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July 13, 2020

Our Best Business Books

Chosen by the attendees of AltNet

By Natalie Howells

In last week's AltNet Virtual Networking, we had a group discussion about the best business books we've each read. As a group of business leaders, it's not surprising that everyone in attendance has a growth mindset and looks for opportunities to learn and grow. 

In fact, what was particularly interesting is the range people came up with. Some are "business novels", told as a story, others are inspirational, others practical. 

As there were some fantastic books shared, I wanted to round them up and showcase them - so please do dive in! And if you've got a favourite that's not mentioned here, get in touch and let us know. We're always looking for new books to add to our office library. 

Take Your Shot - Robin Waite

takeyourshotbookShared by James Short of the High Growth Knowledge Company.

"TAKE YOUR SHOT is the story about Russ Hibbert. Russ is a hard worker, dedicated to his wife and children, and building a career as a golf professional. But one day he wakes up and realises his business is going nowhere. A chance meeting with a business coach, David, leads to a dramatic change and an opportunity, for Russ, to design the business that he always wanted."

Learn to change your perceptions, set brave goals, build desirable products, and get the business and life you've dreamed of. 

Fanatical Prospecting - Jeb Blount

fanatical prospecting

Shared by Steve Bates of Auditel

"Fanatical Prospecting gives salespeople, sales leaders, entrepreneurs, and executives a practical, eye-opening guide that clearly explains the why and how behind the most important activity in sales and business development—prospecting."

If you hate prospecting or cold calling, this is the book for you. It doesn't pull its punches, but it's an amazing resource. We give this to our sales team as assigned reading. 

Steve had plenty of books in mind, but this is the one he pegged as the best he's read (so far).

The Goal - Eli Goldratt

the goal Shared by Rob Furness of Ledgerscope

"Written in a fast-paced thriller style, The Goal, a gripping novel, transforms management thinking. Alex Rogo is a harried plant manager working ever more desperately to try improve performance. His factory is rapidly heading for disaster. He has ninety days to save his plant - or it will be closed by corporate HQ, with hundreds of job losses. It takes a chance meeting with a professor from student days - Jonah - to help him break out of conventional ways of thinking to see what needs to be done."

If you prefer reading novels to business books, this might be the perfect mix for you. And let's face it, the fact that it's on the 30th anniversary edition gives it some cred. 

Oversubscribed - Daniel Priestly


Shared by Andy Kirby of Fleetcheck

Funnily enough, this one was on a couple of people's lists (but they picked a different book after Andy shared it first). 

"Learn how to get your business oversubscribed in a crowded marketplace to make your business stand out and get people lining up to do business with you... When a new iPhone is released, why do customers camp overnight to be the first through the door? In cities with thousands of great restaurants, why do some restaurants require reservations months in advance?"

Who wouldn't want to be inundated with customers? What can we learn from the businesses that are?

Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert T. Kiyosaki

rich dad poor dadShard by David Ithier of Morgans Ltd.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, our IFA at the meeting chose a financial book. But this one is definitely a very interesting take on the topic. 

"Rich Dad Poor Dad is Robert's story of growing up with two dads — his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad — and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you."


7 Steps to Perfect Vision - Bob Patmore

Shared by Paul Smith of Pure Clarity7 steps

"In seven steps Bob will get you to be honest about what you really want and where you really want to be in your life and then begin the process of teaching you how to achieve that. He teaches you how to get yourself right first. He will show you how to think, how to act and what to do to become the successful individual you want to become. He'll explain why it is vital that you create a plan of action, a 'programme', and follow it through to become the new you."

We struggled to find a big enough picture of this one, but if you can track it down, Paul highly recommends it. 

The Challenger Sale - Matthew Dixon

Shared by James Cook of SpiderGroupchallenger sale book

James picked this from his heaving bookshelf as a more modern take on the sales process. 

"What's the secret to sales success? If you're like most business leaders, you'd say it's fundamentally about relationships - and you'd be wrong. The best salespeople don't just build relationships with customers. They challenge them."

It's one he's certainly talked about a lot since picking it up, so it's fair to say there's plenty to digest in this one. 

Fish! - Stephen C. Lundin

Shared by Graham Southorn of Maple Brook Willsfish book

"Imagine a workplace where everyone chooses to bring energy, passion and a positive attitude to the job every day. In this engrossing parable, a fictional manager has the responsibility of turning a chronically unenthusiastic and unhelpful department into an effective team."

A slightly different book, but one that looks at how a bad work environment can be transformed. Quite a few of us added this to our lists because it sounds fun whole being a really important topic!

The Obstacle is the Way - Ryan Holiday

obstacle bookShared by Andy Hook of ARH Vehicle Solutions 

This was a popular suggestion in the meeting, with quite a few people having read it already.

"We give up too easily. With a simple change of attitude, what seem like insurmountable obstacles become once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Ryan Holiday, who dropped out of college at nineteen to serve as an apprentice to bestselling 'modern Machiavelli' Robert Greene and is now a media consultant for billion-dollar brands, draws on the philosophy of the Stoics to guide you in every situation, showing that what blocks our path actually opens one that is new and better."


Watertight Marketing - Bryony Thomas

Shared by Rachael Wheatley of Bluegreen Learningwatertight marketing book

"Unlock the Watertight Marketing method, a powerful toolkit that will equip you with the mindset, skills and processes you need to find customers you love, repeatedly increase sales results and positively transform profits. There's no jargon and no time-wasting, just straight-talking, down-to-earth and honest advice that will change what you think about marketing".

Do you know where your marketing has holes? Or which ones you should focus on fixing first? This is a great, highly practical book.


Surrounded by Idiots

surrounded by idiots bookShared by Natalie Howells of SpiderGroup

Don't let the title put you off - unless you're like me and the title is what attracted you to it in the first place!

"After a disastrous meeting with a highly successful entrepreneur, who was genuinely convinced he was ‘surrounded by idiots’, communication expert and bestselling author, Thomas Erikson dedicated himself to understanding how people function and why we often struggle to connect with certain types of people."

If you know DISC, this is a great book to help dig into the different profiles and understand more. And if not, I bet you'll be online trying out different questionnaires by the end of it!


So, those were the books we shared. One person did also talk about how they prefer to learn from people, and so invest their time in coaching and development in that way instead. We also discussed the relative merits of books versus audio - some of us are put off (or attracted) by certain narrators, and some (like James) like to listen at super speed. 


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