5 Top Business Books You Need So You Don't Fail

Episode 107 on the Business Bites Podcast

The Gist Of This Episode:  There is no secret sauce to becoming a successful entrepreneur, having a life over your business while having a business that is successful.  In this episode, Rachel is going to dig into some of her top business books that have helped her to be able to achieve this so-called balance. It is going to be a list of books that are going to target all the different areas that you need to be an effective business owner, an effective person, an effective leader.


What you will learn:

  • What Rachel’s goal is in doing the Business Bites Podcast®
  • What a leader is
  • How complacency can hurt your business
  • Why you need to understand persuasion
  • and more!
Want to win the 5 books mentioned in this episode?


The winner of the book set is Jenna!  Congratulations and thank you for participating!

These 5 books are Rachel’s favorite books, and she wants to share them with you!

ONE winner will receive the set of books pictured

To enter, all you have to do is take this fun little quiz about your confidence as a business owner. We will have a drawing of everyone who entered and announce the winner February 5, 2020.

Giveaway runs from January 27, 2020 to February 4, 2020.


Expand To Read Episode Transcripts

Rachel Brenke: I’m just going to put it out there. There is no flippin’ secret sauce to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Having a life over your business while having a business that is successful. All the educators that are out there saying that just need to scoot on past while the rest of us do the hard work in figuring out ways to run our businesses so that we can have a successful life. This episode I’m going to dig into some of my top business books that have helped me to be able to achieve this so-called balance. Hint, it doesn’t exist, but it is going to be a list of books that are going to target all the different areas that you need to be an effective business owner, an effective person, an effective leader and I want you guys to dig in.

Also, there’s no mistake when you walk through the hallways of elementary, middle, and even high schools, you will see at one time or another, a bulletin board that says, “Readers are leaders.” And there is a reason for that. If you guys have followed me for any amount of time, which by the way Rachel Brenke host of the Business Bites Podcast, which you’re listening to right now, but if you have followed me for any amount of time, you know that I am huge on continuing education no matter how far along you get in your business. The funny thing is I was actually listening to a podcast episode with Marie Forleo and Brené Brown yesterday and for a couple of reasons, but what I found interesting as I was sitting and listening to them, I had on my a student hat not my educator hat. I found myself thinking Marie and Brené don’t have the same issues that I have.

And then I thought, you know what? Some of you guys may think the same thing about me. Guess what? We’re all at different levels of our business. You know me though, Business Bites is not a place for me to sugar coat and tell you that everything is gravy because it’s not going to be. What I am here to do with these quick bites of content is to give you the exact tools, resources, and tips that I use in my business. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to specifically work for you, but here’s my hope with my episodes, especially this one where I share the five business books that I think you guys need to have in order to set yourselves up right. These are books actually that I refer to all the time. There’s some that I had got into a couple of years ago and I still look at, they are tabbed, they are highlighted. They have notes in them because that is how much I believe in having physical books, even though I love audio too, but having physical books and always going back because here’s the deal.

As you grow in your business, as you grow as an entrepreneur, as you grow as a person goes, spoiler alert, you’re going to change and grow as you go through this business thing, your perspectives are also going to change. So maybe the first time you read a book, Oh yeah, well I highlighted that one portion, but that’s because what your mind was looking to understand at that time. However, a couple of years later you go back, you may highlight something else or have a different varying note. And that right there is actually I could just end the episode because that is me telling you exactly how I approach my education. I’ve talked to you in other episodes about content blocking, how I do certain things on certain days. Like today is Monday. And so, it’s one of my big podcast recording days just for you guys. But I do also bridge it with education on this day and I pull these books out and I look at them again on a routine basis.

It actually was kind of hard for me just to narrow it down to five books. We could have been here all day long, but it is the Business Bites Podcast, which is a quick education, so I wanted to make this fairly quick. Understand there’s some books in here you’re probably going to see on other business lists. There’s a reason for that. Some have hype, but I’m not going to share you ones that are just about hype. I’m going to share with you ones that actually had direct information that has positively impacted my business. There’s also one that people are always taken aback when I mentioned this in my podcast interviews, when they ask me what my favorite business book is because it’s not one that is often really mentioned.

