Recommended Books to Transform Your Business & Life

By Kevin on July 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

I received an email from James last week who shared how much he got from reading my book We, and he asked what other books I’d recommend. I’ve never really done a book list before partly, because it’s so hard to narrow them down (I read 50-100 books every year), but also because I don’t want to just repeat the same list of best sellers everyone already knows about. But this is a question I get asked regularly, so I figure I’ll share this list and update it as new thoughts occur to me.

For your summer reading pleasure (not in rank order!):

  1. What Got Your Here Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith — you can hire the world’s best executive coach for $50,000 or spend $20 and get this book.
  2. Managing the Professional Service Firm, David Maister — If your business basically sells hours/time, read this book.
  3. Positioning, Al Ries and Jack Trout — Timeless marketing classic, as relevant today as ever.
  4. The E-Myth, Michael Gerber — You should be working ON your business not IN your business.
  5. Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Verne Harnish — The consultant whose ideas have literally made me millions.
  6. Selling the Dream, Guy Kawasaki — more relevant today than when it was first published…don’t think marketing think evangelism.
  7. High Output Management, Andrew Grove — Transformed my approach to marketing (and time), very under-appreciated book.
  8. The Ultimate Sales Machine, Chet Holmes–Reinvent your sales approach…dream 100 list, stadium pitch, great stuff.
  9. The Wizard of Ads, Roy Williams–Read all his books, they’ll change the way you write promotional copy.
  10. The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman — The primer on globalism, which is effecting everybody.
  11. Strategy, B.H. Liddell Hart — everyone reads The Art of War, but this teaches the power of deception and the “indirect approach” with cases from modern, western military campaigns
  12. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand — Yep, Atlas Shrugged is considered her must-read but I prefer The Fountainhead
  13. The Green Banana Papers, Chris Coleman — obscure, hard-to-find book of technology marketing wisdom; shaped my belief about building awareness and trust before the buyer is ready to buy (i.e., when the bananas are still green)
  14. Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill–yes, thoughts are things.
  15. The Cluetrain Manifesto, Rick Levine et al.–Published in 2000, rightly described the world we live in today where the network, the community, the tribe is all important.
  16. Built to Last, Collins & Porras — The book that gave us “Big, Hairy Audacious Goals” and so much more.
  17. Good to Great, Jim Collins — I know, I know, it’s on everybody’s list, but that’s because it should be.

For personal development try:

  1. Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl
  2. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers
  3. Peace is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh
  4. The Art of Living, Epictetus
  5. Letters from a Stoic, Seneca

For pure entertainment reading, in recent years’ vacations I’ve enjoyed thrillers from Joseph Finder and mysteries from Walter Mosley.

So what am I missing? What do YOU recommend?


Kevin Kruse is a NY Times bestselling author and keynote speaker. Get more success and tips from his newsletter at and check out keynote video clips. His new book, Employee Engagement 2.0, teaches managers how to turn apathetic groups into emotionally committed teams.

About the Author

KevinView all posts by Kevin

Copyright ©2024 Kevin Kruse · All Rights Reserved