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It’s no secret that successful people read a ton of books, so I wasn’t surprised to read this interesting fact in an article on Bill Gates, written by copyrighting guru Dan Kennedy:

“ has a photographic memory. He’s not a trained speed-reader but he speed reads. I asked him how many books he read on his vacation and he said 30. He writes up notes in the margins and sends them back to the author.”

There is an ocean of business books on the market and it is often hard to weed out the good ones from the junk, so being that I have likely read the majority of business books out there, I have compiled my list of the 17 best business books I have ever read.

Even if you have read these books, they are definitely worth re-reading and adding to your personal library.

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

This book is mandatory reading for everyone who works for me. While running Crevier BMW my HR department ran out of the book for new employees. I went to Borders to buy 5 of them to get us by. The cashier that checked me out was a 17-year-old punk rock kid with a Mohawk and piercings. He saw what I was buying and said I love this book.  It’s simple…just remember everyone is walking around with a big “ME” on their forehead!  I first read this book when I was 24 and it changes my approach with people forever.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

I have never read a Partrick Lencioni book I didn’t like, but this one is the road map for anyone trying to change a company’s culture or results.  Have everyone in your company read it… It’s a really easy read and I would buy the DVD/workbook also…

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert B. Cialdini 

This really teaches you that one little tweek in your process or presentation can yield huge results. For example, just by offering someone a drink and saying you looked thirsty before asking for the sale can increase your sales or donations by 10 fold.

I had a parts manager read this book and then tell me that the book should be illegal because of the insights into motivation and persuasion it gives.  I don’t think it’s that bad, but you will think different.

Broken Windows, Broken Business – Michael Levine

The little stuff matters and how fast you handle it matters. Most people live by the motto: “Don’t sweet the small stuff,” but the the truth is to be really successful the small stuff matters just as much… your customer bathroom being clean, your locations… everything matters.

The Culture Code – Clotaire Rapaille

Clotaire created a process for figuring out what motivated consumers to buy using a process he originally practiced with autistic kids. The PBS special he’s profiled in is  “The Persuaders”

Chrysler hired him with the instructions… we know what our customers want. They want safety, gas mileage and reliability. His research helped them create one of their best selling cars of all time that was not safe, reliable, or good on gas…

Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely

I learned how to tweak my “Good, Better, Best” menus for better penetration of the “Best.”

The Ultimate Sales Machine – Chet Holmes

It’s all here… How to increase your sales and better time management.

Pour Your Heart Into It – Howard Schultz

You get an insight in the magic recipe for Starbucks. I also never knew that Howard left Starbucks after the owners wouldn’t let him serve coffee or espresso in their stores. He ended up buying the company later after they ran into cash problems.

Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court – John Wooden

No mistake that he won more championships than anyone in history… My favorite story is when Coach tells Bill Walton that he is going to miss him on the team when he showed up to play with a beard.

The Little Stuff Matters Most – Bernie Brillstein

I randomly pick up this book a couple times a month and just open it and read. Every part of the book is good!

Quantum Leap Thinking – James J. Mapes

Think different than the 99%, and get different/better results…  My copy of this book has tons highlights and notes all through it.

Purple Cow – Seth Godin

This is the new Bible for branding and product creation!

The Game – Neil Strauss

Greatest book on selling anything ever written, disguised as a book about picking up women. Warning: Not for the faint of heart, but if you can appreciate the fact that a short, pudgy, socially awkward nerd can end up dating playboy playmates –and creates a process and system that consistently works– you’ll get the message. Note: If you decide to start this book, you have to read it all the way through because it is also a love story that you will only understand if you finish the whole thing.

Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand 

Do you have a culture of results or a culture of entitlement?

Ruthless Management of People & Profits – Dan Kennedy

Dan Kennedy at his best…

Psycho-Cybernetics – Maxwell Maltz

The championship winning Green Bay Packers, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicholson and countless others can be seen reading this book over and over… Success and winning is all mental.

Less is More – Goldian Vandenbroeck

This book is like “Good To Great,” but better in my opinion. Gives a real life road map to why certain companies thrive and others don’t.

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