Learning from the greats is how you avoid re-inventing the wheel. In the world of business, there are plenty of successful, wealthy people happy to dole out advice--and they package their entire message nicely in an e-book, hardcover or softcover for your choosing. The year isn't over yet, but already 2014 has proven to be a fantastic year for business books. Are you keeping up, or is your nightstand in need of a couple more volumes?

Not all business books are created equally. Some are meatier than others, some dish up brand new advice, while others simply recycle stale and outdated information to make the author a quick buck. Don't waste your valuable reading time. Here's a 2014 cheat sheet (so far) on some business books you can't afford to miss.

1. Alain de Botton's Status Anxiety

Keeping up with the Jones's (or the Kardashians) is a very real phenomenon both in personal and professional lives. Your impression of your own status directly impacts how happy you are, especially when it comes to money and "things." De Botton challenges the reader to honestly assess whether they're chasing money or happiness--because often the two are mutually exclusive. He claims that the savvy business person knows how to pursue both.

2. Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow

Have you ever really thought about how decisions are made and why you make the choices you do? It doesn't matter if you're a business owner, consumer, employee or involved somewhere else in the landscape of business. Everyone has a reason for making the choices they do, and it's within your power to make better ones. When it comes to business, this can mean the difference between success and failure.

3. Geoffrey A. Moore's Crossing the Chasm

It's easy to get someone to say your idea is interesting or even potentially profitable. It's quite another to get them to spend money on it. Making that happen is more than ABC (always be closing). Whether you're trying to woo an angel investor or simply trying to move more of your products, making that leap takes concrete steps, knowledge and efforts. Moore addresses how to do it faster and better.

4. Simon Sinek's Leaders Eat Last

Sinek addresses "the how" in business, especially as it pertains to business owners and executives. Getting everyone (from employees to consumers) to trust you and your brand is perhaps the biggest challenge of all. He addresses the big questions, such as how necessary "common enemies" are and brings his military cum corporate experience to the table.

5. Hayagreeva Rao's Scaling Up Excellence

Rao has spent an entire career asking leaders questions and digesting their information--and readers can now reap the benefits. However, one particular theme has popped up time and again: How to advance and spread success. How do you identify the good stuff in your business and encourage it to grow into other facets of the company? A Stanford professor, Rao takes a systematic approach to addressing scaling in a book brimming with case studies and research. It all boils down to actionable options for business owners to test out in their own environment.

These five books are great options for autumn reading. Pair them with your go-to caffeinated beverage before your next business meeting, and you're already gearing up for a profitable 2015.

Published on: Sep 11, 2014
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