You Favorite Business Book

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If you had to choose just one, what would be your favorite business book? Could you choose just one? Would you share your story?

This Blog posting has two sides to it. 1. will be about the Marketing genius behind this initiative. 2. will be taking part in this initiative (thus proving point #1).

Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten are definitely experts in a very specific niche. It happens to be a niche that a lot of business people (and Marketers) also have a passion for: business books. Both Covert and Sattersten have senior roles and share in the success of 800-CEO-Read (which is a subsidy of Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops). Not a day goes by that they do not get a call from a potential customer asking them the age old question, "if you have to choose just one business book to read, which one would it be?". The reality of that answer is that it all depends on what type of information you are looking for. It’s also a tough question to answer because most busy professionals can only get to a handful of business books every year (if that much) – so their ability to recommend is fairly limited. The reality is also that thousands of new business books are published every year.

Instead of just selling business books, they decided to write one. But a very special one. One that answers that very tough question.

The 100 Best Business Books of All Time – What They Say, Why They Matter, and How They Can Help You by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten hits the bookshelves in early February. Along with many very smart marketing initiatives to build the buzz for the book, they also launched a very cool website titled, My Favorite Business Book, where anyone (including you) can head over, type in the name of your personal favorite business book and share your story. Why did it move you? What did you learn? How did it move the needle for you?

What an amazing idea!

Most marketing campaigns flare up and die shortly after the product is launched. My Favorite Business Book, will be around forever (hopefully), it will evolve and can only get better as more and more people discover it. Plus, if you’re passionate enough to not only read the stories of others, but to share your own story, odds are you might be interested in picking up another book (or five), one of those books might even be The 100 Best Business Books of All Time, or you might buy something else from the guys at 800-CEO-Read. It’s also an amazing initiative because of the power of the content that is housed there, and how well that will work over time in the search engines.

My favorite business book.

The Cluetrain Manifesto – The End of Business as Usual by Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls and David Weinberger.

Admittedly, it is hard to choose just one favorite business book. I’m probably devouring about 50-plus business books a year, but something always brings me back to The Cluetrain Manifesto. Part of it has to do with the writing style. Even though it was written by four different authors at different times, there’s this feeling that you’re listening in on a conversation with some of the smartest people out there as they discuss and debate where business should be going because of this developing technology called the Internet. The way they mesh their passion for technology, communications, media and business into four very divergent – and at the same time, complimentary – voices, allows you to take away varying perspectives on how business will change as the Internet takes hold. It’s crazy to think that these thoughts and ideas were put forward in 1999. We’re talking years before broadband and in a world where there weren’t any major online social networks. While the book is most famous for the line, "markets are conversations," the book was written in a time when the Internet had neither a market or any conversations that were available and accessible to the masses. Back then, it was just the freaks and weirdos with their hyper-expensive computers and very unpowerful modems for limited connectivity. The book set my mind on fire with the potential of the Internet back then, and it’s a pretty staggering read in 2009 when you consider what these guys were tinkering with in terms of what the Internet was able to do. A great business book should be one that can stand the test of time. It’s pretty incredible to read The Cluetrain Manifesto today because it’s just as moving and insightful as it was back in the day.

What is your favorite business book? Feel free to post it here and share your story over at My Favorite Business Book as well.

(side-note: if you like hearing about business books, you might also be interested in checking out my other Twitter feed, BizBookReview, where I do business book reviews in 140 characters or less. Along with that people submit their own reviews and there’s also news and links shared there as well).

(hat-tip: Andy Nulman).


  1. Mitch, I really enjoyed learning in-depth business/sales techniqes from a book titled, “How to Sell at Margins Higher Than Your Competitors : Winning Every Sale at Full Price, Rate, or Fee”

  2. I think there is a difference between my “favorite” business book, and the “best business book of all time”. Drucker’s “Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices” might be the seminal work on business. However, I don’t think we could ignore Peters and Waterman’s groundbreaking, “In Search of Excellence”, or Michael Porter’s classics “Cometitive Strategy and “Competitive Advantage”.

  3. Wisdom from the Ninja Village of Cold Moon, by Stephen K. Hayes. It’s a book on the surface of poetry, but encoded in it are some fabulous truths and strategic ideas that hail from hundreds of years and dozens of generations of master teachers.

  4. Purple Cow: Free Prize Inside. To be honest it was the CD. I stumbled onto it at the local library. Listened. It took me on an amazing journey that is continuing today… πŸ˜€

  5. Cluetrain’s certainly something I come back to time and time again. I’m also a big fan of Harry Beckwith’s work.

  6. Actually the business book that has been most useful to me over the years is “How to close every sale” by Joe Girard. I work in high end fashion retail (leathers and furs) and had never sold anything before reading that book. Applying the simple principles of that book has helped me close most of my sales over the years. It’s certainly, and by far, not the most sophisticated business book I’ve read, but it works for sure.

  7. Thanks! I gotta say I’m pretty amazed and gratified that Cluetrain is still doing its job ten years after we wrote it.
    My own favorite business books are anything by Peter Drucker. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he is sensible and far-reaching beyond anybody else in the business of Business.
    Stewart Brand’s “How Buildings Learn” is also an amazing piece of work.

  8. My favorit business book in 2008 was “tribe” by Seth Godin. I realized a lot of possibility of ourself, and that book was the reason why i have lauched my very first blog. If I can tell one more book, it must be “presentation zen” by Garr Reynold.

  9. Mitch, I guess your blog readers share very similar tastes when it comes to business books. πŸ˜‰ Like Art, I appreciated a lot of Drucker’ classic books, Like Tom, Seth’s stuff made me grow as a marketer and as Kai, Garr Reynolds’ book on Powerpoint presentations was one of my nice surprise of 2008. However, my favorite business book is Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin. This book gave me a real kick in the B. After reading this book, I have been able to change many marketing “behaviors” I was having in my marketing practice. He completely changed my perspective on Blogs (it is because of this book that I am commenting here on your blog) and most importandly, this book convinced me that it was a good thing to start my own blog. Thanks Seth.

  10. My favorite book or maybe I should say one of the most important books I read was Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing. It really changed the way I ran my business. We are not a huge business, but I think everyone that considers starting a business should read this book. I hope my competitors don’t see my thoughts…although if they are just reading this now…I have almost 10 years on them…

  11. Hey Mitch,
    I just read this over on Twitter and was so shocked to see your favorite book to be the ClueTrain – as it has always been one of my unique qualities to rave about a 10 year old book when I’m asked what my clients should pick up at Chapters next week. I have sent that book to every one of my workshop attendees in the past 3 years, probably bought 100 paid copies even though its free on their website now.
    I really did think you would toss a Uncle Seth book out there, not the ClueTrain, good show!
    When is your book out?
    If i had to pick some of my favorites from 2-5 spots, I would say “Don’t make me think” on web UI design, anything Clary Shirky wrote and old direct marketing stuff like Perry Marshall gets me moving too.

  12. Excellent post Mitch. Great site these guys have created over at My Favorite Business Book. Awesome idea.
    I’d have to say hands down the best “business” book I’ve ever read (and only because it has truly evolved my skills in all facets of business and life) is still How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

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