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11 Powerful Business Books for CEO's and Entrepreneurs to Read in 2017

[fa icon="calendar"] January 2, 2017 at 7:00 AM / by Marisa Smith

Marisa Smith

books.pngAs an entrepreneur and advisor to business leaders, I always have a stack of books sitting on my desk that have been recommended to me by friends and colleagues. Each year, I compile a list of books that have either stuck with me year after year, or have emerged as new favorites in the last year. 

As you build your reading list for the coming year, here are some books to consider adding to your list! I plan to buy all of them in bulk and regularly recommend them to clients and colleagues in 2017. 

1. Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big by Bo Burlingham

One of my all-time favorites, Small Giants changed the way I looked at growing my company and inspired me to connect with owners of like-minded companies to learn how to create a culture of ownership, trust, and passion for greatness. This book is perfect for people who are interested in building a GREAT company that endures, thrives, and positively impacts the lives of the people connected to the company.

2. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman

Most of the drama and lost productivity inside companies is due to the lack of a clear vision and misalignment of teams. Gino's book outlines a complete system for defining your company vision, getting the right people in the right seats, aligning your team, and maintaining traction to move your company forward. Implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System® was so powerful at my own company that I turned the day-to-day operations of The Whole Brain Group over to my leadership team in 2016 in order to spend all of my time helping other business owners implement EOS® in their own businesses.

3. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

If you find yourself overwhelmed or feeling stretched too thin, it's likely because you've said "yes" too many times. Essentialism gives you tools and practical advice for streamlining your life, saying no, and taking control of your time and energy. As someone who perpetually underestimates my own capacity, this book helped me change my mindset and start to focus on doing less better - instead of trying to "have it all," and consistently coming up short. This book is a great companion to Traction, which also encourages a "less is more" approach to prioritizing your business goals.

4. A Lapsed Anarchist's Approach to Building a Great Business by Ari Weinzweig

The first of a four-book leadership series, this book teaches the power of creating a clear, shared vision of greatness in your company. Once everyone is clear about where you're going, you can make faster and better decisions - following the 12 "Natural Laws of Business" that every leader should embrace when trying to build a great business. 

5. The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack

Most business owners would never dream of opening the financial books up to their employees, but this book may change your mind! Creating a culture of financial intelligence can cultivate a sense of ownership and responsibility in every employee - and transform the efficiency and profitability of your company. Every company I've known that implemented Open Book Finance in their business has been amazed by the results they've experienced.

6. A Slice of the Pie: How to Build a Big Little Business by Nick Sarillo

Many entrepreneurs feel tied to every element of their business, because they can't seem to let go and trust in their employees. This book taught me how to build a culture of trust and accountability through education, training, tracking, and process - and changed my way of thinking about my responsibility as an employer to educate and nurture the development of my team.

7. Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You by John Warrillow

If you're seriously thinking about selling your business, or just fantasizing about it after a particularly bad day at work, Built to Sell will help you take an objective look at what needs fixing before others can recognize the value you've built in your company. Once you make your punch list and start fixing things, you may find that you don't want to move on after all!

8. Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top by Bo Burlingham

A great companion read to Built to Sell by John Warrillow, this book is full of fascinating stories about entrepreneurs who have decided to exit their companies for a variety of reasons. Finish Big illustrates the eight key factors that influence whether an owner is happy after leaving his or her business, and will get you thinking about how much work it takes to make a graceful transition that allows both the business and the owner to thrive beyond the exit.

9. Contagious Culture by Anese Cavanaugh

This book is all about how you and your employees "show up" every day - and how your presence and energy has a positive or negative impact on your company's culture. Anese has developed a model called IEP - Intentional Energetic Presence - that helps you learn how to maximize your impact and improve communication, collaboration in all areas of your life. I've attended several IEP Live! workshops over the last couple of years, and I'm always amazed at the personal and group transformations that take place over our two days together.

10. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan

If you can't seem to generate the leads and sales you need to support your revenue goals, inbound marketing may be the answer! Dharmesh and Brian describe how to develop a strategy and process for attracting prospects, converting them to customers, and encouraging them to become evangelists for your company. 

11. How to Be a Great Boss by Gino Wickman and René Boer

Many leaders and managers struggle to develop the skills they need to become truly great bosses - and end up with unhappy and frustrated team members that aren't able to become their best. How to Be a Great Boss provides a framework and practical toolset for creating clarity and accountability in order to get the most from your people.

Topics: Leadership

Marisa Smith

Written by Marisa Smith

Armed with more than 15 years of entrepreneurial experience running her own company, Marisa works with clients as a Certified EOS Implementer™ to help simplify and systematize their businesses - creating more freedom and enjoyment for everyone!