Seven amazing business books: Part 3

This is the last post in my series of seven amazing business books that you probably haven’t read. If you’ve been following me, you’ve caught the wistful but inevitable nod I have to give to the decline of the printed word. Yet, just because printed books are disappearing, our population’s hunger for content isn’t.

For example, according to a January 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation report, the total amount of mobile, digital connectivity is up for kids – to over 7.5 hours per day. The study’s authors didn’t believe this result would be possible, because of the large amount of content that kids were already consuming a few years earlier, during the previous survey.  The report goes on to say that they actually pack over 10 hours of content into the day, but it’s consumed in less time than that, because of multiple screens or feeds running at the same time.

So, my hope is that the great content in these favorites of mine and the other great books of the past and future will continue to live on, providing the answer to our search for knowledge in videos, rap mp3s, and who knows what else. There certainly seems to be a hunger for it. With that, I offer the final two books.

The Entrepreneur’s Manual, by Richard White (Chilton Book Company, 1977) – you can take your Tom Peters, your Jim Collins, your Gary Hamels – all tremendous thought leaders in their own right – and line them up on your desk to read “what it takes” to be a successful entrepreneur. Or, you can take White’s straight-talking, unconventional, pre-IBM PC/Apple II tome and have the most comprehensive, single guide written in the past 33 years and counting on starting and/or running an entrepreneurial enterprise.

I actually first got this book on loan from colleague and mentor, Steve Papermaster, a long time ago and kept it on “indefinite loan” for many years. Then, I found a copy through one of Amazon’s bargain/rare books sources and released Steve’s copy back to him. Are the technology, global economy, and other time-bound references in it dated? Of course they are. Heck, if you are 30 years old or younger and reading this blog post, you weren’t even around when the book was published.

But, I love the spirit and timeless truths that White captures in his chapters about purpose, team, finances, customers, etc., etc. It’s a real treasure and highly recommended.

Marketing Management, by Philip Kotler (Prentice Hall, 2008) – Last but not least, this one is kind of a trick, for a couple of reasons. First, while it’s likely that you’ve never read this book during your professional career, it’s very possible that you read this book if you’ve ever taken any graduate classes in business (and possibly even undergraduate). Because it is, far and away, the most widely used graduate-level textbook for marketing in the world.

Second, it’s actually the most recently updated book, in its 13th edition now, revised and printed in 2008. However, the first edition was published by Professor Kotler in 1967 and set the course for what is the bible of American (and arguably global) marketing.

In terms of pure, true reference use – i.e., reaching over to grab a book, flipping through the index or table of contents, and re-reading a section of explanation, instruction, or commentary – I have gone back to this book more than any other on the list.

So, that’s my list of seven amazing books you’ve probably never read. I hope you enjoyed it and, perhaps, even looked one or more of them up to see if you might want to read them too. Cheers!

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