THE BLOG

Best Business Books 2014 - My Top 5

05/01/2014 16:55 GMT | Updated 07/03/2014 10:59 GMT

I promised myself I wouldn't have a usual Christmas, eating bon bons, and generally being lazy. Instead, I wanted to take the time to organise for the new year and get my mind into gear.

So, I decided to spend a lot of time reading. These 'best' business books, are maybe not the 'best', as in 'best sellers', but the 'best' in the sense of great books that have been recommended to me that are particularly useful, insightful and relevant for anyone who works in the business world.

So, after binging on books not bonbons, here's my top 5 list, in no particular order.

1. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos & The Age of Amazon - by Brad Stone

The history of Amazon.com offers some valuable insights for anyone in the world of work. It's got everything, strategy, thinking, people, marketing and more. After reading 'One Click', I was familiar with the Amazon story. I'd say this was way more interesting.

The book covers the history of Amazon.com, the culture, the personalities, the way of thinking, business strategy and a detailed account of how Jeff Bezos, company founder, thinks. The book tells a great story, making it enjoyable to read, and equals some of the business book classics such as Den of Thieves, Moneyball, Onward, Disney War. No wonder it was the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year.

2. Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton

How do you build a company from 0 to $20bn in value over 6 years? I for sure wanted to find out! Casually written, it's easy to read (but less enjoyable than in could be), the story is told of the early days of Twitter.

The key personalities are identified, with key founder Jack Dorsey stealing the show, as well as the early strategic decisions that were made on how to develop the product and make it happen. What's clear, is that Twitter was popular with users from when it first launched and it goes to show that if you have a valuable product or service, that people want, it should be clear pretty quickly after launching. An enjoyable business book to read for anyone who works in technology, thinking entrepreneurially or using social media.

3. The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Service by Matt Watkinson

The description on Amazon for this said "This book covers ten principles you can use to make real world improvements to your customers'. And it really does.

We know that the customer is always right, but now, the customer is always right, and they tweet. This focuses every business to be more thoughtful in how they offer not just good customer experience, but AMAZING customer experience. If you don't, everyone will know, so best to give this book a read.

4. Onward : How Starbucks Fought For Its Life by Howard Shultz

The story of Starbucks told by the founder of Starbucks. Grab a coffee and read it, it's awesome. Even if you're not into business book reading, the way he describes the perfect espresso is quite mouth watering and demonstrates why so much effort has gone into perfecting that 8am latte you pick up before work. Of course, it wasn't all success at Starbucks and this book explains the key challenges the company faced, and how it overcame them.

5. Viral Loop : From Facebook to Twitter, How Today's Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves by Adam Penenberg

This was a truly fascinating read. More so than all of the others which means it's not really fair for me to have it all the way down here in spot number 5. I loved reading it. You already know the companies, Facebook, Bebo, Twitter - but how do they grow so fast, without spending a penny on marketing? Really, have you ever seen an advert to use Facebook? Nope, that's because they've done any. And yet, they have 1,2 billion customers. If you want to know how they did that, then give this book a read.

If you've already read any of these, or have some others you think are worth a read, please let me know in the comments.

Enjoy!