Melissa's Favorite Business Books

favorite business books

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss

I’m always looking to learn new ways to do my job better, grow our business, and improve my own life and career. I read fun books at night and on the beach for my own enjoyment, but it’s hard to find time to fit reading for business in between work hours, family time, and sleeping. For me, audiobooks have become my saving grace. I spend a lot of time in the car, commuting to/from the office and client meetings, and thanks to I can download books to my phone and listen while driving. It’s a great way to get real value out of the driving time, and it really does make my commute feel shorter and easier.

Here is a list of my favorite business books, all of which are available in audio versions. I’d love to add to my list – please comment below with a few of your own favorites: 

Sales & Marketing:

The Referral Engine – John Jantsch

The secret sauce in this book is Jantsch’s system for encouraging clients to refer new customers to you. To be honest, this one was difficult to listen to in the car, because I wanted to stop and take so many notes on different action points. For me, it also helped to have a printed copy that I could highlight and refer to later.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs – Carmine Gallo

When Steve Jobs spoke, people listened. When he sold something, they bought it (in droves, lining up on the sidewalk for days to get their hands on the first of whatever product just launched). Apple’s products were often not the first of their kind, or even the best in the marketplace, but the pitch-man was so good, he got millions to take notice. There are some great takeaways here for anyone who speaks to an audience, whether for education, sales, or marketing.

Inbound Marketing – Dharmesh Shah & Brian Halligan (Hubspot Co-Founders)

Hubspot coined the term ‘inbound marketing’, and this little company that was created as a student project at MIT is now a global, multi-million dollar corporation that has completely changed the way businesses market themselves. If you want to understand what Inbound Marketing really is, this is the best place to start.

Entrepreneurship & Leadership:

The E-Myth Revisited – Michael Gerber

For a first-time entrepreneur, this one rang completely true for myself and my own situation when I started my business. For any entrepreneur that is still doing most of the work themselves because they haven’t figured out a system that allows them to grow exponentially without negatively impacting products or service, this is for you. This book, more than any other, had the greatest impact on my business from the start. I only wish I had read it even earlier.

Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You – John Warrilow

I would say that Built to Sell is second to The E-Myth Revisited for the impact it had on my business. In contrast to it’s title, this book is not just for business owners who are looking to sell their business, it is for any entrepreneur that wants to GROW their business. The key is back-tracking from the future and creating a ‘product’ that can generate true sustainable value in your business. Read The E-Myth first, and this next.

Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 Into a Billion Dollar Business – Barbara Corcoran

To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Barbara on ABC’s Shark Tank. My personal opinion is that she doesn’t take on the riskier, bigger opportunities, and she is often negative in her opinions of potentially successful entrepreneurs. That aside, her own story of creating a billion dollar real estate empire in NYC is truly powerful and compelling. There are as many grassroots marketing ideas as business insight, and it’s a great read for any entrepreneur looking for a way to break into a difficult market.

Time Management:

Getting Things Done – David Allen

This is a little boring, but contains easy and actionable tips for anyone who finds themselves working too many hours and never getting through their to-do list. If you’re ready to get organized and get more done, this is a good read.

The Four-Hour Workweek – Tim Ferriss

I still haven’t figured out how to actually cut down my workweek or travel the world without having an impact on my business, like Tim has managed to do, but this book will at the very least offer some insight on how to delegate tasks that aren’t worth your time. In turn, this will free you up to do better work, make more money, and carve out quality time for yourself and to enjoy family and friends.

For a Good Laugh (and some career insight):

Bossypants – Tina Fey

I just love Tina Fey, and other drivers in traffic with me probably thought I was crazy for the way I laughed out loud, by myself, in the car, listening to this one. Download it for a good laugh, but you’ll also find yourself learning a few things about career growth, work/life balance, and raising a family from the hilarious Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock writer and comedian.

Those were a few of my favorite business books, so far. I’d love to continue adding to my list, and my Audible library. What are your favorite business and personal growth books? Please comment below.