12 Timeless books on business every South African should read

“Have you ever met a person who was a great reader when they were young who’s not successful? Never!”

You can’t really argue with Oprah Winfrey, who pins down reading as the strongest signal for success in the future. Like Oprah, many business leaders highlight their regular reading habits as one of their greatest assets – and it’s no surprise why.

Reading not only makes us more mentally flexible, but it also improves rationality and creativity, according to the South African College of Applied Psychology. Throw in a book with excellent content and knowledgeable insights and its completely logical why business magnates like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are blazing through their books.

Gates has committed to reading 50 books a year which he chronicles on his personal blog Gates Notes. While the co-founder of Microsoft can find the time to read roughly one book a week, we lightened the load to one a month with these 12 gems. Here are a few must-read books on business and life around business:

1. Business adventures – John Brooks

Business adventures retells stories from Wall Street and reveals the machinations and volatile nature of the world of finance. Whether it’s the shocking market crash of 1962 or the collapse of a famous brokerage firm, this book shows that history often repeats itself. Bill Gates wrote in his blog that Warren Buffett, the former richest man in the world, not only recommended this as his favorite book about business, but also sent Gates his own personal copy to read!

2. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad is Hawaiian businessman Robert Kiyosaki’s story of growing up with two dads. His real father (his poor dad) and the father of his best friend (his rich dad) both shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.

3. 4 Hour Work Week – Tim Feriss

This New York Times bestseller is about how to reconstruct your life so that it doesn’t only revolve around work. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, travelling the world or just living more and working less, this book is your guide. Feriss, who recently also wrote Tools of Titans, will inspire you to consider a life beyond the 9-5 or at least enjoy the luxury of time.

4. The Start-Up of you – Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha

The Start-Up of you is a blueprint for thriving in your job and building a career by applying the lessons of Silicon Valley’s most innovative entrepreneurs. In this book, LinkedIn cofounder and chairman Reid Hoffman and author Ben Casnocha show you how to catapult your career into today’s competitive world. The take-home message of this book is to manage your career, and yourself, as if it were a start-up business.

5. Let my people go surfing – Yvon Chouinard

In his memoir, the legendary Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being the head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies in the world. Let My People Go Surfing is the story of how he who brought doing good and having grand adventures into the heart of his business life.

6. How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie

“You could call How to Win Friends & Influence People the grandfather of America’s self-help movement, except this grandfather is running circles around the rest of the industry, selling 300,000 copies last year (2016),” Ron Charles writes in the Washington Post. Dale Carnegie’s unyielding, time-tested advice in this book has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.

7. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder – Arianna Huffington

After she fainted from sleep deprivation and broke her cheekbone in 2007, Arianna Huffington knew she had to make some lifestyle changes. The co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post was challenged with managing time and prioritizing the demands of a career and raising two daughters. By drawing on ground-breaking research, Arianna highlights the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness and unplugging that helped her balance her life.

8. Who Moved my Cheese? – Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese? is another business classic that focuses on how to deal with change so that you can enjoy more success in your work and in your life with less stress. Most people are fearful of change because they don’t have any control over how or when it happens to them, but according to Dr Johnson, your attitude is what matters most in a rapidly changing world.

9. Do. Fail. Learn. Repeat. – Nic Haralambous

If entrepreneurship is calling you then you absolutely cannot miss out on the truth behind the business as its written by Capetonian businessman Nic Haralambous. Nic decided to write a book of his failures so that entrepreneurs around the world can begin to understand that it’s not always easy or even fun to build a business. This local take on entrepreneurship gives a fresh and honest perspective of breaking into the market in South Africa and never giving up.

10. Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life – Daymond John, Daniel Paisner

Rise and Grind cancels the belief that you can short-cut your way to the top and highlights that hard work is the key to succeeding. In this book, Shark Tank star Daymond John explores how hard-work, persistence and plain grit are the pillars of every successful business. In a nutshell, he lays out a game plan for being more productive in your day-to-day life and career by looking at the success stories of 15 people including Catherine Zeta Jones and Gary Vaynerchuk.

11. Lean In: Women, work and the will to lead – Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, looks at what women can do to help themselves in corporate spaces. Sandberg, who is one of Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business, suggests that women make small changes in their life that can effect larger changes. Learning to ‘lean in’ is about tackling the anxieties and preconceptions that hold women back in business.

12. The Richest man in Babylon – George Samuel Clason

The Richest Man in Babylon gives financial advice through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon. This classic delves into the simplicity of personal finance by looking at small things that the Babylonians did such as saving and investing 10% of their income and not spending more than they earn – sound familiar? Most of these wisdoms are still embedded into our society but it never hurts to hear the basics again.

All of these must-reads are available at Exclusive Books nationwide.

This post is sponsored by Volkswagen Touareg and produced by BrandStudio24.

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