In fact, I was even taken aback when I was listening to a podcast about scammers. Yeah, weird. I know when I run, I listen to crime podcast, scam con artists and all of that. Love the Podcast network. Shout out to you guys, but this book was mentioned in a book about scammers, which I’m going to share with you when I get to that book, how it actually, you can use it for good and not for evil, so let’s go ahead and dig right in. I’m going to start with probably one of the most popular ones you guys have heard about. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek. Now here, by the way, before we go into this, yes, I may be butchering people’s names. I’m going to link it all in the show notes. Rachelbrenke.com/epi107. I am starting with a leadership book for a reason.

Even if you’re sitting there and you are the only person that’s ever in your office, maybe you don’t ever see your team or maybe you’re running a huge team, guess what? Leadership happens, whether it’s just you or 500 people under you. You’re going to be leading yourself. You’re going to be leading the content that you put out. You’re going to be leading the audience that follows you, who are hopefully going to become your consumers and the only way that leaders can be affected is to inspire people to take action and that’s kind of our whole point as entrepreneurs, right? We are, whether you’re in the profit sector or nonprofit sector, we are looking to get something back from those that we are trying to reach out to. The classic example is you put up an e-commerce shop. You are trying to inspire and lead your consumers to do what? Take action to buy into you.

So that’s why you Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. This book’s been around. I want you guys to distinguish this book from Simon’s other book, Find Your Why. It’s not this woo-woo, let’s talk about our why, why we do this. I think that’s easy. Although totally didn’t mean it the way that it just came out. I do think it’s important that we have our why, but I’m trying to force you guys to get beyond what most people are putting out on their top book list, right? I want to start with his leadership aspect for the reason that I had just outlined and of course that actually leads us into another of Simon’s books, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Some Don’t. Again, this is another great book that is good even if you are not leading anyone else because you’re leading yourself, you’re leading your audience. I’ve already said that.

I find these two books by Simon fairly well complement each other and in fact you can get on Amazon. I’ve linked it for you guys in the show notes too. You can get a bundle of his Find Your Why, Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last book and I think they’re all phenomenal. There’s no reason that I didn’t put Find Your Why on here. I just really wanted to elevate us to more key elements that I find that we need to have to be well-rounded entrepreneurs. So leading your audience, you’re starting with the why. Then you’re also going to explain why you, the leader eats last because it’s easy for us as entrepreneurs to have this compulsive need to want to fill ourselves. We want to reach our goals, we want to do this, we want to do that. But guess what? You could be hurting your audience following you. You could be hurting the team that you’re trying to pull together. Leaders eat last and there’s a reason for that.

As a side note, the episode that I was listening to on the Marie Forleo podcast with Brené Brown was talking about leadership and it was going through an entire approach of sympathy versus empathy when you interact with other people. Great episode. I’ll link that in the show notes here for you guys also. These books apply a lot of the principles that my mind sprung off and from just hearing that conversation between Brené and Marie, so understand that this is not just one level. It’s not, I’m just going to sit down here and learn, okay, leaders eat last. I come behind everyone else. That’s not what we’re saying. You got to learn into the intricacies and the psychology that’s behind it.

On the heels of this and book number three is Brené Brown’s, Dare to Lead, and I’m going to be honest with you guys. Everyone has been championing Brené Brown for years and I’ve been really extremely resistant because of the hype. I am not big on following books with hype. I’m not big on following people with hype. Even if I love the message of what they’re saying and even how if they’re super insightful. So I dug my heels in on her for the longest time and here’s the deal. This book touched on levels and you guys know I’m not super touchy feely, but Dare to Lead touched on levels that I needed to dig into my core as an entrepreneur, as why am I an entrepreneur for me? So yeah, it’s calling dare to lead, leading others, but you dig into doing the brave work, tough conversations, not with others, but also with yourself. And my biggest takeaway from this book, well a couple of them, but my biggest was not to judge those that have hyped up books because sometimes there might be a reason.

And book number four, before I get to my ringer book on number five, but the The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. This is one that I refer to again and again. This was probably the second one out of this list, so I didn’t put these really an in priority order, but this is probably the second one out of this list that has the most crumbled up pages, highlights and notes in it because as someone who’s a primarily virtual base business with my brands online as well as the law firm, we’re a very lean start up. I’m a huge proponent of debt free or as little debt as possible in business. So in order to do that you have to be as lean as possible. And in conjunction with that, something that my failure I’ve done over the years and I have admitted this on the podcast before, is it’s really easy to become complacent.

