Over the past few years, I have read many dozens of business and leadership development books and listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts.
In the prior issue, I argued that leaders are learners and that the best way to grow your business is to grow yourself.
You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read. ~
If you’re looking for a place to start, I’ve saved you the trouble by curating a list of some of my very favorite reads and listens from the past two years.
Podcasts are at the top of this list simply because they tend to be short and digestible. If you’re on the go a lot, or only have the ability to learn in short snatches, then listening to a podcast while you’re on the road is a great option.
But that doesn’t let you off the hook for books, either! Between podcasts and books, I’m convinced that the narrower focus of books leads to a greater potential for growth.
Definitely check out some of these podcasts below, but don’t stop there. Check out some of the books below as well!
If you only have time to listen to one podcast any given week, then this is the one I’d recommend. Real-time and relevant advice for small business owners like us who are trying to solve the problems we’re facing and grow our business.
Business Made Simple
Donald Miller’s ability to reduce business principles to their most basic and foundational elements continues to astound me. You will leave almost every single episode with some takeaway that could almost certainly make you more money.
Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt-Miller explore all the habits and practices that high-performing business owners need to embrace in order to lead well and build an organization that is bigger than themselves.
At the Table with Patrick Lencioni
I love this podcast because Patrick Lencioni and his team are so down-to-earth and approachable. You’ll be encouraged and challenged by the insightful conversations about what it looks like to build a high-performing team capable of growing your business. This is typically the most bite-sized podcast on this list, with most episodes in the 15-20 minute range.
Books / Audiobooks
I have literally read or listened to every single book on this list multiple times over the past couple of years. Of the hundreds of books on business development and leadership, these are some of my favorites and I’m confident you’ll benefit from any of them you choose.
Chalk full of practical advice on running, leading, and growing a business based on years of in-the-trenches. One of the best places to start if you want to grow your business.
Who Moved My Cheese by
A beautiful and short parable about our need to adapt to change. I’ve even read this to my young kids. Every time I read this, I’m reminded and challenged to better embrace inevitable change.
Buy the book.
How to Grow Your Small Business by
Probably one of the most practical and comprehensive guides available right now for growing your small business. Donald Miller covers six areas of a small business: leadership, marketing, sales, product, performance management, and cash flow.
The One-Minute Manager by
I love this read for its parable format and its brevity. If you need to level up your leadership with your team, this is a brilliant and easy read that will equip you with simple principles for being a better leader.
Buy the book.
The Ideal Team Player by
How can you make wise hiring decisions? What does the ideal team player look like for your business? Patrick Lencioni explores this idea in detail through parable of a construction company. This is a must-read for every business that will have employees of any kind.
You can literally read this small book in less than 2 hours, but the principles Dave Ramsey lays out in this will fundamentally reshape how you think about delegation. And the skill of delegating well is table stakes for growing your small business!
Buy the book.
The Great Game of Business by
Another from-the-trenches exploration of how to get your team deeply engaged in what Jack Stack calls the “great game of business”. All games are interesting precisely because there is a score and a clock. Does your business have a scoreboard and timer counting down?
My favorite business read of 2022. If you have a team of more than 2-3 people, then this is a must-read for you to start leveling up your leadership game. Liz Wiseman explores 5 different characteristics of leaders people love to follow.
The Mom Test by
The sub-title by itself is enough explanation: “How to Talk to Customers & Learn If Your Business Is a Good Idea When Everyone Is Lying to You”. Once again, learning to ask the right questions is at the heart of this short read.
Radical Focus by
Do you struggle to achieve the goals you’ve set your sights on for your business? Or do you feel like you’re aimlessly wandering in the desert? Christina Wodtke will help you and your team to focus on your most important results and get deep focus on what matters most. Half parable, half application, this book is an easy and important read for any business owner who wants to get stuff done.
The Coaching Habit by
The superpower of almost all great leaders is the ability to ask great questions. In this book, Michael Bungay Stanier gives you a framework to ask better questions that will lead your team to amazing growth.
5 Dysfunctions of a Team by
If you have a team of more than 5-10 people, then this is another must-read for you. In yet another parable, Patrick Lencioni explores the very foundations of building a cohesive and united leadership team for your business.
Death by Meeting by
Yep, one more from Lencioni. (Can you tell that I like this guy?!). If your day often looks like attending a lot of meetings, then this parable format is another must-read for you. If you think meetings have to be boring, think again. This book will turn meetings upside down for you.
Remember, as a business owner and leader, you are the greatest limiting factor on your business’ ability to grow. You have to grow before your business can grow.
Make time to grow yourself. Your business will follow.