Business Mastery: Top Ten Must-Read Business Books in 2018

Our world changes at faster and faster pace.

What was true yesterday, not necessarily is going to be so tomorrow.

Yet, in this scenario, it is essential to be grounded in the real world.

In short, you want to avoid to get lost in the plethora of information, theories, and news that everyday bombards us.

To do that you need an internal compass that can guide you through the business world so that you will never lose your path again.

You can build that internal compass by implementing physical and mental habits that will make you mentally stable.

One way to shape this internal compass is through reading.

For such reason, I am going to suggest ten business books that deepen my understanding of business online and offline. Although this is a list for 2018, do not expect to see the newest books on the market. Often I believe the best books are the ones that survived to the noise.

Also, this is a list, but it is not meant to be read as a ranking. Each of those books has shaped and sharpened my understanding of the entrepreneurial and business world in a way that is not possible to rank it.

Tools of Titans

The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion ― by Timothy Ferriss, Tools of Titans

Many believe that reading is for wimps. Why would you be spending your time reading, when you can act?

Action without reflection is like steering a boat that is about to go adrift.

In other words, it is essential to act, but also to take the time to reflect and study. That is going to make your actions way more efficient.

If you are looking for a tool that can boost your effectiveness in the real world, there is no better book than Tim Ferris’ “Tools of Titans.”

In fact, this is a book about health, wealth, and wisdom (the book comprises three sections).

Tools of Titans is the distilled knowledge of over 200+ guests interviewed in more than two decades at “The Tim Ferris Show,” one of the best podcasts currently available for business and lifestyle.

What makes Tools of Titans unique? 

Most of the content of the book is actionable. Ready for use. In other words, if you are looking to transform your life, that is a fantastic way to start.

Furthermore, Tim Ferris does a great job in locating the best experts in each field. Therefore, whatever interest you have, you can now find a mentor thanks to Ferris’ work.

I suggest you go through this book with a notepad and mark the pages you find more interesting (you will see most parts of the book fascinating).

As soon as you have done reading it; start implementing and testing. 

Homo Deus 

Censorship no longer works by hiding information from you; censorship works by flooding you with immense amounts of misinformation, of irrelevant information, of funny cat videos, until you’re just unable to focus –by Yuval Noah Harari

Homo Deus isn’t designed as a business book. Yet I believe it will benefit you in many ways.

Harari, the author, is a historian but most of all an avid practitioner of Vipassana Meditation. This is a practice taught in India for over 2,500 years, which main aim is to allow to see things as they are.

There is nothing esoteric, mystic or religious about this practice. Instead, this is a way of detaching your mind from your thoughts and stop identifying yourself with your mind.

By practicing Vipassana, Harari also developed a way to see the reality, that will blow your mind.

What makes Homo Deus unique? 

In the complex world in which we live it is impossible to predict what is going to happen tomorrow. Even though Harari’s account in Homo Deus explores the likely scenarios that will shape our world in the next century, this fantastic book does one more incredible thing,

It will give you new eyes that you can use to look at the business world like never before. 

Antifragile 

They think that intelligence is about noticing things are relevant (detecting patterns); in a complex world, intelligence consists in ignoring things that are irrelevant (avoiding false patterns) – by Nicholas Nassim Taleb 

Our minds have not been wired to live in a complex world like that we created in the last century. In short, we evolved in a world where scarcity was paramount.

On the other hand, nowadays the opposite is true. In most western developed countries abundance is the rule. From food to information we have it all.

In short, the world we created clashes with the world in which we evolved. These mismatches make us vulnerable in many ways.

One of the most significant vulnerabilities is about how we interpret reality. Prehistoric humans had to understand each pattern around them to avoid extinction. For instance, when Mr. Hunter-Gatherer saw a moving bush, he knew it was time for him to run as fast as he could.

In fact, behind that bush, a dangerous predator could have been hiding. Even if the wind only moved that bush, it didn’t matter to Mr. Hunter-Gatherer. Indeed, the cost of being wrong was so high (death) that he could not afford it.

While this ability to find patterns allowed us to survive, it also makes us extremely biased toward the modern world.

