Five business books you need to read

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Whatever my interest or life stage, there’s a library of books to go with it sitting on my shelf. And business is no different; after all, knowledge is power and it’s also confidence. For me, extracting what I want from a book is a very active thing so I scribble over them, fold pages back and fill them up with helpful Post-it notes. I also frequently buy books for other people – my business partner Holly and I give each other a lot of books as a way of sharing ideas. I’ve read about 30 work-related books since starting notonthehigh in 2006 and can use some as a reference for up to a year. Here are my current top five:

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

I’ve just finished reading this book by Hsieh, who grew his first company to $265million in two years and his second to $1.2billion in 10 years. The opening chapter alone is worth a read thanks to the charming account of his very first venture – a childhood worm factory.

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

When I was starting up, this is the book I turned to for a mature point of view on the e-commerce eco-system I was about to depend upon. Subtitled ‘How endless choice is creating unlimited demand’, this certainly offers that. It inspired me then and still does.

ReWork by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Only published last year this book was too late to help me launch but is great if you’re at a fledgling stage of business. It’s a little controversial, (advice like ‘Meetings are toxic’ is clearly impractical) but I find it brilliant just the same. A quick read, too.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Simply unputdownable. I was left gaping in amazement at the mixture of luck, timing, judgment and dedication that brought the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and even The Beatles to such pinnacles of success.

Never Mind The Sizzle, Where’s The Sausage? by David J Taylor

This is a down-to-earth education on nurturing and protecting your brand. Helpful because building a brand is like learning to ride a bicycle. Absurdly difficult, until you find yourself doing it.

Sophie is MD of Contact Sophie on or via Twitter @SophieVCornish.