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The 8 Best Business Books You’ve Never Heard Of

Need great business books recommendations? You’ve probably already read Good to Great, The Four Hour Workweek, and Zero to One… But a lot of times, to get ahead in life, you have to read the books that people aren’t reading.

Don’t get me wrong — those are great books! But everyone’s already read ‘em.

Pick up one of these business books, and get ahead.



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Best Business Books You’ve Never Heard Of #1: Million Dollar Consulting by Alan Weiss

Fun fact: My college girlfriend’s rich dad gave me this book because I wanted to get rich, too.

He said read it, and you’ll be rich.

Good advice 🙂

Check out my first podcast interview with Alan Weiss here and my second podcast interview with him here.

What This Book Will Teach You

How you can build a million-dollar 1-person business with the skills you already have.

My Biggest Takeaways

#1: Value-Based Pricing
Think about how much money you’re making for your client, and base your prices on that. Don’t charge by the number of hours you work.

The value you bring to your client is (and should be) more than what an hourly rate will reflect.

#2: Be Honest with Clients and Customers
Has a salesperson ever told you, hey, maybe this product isn’t the right fit for you? If they have, you probably trust them a lot more for it!

Consider what the client actually needs, not just what they want and they’ll be more likely to buy from you. Because they’ll trust you more.


Get Million Dollar Consulting Here



Best Business Books You’ve Never Heard Of #2: Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes

This is a book I tell everyone to read — it’s got a lot of meaty nuggets. It’s one of the core best business books for entrepreneurs out there.

What This Book Will Teach You

How to get more customers for your business.

My Biggest Takeaways

#1: Education > Direct Sell
Think of sales as an education process rather than just selling someone something. Take the time to listen to people’s needs, and educate them on whether or not your product is a good fit for them. Instead of just trying a hard sell approach every time.

You can even do this right through your marketing.

A lot of marketing today is YouTube videos, ebooks, or free tools, and you can educate people through those materials, which will hopefully make them like you, and then they’ll be more likely to buy your product.

#2: Make a Dream 100 List
A lot of people want to get a bunch of customers and spend a ton of money on ads and try out a bunch of fancy marketing methods… But what if you scale it back and focus on the quality of your customers, rather than quantity.

So make a list of your top 100 customers.

And make them the next 100 customers you target your marketing efforts towards.

Instead of building another landing page or trying out a bunch of other irrelevant marketing methods, just go after those 100 customers directly. That will get you closer to your goal than a bunch of random marketing strategies that don’t really bring in your ideal customers anyways.

#3: Follow Up
This is a super important thing to me and one of the most important things I look for when I hire people, but always follow up.

I get a ton of requests from people — hey, can I blog for you? Can you do this for me? — and I often just delete it to see who’s really going to put the effort in and follow up.

Guess what? Almost 99% of people never follow up.

But I bet that the 1% of people who do follow up are the people out there getting what they want out of life. So be the person who follows up, and you might just get what you want.


Get Ultimate Sales Machine Here



Best Business Books You’ve Never Heard Of #3: Maverick by Ricardo Semler

When I started my own entrepreneurial journey, this was the book that inspired how I run and lead companies.

See my full book report on Maverick here.

What This Book Will Teach You

How to hire great people and let them run the business for you.

My Biggest Takeaways

#1: Treat Your Employees Like the Adults They Are
If you run a team, don’t be one of those people who micromanages everything their staff does.

You hired these people for a reason. Most people want to be good employees and do good work, and the more that people are treated like competent adults, the better work they’ll do for your business!

Hire them. Pay them well. Let them do what they want. And let them do what they’re good at.

Get out of their way so you can go focus your time and energy on the stuff you need to do.

After all — that’s what you hired them for, isn’t it?



#2: Employee Freedom
This might seem a little more obvious now that a lot of us are working more remotely, but Semler was championing this over 20 years ago — let people work when they want.

None of this “how many hours should I work in a week?”

Let your employees work when they need to and for how long they need to get their jobs done well. And your business will be more successful for it!

This comes down to, again, trusting the people that you’ve hired.


Get Maverick Here



Best Business Books You’ve Never Heard Of #4: Work Rules by Laszlo Bock

This book is a real-life look at how Google hires their employees — and it has some great takeaways for all businesses.

I wrote a full book report about everything that stood out to me — find it here.

What This Book Will Teach You

How to run your business better.

My Biggest Takeaways

#1: Iterate Recruitment Processes
People make all the difference in any business, so how you actually recruit your people makes a big difference too.

This business book talks about having “Recruiting KPIs” like what percent of your talent comes from referrals? (We’re big on this at AppSumo — in fact, we’re offering bonuses for referring engineers right now)

#2: Listen and Share Information
Be an open book and share how decisions are made within the business.

This helps people feel excited and appreciated within the business.


Get Work Rules Here



Best Business Books You’ve Never Heard Of #5: The Score Will Take Care of Itself by Bill Walsh

This is a memoir on leadership and success from the San Francisco 49ers coach. He transformed them from one of the worst-performing teams to one of the best.

