9 Brilliant Business Books You Can Read in an Afternoon

These short books are loaded with powerful information about selling, managing and investing.

By Kathleen Elkins


This story originally appeared on Business Insider

It's no secret that reading can help you get ahead. The most accomplished people tend to love to read.

However, starting a new book can seem daunting and overly time-consuming. The good news is there are several short business books loaded with powerful information about selling, managing, and investing. 

We compiled a list of the best business books under 150 pages that you can start and finish in an afternoon.

Penguin Books | Amazon

'Who Moved My Cheese?' by Spencer Johnson

"Who Moved My Cheese?" made it on "Shark Tank" investor Daymond John's list of business books that changed his life

Johnson's parable was an instant hit when it came out in 1998 and has continued to be a bestseller over the past decade. It tells the story of two mice, Scurry and Sniff, and two sprite-like people, Hem and Haw, living in a maze where the location of the cheese suddenly begins changing every day.

Johnson wrote the book as the internet started becoming more accessible, causing companies around the world to adapt and learn new ways of doing business. Its lessons on how to let go of a fear of change are timeless.

Tribecca Books | Amazon

'As a Man Thinketh' by James Allen

This short classic should be on every entrepreneur's bookshelf. Published in 1902, "As a Man Thinketh" contains wisdom that transcends time. Author and coach Tony Robbins says he often recommends it to people "because it's so small and easy to read and so profound." He's read it at least a dozen times. 

In the book, Allen emphasizes that your life is completely under your control rather than in the hands of fate, luck, or external circumstances. To be successful, he says you must first be successful in your mind. 

W.W. Norton & Company | Amazon

'How to Lie with Statistics' by Darrell Huff

If "How to Lie with Statistics" worked for Bill Gates, it could work for you. The business magnate and bookworm included Huff's 150-page book about how statistics can be deceptive on his list of summer must-reads.

Although it was written in 1954, Gates promises it doesn't feel dated. Rather, it will make you feel smarter and more skeptical of the things you read.

Bantam Books | Amazon

'The Greatest Salesman in the World' by Og Mandino

To be great in business, you need to be a great salesman. If you can't sell your ideas, product, or services, you won't make it. 

In "The Greatest Salesman in the World," which has been around since 1968, Mandino offers several simple, yet powerful, truths in a very clear and compelling style. His parable takes place in ancient Jerusalem and is about a camel boy, Hafid, who's master is a very wealthy trader. Hafid hopes to uncover his master's key to success, and the trader guides him by passing on 10 scrolls filled with wisdom.

Blanchard Family | Amazon

'The One Minute Manager' by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

Another one of Daymond John's picks, "The One Minute Manager" is a guide to effective communication between bosses and their employees.

Blanchard and Johnson say managers can explain a task to employees within a minute, as well as take just 60 seconds to offer praise or criticism. In addition to describing the "one-minute manager," the authors offer advice about lowering barriers between managers and their employees, and how to communicate as directly as possible.

A new and updated edition of this business bestseller, "The New One Minute Manager," came out in May. 

Hachette Book Group | Amazon

'The Investment Answer' by Daniel C. Goldie and Gordon S. Murray

Goldie and Murray's guide to investing, "The Investment Answer," is under 100 pages and focuses on five decisions every investor has to make. These include whether to invest alone or with a professional; how to allocate among stocks, bonds, and cash; and when to sell or buy assets.

Murray, a Wall Street veteran, and Goldie, a financial adviser, keep their guide brief and jargon-free for any investor — experienced, beginner, and everyone in between.

Classic House Books | Amazon

'The Richest Man in Babylon' by George S. Clason

Clason's celebrated bestseller will teach you everything you need to know about personal finance through a compelling series of parables that take place in the historical city of Babylon.

"The Richest Man in Babylon" teaches you the principles of paying yourself first, living below your means, and investing in yourself, among other timeless financial lessons.

Bernadette Jiwa | Amazon

'Marketing: A Love Story' by Bernadette Jiwa

Jiwa compiles several popular blog posts in her book about great marketing in a digital age.

"Marketing: A Love Story" encourages a different approach to business and entrepreneurship: to stop selling things and start telling stories. In a day when consumers are much more aware about how they're being marketed to, it is becoming more important to see through the eyes of customers and convey exactly how they are going to feel if they buy into your product or idea.

Langdon Street Press | Amazon

'Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals' by Thomas Corley

To be successful in business, it's important to establish good personal finance habits. 

"Rich Habits" author Thomas Corley spent five years studying the lives of both rich people and poor people, and managed to segment out what he calls "rich habits" and "poverty habits," meaning the tendencies of those who fit in each group.

His 94-page book outlines these findings and shows how even the simplest of habits, such as regular exercise or calling friends on their birthdays, could increase your chances of attaining wealth.

Kathleen Elkins
Kathleen Elkins is an editorial intern at Business Insider, covering strategy and careers.

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