12 Books Every Business Owner Should Read In 2015

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We can all get a little bogged down in our businesses on a daily basis to actually make the changes that matter and that will help grow our companies. I find one of the best ways to get inspiration is to read a good book and apply some of the lessons from it back into the business. In our hyper connected world where distraction is never further than a click away, a book is the perfect escape. So get yourself unplugged and start getting through these brilliant 12 books...

1. How To Fly A Horse- Kevin Ashton

As a technology pioneer at MIT and as the leader of three successful start-ups, Kevin Ashton experienced firsthand the all-consuming challenge of creating something new. Now, in a tour-de-force narrative twenty years in the making, Ashton leads us on a journey through humanity's greatest creations to uncover the surprising truth behind who creates and how they do it.


2. Zero To One- Peter Thiel

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we're too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

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3. Creativity, Inc- Amy Wallace

From Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios, comes an incisive book about creativity in business. Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve centre of Pixar Animation. Dive into the meetings, post-mortems, and “Braintrust" sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture- but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, “an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible".


4. The $100 Start Up- Chris Guillebeau

In preparing to write this book, Chris identified 1,500 individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases, $100 or less), and from that group he's chosen to focus on the 50 most intriguing case studies. In nearly all cases, people with no special skills discovered aspects of their personal passions that could be monetised, and were able to restructure their lives in ways that gave them greater freedom and fulfillment.


5. Things A Little Bird Told Me- Biz Stone

From GQ's "Nerd of the Year" to one of Time's most influential people in the world, Biz Stone represents different things to different people. But he is known to all as the creative, effervescent, funny, charmingly positive and remarkably savvy co-founder of Twitter- the social media platform that singlehandedly changed the way the world works. Now, Biz tells fascinating, pivotal, and personal stories from his early life and his careers at Google and Twitter, sharing his knowledge about the nature and importance of ingenuity today.


6. Arianna Huffington- Thrive

In Thrive, Arianna Huffington makes an impassioned and compelling case for the need to redefine what it means to be successful in today's world.

Arianna Huffington's personal wake-up call came in the form of a broken cheekbone and a nasty gash over her eye- the result of a fall brought on by exhaustion and lack of sleep. As the cofounder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group- one of the fastest growing media companies in the world and celebrated as one of the world's most influential women, gracing the covers of magazines, she was, by any traditional measure, extraordinarily successful. Yet as she found herself going from brain MRI to CAT scan to echocardiogram, to find out if there was any underlying medical problem beyond exhaustion, she wondered is this really what success feels like?


7. The Start Up Playbook- David Kidder

According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, more than 565,000 new businesses were created in 2010 in the United States alone- each one of them hoping to strike gold.The Startup Playbook will help them succeed. Going insider to insider with unprecedented access, New York Times bestselling author and Clickable CEO, David Kidder, shares the hard-hitting experiences of some of the world's most influential entrepreneurs and CEOs, revealing their most closely held advice.


8. The Mobile Mind Shift- Ted Schadler, Josh Bernoff, Julie Ask

Your customers now turn to their smartphones for everything. What's tomorrow's weather? Is the flight on time? Where's the nearest store, and is this product cheaper there? Whatever the question, the answer is on the phone. This Pavlovian response is the mobile mind shift- the expectation that I can get what I want, anytime, in my immediate context.

Your new battleground for customers is this mobile moment- the instant in which your customer is seeking an answer. If you're there for them, they'll love you; if you're not, you'll lose their business. Both entrepreneurial companies like Dropbox and huge corporations like Nestlé are winning in that mobile moment.


9. The End Of Power- Moises Naim

Mark Zuckerberg's inaugural pick for his "Year of Books" challenge, The End of Power updates the very notion of power for the 21st century. Power, we know, is shifting: From West to East and North to South, from presidential palaces to public squares, from once formidable corporate behemoths to nimble startups and, slowly but surely, from men to women. But power is not merely dispersing; it is also decaying. Those in power today are more constrained in what they can do with it and more at risk of losing it than ever before.

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10. The Virgin Way- Richard Branson

While building the Virgin Group over forty years, Richard Branson has never shied away from seemingly outlandish challenges that others (including his own colleagues on several occasions) considered sheer lunacy. He has taken on giants like British Airways and won, and monsters like Coca-Cola and lost.

Now Branson gives an inside look at his strikingly different swashbuckling style of leadership. Learn how fun, family, passion, and the dying art of listening are key components to what his extended family of employees around the world have always dubbed (with a wink) the "Virgin Way."

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11. Capital In The 21st Century- Thomas Piketty

What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.

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12. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers- by Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup- practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn't cover, based on his popular ben's blog.

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyses the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he's gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favourite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.

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