The best books on how to manage profit and survive

Who am I?

Hermann Simon is a world-renowned expert on price and profit management. He is the founder and honorary chairman of Simon-Kucher & Partners, the global leader in price and topline consulting with 1700 employees and 41 offices worldwide. He is the only German in the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame of the most influential management thinkers. In China a business school is named in his honor. Profit is at the core of Hermann’s writing and consulting activities.

I wrote...

True Profit!: No Company Ever Went Broke Turning a Profit

By Hermann Simon,

Book cover of True Profit!: No Company Ever Went Broke Turning a Profit

What is my book about?

Profit is the most important indicator of business success. It is all the more surprising that there is no “pure” profit book. This book is the first and only one. It clears up false profit concepts and gets to the bottom of actual profits. Profit is the cost of survival. The ethics of profit, as well as the causes of low profits, and the therapy for high profits are discussed. Finally, I prove that price, with a profit multiplier of 10, is the most effective profit driver, followed by cost, with a multiplier of 6, and sales volume, which has a multiplier of only 4.

The book is strategic and equally relevant for large and small companies.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Profits Aren't Everything, They're the Only Thing: No-Nonsense Rules from the Ultimate Contrarian and Small Business Guru

Why did I love this book?

This book is very basic and aimed mostly at small business owners or readers who are interested in the fundamental mechanics of profit. It’s a hard-hitting book and controversial, e.g. with recommendations such as, “Never pay your vendors on time. Wear your control-freak badge with pride.” It shows that many little things influence profit and should be observed. Useful for start-ups and readers with basic economic knowledge. The obsession with profit as the only priority is, however, somewhat exaggerated. 

By George Cloutier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Profits Aren't Everything, They're the Only Thing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now more than ever, business owners need a reality check. As we see the economy flattening and businesses struggling to stay afloat, "Profits Aren't Everything, They're the Only Thing" is a wakeup call for the 23 million small businesses across America who need to get their business fundamentals in order. George Cloutier reveals 13 no-nonsense, tough-love maxims that small businesspeople may not want to hear at first, but will thank him for in the end. Among his controversial (yet proven!) ideas are: forget teamwork, micromanage like crazy; pay raises are over; fear is the best motivator; and, if your business…

Book cover of Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit

Why did I love this book?

This book addresses the highly topical discussion on the potential conflict between profit and purpose, fueled in particular by the 2019 Business Roundtable guidelines. In this sense, it is not a pure profit book but seeks to balance the social and financial goals of a company. Anyone who wants to have a qualified say in the current discussion about profit and purpose should read this book.

By Alex Edmans,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Financial Times Book of the Year 2020! Should companies be run for profit or purpose? In this ground-breaking book, acclaimed finance professor and TED speaker Alex Edmans shows it's not an either-or choice. Drawing from real-life examples spanning industries and countries, Edmans demonstrates that purpose-driven businesses are consistently more successful in the long-term. But a purposeful company must navigate difficult trade-offs and take tough decisions. Edmans provides a roadmap for company leaders to put purpose into practice, and overcome the hurdles that hold many back. He explains how investors can discern which companies are truly purposeful and how to…

Book cover of The Profit Paradox: How Thriving Firms Threaten the Future of Work

Why did I love this book?

This book addresses another highly charged topic, the exorbitant profits of tech and internet giants. The focus is on the consequences of the huge profits on competition, economic policy, and society at large. 1% of the world’s largest companies reap 36% of global so-called economic profit, that is the profit that exceeds the cost of capital. The book, which is punctuated with juicy examples, is very didactic as well as rigorous, and will appeal not only to those versed in economics but to the enlightened public in general. It is, however, not a book on how to manage profit, but rather how to address the problems resulting from super-profits. 

By Jan Eeckhout,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A pioneering account of the surging global tide of market power-and how it stifles workers around the world

In an era of technological progress and easy communication, it might seem reasonable to assume that the world's working people have never had it so good. But wages are stagnant and prices are rising, so that everything from a bottle of beer to a prosthetic hip costs more. Economist Jan Eeckhout shows how this is due to a small number of companies exploiting an unbridled rise in market power-the ability to set prices higher than they could in a properly functioning competitive…

Book cover of Sustainable Happy Profit: Products and Organizations that Thrive

Why did I love this book?

This book takes an unusual, very modern approach by combining profit with sustainability and happiness. A current controversial discussion, after all, deals with the compatibility of sustainability and profitability. This compatibility is strongly advocated by the author. She also believes that a sustainably profitable offering makes the company and the customers happy. Overall, an enrichment of the discussion about profit orientation!

By Ines Garcia,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


"In the book, Ines sets out the new path for businesses to follow to create workplaces of our future. She dives into the science behind each of these three business imperatives and follows this up with clear ABC’s and CBA’s on how to make the shift starting right now. Create real, sustainable change in their teams and organisations straight away." -- Sarah Metcalfe, Chief Happiness Officer & Co-Leader, Woohoo Unlimited

"This book will challenge you to combine collaboration, sustainability and emotional intelligence to create a better business. Ines’ experience in innovation makes her the perfect to explore how thinking…

Book cover of Double Your Profits: In Six Months or Less

Why did I love this book?

This book approaches profit improvement primarily from the cost side. Numerous practical methods and tricks are explained. If these are successfully implemented in real business, significant profit improvements will result in a short time (hence the six months or less!). But these methods are not without risks, because if you treat stakeholders such as suppliers, banks, and employees too harshly, this can lead to negative reactions. The same is true for competitors if you play too hard. Therefore the judgment of one reviewer should be observed: Useful if applied with common sense, but dangerous in the wrong hands.

By Bob Fifer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"An excellent primer for anyone struggling to keep profits ahead of costs. . . . Double Your Profits' 'take no prisoners' approach is refreshing." - William Byham, bestselling coauthor of Zapp!

One of the nation's foremost management consultants shares seventy-eight proven ways to cut costs dramatically, send sales through the roof, and double profits in just six months.

This timeless profit-boosting guide, considered a top management resource by business powerhouse Jack Welch, presents insights that are notable for their aggressive approach and contrarian perspective. Bob Fifer, former chairman and CEO of Kaiser Associates, shows us how to turn the tables…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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