by John Seddon, gives you a great insight into systems thinking, while probably more useful for bigger organisations they contain some great concepts, not least that you should focus on managing value rather than cost.

  • Bojan

    Have you read “Getting Things Done” by David Allen? Been recommended this book by a friend and planned on ordering it soon..



    • Anonymous

      I have it. I started it this summer, but dropped it. I’ll read it this year. Getting things done doesn’t tend to be an issue for me. Thanks Bojan!

  • Great list. A book I just recently read is Cunningly Clever Marketing by Andrew Wood. Also, Differiantiate or Die by Jack Trout.

  • I have heard people say that Dan Kennedy’s stuff is dated for the current times. I haven’t ever read anything from him (my first one is 3 books down on my to read list!) but I was just curious on your thoughts? I know there are some principles that never leave the business world.

    Have you every read psycho-cybernetics? I just finished it and was amazed at some of the concepts in it.

    • Anonymous

      No, Kennedy’s content is not dated. Not at all. I’d call his books mandatory reading.

      Yes, I’ve read Psycho-Cybernetics. Also an excellent book.

  • Benjamin Cooke

    Fantastic list. I love Kennedy’s work so much that I belong to his inner circle and attend the monthly meetings in my area. I would suggest Napoleon Hills The Law of Success which I feel adds more to Think and Grow Rich. I also like Donald Trump’s the Art of The Comeback. That book really spoke to me when I thought losing money on my first attempt at running a bootcamp was bad. It showed me not only how much Trump lost but how he persevered through it all because he knew that was what it took to become successful was that never give up attitude.

    • Anonymous

      Great suggestion, thanks Benjamin. Trump’s book has been on my list to read for a while now, you’ve just bumped it up.

  • Anthony Myers

    Thanks for the list of books. For Christmas, my gift to myself was about $150 worth of books, mostly on business and fitness. I recently invested in some books about Psychology, Dream Interpretation and Catholic Saints (More about personal interest of their history and less about religion). Thanks to you I’ve got a whole new list of books to gift myself for my upcoming birthday. Thanks again Craig.

  • Dr. George

    Great, great post. Thanks, Craig!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, and great to hear from you Dr. George!

  • Great list. my favourite is grow rich with peace of mind .pls where do i find the rockfeller habits, you seem to talk about it a lots

    • Anonymous

  • Nice list Craig. Here’s an unlikely business book I just finished reading: The 50th law, co-written by 50 cent. He’s a smart marketer. Check it out.

    Oh, and optin-crusher works better then Popup Domination. It’s free!

  • Sal

    Hi Craig,
    Thank you for this wonderful list and the blog…i can for sure see you are on your way …as Matt says.. disrupt the balance of goodwill in the universe 😉

    Is the full name of the book “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm”? ISBN-10: 1590791177

    Since I couldn’t find any with the name of “The Rockefeller Habits”


    • Anonymous

      Hi Sal, yes, that’s the one.

  • Shirley Coffman

    I was happy to know I have read at least a third of the suggested books… am now wondering why I have not done more to change my direction, having reading them. I am terribly restless to find a secure and superior income going forward to replace my former real estate related income. Since I’ve read Simon Black and D. Casey emails for 2 years or more I completely understand the need to implement change. Thank you
    for your reading list and encouragement. I notice that even though major
    career change has not materialized to date, the exact things needed to help bring it about continue to befall me. There are no accidents.

    • Anonymous

      Great to hear from you Shirley, looking forward to your success.

  • Carolan Ross

    Love this list, Craig. I’d add “The Purpose Driven Life” by Warren and any of the titles by Esther & Jerry Hicks.

  • Cash Flow Quadrant was an excellent book and the main driver for me becoming self employed to owning a real business built on systems.

    If you read Rich Dad, Poor Dad you’ll love cash flow quadrant.

  • Another book I want to add to the previous two I recommended earlier is “Blue Ocean Strategy”. Think of Apple. They create markets and products before consumers know they want them. I have always thought to find a need and create a solution, which is still a good strategy but if you can create a new market you will own it!

  • Not a book, nor directly business related, but this essay by Hans-Hermann Hoppe affected me in a good way. Specifically on the subject of Time Preference. About focusing on the future versus the present and how that effects individuals and society. In investing, these ideas help frame my mind while looking examining societal trends.

    This speech discusses similar things and won’t take as long as Hoppe’s essay. But I prefer the essay.

  • wii

    Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco. Highest rated book on Amazon that I’ve seen.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the recommendation, will check it out.

