5 Business Books I Enjoyed in 2020
Perhaps because I found that reading early in the morning when I am fully rested is prime time for absorbing information, or because I needed to clear my mind of so much noise from the news outlets, or because COVID-19 provided time for me to concentrate on fewer activities, or for whatever reason, I ended up reading considerably more than in past years.
For the most part, I prefer to read novels with a historical or geographical backdrop and with either an ethical or moral dilemma from which I can learn something. A good case in point is Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. The one question that sticks in my mind after I finished reading the book is, am I responsible for the horrors done by the monster I created? I will leave that up to you for interpretation.
The other genre I like to read are business books that deal with leadership and management issues. In 2020, I read several good business books and would like to share five of them with you. First of all, I must underline the fact I am not a business book expert or critic; I simply like to read them.
With this in mind, the five business books I read in 2020 and which I would like to recommend are: Shoe Dog, Tribes, What You Do Is Who You Are, Delivering Happiness, and The Infinite Game. Next are some of the reasons I enjoyed them so much.
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight – This interesting book was written by Phil Knight, who founded and led Nike into becoming a successful worldwide shoe brand. White reading this book, I learned an interesting fact, the term “Shoe Dog” refers to a Shoe Expert; Phil Knight surrounded himself with people that understood what it takes to make a running shoe. The most important parts of the book tell the story of how the company made it to the top even though it seemed that, at times, the people at Nike did not know where they were headed. Thanks to the dedication and perseverance of several individuals, and a bit of good luck, the company is today what we see in every sport commercial, event, and ceremony.
Tribes by Seth Godin – A friend of mine recommended this book to me. He told me that I could grow my company by reading all of Mr. Godin’s books. I have not vocalized this but based on Tribes, I am sure my friend is not that far off with his own business ventures. The book talks about how, thanks to the Internet, we can now build a Tribe of people who are interested in what we do. All you need is a narrative to describe what you want to accomplish, a way to connect you, the leader, with the rest of the Tribe, and an activity for all of the Tribe members to participate in.
What You Do Is Who You Are by Ben Horowitz – Using historical stories, Mr. Horowitz shared his views regarding the importance of culture in the business environment. As I read the book, I could not help but assess our own current culture and see where I was not being congruent with what I profess; talk about an “eye opener.” I am sure this book will read differently to each of us because it is not about how a particular culture needs to look like, but about understanding how we shape our businesses with our actions.
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh – I had this book on my list for several years before I purchased it; I am glad I did not wait any longer. In this funny and to-the-point book, Mr. Hsieh (pronounced Shay), founder and CEO of Zappos until his retirement, invites us to do the things that makes us happy by building strong cultures cemented in core values. One thing I appreciated in particular was Mr. Hsieh’s focus on delivering mind blowing customer service; i.e., WOW your Clients! I was sorry to learn Mr. Hsieh passed away in a tragic accident last November.
The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek – This is the third Simon Sinek book I read and have to admit, the one I have enjoyed the most. In this book, Mr. Sinek (Start With Why author) reminds us that building businesses “is not a game with a final clock; it is an infinite game.” Mr. Sinek invites us to plan our business with the idea they are here to stay for many years to come. Doing so, will help us build stronger foundations for our businesses to grow and thrive even after we have moved on.
I am hoping you find one book from this list that you enjoy as much as I did, and I hope you share with me what you enjoyed and cherished when reading.