One question I get often is this: How did a computer nerd like yourself learn so much about business? Answer? By reading everything I could get my hands on. Here are some of my favorite business books from my bookshelf. Look for reviews below the carousel.
On Course For Business, by Suzanne Woo. A must read for any woman in business who is likely to find herself on the course. My favorite tip from Woo: Try a practice session with a client instead of a full eighteen holes. This pointer was particularly useful when I was a golf newbie and couldn’t imagine entertaining a client for four hours on the course.
Competitive Advantage, by Jaynie L. Smith. Smith breaks down the concept of competitive advantage in business, why you need it, why your customers look for it, and why your company’s competitive advantage might not as good as you thought. Ours wasn’t. This book helped me rethink why we were better than our competitors, and how to communicate that to our customers.
The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael E. Gerber. This was the first business book I read as a new entrepreneur, and it was an eye-opener. I discovered I had the roles of Technician and Manager down pact, but the Entrepreneur role was one I had to learn. Even though we never quite followed the franchise prototype Gerber espoused, we definitely his systems approach to document our business processes.
What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School, by Mark H. McCormack. When I started my first company, I was a complete business neophyte. I wish I’d read McCormack’s chapter on negotiating before talking money with my first customer. It would have saved me a lot of headache.
Managing The Professional Service Firm, by David H. Maister. Knowing how to manage professional people doesn’t automatically translate into managing a professional services firm. See Maister’s chapter, “Quality Work Doesn’t Mean Quality Service”, for an excellent breakdown on what good service means.
Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service, by The Disney Institute. A customer gave me this book, and I loved it so much that I bought copies for other customers. See my book review here.