3 books we like for business owners

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What are you going to read (or listen to) next? If you own a business and you have not read these three books, we highly recommend each one. Whether you want to form new habits, create systems in your business, or preserve what’s meaningful to you, you can find answers in these books.

1. Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits James Clear

James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, shares practical strategies in his book Atomic Habits that can be of particular interest to business owners, leaders, and entrepreneurs as you strive for success. Through his framework of the Four Laws of Behavior Change, Clear teaches how to form good habits and break bad ones as he draws from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand system. 

Comparing 1% improvement to compound interest, he demonstrates how tiny behavior changes can create exponential results, “If you can improve 1% each day for one year, you will be 37 times better at the end of the year.” By offering relatable life examples, Clear teaches that you will not gain results you want when you focus on the goal. Rather, he encourages that you focus on creating a system to support you:

“The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game. True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking. It’s not about any single accomplishment. It is about the cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement.”

James Clear

When shifting your focus to the system you follow, you set yourself up for success. While your goal may be to build a $10,000,000 business, no single action will likely make that happen. You may make 11 sales calls in a day that may not show any notable or noticeable change in revenue. But, focus on the habit of making the calls each day, and over time the results catch up and surpass your expectations. As Clear explains through the concept of crossing the “plateau of latent potential,” too often entrepreneurs give up too soon because they believe the action taken and results should be linear, when they actually are delayed. 

When you practice a regular routine that is not only small and easy to do but is also the source of incredible power; you are practicing atomic habits. James Clear’s powerful book will help you create the good habits you want to reach the next level of success in your life.

2. Traction by Gino Wickman

Traction book cover

Traction is essential reading for any business owner, regardless of industry. The book contains all of the tools needed to implement the patented Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a program for company leadership to overcome common business challenges and get to the next level. Many business owners suffer from the same frustrations – lack of time and control, frustration with people, lower-than-desired profits, stagnant growth, and a feeling of spinning wheels. The EOS is a proven system to tackle these common issues. 

What sets this business management book apart from others is that it lays out a plan of action and provides tools to help leaders make critical decisions and implement changes. Grasping the potential that EOS has to transform your business and following through with implementation requires that you read this book several times.

First, read it quickly to get an idea of the overall method and to assess whether your company is ready to embark on this kind of transformation. Some companies have work to do before they can embark on the Traction program. Next, read it slowly to take in the details and invite your management team to do the same. Finally, read it a third time as you work through the program. 

Companies that have completed the process, whether independently or with the help of a Traction-trained coach, report that it has transformed their business. Imagine where you could take your company in the next year if you are willing to adhere to this powerful program! It all starts with reading the book.

3. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Atul Gawande’s 2014 book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End is a must read for anyone who is coping with aging parents or contemplating their own aging. While this is not a business book, we know that many midlife business owners face the reality of their parents’ mortality or question their own.

The book provides not only practical advice but also a valuable perspective on issues for which most of us are ill-prepared. Dr. Gawande provides a thought-provoking exploration of the tension between generations as elders seek to retain their independence while their children focus on ensuring that they are safe, and what this means for the well-being of both. The concept of well-being, and what it means to make the most of our final years, is explored in practical and philosophical terms.

The topic of aging has the potential to be bleak, but by approaching the subject through personal histories of physical and cognitive decline, the book provides insights into our humanity that are instructive and even empowering. The intention is to help others “end their stories on their own terms” and provoke thoughts about what gives each of us meaning in our lives and how to preserve that until the end.

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