Top Business Books

Top Business Books

1. Blue Ocean Strategy

Imagine a market universe composed of two sorts of oceans: red oceans and blue oceans. Red oceans represent all the industries in existence today. This is the known market space. Blue oceans denote all the industries not in existence today. This is the unknown market space.
In the red oceans, industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known. Here, companies try to outperform their rivals to grab a greater share of existing demand. As the market space gets crowded, prospects for profits and growth are reduced. Products become commodities and cut-throat competition turn the red ocean bloody.
Blue oceans, in contrast, are defined by untapped market space, demand creation, and the opportunity for highly profitable growth. Although some blue oceans are created well beyond existing industry boundaries, more are created from within red oceans by expanding existing industry boundaries, as Cirque du Soleil did. In blue oceans competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be set. Put the clock forward twenty years, or perhaps 50. How many now unknown industries will likely exist then? If history is any predictor of the future, the answer is “a lot”.
Value innovation is the corner stone of blue ocean strategy. 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.

2. Find Your Why

Knowing your why means having a clear purpose, and this makes you and your business more appealing.
Finding your WHY can be challenging, but once you have it in your life, you can wake up each morning with purpose and determination.
Customers would rather give money to a business with a progressive identity than save a few bucks buying from a more generic company.
A great way to find that passion is to work your way through the golden circle. We tend to operate on three levels. The first level, the outer circle, is all about “WHAT” we do, while the middle circle is “HOW” we do it. Finally, at the center is the golden circle, which determines “WHY” we do it.
An outsider’s perspective can help you uncover your why.
A WHY Discovery Workshop can help a business define their corporate culture, as well as their mission statement and vision for the future – all of which will make it easier for employees to make the right decisions on the ground.
Start by offering your WHY statement to those who ask, “What do you do?”
Sharing your WHY with the world will push you to commit to it and back up your words with actions.

3. Scaling Up

Every year a sea of new companies are born around the world. Most fail within a few years; some make it a bit longer. Only a small number of them grow to become big, successful game-changers.
The four D’s are drivers, demands, discipline and decisions.
Only two to three percent of all US companies will become high-impact firms that last for over 25 years and contribute substantially to overall economic growth.
Companies must enhance their personnel management in tandem with their growth.
Make sure that the right people are doing the right things and doing them correctly.
Start motivating and make the switch from managing to coaching.
Strive to make your team’s job easier by listening to them.
Be sure to set clear expectations. Tell your employees what their top priority should be, but let them find out how to achieve it on their own.
Make your company’s mission clear by formulating a core purpose.
Use your company’s strengths to improve your revenue.

4. Made to Stick

Stick means understood, remembered and with the capacity of making an impact.
Simple ideas stick, complicated ones don’t.
The idea of CI, or Commander Intent, very useful when you need people to act on your behalf in a big organization.
It’s a very short and simple sentence that sums up the overarching goal of the organization and function as a filter for localized decision making.
Analogies and metaphors can also help simplify complex issues. For example Disney calls the staff in their parks “cast members” as it project its parks as theaters. Disney doesn’t need to explain why it’s important to behave in a certain way to its employees: being a “cast member” reminds everyone they’re always on stage.
Attention is key in making your message stick. We need to both get attention and keep it.
The key to get someone’s attention is to break their patterns, or to surprise.
The easier we can relate to something, the more we understand it and remember it.
A checklist that will guarantee your idea will stick. To make an idea stick it must make the audience: 1) Pay attention (unexpected) 2) Understand and remember (concrete) 3) Agree and believe (credible) 4) Care (emotional) 5) Be able to act on it (story)

5. How Google Works

Google still maintains a startup mentality. How does Google achieve that? By focusing on so-called smart-creatives. Smart-creatives are employees who possess a curious, ambitious personality and combine it with their tech know-how.

Successful companies need to rely on employees who can give them a competitive edge. These employees are called smart-creatives by Google. Smart-creatives combine ideas from different areas. They combine business and tech expertise in a creative way.

Quality employees are the engine of a successful business, so they should be a top priority.
Hiring should be a top priority.

