As a business owner in a competitive space, I place a strong emphasis on continuing education as a core value. It’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve and maintain a competitive edge. That’s why I believe in staying well-informed about the latest business and marketing innovations. To achieve this, I’ve personally committed to reading 52 books every year (with most of them being marketing and business books).
Now, looking ahead to the year 2024, I am thrilled to share with you my meticulously curated list of the absolute best marketing and business books. These are NOT the same business books you’ve seen recommended over and over again since they were published 5-10 years ago (sorry Storybrand – you really were a gem!). Instead, I want to focus on business books that I DON’T hear shared, and that were published more recently.
Not sure what I mean by that? I will use Big Leap as an example. I finally read it this year after many years of hearing it recommended, but I found the content had been shared so much in the online space that I personally didn’t find it as helpful as I’m sure it would have been when it was a new concept. Does that make sense? So, I’ve tried to curate this list to be a little more unique and share books that I personally found valuable in 2023. Yup – I’ve read every one of the business books I recommended here (some of them twice!).
Table of Contents
Great CEOs are Lazy by Jim Schleckser
If I had to choose just ONE of the business books I read this year to recommend, Great CEOs are Lazy by Jim Schleckser would be at the top of the list. The author breaks down five roles a CEO should play in their business (Learner, Architect, Coach, Engineer or Player) and how much time you should be spending in those roles to get them done.
He also shared his thoughts on outsourcing and growing a team, which I found extraordinarily helpful (I WISH I had read this earlier in my entrepreneurial journey!). While I have read books that talk about team leadership before, most of them have felt too corporate for what makes sense in the online space (at least in my industry).
Overall, it was SUCH a good read and I could see myself reading it again in 2024 as my team (and vision) continues to grow.
At Your Best by Carey Nieuwhof
I have to be honest with you, I’m kind of a time management/productivity nerd. I’m not saying I’m amazing at it, but I love hearing what other people are doing to get more done in less time. Since becoming a mom, I’ve become INFINITELY better at prioritizing tasks and being more realistic about how long new projects take. But, I’m always looking for ways to get EVEN more done.
With that said, At Your Best was one of the best business books I read this year because he shared more about how to structure your days to get more done, in a way that I hadn’t necessarily heard before. This is one of my most recent reads, but I’m definitely going to be applying his time “zones” into my workweek in the new year as I make more content creation a priority!
Traction by Gino Wickman
I’m breaking my own rule here sharing a book that is more than ten years old and is incredibly well known, but I really wanted to share my thoughts on Traction. Let me say this first: This is one of the business books you need to read if you have dreams of scaling to 7 figures and beyond.
That being said, it felt a little advanced for someone at my level of business (at least, at this time). I don’t mean that the concepts were too difficult to understand, but a large portion of the book assumes you are the CEO and are dealing with people on a manger level. For our small team of three (with the other two being part-time!), I had a really hard time seeing how most of it could be applicable to MY business. That being said, I still think if you have dreams of scaling your business, it’s worth a read to hear about what you can and should be aiming for in the future.
Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz
By now, you’ve probably heard of Profit First (and if not – I highly recommend that one too!). But in my opinion., Clockwork doesn’t get enough attention. I’ve already admitted to being a productivity nerd but I have to be honest with you, Clockwork is probably the first book that SIGNIFICANTLY changed the way I operate my business and organize my time/focus. I actually first read this book in 2022, but I reread it this past year too. What Profit First did for my bank account, Clockwork did to get me my LIFE back. Seriously. He has a new book coming out January 2nd and I can guarantee that will be the first business book I read in 2024.
Alter Ego Effect by Todd Herman
The Alter Ego Effect was recommended to me by Kelly Potts, and I absolutely loved it. While there are MANY tips for employing this in your business AND personal life, the idea behind the book is: it’s easier to channel an alter ego than to simply aim to be a better version of yourself. I love how TANGIBLE he gets with his tips which is why this was one of my top business books for 2024.
For example, I can channel Elle Woods trying to get into Harvard when I want to get a project done (I just play this song) but I can channel Reese Witherspoon IRL when I’m heading to pick up my baby’s daycare to pick him up after work and I want to be “ambitious but a good mom”. I don’t know Reese – but I can pretend right?
Die with Zero by Bill Perkins
Before I switch away from business books and move onto more marketing-focused recommendations, I can’t have a list of business book recommendations without recommending Die with Zero. The author makes the idea of managing money and saving for retirement feel accessible, and I love the way he doesn’t scare you into feeling like you need to save every penny and gives you permission to enjoy your LIFE. This one is must read!
Superfans by Pat Flynn
I read this book a couple of years ago after it first came out, and reread it this year after deciding building a stronger community was going to be a top priority. Superfans breaks down exactly how to love on your community is a SUPER PRACTICAL AND TANGIBLE way that just makes the logical side of my brain sing. Pat Flynn is an industry leader when it comes to passive income, and he has some of the most loyal fans of any marketer in the space in my opinion. I’ve just started implementing some of the things he shared in his book and have already noticed a big difference. I plan on doubling down on this in 2024!
Make Noise: A Creator’s Guide to Podcasting and Great Audio Storytelling by Eric Nuzum
Fun News! I’m starting a podcast in 2024 (oh my – it’s the first time I typed that out!). So naturally, I read one of the top rated books on podcasting and Make Noise did not disappoint. As someone who worked closely with NPR, Eric shares not only the logistical considerations but also a ton about launching a podcast, marketing a podcast and just creating really great content and telling better stories. Whether I was going to start a podcast or not, I can confidently say this book made me a better marketer and content creator.
Reading More Marketing and Business Books in 2024
Trust me, I’ve carefully picked these gems from a huge collection of books I devour regularly. Now, usually, I aim for 52 books a year, but I’ve decided to lower my reading goal for 2024 (but I’m going to continue prioritizing education – I just want to make more time for podcasts and other forms of educational content). If you stumble upon an absolute must-read, don’t hold back! Shoot me a direct message on Instagram and share your suggestions. I’m always eager to discover new perspectives and must-read marketing and business books!