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10 business books you should start with (& one idea from each)

Jim Collins, Simon Sinek and Liz Wiseman must-reads 

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Good to Great – Jim Collins

To make a heavy flywheel move, you need to exude a great deal of effort. It will be slow at first when you push it, but after a period of time, it will begin to be carried by its own momentum.  In good-to-great companies – the impact of their first efforts seems nearly imperceptible, but with enough resolve, their momentum leads to a breakthrough. Other companies instead move their wheel in erratic patterns, trying new directions, stopping, and lurching back and forth. Eventually, they experience the “doom loop,” and fail to sustain any kind of success for a long period of time. 

Start with Why – Simon Sinek

It is one of life’s greatest joys to wake up in the morning… every morning, with a clear sense of why that day matters, why every day matters.

This is what it means to find your WHY. This is the start of an inspiring journey… your inspiring journey. 

Members of The Growth Faculty can log in to On Demand and watch Simon Sinek's exclusive live event highlights

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

When it comes to selling and marketing disruptive products (think mobile phone, internet, Airbnb, Uber) early adopters want to go first, but the mainstream wants to go fifth or sixth. Moore refers to this as the chasm. So how do you cross the chasm? There are two profiles in the early adopters sector: the technology enthusiasts and the visionaries.  The enthusiasts love the new platform for its own sake. The visionaries are looking for competitive advantage. On the other side of the chasm, seek out the pragmatists in pain in flagship companies. They have a problem they can’t solve through any other option. 

Members of The Growth Faculty can log in to On Demand and watch Geoffrey Moore's full interview here

The Loudest Duck – Laura Iswood

In the U.S. (and other Western societies) men are told the squeakiest wheel gets the grease. But in China, they have a different saying - The loudest duck gets shot. A manager, therefore, will hear American men bragging but hears nothing from the woman (who is taught “don’t be pushy”) or the Chinese man (“don’t get shot”), and thus unconsciously leans toward the American man for the promotion, the pay raise, the better assignments. Success with diversity takes more than just gathering up a Noah’s Ark of two of every type. 

Members of The Growth Faculty can watch Laura Liswood talking about The Loudest Duck by logging into On Demand and watching here. 


Influence – Robert Cialdini

In our increasingly overloaded world we use shortcuts to guide our decision-making. Six “rules of thumb” or shortcuts guide human behaviour. They are: Reciprocity, Scarcity, Authority, Consistency, Liking, Consensus. Employing these shortcuts can significantly increase the chances that someone will be persuaded by your request. 

Exclusive interview with Dr Robert Cialdini for members of The Growth Faculty can be found by logging into On Demand and watching here


The E Myth – Michael E. Gerber

Myth 1: the entrepreneurial myth: the myth that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs.
Myth 2: the fatal assumption that an individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run a business that does that technical work.
The technician, entrepreneur and manager are all needed in the founder of a business: without the Entrepreneur, you might as well keep working for someone else as a Technician.  Without any technical ability, the Entrepreneur must rely on others to get anything done, and without the organisational abilities of the Manager, the other two would probably find themselves with the electricity in the office turned off because they had other things to do than pay the bills.  


The Lean Start-up – Eric Reis

Too many startups begin with an idea for a product that they think people want. They then spend months, sometimes years, perfecting that product without ever showing the product, even in a very rudimentary form, to prospective customers. When they fail to reach broad uptake from customers, it is often because they never spoke to prospective customers and determined whether or not the product was interesting. When customers ultimately communicate, through their indifference, that they don't care about the idea, the startup fails.  

Multipliers – Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeown

Multipliers are often viewed as the best boss to work for. Everyone grows around them; “A players become A+”. They consider the role of the person at the top a genius maker rather than themselves a genius. As a result they attract the best talent through word of mouth. Diminishers, not surprisingly, do the exact opposite. 

Exclusive footage of Liz Wiseman’s keynote for members of On Demand can be found by logging in and watching here.


3Hag Way – Shannon Byrne Susko 

A BHAG is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, a term coined by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book Built to Last.  But, Shannon Byrne Susko says to get there you need a 3-year Highly Achievable Goal (3HAG), achieved by mapping out a 36 month quarter over quarter rolling forecast. It's better than a 12 month budget, because budgets fool businesses into thinking there is money available, leading to over-spending. A rolling forecast gives businesses the real picture, and the ability to adjust spending as a result. 

The Innovator’s Dilemma – Clayton M.Christensen

The key question for an incumbent business is: If new technologies found new customers and new markets (which may in themselves be small and insignificant now and in the future), could they mature enough to make inroads into our playing field and have our lunch? And if so, does investing in them today at the risk of cannibalising ourselves make sense in the longer term?  Hence, the innovator’s dilemma.  Also recommended on this topic: Zone to Win by Geoffrey Moore. 


Scaling Up  – Verne Harnish   

A major revision of the business classic Mastering the Rockefeller Habits,  Scaling Up deals with four major decision areas every company must get right: attracting and retaining the right people, creating a truly differentiated strategy, directing flawless execution, and keeping cash reserves to weather the storms. 


Members of the The Growth Faculty are continually updating their professional development and that of their team at our On Demand Business Book Club.  A curated selection of the world’s very best business books are sent to Premium members, and we interview new authors every month. To become a member, click here