  • I’ve read Mark Tier’s book, and while I think it’s very good, the main issue I have with it is that Buffett hasn’t been great the last decade. Moreover, as a trader myself, I believe he’s discounting significantly the possibilities ranging from a serious market decline to an all-out crash, given the precarious state of the world’s mega-bank and sovereign debt financial states – something that SMC has been very on top of. If this type of crash happens again, even the so-called “good” investments will get taken out to the woodshed, because in a liquidation, everything goes. For that reason, I think that if you’re going to be putting your money in play in today’s age, it’s critical to understand how markets actually work. And they work based on something called the Auction process. Simply put, the one and only thing that EVER moves a market is something called Order Flow. The placing of actual orders to buy or sell something. Whether you’re a long term investor or a short-term trader, unless people place orders to buy AFTER you’ve taken your position, you lose.

    In that vein, the books I recommend are:

    1. Time Compression Trading by Jason Alan Jankovsky. This book is all about order flow and the real reason any trader or investor puts money in play.

    2. Markets in Profile by Peter Steidlmayer. This book is more specific to a trading method, which may or may not apply to anyone who reads it. But what’s great about it is how it details the Auction Process – the process by which all markets, everywhere, move.

    3. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefevre. The very best book on the markets you will ever read. Written back in the 1930’s, it’s probably more relevant today. Want to know how the true professionals – the 10% who make 90% of the money – play it? Read this book. Hedge fund legend Paul Tudor Jones reads it every year.

    4. The Crowd by Gustave Le Bon. Simply put, the markets are the greatest exposition in crowd behavior that exists today. If you’re one of the crowd, it’s likely you’re losing. Most people are the crowd and about 90% of traders end up closing their accounts at a loss (true figure). To be a winning investor, you’ve got to think differently than everyone else.

    5. A Gift to my Children, by Jim Rogers. Jim Rogers was George Soros’ partner during the legendary breaking of the Bank of England, described in the Mark Tier book mentioned by Craig. Now, after having traveled the world on both a motorcycle and a car, he’s living in Singapore. The ultimate contrarian, he was vilified repeatedly by CNBC in 1999 for saying that he was short tech stocks and was buying into commodities and China (just before both boomed). He’s been vilified even more on both CNBC and Bloomberg since 2005 for first saying that real estate was a disaster and going to crash (it did), the banks were worse and would crash (they did) and that Bernanke was an idiot who has no idea what the hell he’s talking about (he doesn’t). In short, he calls it like he sees it and doesn’t fall prey to the conventional wisdom which says that anyone in DC or Wall Street has any idea what the hell they’re doing (they don’t). This book is a short compilation of his years of wisdom. Read it.

  • ChuckB

    What The CEO Wants You To know: How Your Company Really Works by Ram Charan.
    He breaks down the complexity of business into a few simple principles that can be applied to any business. Cash, Margin, Velocity, Growth, and Customers.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Chuck, I will look it up.

  • Read Built To Last. It was written before Good to Great and is one of the best books I have ever read on business. I run my start up like a big company because of it.

  • Yay I love book lists, they give me a direction rather than flipping open every book on the shelf. Andrea from Brand and Bloom recommended your site and it’s so coincidental I just blogged a book review on the “Right-brain Business Plan” today so I’m happy I have something to say here. This book is tailored towards, as the name suggests, people who think in pictures. In a nutshell, this book makes business planning fun as Jennifer Lee guides the reader through creating a vision board, performing a SWOT analysis using magazine clippings, creating a fun action plan using a mindmap etc. Particularly useful for creatives and people who sell things that would appear on magazines I think.

  • Andrew E.

    Craig, great list, thanks for the direction. Just one clarification, who’s the author of “Bringing Out the Best in People” on your list? I’ve found 2 authors of 2 different books, same title, and both apparently have sold hundreds of thousands of copies.



    • Anonymous

      Aubrey Daniels

  • Dmar

    Thank you for the great lists sir. Highly appreciated.

  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad was a good one – but depending on how in-depth of a business book you are looking for it might not crack your Top 10.

  • Joon Park

    I was just wondering…. There are like 20 different versions of “Think and Grow Rich”…. Are they mostly the same or do i just get the original version?

    • Anonymous

      They are the same. Just grab the original by Napolean Hill.

  • A truly valuable list of books are building here. A few I want to recommend to add:
    – The Science of Getting Rich- Wallace Wattles: language is old, but the principles are very relevant today such as the Impression of Increase. Not for the get rich quick crowd.
    – Know Can Do! – Ken Blanchard, Paul J. Meyer, Dick Ruhe: a simple approach to taking action on what you know.
    – Focal Point – Brian Tracy: putting an “x” marks the spot on your ability to achieve without the fluff.

    Interestingly enough, I received a copy of the Rockefeller Habits from a friend who knows Verne Harnish back in 2008. I read it at your suggestion this past year. Thank you – what a read and I agree with you ranking it number one!!

  • John Simon

    I would recommend Peter Church’s book Added Value-the life stories of Indian business leaders. Amazing insight on some truly inspirational people. You should read this book not only because it was fantastically insightful and interesting in relation to the individuals but also gives the reader an incredibly helpful view of the mindset of the business leaders. The book is an excellent primer for anyone seeking to do business.