Reading Books: The Not New Secret to Improving Self and Business

Most successful business owners find time to learn new ideas and generate new and expanding perspectives. How do they do it? How do they take time from running their business to learn new things?

Below are strategies and resources that can help you find the time in your business leading life for reading and growth.

First, here are some simple strategies:

1)  Start simple – pick either the beginning of your day, the middle or the end. Carve out 5-10 mins to read a strategically selected book that focuses on your metal, physical or emotional growth. If you are already reading well, start with 15-30 mins. (I started at 10 mins and now I make time for two 30-minute sessions a day)

2)  Make it a priority – Place it on your calendar for a period to make sure you don’t schedule an appointment or task during that time period that you should be reading. Adjust your schedule to accommodate your priority with actions like, waking up earlier or less screen time on social media.

3)  Identify your need – Think of an area in your life (a weakness or a strength) you want to improve and adjust positively. It could be time management, money management, emotional intelligence, or organization. The important thing is to focus on something that you know is a weak area for you and that you want to improve. You will be more motivated to hear and absorb the message in your reading and to directly apply it to your life in some way if you know there will be positive results in the end.

4) Take Notes – Your first action is to document what you are learning. We are not talking about perfectly outlined documentation on perfectly college ruled paper. You can take your notes in the books themselves or in a notebook. These notes are great for a quick reference when you want to go back and remember specific ideas or strategies that piqued your interest. Taking notes also allows your brain to store the information in two ways for stronger memory recollection and sub-conscious application.

Secondly, here are some books to begin your new reading journey that I recommend:

1)  Managing Oneself – Peter Drucker, Harvard Business Press; 1 edition (January 7, 2008) – The is a very quick read in a great format. This book has great information given in a logical progression and really is a great starter for analyzing how you learn and how you organize and think about your priorities.  Communication skills, Business Management, Reference (Books)

2)  Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown, Currency; 1 edition (April 15, 2014) – This is a fantastic book that talks about truly identifying the key items in our lives that need our focus. This book can open a whole new world for you and changes the way you think about how you spend your minutes each day. Decision-Making & Problem Solving, Business Decision Making, Time Management.

3) The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy, Vanguard Press; Csm edition (October 2, 2012) - This book is another quick read with powerful application lessons that can be implemented immediately. If you are looking to build momentum quickly within yourself and your business this is a great resource. Business Mentoring & Coaching, Business Management, Motivational Management & Leadership.

4) The Gifts of Imperfection, Let go of Who you Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are – Brene` Brown, Hazelden Publishing; 1 edition (August 27, 2010)Brown is a great writer that combines knowledge, science, humor and life application strategies into a book that can help heal your heart and soul. It is hard to accomplish our goals if we are constantly fighting the demons of our past. This book will help you on your journey of realizing that you are worthy being and you deserve to be loved. You can’t help but become more emotionally mature by the end of this book. Spiritual Self-Help, Creativity, Self-Esteem.

Others recommend:

1)  How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie, Pocket Books (October 1, 1998).

2)  The 4-Hour Work Week – Timothy Ferris, Harmony; Expanded, Updated edition (December 15, 2009). Budgeting & Money Management, Job Hunting & Career Guides, Time Management.

3)  The Trillion Dollar Coach – Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg, HarperBusiness (April 16, 2019). Business Mentoring & Coaching.

4)  Company of One – Paul Jarvis, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (January 15, 2019). Home Based Small Businesses, Job Hunting & Career Guides, Venture Capital.

5)  Principles: Life and Work – Ray Dalio, Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (September 19, 2017). Business & Organizational Learning, Decision Making & Problem Solving, Business Decision Making.

6)  The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less – Richard Koch, Currency; Reprint edition (October 19, 1999). Systems & Planning, Personal Time Management, Time Management.

7)  Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action – Simon Sinek, Portfolio; Reprint edition (December 27, 2011). Computers & Technology, Entrepreneurship, Business Leadership.

8) The Alchemist – Paul Coelho, HarperOne; Anniversary edition (April 15, 2014). Literary Fiction, Religion & Spirituality, Reference.


No matter what book you pick, you will be opening yourself up to new ideas and new ways of thinking about yourself or the business you are running. That exercise alone should prompt action at some point. It is always much easier to steer a ship that is already moving. Happy reading!

We would love to hear what other books you recommend. Please fill free to leave recommendations in the comments!