#127 – The 10 best business books that you should read right now

Show notes from Episode #127 of the Sweaty Startup Podcast.

Nick and Max Maher have gotten together to discuss their favorite business books, many of which you can find on the Sweaty Startup booklist. These books are great for inspiration, insight, and personal development, and you’ll be shocked at how often you apply their learnings to your life.

The key to reading these books is reflecting. It’s easy to skim through a reading while your mind is elsewhere, or listen to an audiobook on 2x speed and think that you’ve gotten the message. However, you’ll find the most significant results by taking the time to sit down, truly focus, underline, take notes, re-read sections, and think about how you can apply these books to your life.

Nick recommends morning reflection to go hand in hand with your readings. Part of Nick’s regular morning routine includes reflection after his workout, where he writes for 20-40 minutes on an idea or concept that’s on his mind. This is before he ever checks his phone, his email, the news, or any social media, and has been a great habit for him to have formed.

The Books

Deep Work by Kyle Newport

This book is about taking a problem and sitting down with no outside influence to spend hours on idea generation. This is providing dedicated active energy to dig into a problem, and after hours of doing so you’ll find tons of creative solutions which you wouldn’t have thought of previously. Kyle keeps track of his time and has come to expect to take 30 hours of deep work for him to find a gold nugget that leads him down the right path. A great time to apply this is in your morning reflection.

Small Business Taxes 2020 by J.K. Lasser

Nick has read this book multiple times, and because of it has a strong understanding of the tax codes that affect him. He knows the most efficient way for his business to handle deductions, write offs, depreciation, vehicle mileage, and all the other tax implications that can save (or cost) entrepreneurs money. A good accountant is critical, but it’s even more critical that you understand this yourself. While you’re at it, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on How to Read Financial Statements.

Poor Charlie’s Almanack

One of the top two books Max has ever read is a compilation of speeches given by Charlie Monger, close partner with Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway. This includes a thorough review of his core values and why he thinks it’s so important to learn multiple different fields–he himself has 23 key areas he prioritizes studying, practicing, and learning. Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that there is no advantage to feeling sorry for yourself, because nothing will change if you don’t go out and take action.

Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey is most known for his personal finance philosophy and tips, but he’s also an empire of businesses and huge investor. This is a nonstop read of advice on how to build your business the right way, including how to treat employees, be a good boss, and how to be a generally likeable person.

Idea Man by Paul Allen

Paul Allen is most known as a cofounder of Microsoft and becoming a billionaire at 35, but his philanthropy and impact in his later years is truly unforgettable. From helping launch one of the world’s biggest companies, to funding museums and AI institutes, to owning multiple sports teams, Paul Allen led an unforgettable life, touching millions.

The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt

The fictional story of a man who took over a factory and tries to identify the bottleneck in production can provide instantaneous application to your life. We all have inefficiencies in our lives, and this book will help and inspire you to identify and tackle them. Better yet, you can easily finish it in a day.

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

You’ll probably finish this in a day or two once you realize how many parallels you can draw to your daily life. Voss writes all about deal making and negotiation, critical skills for small business owners but also skills that you’ll utilize frequently in your home, office, and fantasy football league. Business, negotiation and any human interaction are inherently emotional, so knowing the effective frameworks and principles will carry you a long way.

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday is a New York Times bestselling author, and has written a number of modern takes on stoicism, the principle philosophy of understanding your emotions and keeping them under control. Your perception controls your reality, and being able to make decisions under pressure and keep your ego and emotions out of it are vital in both work and life. This goes hand in hand with Never Split the Difference, and we also recommend The Obstacle is the Way.

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller by Ron Chernow

This book, and it’s subject, aren’t talked about enough, because Rockefeller’s story is unparalleled. In a time when oil and railroads controlled the domestic and even global economy, Rockefeller owned 90% of the world oil industry by the time he was 30. Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and BP are all descendents of his company, Standard Oil, after it was dissolved in an antritrust case. His business maneuvers were often greedy and are criticized today, but he was also incredibly philanthropic in his later years. Simply put, we’ll likely never see another titan like this one.

Principles by Ray Dalio

While philosophical almost to a fault, Dalio’s take on life is absolutely fascinating. Incredibly valuable is his guidance on your blindspots–information that you can’t possibly know that effect your decision making–and how he combats it. 

The Dip by Seth Godin

At only 75 pages, Godin uses every word in this book to talk about when to give up, how to think about what you’re working on, and long-term goals. He has a great philosophy on thinking about delivering value instead of making money when you’re building a project. If you can’t get enough of him once you’ve read it, he’s been featured multiple times on the Tim Ferriss podcast, and is an equally enjoyable listen.

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.