LM150: Business book club

June 12, 2017 -  By

A great business book can serve as the philosophy by which a business owner molds his or her company. Most company executives read many business books, but only a few tomes stick with them—and that’s probably for the best.

“Many owners make the mistake of zigzagging their style and direction every time they read a new buzz book,” says Lebo Newman, owner of Signature Landscapes. “That burns out an organization and rarely achieves any productive changes for the better.”

A few of our LM150 leaders pointed us to the business books that were the most influential for them.

J.T. Price

“The Hard Things about Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz
“So many of these business books talk in really vague terms. This book talks about the things that are not fun about running a business, but you need to do them: making the hard people decisions and making sure you’re holding yourself and your team accountable.”

Kelly Solomon

“StrengthsFinder” by Tom Rath
“Instead of getting frustrated, now I understand people. I was talking to a business owner who said, ‘My entire staff is incompetent.’ I looked at him like, ‘How could that be? You’re still in business today. You can’t be the only smart person there.’ He’s surrounded by people who can do stuff, you just have to channel it and find it.”

Lebo Newman

“The One Minute Manager” by Kenneth Blanchard Ph.D.
“It was one an early, simple, for everyman type of business book that was easy for all of our employees to understand, created a common vocabulary and gave simple guidelines to success. We used it extensively and even became one of Ken Blanchard’s pet companies. He would call me periodically to check in on how things were growing and what fun things we were doing. He liked doing fun things such as allowing employees to throw cream pies in my face and other key managers when they reached certain goals in safety, production, etc. It was a good relationship as he always had some new ideas to share back with us.

There are so many great business books out there, it’s a matter of finding the ones that fit your culture and can actually be implemented for change.”

Jon Georgio

“Good to Great” by Jim Collins
“I was floored by what it had to offer from leadership styles to a culture of discipline to using technology as accelerators. It was an instrumental book for me.”

“The Servant” by James C. Hunter
“It’s a story about servant leadership, which really just says turn your organizational chart upside down. If you’re the CEO, you’re there to serve everybody else, not the other way around, and it teaches you that you need to fulfill the needs of everybody in the company.”

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About the Author:

Dillon Stewart graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, earning a Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism with specializations in business and political science. Stewart is a former associate editor of LM.

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