Finding new ways to look at the same problems can be all you need to take your business to the next level. But that means finding ideas and perspectives that don't result in incremental changes but in major changes.
The following books (in no particular order) will help you do just that.
1. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport.
I loved Cal's last book, So Good They Can't Ignore You. It's the book I mention most when people ask me for recommendations.
Deep Work is just as good. If you need to get more stuff done -- and who doesn't? -- it's the perfect antidote to all the alerts, distractions, and multitasking that makes you feel like you're getting a lot done, but not the stuff you really need to get done.
After all, busy is very different from productive.
2. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
I'm a big fan of grinding. (As you maybe can tell, a really big fan.) Every successful person I know works smart, but they also work hard -- and they keep working in the face of obstacles and barriers and inevitable disappointment.
Want to accomplish something huge? Often all it takes is grit: the willingness to keep going when others do not.
3. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and in Business by Charles Duhigg
The best books don't just make you think "Wow. I never realized that." They also make you think "And now I know what to do differently."
Duhigg shows how to build better teams, make better decisions, build a better workplace culture, and be more personally productive.
Can't beat that.
4. Chaos Monkeys by Antonio García Martínez
Self-improvement is great, but sometimes you just want a fun book to read.
Chaos Monkeys is the most fun business book I read this year. It's an inside look at some famous companies, their cultures, their key players. It's the perfect book for that next cross-country flight when you want to feel like you're being productive but don't actually want to work.
5. Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations by Dan Ariely
Like Cal and Charles, Dan is another author who makes one of my "best of" lists for the second time.
This time it's for Payoff, a great look at how to better motivate employees. For example: while a bonus can result in a spike in worker productivity, it then declines to below what it was before the bonus was offered.
Gratitude and compliments are much more effective motivation. Like Dan says. "Acknowledgment is a kind of human magic."
Can't your business use a little more magic?
6. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Like to hear how other people succeeded? But also like to hear more than a fluffy tale where success seemed assured?
Shoe Dog is the book for you. Knight is surprisingly candid about the rise of Nike as well as the emotional journey he took.
After all, as an entrepreneur you are your business, and as your business evolves, so do you.
7. Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency by James Andrew Miller
Do you have a partner or partners? Do you wonder what the future may hold for that partnership if your business struggles badly or succeeds wildly? Do you want to rewrite the rules for your industry?
Do you like "inside baseball" stories about some of the biggest movies, television shows, and stars?