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10 Business Books that Really Make a Difference

Looking for some good general business books to get stuck into? Here are some of our favourites.
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Customer Genius – Peter Fisk

A brilliant book to dip in and out of. As the title suggests, the focus is entirely on customers – really understanding them, building solutions for them and leading a business that centres on your customers. Lots of great live examples from businesses and a good reminder that businesses which forget about their customer are doomed to fail.


Allan Leighton on Leadership

One of the best leadership compilations around. A mix of Leighton's own views and interviews with other well known leaders, with some great quotes, business stories and lessons. There are also some refreshingly honest accounts of Leighton's own early failures as a leader and manager.


How to be Brilliant – Michael Heppell

Why settle for good, if you can be brilliant? It's a simple premise, built on Heppell's belief that most people are capable of much more and just need to tap into those talents. This is very easy to read and gets you to focus on what you can do, right now, to make yourself better at what you do.


Unstuck – Yamahita and Spataro

Brilliantly different, this book is built for people who are stuck in work, business or life. It's full of action points, little tools, hints, tips and quotes to help you work out why you are stuck (and give you an ah-ha moment when you realise what's causing it) and to get you unstuck again. If you hate traditional, boring business books that take ages to read and digest, you'll love this.


Why Work is Weird – Connor and Sears

A great description and model for the types of people you'll come across in a typical office or business (know a Jargon Junkie or a Top Dog?). You'll probably recognise yourself in there, and will definitely see that annoying colleague or boss that drives you mad. Most importantly the main character ("the Workdoctor") gives simple but insightful tips about causes of the "diseases" and how to stop them.


Value Forward Selling – Paul R.DiModica

OK, it's an American book, so could be a bit too full on for many Brits reading it. But if you can get past that, this is a really good book to focus on selling to senior people and working at Board level rather than middle management. Want a really clear way to position your business at a different level? Or simple ways to present or build propositions that go away from typical Powerpoint slides? It's all in here, and a lot of other valuable stuff.


Bright Marketing – Robert Craven

Why should people bother to buy from you? We get hit by 4000 marketing messages every day, so how do you make yours stand out? Simple tools and techniques to get you to focus on your key messages and a great set of "crunch questions" to get you thinking.


Leadership – Tom Peters

One of a series of Leadership Essentials, bite sized books published by DK. This is bright, engaging and thought provoking. Typical Tom Peters – expect him to challenge and have a strong voice. I knew someone who picked this up every morning and tried to concentrate on a key tip that day. Yes, I know you can't only do leadership skills for a day, but there is so much in here, you have to start somewhere.


10 Steps to Succesful Strategic Planning – Susan Barksdale and Teri Lund

Tired of dull, boring strategy books? This one is a step by step guide that tells you what to do. May be too simplistic for some strategy purists or too detailed for smaller businesses, but actually it covers the middle ground pretty well. Most importantly, everything is based around tools, techniques and real examples to hold your hand through a strategy review.


The Seven Minute Difference – Allyson Lewis

Apparently studies have shown that the average corporate executive has an attention span of seven minutes (is it really that long?). This book is based on taking those seven minutes and using them, through a series of "micro-actions" to make a big change to your life. You won't want to do all of them, but even a few would have a big impact on your life and work.


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