Top 10 Best Business Books of All Time

Updated: Sep 26

I should probably clarify...

These are my top 10 best business books of all time. That is to say, these are the books that had the greatest impact on me. Are there other great business books that are not on this list? Of course! But this is my list; and these are some spectacular books.

Table of Contents

#1. The Art of War - Sun Tzu

#2. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie

#3. The E Myth - Michael Gerber

#4. The E Myth Manager - Michael Gerber

#5. From Good to Great - Jim Collins

#6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey

#7. Getting to Yes - Roger Fisher & William Ury

#8. The Starbucks Experience - Joseph Michelli

#9. The Brand Within - Daymond John

#10. Blue Ocean Strategy - Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim

Looking back at my career, I can rightly say these books that played the biggest role in making me the entrepreneur I am today; and these are the books I'm choosing to share with you now.

#1. The Art of War - Sun Tzu

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military text that was written in the (approximately) the 5th century B.C. The author, 'Sun-Tzu' or Master Sun was a general, philosopher, writer; and a brilliant military strategist. His masterpiece, the Art of War has had a profound influence on both Eastern and Western philosophy; and is still just as relevant today as it was 2,500 years ago.

That's because the 13 chapters in this book focus more on human nature as it relates to military strategy, but as readers quickly come to understand: the applications of this knowledge are infinite.

This text contains vital lessons for anyone in business, law, & competitive sports; but this book is also a must-read for anyone who's just looking to kick a little ass in life.

My father gave me this book to read when I was about 12 years old and it's remained one of the most influential books I've ever read. This book is #1 because it's relevant to everyone. It may be even more valuable to people who are unemployed and looking to better themselves. The life lessons this book contains are pure gold, straight from the manuscripts of a true genius.

If you buy only one book on this list, let it be this one.

#2. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie

One of my first sales jobs ever was working as a telemarketer selling home improvement work. The company I worked for had impressive incentives to perform and it was all the motivation I needed to begin honing the craft of salesmanship.

I read a number of books on the topic and managed to learn something valuable from every one of them; but How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie was different. This is the book that every other book about salesmanship is based on. Written in 1936, the lessons of this book have endured the test of time.

Unlike what the title may suggest, this book is really about the art of persuasion. It's a how-to manual for delivering a message effectively, and in a way that resonates with people.

Sure, you could use the information in this book to make more friends, but you can also use it to boost your sales, get people to do you favors, meet members of the opposite sex, or parent your children. I've even used Carnegie's methods to get out of speeding tickets; successfully I might add.

This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to be more influential with the people they meet in life. It will teach you how to add gravitas to your message, and to deliver that message in a manner that the listener will be receptive to.

#3. The E Myth - Michael Gerber

What can I say about this book that a born-again Christian hasn't already said about their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

This book could very easily be at the #1 spot but whereas the previous two books helped me build a foundation, this book was what ultimately made me successful.

I read this book just after opening my very first "real" business. Everything had been going smoothly for the first year or so, but then everything started to fall apart. I tried to 'right the ship' anyway I knew how, but it just wasn't getting the job done. Finally, when I was all but defeated with no hope in sight for my fledgling business, I picked up this book.

It was clear from the first few pages that the author, Michael Gerber, was all too familiar with my predicament; and it was equally clear that he knew exactly what I needed to do to get myself out of the hole I was in.

After describing my situation to a "T", Gerber went on to explain that the basis of the problems I was experiencing wasn't unique at all. Indeed, the mistakes I was making were classic ones. Every other new entrepreneur was going through the same thing I was.

The lessons I took from this book led me to revolutionize the way I was doing business. It literally affected everything. Most importantly, I came to understand business as a craft that needed to be learned and practiced.

Gerber uses the analogy of trying to play tennis against a pro when you've personally never picked up a tennis racquet.

Obviously, it's not going to end well for you.

But if you recognize that tennis is a craft that must be learned and practiced, and you can recognize that there is a way of doing it correctly, suddenly you become much more agreeable to learning the necessary skills.