Before you say, “Who has time to read?” work with us here. All of these books are available in audiobook form, so you can soak up some different perspectives, business tips, and new processes while you drive to work, water plants, or go for a walk. (Who needs exercise when you’re on your feet all day?)

Whether you’re looking for an adventurous page-turner with a sneaky business lesson, a “how to manage your work and your life” manifesto, or a down-to-brass-tacks handbook for structuring your business, there’s something on this list for everyone.

Lisa has two picks, befitting her outdoorsy and adventurous self. She recommends Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, by Yvon Chouinard (the founder of Patagonia), saying, “It’s a great book on aligning company culture with company mission.” He originally wrote the book to be a philosophical handbook for his employees, but it contains broadly applicable lessons for all types of businesses.

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Hampton Sides is Lisa’s second pick. “I love this book about an epic polar expedition gone bad.  It’s a remarkable journey about bravery, perseverance, mental grit, and leadership. When this expedition turned tragic, the expedition’s moral and behavior remained exemplary,” she says.  

If you’ve read anything lately, you’ve seen the word, “grit,” thrown about as the ultimate characteristic one must have to be successful. As an industry, we need grit to persevere. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth is Lindsay’s pick. She says, “It’s an inspiring and interesting book about cultivating grit, a blend of passion and persistence, regardless of intelligence.”

Lindsay’s other recommendation, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek, has lessons everyone can apply in routine operations. She says, “I love the simplicity of Simon's message and still use the basis of ‘start with why’ for problem-solving and idea generation daily.”

It’s no surprise that Will’s pick has to do with sales. Jeffrey Gitomer's Sales Manifesto: Imperative Actions You Need to Take and Master to Dominate Your Competition and Win for Yourself...for the Next Decade, by Jeffrey Gitomer “Gets to the core of selling and how to live, eat, and breathe it the right way. It also challenges older, traditional ways of selling with new and moves those who chose to adopt it into the new age of selling,” he says.

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie is a classic in the business world with over 15 million copies sold. Maria says, “Actually, I recommend all of his books I’ve read. Some things never go out of style and neither does good advice.” You’ll learn ways to make people like you, ways to win people to your way of thinking, and ways to change people without creating resentment. Sure, we all work with plants, but we all work with people, too. Taking time to learn how to effectively communicate is an investment that will pay for itself.

Does your business seem to be moving in a million different, non-cohesive directions? Katie says to pick up Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, by Gino Wickman. “This is a very practical, step by step handbook that walks you through organizing six core components of your business: vision, people, data, issues, process, and traction. There are lots of stories and examples of the components in action, as well as tips and checklists to help you work through each section as it relates to your own business. I also recommend his books Rocket Fuel and How to Be a Great Boss.”

“If I were to recommend a business owner to read one book, it would be this one,” Katie says about The Power of Agency: The 7 Principles to Conquer Obstacles, Make Effective Decisions, and Create a Life on Your Own Terms, by Paul Napper and Anthony Rao. “It doesn’t matter what you do, where you’re from, whether you have kids, are married, own a business, or are an employee, the idea of ‘agency’, controlling your response to the constant inputs coming at you from the outside world, is worth exploring and cultivating. None of us can be effective if we simply let everything happen outside of our control.” Every chapter ends with a section called, “Your Agency Tool Kit” with specific pointers to master one aspect of agency.  

The Little Red HenWhile not, technically, a business book, The Little Red Hen is the classic tale of, “You reap what you sow,” a fitting end to a business book list. If you put in the work to improve your business processes, you’ll get to make the cake and eat it, too.