I recently purged my bookshelves of books that I have not re-read or touched in the past decade. Goodbye to “Who moved my Cheese” and “Barbarians at the Gate” among other titles.
The process allowed me to reflect on the topics that comprise the “keeper” volumes in my library. Eight titles stood out among those that stayed on the shelf. These are regularly recommended to ALL entrepreneurs under 30 that I mentor:
– Good to Great by Jim Collins
Yeah, the companies have changed but the principles have certainly not.
– The Art of War by Sun Tzu
The psychology and strategy of leadership and engaging the competition.
– Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
Exposed (yet again) the fallacy of “doing the same things better” as competitive advantage and exposed it as a (very effing fast) race to the bottom. Instead, it proved the value of the innovative creation of the truly new (and HOW and WHY such can be measured) when it comes to Product Management.
– Competitive Strategy by Michael E. Porter
I still reference this book at quite often. The competitive grid is pretty much stained into a permanent shadow on my whiteboard.
– The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
OK, yes this is a “popular book” – but the timeless truth of simple management wrapped into a easily accessible parable makes this a keeper I refer to young managers.
– The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
This book took me by surprise as “everyone was reading it.” My take was that this book builds bridges back to, or ratifies, Blue Ocean Strategy and many sub-points within Porter’s classic.
– Built to Last (1994), by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras
Two books by Jim Collins was not intentional and I am not a pure-play fan boy of Jim’s but the depth and diversity of the examples is what keeps this book on my shelf.
– The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
The first time I finished reading it, I went back and read it again. Notes, highlights and more notes. It was an instant classic for me.
There you go – my “Great Eight” business titles.