What to Read to Improve Your Business (Besides This Blog)

What to Read to Improve Your Business (Besides This Blog)

The Engagement team at CQL is filled with voracious readers who, in addition to the science fiction, fantasy, classic literature, and young adult paranormal romance they occasionally read, also immerse themselves in business related books.

You might think that reading business-related books could be kind of dry, but these teammates have learned really valuable lessons that have stuck with them and continue to influence not only their business decisions, but in some cases their everyday lives.

In our weekly team meetings, it’s not uncommon to hear someone refer to one of their favorite business books to further their point or explain their opinion. 

We asked the team to share their favorites and why. Hopefully, you’ll want to add a few of these to your reading list. 

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen

The Slight Edge refers to the compounding effect of simple decisions over time. Many decisions we make are not life threatening or significant on their own but stacked up they can send your life rocketing forward or spinning out of control. These actions are easy to do and easy not to do but the choices you make matter.

For example: Eat a salad or go to McDonald’s? One time is not going to have a big impact, but repeated enough times…The Slight Edge applies to everything we do in life and business.

Suggested by: Todd VanHouten


Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don't by Verne Harnish

Just about finished this book and it is an excellent resource. In a nutshell, the book is organized around Four Decision areas a leader must address:

  •       Attracting and keeping the right People
  •       Creating a truly differentiated Strategy
  •       Driving flawless Execution
  •       Having plenty of Cash to weather the storms

With this being CQL’s 20th year in business, it’s exciting to read that so many companies don’t make their real impact until after this kind of milestone. Apple started in 1976 and had only 9,600 employees when it released the iPod in 2001, its 25th anniversary. The rest is history. All the phenomenal growth of Apple in revenue and employment (80,000 in 2013) occurred after this historic milestone, resulting in the largest-market-cap company in the world at the time of this book’s publication.

Starbucks followed an almost identical growth path, launching in 1971 and taking the first 20 years to perfect its business model and reach 100 locations. By its 25th anniversary, it was at 1,000 stores and ventured outside the US for the first time. Since then, it has rocketed to more than 18,000 stores in 62 countries and more than 150,000 employees.

To quote Steve Jobs, "I’m always amazed how overnight successes take a helluva long time. If you’ve been in business less than 25 years, you still have time to make it big; if it has been more than 25 years, and you’ve not scaled up, it’s never too late!"

Suggested by: Mark Lardieri


The Trusted Advisor by David Maister

A book I have recently enjoyed is The Trusted Advisor. It gives relevant experiences and examples of how to build trust and confidence with clients.

Suggested by: Adam Clark


Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a classic business/life book that examines how people can be truly effective in reaching goals by aligning themselves with a singular ethical principal, integrity. Steven Covey wrote this book and clarified the habits however he’s quick to point out that the teaching is ancient and not of his own creation.

Suggested by: John Tegner


Good to Great by Jim Collins

I love Good to Great. It talks about why hiring is so critical. Collins talks about the importance of getting the right people (employees) on the bus and the wrong ones off. Building a great company highly depends on this.

Suggested by: Emily Bridson

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Share your favorite business books in the comments below. 

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