May’s reading list: top 10 personal development business books 

May McGarva's top 10 business books

“Education is the foundation for growth.”

This is a quote by Tim Morris, a young Australian entrepreneur from The Entourage Education Group, a successful Australian business known for inspiring other business owners.

As Australians we’re blessed to have the opportunity to go out and get a great education. However, in my experience, school or university training often does not adequately prepare managers, business owners and budding entrepreneurs for the challenges that come with building a business or leading a team. We learn the lessons we need to learn through time and experience at the school of hard knocks.

The RBA has identified that a lack of business education is one of the greatest risks to small business in Australia. While time and the school of hard knocks is an invaluable teacher for any business owner, taking the time to add to your education with books, articles, blogs and resources that are cheaply and easily available can give you an added boost.

The RBA has identified that a lack of business education is one of the greatest risks to small business in Australia.

There is so much information and inspiration out there about how to run a business or be an entrepreneur, it can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Over a number of years I have collected some amazing business and personal development books, which have helped me personally. I’ve sifted through the Atticus library and selected what I consider to be some of the best of the best to get you started.

1. The 4-hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

This is often described as a life-changing book for those who are seeking to escape the rat race and build a business that you control rather than the other way around.

2. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

It’s easy to almost mistake this little book for a simplistic children’s story, however it’s a lovely light hearted read, with some deep thought provoking messages on how to deal with change. A good one for teenagers and younger team members to read as well.

3. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

In this book Cal talks about the concept of deep work which is the “ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task”. He blasts the idea that multitasking leads to efficiency and reveals it’s actually unhealthy for our brain. Cal shares some practical tips on how to develop true focus so you can “produce better results in less time”.

I believe this is a must read – with the technology and BOT revolution upon us, the ability of a human to undertake work using highly developed cognitive skills adds incredible value. Bringing the human element to your business is the only way to technology-proof a career.

4. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

“If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.”  

Despite being first published in 1936 and revised in 1981, many of the powerful quotes and concepts still ring true in our modern world.

5. Good to Great by Jim Collins

Published in 2001 after Jim and his team conducted extensive research into various companies, this book talks about the characteristics of businesses that make the leap from good…to great.

6. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

This is on my list of books to read in 2017. Seth is an absolute genius when it comes to breaking down concepts and making them seem easy! Also check out Seth’s blog – one of the most popular in the world.

7. Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

Tony is often described as a leading personal development mentor dedicated to helping people achieve success in their life. Awaken the Giant Within takes the reader on a journey of discovering and taking control over your physical, emotional and financial destiny.

8. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

This is also often described as a life-changing book. It’s a heavy read (and a bit on the alternative side!) but challenges the reader to radically shift their thinking to understand the importance of the now and being present in the moment.

9. Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent by Sidney Finkelstein

This is also in the Atticus library ready for me to read in 2017. I was inspired to buy this book when I listened to a podcast with Professor Finkelstein where he talked about the characteristics of great leaders – people he coined as Superbosses.

If you are looking for a book to help build personal and leadership skills and inspire your team this should be on your list.

10. Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Simon is the master of breaking things down and opening your eyes to an entirely different perspective. Simon’s book delves deeply into the concept of ‘why’ – and how truly knowing why you do what you do can inspire those around you to follow you.

Check out Simon’s TED talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action, which is the third most popular TED talk of all time. This will give you an 18-minute insight into Simon’s brilliance and easy to understand way of explaining things.

And finally because I couldn’t just decide on 10…no list would be complete without including:

11. Stephen Covey’s classic – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This is was a game changer for me and I admit (a little sheepishly) that while I can’t remember the specific details of any of the 7 habits, the concepts have stayed with me for many years. It was my first teacher of time management skills and helped me to be focused and deliberate, yet compassionate and open. This is a consistent best seller as the habits that Covey describes are relatable in both personal and professional life.

What’s been your favourite read? Do you have a book that has changed your world? Or perhaps one you feel we should read? We are always open to new learnings so feel free to get in touch!

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