7 Must-Read Business Books Recommended by Executives

February 26, 2019

By Justin Biel(opens in new tab), trends editor at Grow Wire

Building your business requires a dynamic skill set. And no matter how successful you become, there is always more to learn(opens in new tab). Executives rely heavily on reading(opens in new tab) to both expand their know-how and find solutions to complex problems. 

These book recommendations from business leaders have the power to expand your mind and change your business. Spanning topics like negotiations, advertising, leadership, personal growth and goal setting, they comprise a must-read list for anyone who is serious about taking their business to the next level.    

1. "Turn the Ship Around!(opens in new tab)" by David Marquet

Recommended by Kevin O’Brien, CTO at Kiva(opens in new tab) 

“This book is about Commander Marquet's time improving training and operations on a submarine. He instituted a process for everyone to announce their intention to do an action before actually doing it, which gave others the chance to identify when someone was going to take an incorrect action before it happened. The book also promotes a ‘leader-leader’ mentality, whereby we ask everyone to take action themselves and lead others rather than blindly waiting for orders from above.” 


2. “Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive(opens in new tab)” by Harvey Mackay

Recommended by Brandon Steiner, founder of Steiner Sports(opens in new tab)

“This book … was the initiator for taking my business skills to a new level, like understanding how to build relationships or getting my foot in the door of a client or person I wanted to meet. This book had many simple principles on how to grow as a businessperson.”


3. “Tyler Florence Fresh(opens in new tab)” by Tyler Florence

Recommended by Jonathan Rollo, owner and “commander in leaf” of Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop(opens in new tab)

“After reading ‘Fresh’ and the National Geographic Science issue(opens in new tab) last year called ‘Sugar’s Powerful Pull,’ I have moved my company completely away from the using added sugar, sodas, syrups and anything using refined sugar … Restaurants are a major contributing factor to why Americans eat so much sugar, so I have challenged us to do our part in turning the other direction.”

4. "The Secret(opens in new tab)" by Rhonda Byrne

Recommended by Anine Bing, founder and chief creative officer at Anine Bing(opens in new tab)

“Since I was a little kid I've believed in manifestation, and this book confirmed that for me. This book encourages readers to write down their goals and always work towards them. 'The Secret' helped me with personal growth, which inherently translated over into my professional life. Perseverance and a positive mindset can take you very far in life.”


5. “Never Split the Difference(opens in new tab)" by Chris Voss*

Recommended by Lindsay Ratowsky, co-founder and COO of Esther Perel Global Media(opens in new tab)

“We negotiate all day every day, whether it’s with your boss about a well-deserved raise, a contractor about what’s included in a scope of work or your toddler to convince them to eat broccoli. Voss lays out a basic understanding of human psychology and specific strategies to get the outcomes you’re looking for.” 

*Note: Both Lindsay Ratowsky (above) and Kalika Yap (below) recommended “Never Split the Difference” as their No. 1 pick. We featured Yap’s second recommendation to round out your bookshelf.

6. “What Every Body Is Saying(opens in new tab)” by Joe Navarro

Recommended by Kalika Yap(opens in new tab), serial entrepreneur and CEO of Citrus Studios(opens in new tab)

"As an entrepreneur, one of the best skills you can master is negotiation, whether it’s with a vendor or supplier or your employees--you’ll get what you want without settling. A close cousin skill to negotiation is understanding nonverbal communication.”


7. “Ogilvy on Advertising(opens in new tab)” by David Ogilvy

Recommended by Christopher Lochhead(opens in new tab), serial entrepreneur and host of the “Follow Your Different(opens in new tab)” podcast


“This book is amazing because it is a both a marketer’s Bible and a case study in how to be a badass, straight-talking legend.”

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