It’s really easy to sit on your haunches and just go, “All right, good to go. Don’t need to worry about pushing forward anymore.” And here’s the deal and you know what, whatever. Let’s get totally transparent. I didn’t really plan on going this far into this list, but one of my most popular brands, The LawTog, thelawtog.com, it’s the legal resource for photographers. It is the cream of the crop of what I have going on for my online based businesses and I haven’t really had anybody who has challenged me in that arena. And for a while I was like, Yeah, I’m the big dog.” But what did that end up doing? It ended up aligning me to complacent and it wasn’t so much that I, you know, you know what? I wasn’t being innovative, it wasn’t being innovative in my messaging. I was doing my audience a disservice.

I was getting them bottom line when I thought they needed and that was it. And because I didn’t have an outside influence. What this book did, The Lean Startup, actually inspired me to realize that I need to continuously innovate and radically shift and change my messaging all the time for my consumers, for my audience. It’s not enough to simply put out a low hanging fruit. That is great in the beginning. That is wonderful when you are trying to get off the ground or just getting a minimum viable product onto market, but you cannot sit back. You have to keep using continuous innovation, whether it’s innovation of a new product. And I think that’s where actually one of my big trip ups at this book, initially with a title. I was like, “Innovation… While I’m not creating anything new or I don’t really feel like it.” And that’s also what sucked me into this cycle is I wasn’t innovating my messaging. I wasn’t innovating my story, I wasn’t innovating how I reached people.

And this book helps to guide all of that. So again, number four is The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. And yeah, I would love to say that I’m radically successful. I’m there, but everyone’s definition, even my definition of radically successful changes. And for the last book, and this is probably the book that has sat on my bookshelf the longest, I have it in audio, Kindle and physical. Oh actually I have it paper and hard copy because I love this book so much. This is the one, now at any time I talk about marketing and we get into resources, this is the book I recommend, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. This will work for anybody, no matter what industry you’re in. And yes, this is the one that actually popped up in the middle of the Con Artist by Podcast Networks podcast and I was like, “Wait, what? I’ve been recommending this book for years and now all of a sudden con artists are using this book. What’s the deal?”

But the reality is psychology of persuasion is grounded in everything that we do in life, especially entrepreneurship. You’re persuading business networkers and other people in your industry, other educators, other leaders to recommend you to take a chance on you. You’re influencing a potential audience member to become an audience member. You’re influencing an audience member to become a consumer of your content, to become a consumer of your product. You are using influence all the time. The one good thing about this book is that I like to use that as a barometer. I have an outlined that I’ve written out of it and I look through this book and go, “Have we used these different principles that Robert Cialdini talks about in this book?”

Every time that we go to launch a new product, every time we go to put out a new giveaway like we did in this episode, all of these things are used all the time. So Robert, super smart. Dr Cialdini, love, love, love this book. It has had multiple variations, so there’s different editions of it. The most, I think I have multiple ones of them. They are on the Amazon best sellers rank list. They’re in motivational self-help. They’re also in success self-help in the marketing and consumer behavior categories and for good reason. It can be utilized all across. In fact, you know what, parents out there, I have even used techniques out of this book in convincing my kids to go to bed. The Psychology of Persuasion. I’ve even used these own tips against myself if I need to motivate myself to get stuff done.

I hope this list has helped you guys. Before you click away, don’t forget, this giveaway is running through February 4th, 2020. So anytime you hop over to Rachelbrenke.com between now and then, Rachelbrenke.com/epi107. You submit through the quiz. We are going to be helping you to see how confident you are as a business owner that’ll automatically enter you into the giveaway. If you’re outside that timeframe, please come over and take the quiz anyways. It’s going to be a highlight some things that you may be confident in, you’re not confident in. We’re going to be able to send you an email with some information to kind of lead you down the path to give you a couple more tips, tricks, other tools and resources to help you in your business. Again, this is the Business Bites Podcast. I am Rachel Brenke, and I look forward to seeing you guys in the Business Bites Facebook group, so please come dig right in.

Today's episode was

Sponsored by:

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About the author

Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke

Rachel Brenke

I hope you are enjoying the Business Bites Podcast.

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