Book Reviews

Top 50 Business Books


Written By: Scott Costello

As I sit in an office surrounded by more than 2,000 business books, it’s pretty tough to narrow the selection down to just a handful of the absolute best.  However, if I were going to pick the top 50 books that I feel give the very best information on how to run a business successfully, this would, in no particular order, be my list:

  1. In Search of Excellence — Tom Peters
  2. The Little BIG Things – Tom Peters
  3. Good to Great — Jim Collins
  4. Built to Last — Jim Collins
  5. What Really Works — Joyce, Nohria, Roberson
  6. The Leadership Challenge — Kouzes and Posner
  7. Authentic Leadership — Bill George
  8. Indispensable – Joe Callaway
  9. Becoming a Category of One – Joe Calloway
  10. The Discipline of Teams — Katzenbach and Smith
  11. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team — Patrick Lencioni
  12. Team Building (fourth edition) — Dyer, Dyer and Dyer
  13. Lessons in Excellence from Charlie Trotter — Paul Clarke
  14. Kiss Theory Goodbye — Bob Prosen
  15. Mavericks at Work — Taylor and LaBarre
  16. On Becoming a Leader — Warren Bennis
  17. The Great Game of Business — Jack stack
  18. The Starbucks Experience — Joseph Michelli
  19. The New Gold Standard — Joseph Michelli
  20. Customers for Life – Carl Sewell
  21. At America’s Service — Karl Albrecht
  22. The Northbound Train — Karl Albrecht
  23. Leading People — Robert Rosen
  24. The Definitive Drucker — Elizabeth Edersheim
  25. What the Best CEOs know – Krames
  26. Teaching the Elephant to Dance — James Belasco
  27. If Aristotle ran General Motors — Tom Morris
  28. The Rockefeller Habits – Vern Harnish
  29. The Orange Revolution – Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
  30. All In – Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
  31. Nobel Enterprise – Darwin Gillette
  32. Blue Ocean Strategy – W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
  33. Primal Leadership – Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee
  34. The Leader of the Future – Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith and Richard Beckhard
  35. Execution – Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
  36. Love is the Killer App — Tim Sanders
  37. Start with Why – Simon Sinek
  38. Up Your Business —  Dave Anderson
  39. The 100 Best Business Books of All Time – Jack Covert and Todd Stattersten
  40. Simply Better – Patrick Barwise and Sean Meehan
  41. Referral Engine – John Jantsch
  42. Duct Tape Marketing – John Jantsch
  43. Managing with a Conscience – Frank Sonnenberg
  44. Six Disciplines Execution Revolution – Gary Harpst
  45. Repeatability – James Allen and Chris Zook
  46. The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
  47. The Thank You Economy – Gary Vaynerchuck
  48. Crush It – Gary Vaynerchuk
  49. Firms of Endearment – Rajendra S. Sisodia, David B. Wolfe, Jagdish N. Sheth
  50. Leading in a Culture of Change-  Michael Fullan

I could easily recommend 75 or 80 more, but I think if you were to read these books, they would give you the best overall view on how to build, lead and grow a highly successful organization. If you do not see one of your VERY favorites, please send me a note, in case I have not read it yet.


John Spence is the author of “Awesomely Simple – Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas into Action,” and has twice been recognized as one of the top 100 business thought leaders in America and one of the country’s leading small business influencers. John has also read more than 100 business books a year since 1989. www.johnspence.com

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