Strategies to make the most of the business books you read

The power of a good business book, lies in how you put its lessons into action!

Business books. Powerful tools if used to their full potential.

They can help us level up in life. But, they need to treated as educational books.

Read not only for pleasure but also with a strategy used to get the most out of them. I learn best by reading and doing, so this set of steps is key for me.

Here are 5 steps that I have learned from senior business leaders. These make sure you get the most out of the books you read.

  1. Read the book more than once

In the same way, you would read a textbook. If you only ever read a business book once. You would miss a lot of detail. Which is where the deep lessons come from.

Me, I’ll read a book 2–3 times before I’m happy that I got the context from it.

The first read will be like any other book, I’m reading for enjoyment. I may add stick note markers in this first read.

In the second and third passes of the book, they are essentials tools for me.

Which brings us onto.

2. Note mark the book

I use the sticky thin colored marks but use whatever you have or whatever works best for you. At this stage, I’m marking out pages or lines that interest me. Those that I have more to learn from.

Those sections of the book ill go into much deeper detail later on.

Which brings us onto.

3. Take detailed notes

Each of those things I bookmarked?

As I go through my second and third passes of the book. I’ll be taking detailed notes on each of those sections and how they apply to me or my situation.

I’m looking at:

How does this lesson apply to me or my situation

What action can I take away from this

How do I take that action and take it into my day to day business

I will often fill a notebook during this process. That notebook stays with the book afterward.

Yes, most of my reading and evaluation is done while traveling. My laptop is huge so I don’t get much done in coach. I work on this instead.

4. A 90-day action plan

The actions I noted down in my notebook earlier?

Well, I have to hold myself accountable to put them in place. That means an action plan.

I give myself no more than 90 days to put them in action and review them.

For example, I give is standing meetings — this idea I was able to put in place the next day.

Others like something that affects culture or how we do business?

Well those take longer to put in place and review, so they take the 90 days.

Regardless of the timeline, because I have a plan and a set of actionable steps. I have something to hold me accountable to myself.

Action plans really do work, on so many levels.

5. I review the top 3 books in my collection often

The top 3 changes. They make the list based on how impactful they have been for me.

Those books, I revisit once a year. More if needed. Often if I have a problem I can refer to those books for some insight.

Learning by reading works for me. This is why having a strategy around my reading is key.

Final Thoughts

These books as I said can help us level up. They are also great for helping us to work problems through.

The best way to learn from the material and the insights is to have a strategy. That and actions you can be accountable for.

This is what works for me and others. I hope it is also helpful for you as well.


Top 3 business books you need to read

These books will help you level up in your journey to business world domination

I don’t know about you? But I’m a huge fan of reading to learn.

Its how my brain works I guess.

As I have progressed in my career in business. It’s often books I have gone back to when I need to level up or learn a new skill.

Here are the 3 books that I have learned from the most, and why I recommend them:

Broken Windows — Broken Business by Michael Levine
ISBN -10–0446–69848–2

This is the first business-oriented book I ever read. My CEO at the time carried copies of this with him. When he met an employee for the first time, we got a copy.

The message was simple. It was a book he had come across that was impactful for him, in a previous role. We were asked to read it and give feedback on our business afterward.

The book itself is a short read at 163 pages. But it is packed with real-life examples.

The basic premise of the book is that to be successful in business you need to be on top of the small stuff. The small cracks, the faded paintwork, the allegorical broken window?

They are all signs that your business has bigger issues, that need to be addressed.

The book offers theory and guidance on this way of thinking. Along with real-life examples of it being applied.

This book for me got me looking at business differently. It has led me to greater success for sure along the way. Just because I look at things differently.

It’s a book I revisit every year or so.

Execution — The discipline of getting things done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan with Charles Burck.
ISBN 978–1 -847–94068–1

This is a book recommended by another CEO. I figured I had nothing to lose by reading it. Like the others in this list, it changed how I looked at my business.

A longer read at some 269 pages. But well worth it. One of those books you will jump about in. It’s not a front to back read.

The premise is that getting things done or “executing” on what it is your business does. Is the most important trait in business.

The book is all about are real-life examples and contrasts. Between those who execute and those who don’t.

The examples are often focused on interviews with the authors.

So you get both a first and third-hand perspective of the issues.

Again another book that for me. Refocused my outlook and priorities as a business leader.

Like all the meaningful books in my life, I do revisit this every year or so.

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
ISBN 978–1- 78504–127–3

Ok, so this is a monster read at 674 pages. As I remember I was at the airport with a long week of flights ahead of me. Looking for a long read to keep me occupied this seemed perfect.

This is a series of interviews with top performers in their chosen fields. It’s not only limited to business.

Tim asks them through their conversation what makes them different and successful basically.

What comes out of that is a range of facts, routines, habits, etc. That these people use to stay ahead of the game.

What it gives us the reader is a toolbox of things we can play around with and try. Along with some insights and actions to take away and apply to our own lives.

It’s not self-help as such. But it is full of tips and tricks to help you level up. In whatever it is you do best.

Not quite as impactful as the other 2 books covered here. It has been very useful.

Again its not a book you’re going to read cover to cover. It’s one that’s best read in sections going back and forth. In what interests you at the time.

My copy is heavily bookmarked with pages or whole conversations I go back to time and again.

Final thoughts

These are 3 books that have helped me in my career. In times of trouble or at times when I needed or wanted to level up. I have found tools in these books to inspire me to do what needs to be done.

After all the constant is business is change. So its best to consume as much knowledge as you can. Then be prepared for the change to come suddenly and often.

For me, these books are tools that help me with that. I hope they can help and inspire you in the same way that they have helped and inspire me through the years.