chestnut book blog

Read. Recommend. Revel.

Business books a go-go

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I have a guilty secret. Occasionally, I like a good business book. Does anyone else share this slightly odd habit? I assume you must because business books are constantly in the bestseller lists. In the interests of full disclosure, I work full-time for a large charity, leading some of their marketing communications, but I like to think I have a fairly balanced approach to work and life outside work. Business books had never seemed for people like me; more for the ruthless workaholics out there. However, that changed when I was about twenty-three and picked up the Google book for the first time. Since then, I have developed a bit of a collection of similar titles so I thought I’d take you on a short tour of my business book collection in case it is your thing too!

1. The Google Story by David A. Vies

The original and first business book on my shelves. This was a fascinating insight into the story of Google’s development, the personalities that made it work and their philosophy. I took away from it that a business’ moral statements, beliefs and vision, even if we scoff a little at Google’s ‘do no evil’ now, are a powerful and often overlooked ingredient for success.

2. The Lean Startup by Eric Rise

‘How constant innovation creates radically successful businesses’ says the blurb. This book describes how constant innovation is a prerequisite for any new business if it is to survive. It follows on from The Google Story above where their mantra is to ‘fail fast, learn fast’ in a nutshell. The lesson I took from this book is how what most businesses and non-profits are incredibly nervous of in my experience, innovation, risk and failure, is actually something they should embrace to survive. Thought provoking and, as I would like to  improve my entrepreneurial mindset, a fascinating insight.

3. Build a business from your kitchen table by Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker

If forced to name a favourite business book, this would be it. A well designed and planned account of what it took to build to the success it is today, both from a personal and practical point of view. The tone of voice of the founders, Sophie and Holly, is present throughout and it feels real, honest and useful. Unusually, I also didn’t find one little bit of this book boring, because let’s face it, even the best business book can make you want to stick pins in your eyes occasionally!

4. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

New in this Christmas from friends who know about my mini obsession, it is still on my ‘To read’ pile. However, reviews suggest I have a lot to look forward to, as it is a ‘warts and all’ account of Amazon’s growth to world domination and the psychology of the person behind it, Jeff Bezos. I will report back on my thoughts once I’ve read it.

Next on the list is Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg I think…I can’t help noticing ‘lean’ is a popular business term at the moment!

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