What This Book Will Teach You

How to be a better leader.

My Biggest Takeaways

#1: Keep Your Desk Clean
Super simple, but suuuper effective.

This isn’t just about being really organized, though. It’s about controlling the things you can control, so you can minimize the impacts of the things you can’t.

In your own business, no matter what size you’re at, think about the proactive measures (or leading indicators) you can actually be in charge of like:

  • How many blog posts you publish
  • How many videos you post
  • How many sales emails you send
  • How many outreach calls you make

Those are all different inputs you have control over, and the better you do at them can help minimize any damage from things you can’t control.

Think of it this way: You can’t control the weather. But you can control how you dress for it.


Get The Score Will Take Care of Itself Here



Best Business Books You’ve Never Heard Of #6: The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham

What This Book Will Teach You

How to make long-term strategic decisions.

My Biggest Takeaways

#1: Thinking Time
Carve out time daily or weekly to just think.

I know that’s something I don’t do enough, and that’s probably true for a lot of people too.

As you’re doing your thinking time, consider the actual questions that will give you the right answers. The more you think ahead on things, the better you can plan and minimize risks and mistakes.

Here are 5 tips Cunningham shares to make thinking time more valuable:

  • Find the unasked question (formulate a question that demands clarity)
  • Separate the problem from the symptom (what’s really blocking my progress?)
  • Check assumptions (is it a fact or am I creating a story?)
  • Consider 2nd-order consequences (figure out the risks and the costs of being wrong)
  • Create the machine (create the plan, and identify the resources you need to solve the problem)

#2: Create Health Dashboards
Health dashboards help you check in on the health of your business. This gives you a quick picture of where your business is at in any given moment so you can stay the course or shift directions if needed.

The way Cunningham frames it is if you’re riding a tricycle, you don’t need a dashboard — you’re just riding a simple tricycle! But if you’re driving a car, you need a dashboard with more dials and gauges and information. And if you’re in a plane, you need a massive dashboard! And if you have a jet, you have an even bigger ass dashboard!!

Depending on the size and scale of your business, your dashboard will change.

You don’t need to track everything, but as your business gets more complex, you need to measure the things that have the biggest impact on your business.

#3: Instill Accountability
How does your business create accountability towards outcomes?

At Appsumo, we have a bunch of different teams (marketing, HR, finance, sales, etc.) and we’ve established clear outcomes that each team owns.

It’s basically like having a north star.

Defining this desired outcome keeps everyone accountable for their work and makes it clear what the metrics of success are for the whole team.


Get The Road Less Stupid Here



Best Business Books You’ve Never Heard Of #7: Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish

There’s almost no material out there for businesses that are already successful, but this book fills that gap.

So if your side hustle is doing really well and you want to scale it to the $1 million or $10 million or $100 million mark, this book is for you.

What This Book Will Teach You

Advanced business tactics to scale your company.

My Biggest Takeaways

#1: Remind Yourself of Your Vision and Goals
Be annoying about your key things:

  • What is your goal?
  • What is your strategy?
  • What is your vision?
  • What is your mission?

Whatever is really important to your business, be a broken record about it! Make sure everybody knows.

When the goal is clear, people will know what they’re working towards.


Get Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Here



Best Business Books You’ve Never Heard Of #8: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Creativity isn’t exclusive — everyone can be creative. Even as an entrepreneur.

What This Book Will Teach You

How to think outside the box.

My Biggest Takeaways

#1: Morning Pages
Literally, write in a journal every morning.

It’s that simple.

Each morning just wake up, and first thing, crush out 3 pages.

That’s it.

The only rule is that it has to be 3 pages and you have to consistently do it every morning.

I’ve been doing it for most of the last year, and the whole point of it is that it helps you make better decisions.

It takes a lot of crap off your mind so you can be more focused and think more clearly. It also helps me reflect and be more appreciative.

Journaling isn’t a new concept, but having no rules on what to write about and knowing that I need to write 3 pages every morning whether I want to or not, has kept me consistent.

#2: Artist Date
I have to be honest, I haven’t done this yet.

It’s been on my to-do list for months.

But basically what you do is take yourself on a “date” once a week or once a month to do something new by yourself.

The point of the Artist Date is to get you in your creative zone so you can dive more deeply into it.


Get The Artist’s Way Here



Have you read these books?

All of these books combined are about $100… And the return on investment is way greater.

Like thousands of dollars greater. Maybe even millions.

So picking up one of these business books could be one of the best things you do to improve your life or your business — and it’s not going to put you out a ton of money either.

If you’ve read one of these books, let me know in the comments down below! Or let me know which one you’re excited to pick up next.


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4 responses to “The 8 Best Business Books You’ve Never Heard Of”

June 8, 2023 at 8:58 am

Thank you for sharing , It was very good advice

May 17, 2023 at 4:40 pm

great book: the artist way, is the only one I did read from the ones above!

John Anderson
January 21, 2022 at 2:07 am

Great books. Maybe I will buy all this best business books that you send so that I have to read to get idea on how to run my business

January 19, 2022 at 6:05 pm

Great article!

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