A few of the following books don't fit neatly into the "business book" genre. That's because being an entrepreneur involves a lot more than nuts and bolts and outcomes--and that means ideas and inspiration can come from almost anywhere.
Each book will also make you think--and that's the best measure of a great book.
The Power of Habit--Charles Duhigg
We think we do, but much of the time we really don't make decisions. We do what we've done before, and that makes us less productive, less effective, less healthy and fit--less everything--than we could be.
Be honest: Don't you have at least a few habits you'd like to change? Here's how.
No Easy Day--Mark Owen
You may not be interested in the story of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, but that's okay: You'll learn how SEALs train, develop strategies, plan for contingencies, learn to lead and follow... if you think you've built a high-performance team, you're mistaken.
That's a good thing, because after this quick read you'll be motivated to take your team to a higher level.
Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck--Tjan, Harrinton, Hsieh
Part research, part science, and part introspection exercise, this book will help you understand your personality and decision-making traits. And it's filled with cool insights and tips to benefit any entrepreneur.
If you're hesitating to take the entrepreneurial plunge, it should jar you off the indecision fence. And if you already own a business you'll learn a number of things you'll want to start doing... and stop doing.
The Longest Way Home--Andrew McCarthy
Yeah, he's an actor and director. That also means he's an entrepreneur.
You won't learn anything about running a business, but as you follow his search for answers in your own life, you'll think deeply about your own life--both what you want to do next and more importantly how you want to do it.
Great book, great writer, this year's person I'd most like to sit and chat with over a beer.
So Good They Can't Ignore You--Cal Newport
Regular readers know I'm a sucker for books that give practical advice for developing skills and talent--especially when that advice involves hours of hard work, practice, and focus.
If you want to be a true craftsperson, a genuine expert, or a supremely talented entrepreneur, this is your book.
If you don't, stick to books that can be summarized by, "You can do it!"
Some entrepreneurs--and some employees--are like this guy.
Many of us aren't. If you prefer to listen instead of speak or you feel most creative when you're alone rather than in a group, Quiet will help you not only embrace but also take advantage of those differences--and help you take advantage of all the people on your teams.
And if you're a classic extrovert, read it anyway: You'll learn how to get the best from the rest of us... which means you'll get more from yourself.
How Music Works--David Byrne
We all know technology has dramatically changed the music business. Those changes are great for consumers, but for most people working in the industry, not so much.
You'll learn a lot about the business and financial side of the music industry--interesting in itself--but you'll also start to think about how your industry might change.
As one Amazon reviewer noted, "...substitute 'content' for 'music,' and see where the ideas lead you."
The $100 Startup--Chris Guillebeau
Yes, it's light and breezy. In Search of Excellence it's not. But in this case, that's perfect: If you've spent months or years waiting and hesitating and business plan creating, read this and go start a business.
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
Spend a lot of time in airports and on planes? Take this novel along.
You won't learn anything about business, but you will arrive before you know it.
You might even be sorry the flight wasn't longer.