One way to improve your business brain is to feed it. There are tomes and tomes of writing about business that have been penned down the centuries. Regardless of how long you have been in business, being au-fait with the best of these titles will add more weapons to your arsenal.
The Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith (1776)
It's quite incredible to think that the information contained in Smith's famous and highly significant volume is still considered gospel by economists across the globe. It was written back in the days when a British entrepreneur looking to invest in America had a lengthy sea voyage to look forward to. Yet, even today, in the age of Skype, email and the iPhone, Smith's clear vision of good economic practices is cited time and time again by experts and lecturers across the globe.
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand (1957)
The bible of the neo-conservative movement, Atlast Shrugged is the novel that best encapsulated Rand's provocative, compelling and romantic view of capitalism and capitalists. Business leaders, she argued, are the engine of a healthy society, whose vision, bravery and ambition support and protect the well-being of the masses. Rand was a true rebel of the literary scene of the late 50s. As more and more poets, novelists and journalists called for left-wing revolution, she stood firm in her resistance of collectivism and her belief in the fundamental role of those who create wealth.
Guerrilla Marketing – Jay Conrad Levinson (1984)
Guerrilla Marketing changed the way corporations and companies of every size and shape addressed advertising. Levinson's simple though key argument, that a target market is more likely to respond to an unconventional marketing tactic than one they have seen before, was revolutionary. Suddenly, businesses realised those huge, expensive TV spots that they were pouring half their budget into each year might not be as effective as a creative piece of flyering.
The Greatest Salesman in the World – Og Mandino (1968)
Eleven years after Ayn Rand changed the way people thought about business leaders, Mandino reshaped the concept of the salesman with this seminal work. Salesmen were not, he argued, down-at-heel Willie Lomans or devious snake oil dealers, but decent people that helped people to connect with things that made them happy. It's still a revolutionary thought today.