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Top 10 Business Books ... To Inspire You and Your Business

1.      Switched On – Sahar Hashemi
The founder of Coffee Republic gives her view of how to “switch yourself on” in the world of work and really engage in what you do. The book proposes eight entrepreneurial habits to make jobs more enjoyable, based on the simple principle that life is too short to just work for the paycheck. It’s written in a way that applies to all types of companies and all levels and gives lots of examples from other businesses.

Best for – An easy, quick read; getting out of a rut

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2.      Bold – Shaun Smith
“How to be brave in business and win.” This is the perfect antidote for all the dull corporations out there who think their job is to follow the pack. A dozen detailed case studies of businesses that have broken away from the norm and taken a “bold” approach to business, including brands such as O2, Virgin, Zappos and Burberry.

Best for – Ideas and inspiring stories from businesses around the world

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3.      Onward – Howard Schultz
The story of the most recent years in the Starbucks corporate history, as it struggled to re-connect with its customers and get back to its core values. A great example of a business which had seen huge success, lost its way and the courage of the management team to fight back to the top.

Best for – Bigger businesses that have stalled and need to enter a new phase.

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4.      How to be Brilliant – Michael Heppel
This is one of a series of books by Michael Heppel that include topics such as Customer Service, Time Management and Life Balance. This one is a blueprint to change your-self in 90 days. Heppel believes that most people settle for being OK or good at things, but we all have the capacity to be brilliant. Full of inspirational anecdotes and practical tools, this is a great book to dip into or follow as a 90 day plan.

Best for – Those days when you want things not to be quite as ordinary

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5.      It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be – Paul Arden
With an advertising background himself, Arden uses an unusually creative approach to get across bite-sized ideas about having the vision and ideas to move forward. It’s a small read (you’ll get through it in an hour) and perfect as a giveaway to business colleagues, clients or course delegates who need that bit of inspiration.

Best for – Creative types or as a business gift

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6.      Everything you know about business is wrong – Alastair Dryburgh
Based on the author’s column 'Don't You Believe It' in Management Today, this takes modern business myths and blows them apart. For example, that cost cutting is a bad way to boost profits, that you shouldn't always give 110% and that incentives don't encourage people to do useful things. Whether you agree with all the views or not it will definitely get you thinking in a different way.

Best for – Challenging the “givens” in your business, especially if it tends to look to the short term answers.

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7.      Great by choice – Jim Collins
10 years after the well-known book ‘Good to Great’, this book updates the ideas and focuses on how some companies can survive and grow amidst the chaos of business. Based on detailed research rather than just the authors own ideas, this gives a blueprint for how to act now – and many of the findings will surprise you.

Best for – Well researched themes and examples.

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8.      Customer genius – Peter Fisk
See the world from the customers perspective for a change. This book is a great guide in how to really understand your customers and drive your business based on their needs and views. Simple building blocks, practical tools and real business stories – this should be required reading for all those people who talk about valuing customers but don’t actually do it.

Best for - Reminding you why you are in business at all

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9.      Dragons Den: Grow your Business – Stuart Warner
Whatever you think of the TV programme or them individually, Dragons Den has done a great deal to push new business ideas in the UK and encourage entrepreneurs. This book uses examples from the TV show that focus on the stage after start up, as you start to move into a bigger business.

Best for – TV addicts and celebrity inspiration

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10.    The Big Five for Life – John Strelecky
Written as a business parable, like the One Minute Manager series, but this is much more thought provoking.  The book is very moving and poses fundamental questions about how you want to live your life and what that means for business.

Best for – reflecting on your purpose in life and business

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