The best books to grow your business without all the headaches

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been obsessed with efficiency. Before becoming an entrepreneur, I spent eight years working on Wall Street as a high-frequency trader where I traded billions of dollars in stocks at microsecond speeds. That job showed me the true value of efficiency, which I embraced with my own company, Leverage—an operational efficiency consulting firm that has helped thousands of organizations improve the way they work. My book, Come Up for Air is the culmination of everything I’ve learned and the books in this list have played a huge part in my business education along the way. I’m also a columnist for inc.com and guest lecturer at Columbia University.


I wrote...

Come Up for Air: How Teams Can Leverage Systems and Tools to Stop Drowning in Work

By Nick Sonnenberg,

Book cover of Come Up for Air: How Teams Can Leverage Systems and Tools to Stop Drowning in Work

What is my book about?

“There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done!” Sound familiar? Forget the old concepts of time management and the hustle culture of working until you burn out. You and your entire team can get more done, in far fewer hours, with the right blueprint. Come Up for Air is that blueprint.

Through years of building a leading efficiency consulting business, Nick Sonnenberg has discovered the primary reason why so many teams are overwhelmed. It’s not because they don’t have enough time, managers expect too much of their employees, or there aren’t enough people. The problem is that everyone is drowning in unnecessary work and inefficiencies that prevent them from focusing on the work that drives results.
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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

Nick Sonnenberg Why did I love this book?

Traction has been an instrumental book for me to understand the importance of identifying and tracking key performance indicators, as well as how to break down goals into smaller, actionable tasks.

The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) outlined in the book is the foundation for my consulting company, Leverage, and has helped many of our clients achieve rapid growth.

By Gino Wickman,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Traction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you have a grip on your business, or does your business have a grip on you? All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations--personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. But there is a solution. It's not complicated or theoretical.The Entrepreneurial Operating System(R) is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. More than 2,000 companies have discovered what EOS can do. In Traction, you'll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You'll discover simple yet…


Book cover of Competing in the New World of Work: How Radical Adaptability Separates the Best from the Rest

Nick Sonnenberg Why did I love this book?

This book really struck a chord with me.

Ferrazzi's insights on workplace innovation during the pandemic have helped me reshape my company's practices to remain competitive in a constantly evolving business landscape.

What I appreciated most about this book is that it's based on research from real-life executives, innovators, and changemakers who redefined their strategies and business models to stay ahead of the curve.

By Keith Ferrazzi, Kian Gohar, Noel Weyrich

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Competing in the New World of Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal bestseller

The #1 New York Times bestselling author on how to use radical adaptability to win in a world of unprecedented change.

You've shed antiquated systems and processes. You went all-in on digital. Your teams settled into new, often better, ways of doing things. But did your organization change enough to stay competitive in the post-pandemic world? Did you fully leverage the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leap forward and grow stronger? Are you shaping the new environment to your advantage?

If not, it's not too late to learn from the best.

New York Times #1 bestselling author…


Book cover of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Nick Sonnenberg Why did I love this book?

This book is the bible of productivity and time management.

David's whole philosophy of "your brain is for having ideas not holding them" has been instrumental in how I approach work and the content of my own book.

The GTD methodology is a powerful tool for getting things out of your head and into a trusted system that you can rely on.

It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to increase their productivity and reduce stress in their lives.

By David Allen,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Getting Things Done as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The book Lifehack calls "The Bible of business and personal productivity."

"A completely revised and updated edition of the blockbuster bestseller from 'the personal productivity guru'"-Fast Company

Since it was first published almost fifteen years ago, David Allen's Getting Things Done has become one of the most influential business books of its era, and the ultimate book on personal organization. "GTD" is now shorthand for an entire way of approaching professional and personal tasks, and has spawned an entire culture of websites, organizational tools, seminars, and offshoots.

Allen has rewritten the book from start to finish, tweaking his classic text…


Book cover of Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life

Nick Sonnenberg Why did I love this book?

I highly recommend Nir Eyal's Indistractable to anyone struggling to maintain focus at work or in their personal lives.

This book explores the challenges of living in an always-connected world and the importance of setting boundaries and creating a system for managing distractions.

Eyal's approach to mastering internal triggers and external distractions has helped me be more productive and separate work from my personal life.

By Nir Eyal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Indistractable as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A must-read' Mark Manson We are living through a crisis of distraction. Plans get sidetracked, friends are ignored, work never seems to get done. Why does it feel like we're distracting our lives away? In Indistractable, behavioural designer Nir Eyal reveals the hidden psychology driving you to distraction. Empowering and optimistic, this is the book that will help you design your time, realise your ambitions, and live the life you really want. 'If you value your time, your focus or your relationships, this book is essential reading' Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind 'A guide to staying focused in…


Book cover of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Nick Sonnenberg Why did I love this book?

This book is a classic and for a good reason.

Ferriss's emphasis on automating and outsourcing low-value work played a huge part in developing my own systems for delegating as I was growing my business.

I love how nearly everything in this book is practical and can be easily implemented. For that reason, it was a huge inspiration while writing my book.

I highly recommend it to anyone looking to build a life of freedom and fulfillment.

By Timothy Ferriss,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The 4-Hour Workweek as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new, updated and expanded edition of this New York Times bestseller on how to reconstruct your life so it's not all about work

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan - there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, this book is the blueprint.

This step-by step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:

* How Tim went from…


You might also like...

Kanazawa

By David Joiner,

Book cover of Kanazawa

David Joiner Author Of Kanazawa

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

My book recommendations reflect an abiding passion for Japanese literature, which has unquestionably influenced my own writing. My latest literary interest involves Japanese poetry—I’ve recently started a project that combines haiku and prose narration to describe my experiences as a part-time resident in a 1300-year-old Japanese hot spring town that Bashō helped make famous in The Narrow Road to the Deep North. But as a writer, my main focus remains novels. In late 2023 the second in a planned series of novels set in Ishikawa prefecture will be published. I currently live in Kanazawa, but have also been lucky to call Sapporo, Akita, Tokyo, and Fukui home at different times.

David's book list on Japanese settings not named Tokyo or Kyoto

What is my book about?

Emmitt’s plans collapse when his wife, Mirai, suddenly backs out of purchasing their dream home. Disappointed, he’s surprised to discover her subtle pursuit of a life and career in Tokyo.

In his search for a meaningful life in Japan, and after quitting his job, he finds himself helping his mother-in-law translate Kanazawa’s most famous author, Izumi Kyoka, into English. He becomes drawn into the mysterious death of a friend of Mirai’s parents, leading him and his father-in-law to climb the mountain where the man died. There, he learns the somber truth and discovers what the future holds for him and his wife.

Packed with subtle literary allusion and closely observed nuance, Kanazawa reflects the mood of Japanese fiction in a fresh, modern incarnation.

Kanazawa

By David Joiner,

What is this book about?

In Kanazawa, the first literary novel in English to be set in this storied Japanese city, Emmitt's future plans collapse when his wife, Mirai, suddenly backs out of negotiations to purchase their dream home. Disappointed, he's surprised to discover Mirai's subtle pursuit of a life and career in Tokyo, a city he dislikes.

Harmony is further disrupted when Emmitt's search for a more meaningful life in Japan leads him to quit an unsatisfying job at a local university. In the fallout, he finds himself helping his mother-in-law translate Kanazawa's most famous author, Izumi Kyoka, into English.

While continually resisting Mirai's…


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