Nine books every private business owner should read

May 18, 2018

I spoke at the Private Company Governance Summit May 18th. In addition to my remarks, I shared a list of books I thought they’d find useful. I’m sure there are other great books out there. If you have a suggestion, please use the comment section below with the title and author and a note about why you recommend it.

Onward and upward. –McKeel

“The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup”
By Noam Wasserman

Comment: “There are more truths in this book about what owners and board members need to consider than any book I’ve read.”






“Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It and Why the Rest Don’t” (Rockefeller Habits 2.0
By Verne Harnish

Comment: “This is a core book for me. This is where we started understanding transparency as an organization. Verne is the master of using the Rockefeller Habits to scale your company.”






“The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company”
By Jack Stack

Comment: “Jack Stack is the ultimate transparency in leadership guy. He talks about unleashing the entrepreneur of everyone in the company and he takes on the old school idea of ‘hiding’ money from the employees. He compares that concept to asking a basketball team to play hard but not telling them how to win or when they’re winning.”





Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose
By Rajendra Sisodia and Jagdish N. Sheth

Comment: “This is the best embodiment of the need to connect with the passion of your customers. The best companies do that. They also radically outperform their peers.”






The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups
By Daniel Coyle

Comment: “This is one of the best books ever written about effective groups. Leaders who get this right win and win a lot. This is a must-read for 2018.”






“Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity”
ByKim Scott

Comment: “This is a subtle but important mind-shift for leaders to make. Kim does a fantastic job helping leaders understand the power of being authentic. Radical candor helps people and organizations move forward together.”






“Growth Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”
By Carol Dweck.

Comment: “I’m a huge fan of Carol’s work. I consider her book to be a foundational work in the field of organizational psychology. But anyone can learn from this. It teaches us that growth is a choice, and so is remaining stuck.”






“The CEO Next Door: The 4 Behaviors that Transform Ordinary People into World-Class Leaders”
By Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell

Comment: “This is the best book I’ve seen about why the cult of the CEO/founder arose in the first place and what really makes the difference for good leaders.”






“Passing the Torch: Preserving Family Wealth Beyond the Third Generation”
By Ilze Alberts

Comment: “Anyone with a family business will find this guide incredibly useful. It will help your family business endure.”