5 Essential Books That Will Change How You Do Business


I consistently break my bedtime. This is a routine I’ve had since I was old enough to read. Shortly after my parents put me to bed, I would get out my flashlight and newest book and feverishly read as many chapters as I could until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I still stay up later than I should reading, but if the material improves me in some way, then I consider it time well-spent.

While we don’t have an established SAGE Book Club (yet), the avid readers on our team pulled together their book recommendations for everyone looking to achieve new levels of productivity, create better habits, perfect networking and communication skills, and improve your overall business skills.

1. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

“Why?” It seems like such a simple question. Most of us can easily explain what we do and how we do business, but finding the root cause of why we do something requires a lot of introspection. In “Start With Why,” Simon Sinek takes a look at some of the most inspiring leaders in history, giving a fresh perspective on why they set out to achieve their goals and how remaining committed to their “why,” or their purpose, led them to success. Discovering your why can lead you and your business in a more solid direction with more clarity than ever before.

If you’re ready to delve into finding your purpose right now, Sinek is a compelling speaker too. He presented his formula for success in a TED Talk that has amassed nearly 30 million views now.

2. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

When Tony Dungy became the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996, he didn’t set out to make his players faster through more physical drills. He found success through the power of habit. By changing players’ automatic reactions to events on the field, he reduced the amount of time they spent making decisions and taught them to react faster through better mental habits.  “Champions don’t do extraordinary things,” Dungy said. “They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.”

In “The Power of Habit,” Charles Duhigg looks at why we form habits in the first place and shares the secret recipe for transforming habits – a recipe followed by both Fortune 100 companies and Olympic athletes. Duhigg examines personal habits, the habits of successful companies and organizations, and the habits of societies as a whole. His road map to success includes implementing what he calls “keystone habits,” that can put us on a better path for our businesses and our lives.

3. What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam

We’ve all read the list of tips we “should” do in the morning; i.e. run a half-marathon, drink green juice, and always get up before the sun. But, we’re real people and establishing a good morning routine and sticking with it isn’t always easy. In “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast,” Laura Vanderkam captures stories from real people in a range of professions on how they make the most of their mornings. It’s an inspiring, feel-good read, which if you ask us, is much more encouraging than a burdensome list of tips only true morning machines could accomplish.

4. The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships,” author Stephen Covey writes in “The Speed of Trust.” By understanding how trust factors into business relationships, we can unlock a higher level of performance. Covey explains how to establish trust through our behaviors and visualize it like a ripple effect that flows from the inside of yourself, your business, and to your clients.

5. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Having a difficult time making friends at school, a then 15-year-old Warren Buffett borrowed a copy of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends & Influence People.” Now one of the most successful investors and businessmen on Earth, Buffett still praises Carnegie’s life-changing advice. “How to Win Friends & Influence People” has been a enduring favorite of readers since it was first published in 1936 with its timeless techniques. Carnegie illustrates how to become an elite communicator in the business world and lays out strategies for building interpersonal skills that win people over.

What other books have you found inspiring? Let’s get a conversation started on our Facebook!


ESPN: On Tony Dungy Changing Player Habits
Forbes: Stephen Covey: 10 Quotes That Can Change Your Life
Business Insider: 12 timeless lessons from one of Warren Buffett’s favorite books, ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’

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