To attract smart and creative people, you have to create a company culture which attracts those types of employees.
Employees should be able to speak their mind and have freedom to make their own decisions.

Create a climate for innovation.
Try to shoot for bigger goals by “10xing” everything.
Enforce discussions instead of decisions.
The company culture defines the company’s success. So focusing on creating the right culture and conditions can be the primal way to the long-term success of a company.

6. Jab, Jab, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

It took thirty-eight years before 50 million people gained access to radios. It took television thirteen years to earn an audience that size. It took Instagram a year and a half.
Great marketing is all about telling your story in such a way that it compels people to buy what you are selling. That’s a constant.
Jabs are the lightweight pieces of content that benefit your customers by making them laugh, snicker, ponder, play a game, feel appreciated, or escape; right hooks are calls to action that benefit your businesses.
Advice for making great content: “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” Make it for your customer or your audience, not for yourself.
Consumers want infotainment, not information. Information is cheap and plentiful; information wrapped in a story, however, is special.

7. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. Eric Ries defines
a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business. The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively.
Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs – in companies of all sizes – a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.

8. The 100 Dollar Startup

In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau shows you how to lead of life of adventure, meaning and purpose – and earn a good living.

Still in his early thirties, Chris is on the verge of completing a tour of every country on earth – he’s already visited more than 175 nations – and yet he’s never held a “real job” or earned a regular paycheck. Rather, he has a special genius for turning ideas into income, and he uses what he earns both to support his life of adventure and to give back.

There are many others like Chris – those who’ve found ways to opt out of traditional employment and create the time and income to pursue what they find meaningful. Sometimes, achieving that perfect blend of passion and income doesn’t depend on shelving what you currently do. You can start small with your venture, committing little time or money, and wait to take the real plunge when you’re sure it’s successful.

In preparing to write this book, Chris identified 1,500 individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases, $100 or less), and from that group he’s chosen to focus on the 50 most intriguing case studies.

In nearly all cases, people with no special skills discovered aspects of their personal passions that could be monetized, and were able to restructure their lives in ways that gave them greater freedom and fulfillment.
Here, finally, distilled into one easy-to-use guide, are the most valuable lessons from those who’ve learned how to turn what they do into a gateway to self-fulfillment. It’s all about finding the intersection between your “expertise” – even if you don’t consider it such — and what other people will pay for.

You don’t need an MBA, a business plan or even employees. All you need is a product or service that springs from what you love to do anyway, people willing to pay, and a way to get paid.
Not content to talk in generalities, Chris tells you exactly how many dollars his group of unexpected entrepreneurs required to get their projects up and running; what these individuals did in the first weeks and months to generate significant cash; some of the key mistakes they made along the way, and the crucial insights that made the business stick.

Among Chris’s key principles: if you’re good at one thing, you’re probably good at something else; never teach a man to fish – sell him the fish instead; and in the battle between planning and action, action wins.
In ancient times, people who were dissatisfied with their lives dreamed of finding magic lamps, buried treasure, or streets paved with gold. Today, we know that it’s up to us to change our lives. And the best part is, if we change our own life, we can help others change theirs. This remarkable book will start you on your way.

9. Blue Ocean Strategy

The global phenomenon, embraced by business worldwide and now published in more than 40 languages. This international bestseller challenges everything you thought you knew about the requirements for strategic success. Since the dawn of the industrial age, companies have engaged in head-to-head competition in search of sustained, profitable growth.

They have fought for competitive advantage, battled over market share, and struggled for differentiation. Yet, as this influential and immensely popular book shows, these hallmarks of competitive strategy are not the way to create profitable growth in the future. In the international bestseller Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne argue that cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool.

Based on a study of 150 strategic moves (spanning more than 100 years across 30 industries), the authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors, but from creating “blue oceans”—untapped new market spaces ripe for growth. Such strategic moves, which the authors call “value innovation,” create powerful leaps in value that often render rivals obsolete for more than a decade.

Blue Ocean Strategy presents a systematic approach to making the competition irrelevant and outlines principles and tools any company can use to create and capture their own blue oceans. A landmark work that upends traditional thinking about strategy, this bestselling business book charts a bold new path to winning the future. ”