Reading is one of the activities that has an outsized reward. You can spend hours or months searching and figuring something out, and a nugget from a small book could shape your path. Books are effectively distilled wisdom, and it's habit well worth developing, and one that needs constant cultivation.
I've come across some great books in recent years, and I thought I'd detail the business books that I found have helped shape my thinking and had some direct positive impact on my work.
This is the story of Nike. It's a super interesting story about the origins of not only one of the most successful fashion brands in generations, but also about the forming of a new culture. When Nike was founded, wearing sneakers as casual shoes wasn't even close to a thing - Nike set this trend.
A classic for anyone wanting to start a company. You can read through, take what you want and apply immediately, or you can treat it as a course and work through it with ultra-diligence. Either way, I think anyone would be better offstarting a company with reading this book.
Elon Musk (biography)
It's no secret I am a huge fan of Elon, he is one of the few true visionaries left in the world. First, he changed online finance through PayPal. He then had his exit and decided to bet it all on something he cared about: sustainable energy and space flight. He single-handedly (with the help of an amazing team) ushered in the electric vehicle era - make no mistake, if it wasn't for Tesla no other car manufacturer would be making electric cars now. He then re-invented space flight, primarily now through re-usable rockets. This was fantasy before SpaceX actually did it. This is a hugely inspiring story and book, showing you that you could always dream a little larger.
Written by one of the greats Peter Thiel, who is also of PayPal fame, this book succinctly describes the different types of innovations and how to judge any inflection points. Good read for high-level strategic insight and goal setting.
This is not a business book, but has absolutely actionable advice for the running of a business, as well as the running of your life. My favourite book ever, and the one I have gifted the most times.
A good book written about focusing on what matters, and then doing that with purpose. Drills into you the importance of finding out what moves the needle with your goal in mind.
Another great author of a16z fame, Andreessen describes the challenges businesses face in their journey, the tough decisions he has made during his career, and give actionable insight into building a better company and weathering the storms.
My current go-to on how to build a good business from a value and structure standpoint. Quick read that will materially change your business for the better. The impetus from my current view on the importance of a company and how it relates to the individual.
A book that is about yourself and how much you are leaving on the table in day to day life. I love this book, and would recommend it for building a business, because there are going to be many days where you want to give up and pack it in. David Goggins is the king of mental toughness and this book will get you closer to that goal.
Another fiction book although based on a true story, Mushashi details the journey of one of the greatest samurais of all time. This journey really details the growth of the individual, the understanding of what mastery actually means and takes the reader through all of the challenges along that path. This book directly inspired Mastery and how I view a company.
One of the marketing greats, Simon Sinek helps the reader understand why some companies absolutely crush it while others languish. Amazing read for understanding the importance of the Why in business, and how this is the only reason people buy from you.
My advice - read as much and as broadly as you can. Hopefully this list adds one or two books to your library.