Walk into any bookshop, big or small, and you will find a business section full of books written by authors eager to impact their hard won knowledge. But time is short, so how can you whittle down the many options to a manageable worthwhile few?
In our continuing series “3 Business Books that Changed My Life” we ask some of Australia’s top business bloggers and business owners for their recommendations. In this post we feature the top three picks of Scott Kilmartin, who started haul, an award winning Fitzroy based design business upcycling used advertising billboards into iPad cases and messenger bags.
I first got to know Scott when his dog Gus the Boxer started following me on Twitter. Yes, you read that correctly. It wasn’t long before I fell in love with Scott’s products and now have an array of haul messenger bags, iPad sleeves and the like.
You can get to know his very social dog Gus here.
What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School
by Mark McCormack
It’s the mid 1990s, and I’m in my 20s bouncing around in the USA, running bars and wondering what was next. I found this for a $1 in a second hand book store in Chicago, and snapped it up immediately since McCormack founded the IMG empire and is credited with being the father of sports marketing. I hadn’t gone to university, but after reading this book I felt I had enough of the tools and street smarts to start a business.
Some of it’s content is a little on the folksy side and McCormack isn’t someone you could accuse of modesty but the book turned me onto the power of self promotion, the value of backing your read of people and especially the art of negotiation.
Read this if you’re a budding Jerry McGuire or if theory based business books normally cure your insomnia.
The Tipping Point
by Malcolm Gladwell
I read this book about 10 years ago. It relates how Hush Puppies shoes went from being on life support to a desirable brand simply be persuading a few cool kids in Manhattan to start wearing them again.
Lesson learned! Get your product into the right crew’s hands and you’ll get some momentum. On the back of this I started seeding product to some punters who were a good fit for the haul brand and who influenced others.
Gladwell tells a great yarn and has an easy to read style. You can also read it in small chunks.
For anyone with a curious mind and marketers but not for those promoting tourism in Baltimore.
Why We Buy The Science of Shopping
by Paco Underhill
It’s the year 2000, and I had just started haul and was stumbling around working out how to wholesale to retailers, and the finer points of Point of Sale (POS) and merchandising. A friend who worked in store layouts at Neiman Marcus gave me this book and the penny dropped.
So what I started to do was to go into stores that stocked my stuff and move it from one shelf to a better location and show up with posters and do window displays.
Retail has changed a lot since the turn of the century but Underhill’s book is still a must read for any retailer or supplier to retailers and architects and store designers.
Just missed the podium
MoneyBall by Michael Lewis
I’m a baseball fan so this book was always going to resonate. The message? Take a look below the surface as things may not be as they appear, and you might be missing some diamonds.
Shame they ruined the movie.
by Michael Gerber
I read this a long time ago and at the time, disagreed with Gerber, reasoning that systemising every aspect of the business would kill creativity. I read it again later and realised he knew better.
Built to Last & Good to Great
by Jim Collins
Everyone talks about Collins’ books because they are that good.
What business books have made your list of must-reads?