Looking for books that will help sharpen your business mind and provide inspiration? Check out our list of recommended reads.
Like professional athletes, who work hard to keep their bodies in top shape, small business owners must also work hard to keep their brains in top shape. Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, once compared the human brain to a saw, saying we need to continually sharpen the saw in order to get the best performance day after day.
How, then, do you sharpen your metaphorical saw?
We at CleanTelligent pride ourselves in keeping our brains sharp through reading. There are thousands of great books that can help you start a business, set and achieve goals, promote your products and services, manage your finances and so much more.
We asked CleanTelligent’s vice president, director of customer experience, and director of marketing to share their top picks for books that they’ve found useful and inspiring as leaders — books that could serve useful to you as well. Here is what they came up with:
Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman
Multipliers is a popular pick among CleanTelligent’s executives. Falling into the leadership training and development category, this book is a must-read for business leaders, managers and world leaders alike. Caden Hutchens, CleanTelligent’s vice president, counts Multipliers as one of his favorite business books because it made him examine his influence on others.
“I can’t change other people’s behavior, but I can change mine,” Caden said. “As a leader, I strive to be a ‘multiplier’ and not a ‘diminisher.’ I strive to inspire my team to do their best.”
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
A well-known bestseller, The 7 Habits offers principle-based, practical solutions to personal and professional problems. Habits include “begin with the end in mind” and the aforementioned “sharpen the saw.” Filled with examples and anecdotes, it is a powerful yet relatable book.
The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
A year ago, Caden asked CleanTelligent’s managers and sales team to read this classic motivational tome by one of the world’s first business coaches. The Magic of Thinking Big posits that success in business or anything else begins in your mind. Think big, aim high and work hard to achieve your goals, Dr. David Schwartz said. Persistence pays off and often trumps intellect or talent.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Of this human relations and self-help classic, Bradley York, CleanTelligent’s director of marketing, said: “I first read this book when I was 20 years old and it has had a profound impact on the way I have dealt with people since then. Whether you’re looking to improve your relationships with customers, co-workers, or even members of your own family, How to Win Friends and Influence People has strategies to help you.”
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull
This book by the president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios is a favorite of Courtland Driggs, CleanTelligent’s director of customer experience (and a writer/filmmaker). Creativity, Inc. is a reflection on the lessons Ed Catmull has learned while trying to make Pixar a company that does everything it can to get out of creativity’s way.
Courtland said, “One of the lessons that stood out most to me was the importance of building a culture that is excessively open to honest feedback from all levels of employees. In business, we work hard to hire smart and talented people, but often times overlook their opinion just because it’s not coming from the top.”
A Passion for Excellence by Tom Peters and Nancy Austin
Bradley first read this collection of business success stories in one of his marketing classes in college. “Although some of the examples in the book are dated (it was first published in 1985), there’s a lot to learn about leadership, innovation, integrity and many other aspects of running a business.”
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
This biography of the late Apple CEO tells fascinating stories and is, according to Bradley, “a master class in business and marketing.” Jobs was a polarizing leader — many said he was difficult to work with — yet his creativity and determination truly changed the world.
Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg
Why do we do what we do? And why do some do it better than others? Courtland liked this book because it explains how individuals’ world views and choices affect their productivity as well as the productivity of teams.
“For me,” Courtland said, “Smarter, Faster, Better has been an invaluable resource in providing a framework for measuring where I stand with my own productivity and understanding the principles I can apply to both personal and work life to get more out of everything I do.”
Running or managing a cleaning business is no easy feat. Make sure to take advantage of all of the resources that are designed to help you be successful. Keep reading, keep learning; molding yourself and your business isn’t as hard as it sounds when you build off the experiences of others.
We hope these books will help guide you in the right direction and introduce you to a small portion of the wealth of knowledge out there from those who have gone before you. Happy reading!