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10 Books Every CEO Should Read

Every aspiring CEO or leader needs a trusted library to reference along the way – and what better repository to pull from than books? Books help us stay sharp, vigilant and hungry (as a Literature major, I may be biased here, but…). There are thousands of business and self-help books out there to choose from, so narrowing it down can prove daunting.

I interviewed our Founder and CEO Eric Baum to get an idea of what books he read that he found useful; these were his recommendations:

#1: Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, by Gino Wickman

Synopsis: Get the secret to strengthening the 6 key components of your business using the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS).

Why it’s important: Oftentimes many businesses have the same overarching problems of decision-making, personnel conflict and inadequate growth. Being knowledgeable of how you can drive focus and success as the CEO will help your team, and lay the groundwork for a consistent process – every time.

Get it on Amazon (paperback, hardcover and audiobook available)

#2: Get a Grip: How to Get Everything You Want from Your Entrepreneurial Business, by Gino Wickman

Synopsis: This book is an illustrative story on the implementation of the EOS that Traction describes. Join Swan Services as they resolve problems of growth and productivity by using EOS for a more disciplined, healthier and collaborative team.

Why it’s important: It’s easy to say “do this, do that,” in a book, but there’s lots to be said about seeing it unfold in a real-life business scenario. This makes it more relatable and can help a CEO draw parallels to how an EOS can benefit their business and employees.

Get it on Amazon (paperback, hardcover and audiobook available)

#3: Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time, by Jeff Sutherland

Synopsis: Scrum is a groundbreaking process of reevaluating the way we do tasks from a business and personal standpoint. This book breaks down the “why” of the process and is loaded with real-world examples, as well as providing practical value and the potential to revolutionize the way you work.

Why it’s important: No matter what industry you’re in, learning how to be agile in today’s world is a necessity. Whether you decide to implement Scrum or not, the system is thought-provoking and demands you to rethink how to enforce accountability and teamwork.

Get it on Amazon (paperback, hardcover and audiobook available)

#4: EntreLeadership, by Dave Ramsey

Synopsis: Get everything you never knew you needed to build and grow a successful business directly from the mouth of a 20+ year veteran.

Why it’s important: One of the best ways to improve is to seek advice from others who have found success through their business and/or trade. This book breaks down the how-tos and why-tos on becoming a leader – which is valuable for anyone seeking to start a company.

Get it on his website (hardcover and audiobook available)

#5: The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Eric Ries

Synopsis: Ries demystifies what it takes to pave a path of success for startups. Get riveting examples of how to be more capital efficient – all inspired by lean manufacturing and “validated learning.”

Why it’s important: Just because you’re a CEO doesn’t mean you don’t continue to learn and be challenged. This book encourages you to test your vision continuously, and to adapt/adjust accordingly with a minimum viable product.

Get it on Amazon (paperback, hardcover and audiobook available)

#6: Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, by Jim Collins

Synopsis: This book is a granular comparison of 18 long-lasting and successful companies from the early days to large-scale corporation size. From it, practical concepts are drawn, and it’s a fantastic blueprint model for other organizations to follow in order for businesses to prosper in today’s world.

Why it’s important: As I’ve said before, in every aspect of life it’s useful to look to other who have succeeded. What are they doing right, and how can you utilize those same methodologies to claim success? These real-world examples paint a detailed picture on how you can adapt it in to your business model and vision as a CEO.

Get it on Amazon (paperback, hardcover and audiobook available)

#7: How to be a Great Boss, by Gino Wickman

Synopsis: This book illustrates a practical approach on how great leadership can motivate your employees to feel engaged at work. All of this will result in productive relationships and the ability to be more effective with your time.

Why it’s important: This book illustrates a practical approach on how great leadership can motivate your employees to feel engaged at work. All of this will result in productive relationships and the ability to be more effective with your time.

Get it on Amazon (regular paperback and audiobook available)

#8: Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm, by Verne Harnish

Synopsis: Get practical techniques and tools on how your business can dominate your industry. It compiles best practices, a one-page strategic plan and actionable steps you can take to strengthen your inner company culture.

Why it’s important: Getting clarity on how to implement changes and strategic moves can be the difference between flourishing and getting wiped off the map. This is applicable to implement quickly, so it’s a great way to improve your management teams and answers the “how” to make it happen.

Get it on Amazon (paperback, hardcover and audiobook available)

#9: The e-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it, by Michael Gerber

Synopsis: This series helps you delineate common assumptions, and how doing so can help you run your business more efficiently. It’s a telling of a business from infancy to full-blown maturity, and explains why most small businesses fail.

Why it’s important: The method of running a business is integral – and can be invaluable to a CEO so the trickle-down effect follows suit the right way. This is systematic, and can help you cultivate ongoing successes with a detailed foundational framework.

Get it on Amazon (paperback, hardcover and audiobook available)

#10: Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million, by Mark Roberge

Synopsis: Roberge’s book follows a scalable and predictable approach to grow revenue and build a stellar sales team that produces. Being the SVP of Worldwide Sales and Services at HubSpot, he’s got extensive experience on training and hiring the right salespeople who will leverage technology and help customers to shorten the cycle.

Why it’s important: The whole value proposition of this book is that sales can be predictable. As inbounders, CEOs must understand how to scale sales and make it a department with everything it possibly needs to flourish. Doing so will drive growth and true success for a business – if done right.

Get it on Amazon (paperback, hardcover and audiobook available)

I hope you enjoyed these recommendations, and have added a few of them to your reading list! Do you have any business books that are helpful and valuable for a CEO? Let us know in the comments below!

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Shelby Catalano

Shelby Catalano

Shelby is an Inbound Marketing Consultant who started out as a Copywriter here at Bluleadz. She graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from The University of Tampa, and enjoys aerial arts and watching cat videos in her spare time.