How to Get More from Your Business Books

Business and management books are a popular way source of insight and inspiration for many leaders. We look to them for guidance when things get tough, or Some are better than others and there are more than enough to get through (as any slow stroll through a Barnes & Noble business section will confirm), so you'll need to know which are worth your time and how to make the most of those that are. We've done our fair share of reading (and listening, and learning) in this area and hope that these six suggestions below will help you get more from your business book selections.   [caption id="attachment_3134" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Black and white books on desk Image Credit: hashir[/caption]

Six Suggestions for Better Business Reading

Business reading ranges from books that tell the backstories of successful companies and their owners,to practical road maps that describe where your organization could go and how it gets there. What you choose says as much about your own business position as it does your personal preference. The best books give you something to ponder, perhaps enabling improvement of your business or the opportunity to pass on valuable  professional advice to clients. Either way, reading them makes you a more valuable resource to your organization and you'll want to get the very best out of the selections you make. Here are several ways to squeeze more out of the time you invest in business books:  
  • 1) Use Your Ears: Rarely do business books make for great literature. Excitement and action are not often on the agenda. For that reason, listening to them as audiobooks is even more attractive for business than it is fiction. You can also do something you listen, making this a multi-tasker's dream.
  • 2) Add Your Own Perspective: As authoritative as even the most successful business writers can seem, they aren't aware of the ins and outs of your business. For this reason you should always put advice in the context of your own industry, taking any Look for a couple of things you can use (and perhaps remember).
  • 3) Remember, Things Change: Advice received in one year is often contradicted the next. As new research comes to light and subsequent writers attempt to establish their own ideas and rebut those that have come before them,an idea that seems concrete as you read one book can quickly crumble wih the next. By all means find some key takeaways from each book, but keep an open mind as to how these could bend and break.
  • 4) That Said, Some Books are Gospel: Ask anyone about the best business book and a clear leader will emerge: Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Despite being published way back in the 1930s, Carnegie's advice is far from outdated. Almost every subsequent business book derives from this one in some way, placing it right at the top of the recommended business reading list.
  • 5) Read the Reviews: As with anything, there's plenty of junk buried the business section. Some editions are simply aggregations of advice offered across many other books, while others are written by authors with little real-world experience of their subject. Take some time to see what others are saying about any title you're attracted to, especially in this genre, where you can commit a lot of time and money top inferior advice.
  • 6) Expand What You Define as a "Business Book": Business advice sometimes comes from the most unlikely sources, so you won't want to limit yourself to just the professional aisle. Biographies can be particularly good at offering insights into how famous individuals think, act, and find success, even those who aren't positioned as "gurus" of business. The same is true of historical digests, and even some fiction if the ideas are resonant and relevant to your area of work.

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