If you run your own business, then I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that you're short on time more often than not. With so many different jobs to juggle everyday, reading books might be down there on your priority list along with "sleeping" and "bonding with my cat".
Yet, a mind needs a book like a sword needs a whetstone! Gaining new knowledge is one of the best long term investment you can make on yourself. Successful entrepreneurs all share this one common trait: they are all avid readers. Bill Gates says that he reads about 50 books a year!
Your ability to adapt to new trends in the market is shaped by what you know. So the broader your knowledge base is, the better your business will perform. Even if you haven't got hours to spare, this list of 5 Must Read Books For Entrepreneurs is a good place to start:
1. THE 4-HOUR WORK WEEK by Tim Ferris
It is somewhat ironic that I should start with the book I didn't like best. The 4-Hour Work Week has been around for quite some time and is the Marmite of business books: You either like it or hate it. I sit firmly in the middle on that one. While Tim Ferris can sound patronizing and downright narcissistic at times, this book has some incredibly valuable advice on automating and simplifying one's life.
If you can separate the chaff from the wheat, there is a lot to be learned about developing an entrepreneurial outlook to improve one's life.
This book also offers some great advice on shaving off workload and favouring short, intense burst of activity over the traditional 9 to 5 approach.
2. MAVERICKS AT WORK: WHY THE MOST ORIGINAL MINDS IN BUSINESS WIN by William C.Taylor & Polly Labarre
Mavericks At Work: Why The Most Original Minds In Business Win is one of the most valuable business book you might ever read. In it, the authors highlight the traits that distinguish great companies from the merely good ones. It tells the stories of well known businesses such as Starbucks, Apple, Google and HBO who have each managed to build incredible reputations by doing business their own way. If you like in-depth case studies, this one is for you. A great read on the power of innovative thinking.
3. THE LEAN STARTUP by Eric Ries
Another great book about entrepreneurship. The Lean Startup offers sound advice to those starting a company as well as to those who already own one. Its core teachings, the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and the Feedback Loop, are incredibly useful for my own business, so much in fact that I also apply them to my every day life.
To boil it down to its simplest concept: ideas are assumptions. One needs to test the viability of said assumptions, fast and cheap. Rinse and repeat until you find the product or idea that works. Essentially, this is the book you need to read if you want to become a productivity beast.
4. DO/ STORY/ HOW TO TELL YOUR STORY SO THE WORLD LISTENS by Bobette Buster
A nice little book that can be read from cover to cover in one sitting. Do/ Story/ How To Tell Your Story So The World Listens is built around some useful principles to help ensure that your business story connect with your audience. In today's market, you are selling a story as well as a product.
Your audience shop with their head, but also with their heart. So your business "raison d'être" is just as important as what you're selling. This fantastic little book teaches you how to weave a compelling story that will leave your customers wanting for more.
5. MAKE YOUR MARK: THE CREATIVE'S GUIDE TO BUILDING A BUSINESS WITH IMPACT by Jocelyn K. Glei
Make Your Mark: The Creative's Guide To Building A Business With Impact is part of a 3 books series. It's a compilation of insights from several entrepreneurs that makes for an easy read with lots of useful examples. Particularly interesting if you are a creative type trying to turn your passion into a successful business but also equally useful to the business owner who wants to add a creative spin to their campaign.