The former trader, Nicholas Nassim Taleb, in his book, Antifragile, will show you how and why reality is not as we perceive it. Although his focus is about the business and economic world, Taleb immense culture makes him able to space across several disciplines.

What makes Antifragile unique?  

While reading Antifragile, you will suddenly change your perspectives on many things. You will probably stop watching TV, and read newspapers; while you will start reading classics. Yet the most significant change of all will be about a new fresh mindset,

You will become a modern skeptic

Pre-suasion 

In large measure, who we are with respect to any choice is where we are, attentionally, in the moment before the choice ― Robert B. Cialdini, Pre-Suasion

We already spoke about Robert Cialdini in From Influence to Pre-Suasion: A Scientific Breakthrough of How Subtle Clues Powerfully Influence Our Behavior.

What makes Pre-suasion unique? 

This book will show you how “invisible clues” can shape your decision-making ability way more than you think.

For anyone that operates in the business world, the book will also do a crucial thing,

Pre-suasion will give you a toolbox to use right away to boost the reach and success of your business. 

Will it Fly 

The Riches are in the Niches ― Pat Flynn, Will It Fly

The San Diegan Pat Flynn is among the most successful social media marketers, bloggers, podcasters in the business world. With his community The Smart Passive Income, he has helped dozens of thousands of people to build and grow a successful business.

Furthermore, Pat Flynn will not only show you how to create a business but also how to validate it, which will make the risk of failure dismal.

What makes Will it Fly special? 

Pat Flyn’s book, Will It Fly, is a tool that allows you to go from Mission Design to Validation, with a simplicity that only Pat Flynn is capable of.

At the end of the day,

You will find yourself in front of your desired audience without even realizing it! 

Traction

Poor distribution – not product – is the number one cause of failure. 
― Gabriel WeinbergTraction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

In the startup world, often having a good product seems enough to scale a business (I believed that too). Yet as Gabriel Weinberg, CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo explains, often what a startup is lacking to take off and scale is the distribution side. Weinberg previously cofounded Opobox, which got acquired for $10 million.

The co-author of Traction, Justin Mares is the founder of two startups and the former director of revenue at Exceptional, a software company that was acquired by Rackspace. 

The formula to a successful customer acquisition goes through what the authors call Bullseye Framework.

My life in advertising

We must submit all things in advertising, as in everything else, to the court of public opinion by Claude C. Hopkins in My Life in Advertising

We like to give new and fancy names to old things. Whether you want to call it marketing, growth hacking, and business development that is all about sales and scale up a business. Yet, Claude C. Hopkins was one of the great advertising pioneers taught me that independently from the name you give it marketing is about selling.

At the age of 41, he was hired by Albert Lasker owner of Lord & Thomas advertising in 1907 at a salary of $185,000 a year. If you think that is a lot today imagine what it was back then.

Ogilvy on Advertising

“Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.”  David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising

David Ogilvy was a business executive who founded the advertising, marketing, and PR agency Ogilvy & Mather in 1948. Once again, you can read new books about new marketing disciplines to which we gave then fancy names. However, the foundation of those subjects came from people like Ogilvy.

The Start-Up of You

All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA, and creation is the essence of entrepreneurship.  Reid Hoffman, The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career
Reid Hoffman is one of the most exceptional internet entrepreneurs of our time. Beside co-founding PayPal and LinkedIn (if that is not enough) he also invested in Airbnb, Coupons.com, Edmodo, and many others. 
He teaches us how in today’s world having the mindset of the entrepreneur isn’t for a few but instead encapsulated in our DNA.

Hooked

Companies who form strong user habits enjoy several benefits to their bottom line. ― Nir EyalHooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Nir Eyal’s book is one of those business readings that you can’t miss out. In fact, this is a book I advise to anyone either if working for a startup or only a user of many technological products.

In fact, the author of Hooked, Nir Eyal, has been able to put together a framework, the so-called Hooked Model which helps to explain why and how companies can manufacture products and services which are so addictive but also how to build those habit-forming products.

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Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro Cuofano, International MBA. Creator of The Four-Week MBA Community and Content Marketer/Business Developer at WordLift

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