The saying goes that behind every successful man is a woman and while that may be the case, many successful people will also tell you of the importance reading one of these books had on their lives.
In fact, these books have influenced some of the most influential thinkers of our generation. Their words have shaped and molded corporations, modern-day startups and inspired millions to dream. In many ways, reading led them to their dreams. Here are 10 examples.
1. As a Man Thinketh
“Self-control is strength. Right thought is mastery. Calmness is power. ”
In James Allen’s collection of essays, his famed book explores and agrees with the notion that you get out of life what you put in. As a Man Thinketh is not your typical business book but what it does do is highlight the importance of the mind. By the conclusion, Allen is adamant that those with an active and ambitious mindset will nearly always succeed.
2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
Richard Branson was one of the first modern-day businesspeople to promote the importance of a happy workforce; an act of integrity that psychologist Stephen R. Covey believes is vital in helping build a business.
3. The Intelligent Investor
“The intelligent investor is a realist who sells to optimists and buys from pessimists.”
American billionaire investor Warren Buffet cited Graham’s book as “the best book on investing ever written.” And that’s hardly surprising when you read the contents of this easy-to-read guide on how best to profit from any sized investment.
4. Outliers: The Story of Success
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”
The New Yorker journalist and bestselling author hit the big time when his book about what brings people success became a worldwide bestseller. Based largely on the 10,000 rule that Gladwell came up with, (anyone can achieve success if they practice their craft for over 10,00 hours, he argues) Outliers: The Story of Success takes a sociological approach when analyzing the primary determinants of inequality and interviews successful people across a broad range of industries
“Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 percent to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.”
Ever wondered why some videos go viral and others don’t? Or why one business equally as good as the other made it to the top while the other faltered? In Jonah Berger’s book, he discovers why certain products work; and no, it isn’t smart marketing.
Instead, Berger talks about how things are spread and circulated through a word of mouth culture and how a strong social influence can help get your product out there. With in-depth statistical analysis and real-life success stories, Contagious is a must-read for anyone attempting to get themselves heard.
6. The Magic of Thinking Big
“Believe you can succeed and you will.”
How often have you come up with what you think is a groundbreaking idea? It could be the beginnings of a novel or a fantastic piece of code that could lead to the next big website. Now ask yourself this: how many time have gone through with your thoughts? Or genuinely believed you could pull it off and make it a success? Probably not often and that’s why David J. Schwartz’s book is so popular.
In this book, you quickly learn being the smartest or the most talented isn’t a prerequisite for great and lasting success. It’s how you think that truly determines your outcome in life. If you develop a robust, healthy mindset, then anything is possible the author writes. The mind, after all, is a powerful tool. It can inspire and damage others in equal measure. But, as the book states, “Belief in success is the one basic, absolutely essential ingredient in successful people.”
7. The One Thing
“Success demands singleness of purpose. You need to be doing fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects.”
As a number one bestseller on both the Wall Street, New York Times and USA Today lists, The One Thing argues that the dedication and time spent on one project as opposed to entertaining and being side-tracked by other projects can lead to greater success. Apple founder Steve Jobs was known for stressing the importance of focusing on the one thing which is most important.
8. The Blue Ocean Strategy
“Value innovation is the cornerstone of blue ocean strategy. We call it value innovation because instead of focusing on beating the competition, you focus on making the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for buyers and your company, thereby opening up new and uncontested market space.”
With a population of 8 billion people, there are bound to be businesses and entrepreneurs who have similar ideas to you- something authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne believe shouldn’t deter you from making sure yours is the best. Using the blue ocean as a metaphor, the authors argue that by diversifying your brand, you are moving away from the bloodied waters of competition and into your own clear, tranquil setting where only your company resides.
“Have you noticed that when we die, our eulogies celebrate our lives very differently from the way society defines success?”
Thanks to founder Arianna Huffington, the Huffington Post has become one of the most visited news sites in the world. But Thrive aims to teach all of us that anything is possible without falling privy to the cliched writings that litter many a business book. Instead, Thrive redefines success, arguing that the pursuit of your dreams, interests, and passions far out way financial wealth.
It may be an argument that seems highly contradictory for someone worth hundreds of millions, but Huffington writes candidly about her exhausting experience in pursuit of corporate success, which, once attained, made her anything but happy. Fundamentally, Thrive’s message is that success comes when you work towards what you actually want to achieve as opposed to what you believe will yield the most money.
10. Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works
“Through the stories of status quo–shifting entrepreneurs, including two of my heroes, Paul Farmer and Molly Melching, this powerful book shows what more equitable societies could look like—and what we can all do to make that new normal a reality.”
– Melinda Gates
While the bullish mentality of profit is synonymous with Wall Street, most people with an idea have fallen victim to viewing profit as the sole factor in determining one’s success. In recent years, however, entrepreneurs are striving to make the world a better place, while still making a profit. Martin and Osberg explore how new breeds of entrepreneurs are going about their business and why coupling a moral outlook with a capitalistic one can benefit not just you, but the whole world.