15 More Must-Read Business Books That Could Change Your Life

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: April 10, 2013

Our first round-up of 13 Must-Read Business Books That Could Change Your Life sparked such an onslaught of suggestions, it was clear we only scratched the surface. So armed with a list of book titles, we decided to follow-up with a list of business books suggested by you, our readers.

These books---some old, some new---run the gamut from business-building strategies to helping those who haven’t discovered their passion explore their options and goals.

Check out these books that have helped change readers’ lives.

Leadership and Self-Deception: 
Getting out of the Box

by Arbinger Institute

If you dislike reading business books and would rather sit down with a great novel, Leadership and Self-Deception is for you. First published in 2000 and revised in 2010, this bestseller is now available in more than 20 languages.

Through a series of fictional stories, the authors tackle the idea that many leaders don’t see problems clearly and that our motivation is often flawed. This out-of-the-box business book combines practical business advice with novel-like storytelling, packed with powerful dialogue.

The book helps readers in and out of the workplace to be more authentic, see the people they manage and live with in a more realistic light.

Who Moved My Cheese?: 
An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life 
by Spencer Johnson

If there’s one thing the Great Recession has taught us, it’s that change can happen in an instant. And sometimes it’s not for the better. But change is inevitable and learning how to navigate changes at work and in your personal life is a great business skill to develop.

In this 1998 book, author Spencer Johnson uses cheese as a metaphor for jobs, careers and relationships. Its goal is to not only break the hard news that change will come no matter how hard you resist it, but also to show that when your cheese goes missing you can bounce back by adjusting your attitude and letting go.

Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: 
What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Fast-Growth Firm
by Verne Harnish

Though it seems the world of business has changed drastically during the past several years, Verne Harnish’s 2010 book (published in paperback in 2011) offers a blueprint for those wanting to grow a successful firm that is just as relevant today as it was 100 years ago for John D. Rockefeller.

Harnish gives readers the keys to growing a firm with examples from the best run firms in the world. Topics include financing, mastering growth, managing people and mastering your brand promise.

Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands:
The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More than 60 Countries
by Terri Morrison and Wayne A. Conaway

This 2006 guide to international business customs should be in every traveling business person’s carry-on bag. As our world becomes increasingly smaller, many workers will find themselves conducting business with people from other countries at home and abroad.

Did you know that giving a “thumbs up” sign in Australia is considered rude? Or that the Chinese don’t like it when people make a lot of hand gestures? This book illustrates some of the cultural nuances which will help you avoid embarrassing mishaps.

Whether you’re an international business jetsetter or a student planning a stint abroad, go armed with good manners and business acumen.

10 Days to Faster Reading by Abby Marks-Beale

Whether you need to read an industry trade journal or are dreading slogging your way through a company report, wouldn’t it be nice to get it done fast?

In this 2001 guide to faster reading in only 10 days, author Abby Marks-Beale gives readers the tips and tricks for reading faster and stopping the bad habits that slow us down.

The 80/20 Principle: 
The Secret to Achieving More with Less 
by Richard Koch

Here’s food for thought: 80 percent of what you do doesn’t account for much. It’s a principal that dates back to 1897 by an Italian economist that says that 20 percent produces 80 percent of results. So if you invest money in stocks, 20 percent will produce 80 percent of your return. In business it means that 20 percent of an organization’s products or services result in 80 percent of profits.

Author Rich Koch explains the history behind the 80/20 principle in his 1999 book and tells readers how to get more out of their business and life by applying this principle.

First, Break All the Rules: 
What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently 
by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Get into the minds of more than 80,000 managers from 400 organizations in this 1999 book, devoted to showing readers how to become a great manager.

The authors assert managers should forego standard advice such as “treat people as you like to be treated,” and instead offers four keys to management success: Find the right fit for your employees; focus on your employees’ strengths; define the right results; and choose your team based on their talent and not only on their knowledge base and skill sets.

If you’re a manager of people, this is your guide to success.

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2011: 
A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers
by Richard N. Bolles

This timeless classic is a must-read for anyone trying to find their best career. After all, it’s a rare business book that can truly reach across multiple generations and still be relevant and helpful to its readers.

Written by Richard N. Bolles in 1970, What Color Is Your Parachute gets an update every year, adding information and advice that reflects the current job market. It’s the ultimate career guide that walks readers through topics including how to figure out your next career move and the best job search methods. It also offers practical advice about resumes, interviewing, networking and negotiating your salary package.

Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business
by Jeff Howe

First published in 2008, Crowdsourcing is a business concept perfectly matched to a society that is increasingly building communities online. The concept of crowdsourcing utilizes mass collaboration to achieve big business goals. Instead of a company relying on a select few employees to carry out a project or come up with the next big idea, more and more organizations are turning to the “crowd” or the masses to gather ideas, designs, and solutions.

Examples of successful crowdsouring include social bookmarking websites, Wikipedia and open source software such as Gimp (a free image manipulation software that rivals Photoshop).

How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams

Whether it’s politics or a business concept, have you ever clicked on Wikipedia to find out information on any given subject? Have you uploaded a video on YouTube or added a photograph to Flickr? If you’ve participated in any of these online communities, you have contributed to mass collaboration.

Like Crowdsourcing in the previous slide, Wikinomics takes a look at community-based production and collaboration and how a growing number of businesses, online and off, are taking advantage of it.

The book asserts that “smart companies are encouraging, rather than fighting, the growth of online communities,” by engaging their customers as co-creators of the products and services they only used to consume.

The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Glawell’s 2008 book, Outliers, asks the question: Why do some people succeed and achieve great success while others don’t? What sets people like Mozart, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg apart?

Outliers offers readers a glimpse into what makes the great ones great by defining and exploring the factors that contribute to a person’s success in life. Outliers are defined as, “something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body.” Gladwell seeks to find out what makes them different. Where are they from and what are the details of their backgrounds? It’s an interesting theory and a revealing look at the distribution of opportunity and success.

Blue Ocean Strategy: 
How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant
by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Have you ever heard the business advice, “squash your competition?” In 2005’s Blue Ocean Strategy, the authors assert that conducting business on a competition-based model is not effective. They say companies should focus its energies on innovation and creating new demand in the market.

Blue oceans represents an untapped market. In contrast, “red oceans” represents markets overflowing with competitors all vying to become number one in their category.

If you own a business, this book may provide a refreshing model for building a company that truly does stand out from the crowd.

Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0: 
How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Tap Into the Hidden Job Market using Social Media and 999 other Tactics Today
by Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry

Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0 is a part of the wildly successful Guerilla Marketing book series. If you’re looking for a job, pick up this guide that’s jammed packed with job hunting tips for the Information Age. The back cover states, “In today's job jungle, the guerrilla is king.”

You will get tips on how to leverage social media websites like LinkedIn (your “be found” epicenter), Facebook, and Twitter. The authors also offer tips on networking and scouting out your dream job before your competition does.

In today’s competitive job market, job hunters need an edge. Here’s your guide.

I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: 
How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It
by Barbara Sher with Barbara Smith

We all go through stints of feeling lost and unsure of our next move. This 1994 personal exploration book helps readers uncover what they truly want and how to get it. ‘I Could Do Anything’ is a timeless read and probably even more relevant in a time when people are looking for more meaning in their lives.

Sher helps readers answer the question “what should I be doing?” She helps readers identify roadblocks and tackle indecision and fears.

When You're Done Reading, Start Your Research

So now you're well-read and well-versed on what it takes to succeed. But if you're going for a new job or a raise at your current position, you're going to need to know what you're worth. And Salary.com can help.

The first thing you should do is research, so you're able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what's a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

Good luck.