Most successful people have mentors and coaches. Every successful person has a favorite books list. These millionaire entrepreneurs say their favorite books had a significant impact their success and have shared their must-read lists with me. Enjoy!
Karen Hough, Founder & CEO, ImprovEdge, LLC 1. Women Don't Ask by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever
Everyone on the planet should read this book. Although it focuses on gender discrepancies, I give it to my male colleagues and they all are bowled over by it. The book explores the mistakes and social pressure on women in negotiation situations and the ways we ruin deals for ourselves throughout life. It was incredibly eye-opening.
2. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath
This book is a knock-down, storytelling marvel. It explains why simplicity, analogy, and storytelling are so powerful. It helped me focus on how I talk about my company, engage my employees, and take our message of improv and learning to the world. Read it.
3. Be the Best Bad Presenter Ever: Break the Rules, Make Mistakes and Win Them Over by Karen Hough
Busted! This is my book. It's authenticity and passion that win people over, not polish. This book lets presenters off the hook, and allows them to be their living, breathing, occasionally clumsy selves. The book debunks over a dozen myths about presenting, to make it more fun and natural for everyone. I explain why you should never practice in front of a mirror, end on questions, and much more. You'll be able to tear up the old rules, and embrace and develop your own style.
Candice Galek, CEO & Founder, Bikiniluxe4. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
"Always avoid strength and attack weakness."
In business, especially when starting out, it is vital that you not only know your own strengths and weaknesses but your competition's as well. This means looking for niches that your competition is either overlooking or lacking in.
5. Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso
This book was really inspirational to me in the creation of Bikini Luxe. Sophia Amoruso details how she went from a dumpster diving hobo to the head of a one-hundred-million-dollar e-commerce website. She outlines some of the key points to her success, as well as pitfalls to avoid when starting an online business. I found it not only a fantastic read but a great step-by-step guide to succeeding in selling online.
6. 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
My favorite quote from this book is "do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?" I have taken this to heart by always working to make negative situations positive ones. When interacting with negative influences or obstacles, I look to find the good in both in order to, not only view the world differently, but also to create a positive outcome from the situation. Just by changing my view of the situation often the situation itself changes!
Leon Rbibo, President, The Pearl Source7. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
Yeah, I already know what you're thinking. A writing book? Are you kidding
me? I already know how to write. Here's the problem: you probably think you
already know how to write, but it's likely you don't--or at the very least
you could use some improvement. I'm absolutely astonished on a daily basis
when I read poorly written sales pitches, partnership plans, marketing
proposals, etc. You'd be amazed. If you can't write--if you can't clearly
and concisely express yourself, your goals, your objectives, and your
strategy you're not going to make it very far as an entrepreneur. Rewrite
your elevator pitch after reading this book. I guarantee you'll impress
8. A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
If you don't know how this country came to be-and the stories of the
people who got us here-you're doing yourself a major disservice. You
cannot propel yourself forward until you discover, not only the mistakes, but
also the brilliant minds and innovations of the past. This book takes a
look at business, politics, and culture through the eyes of everyday people:
immigrants, factory workers, businessmen and the founders of this country.
This is no U.S. history textbook. It goes beyond what you might learn in today's classrooms.
Marsha Lindsay, Founder and Chair of Lindsay, Stone & Briggs9. 10 Types of Innovation: the Discipline of Building Breakthroughs, by Larry Keeley, Brian Quinn, and others at Doblin
It turns out that for years, many of us have erroneously assumed the fastest way to grow a business is with an innovative new product or service. Fifteen years of research, detailed in the book, Ten Types of Innovation, reveals that product innovation is just one type, and in fact generates the least return! It turns out launching a concept built with three or more of the ten dramatically increases one's odds of success.
10. Drinking from the Fire Hose: Making Smarter Decisions Without Drowning in Information by Christopher Frank and Paul Magnone
Today, we can measure thousands of things in finance and marketing. And all the data that's produced can be overwhelming. The book, Drinking from the Firehose, has given me a method for sorting out what data to gather that is most critical to my business and the clients I serve. So now, not only is my "data anxiety" quite low, I'm better at separating noise from insight; and faster at making better decisions.
Karen Kane, Designer, Founder, and CEO, Karen Kane and Fifteen Twenty11. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Anyone who works in a creative industry should read this book. As a designer, I'm fascinated by trends and changes in shopping habits. This book dives deep into this subject, and provides great insight into the lifecycle of trends. The anecdotes included are very relatable, and it gives you a key takeaways that you can apply to your business strategy.
12. Yves Saint Laurent by Florence Chenoune and Farid Muller
Whatever industry you're in, it's important to understand its history. I love reading about icons in fashion who have made lasting contributions to our industry and changed the way our business is run. I find it inspiring and exciting to learn about how much has changed in such a short time.
How many of these books have you read? Share your must-reads with us here!
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
BY MARLA TABAKA