BUSINESS
11/10/2014 10:16 am ET Updated Sep 29, 2017

Top 10 Greatest Business Books of All Time

Go ahead and Google or Bing the phrase "Top 10 Business Books" and you get nearly 1.8 Trillion returns.

That in itself leads you to realize that this is an extremely important subject on this planet.

Everybody who is somebody from Forbes and Huffington Post to bloggers like Fernando Biz and Nicola Cairncross have chimed in at one point over the past few years to list for you what they feel are the pivotal "reads" in the world of success and entrepreneurship.

There is definitely no shortage of websites that have found it important to let the world know that there are at least 10 critical books that you need to read that will influence your way of thinking, make you a better person and give you the drive, direction and determination to become a business, financial and personal success in your lifetime.

So why in the hell would I think that I have anything else to offer on this subject?

Because, my fellow Survive55 followers, if you have been following my blog over the past 2 years and you find what I have to say (at times) interesting and helpful then you realize that we are cut from the same metal.

No, we are not Steve Jobs or Marc Andreessen or Warren Buffet but we want to be the next Salman Kahn, E.L.James or Julien Smith.

As we begin living in our 50s, we have reached an impasse in our lives that involves great decisions and risk and we are all looking for something that will make us whole and satisfied and complete as we enter our retirement years.

This involves the basic tenants of financial security, working at a job/profession/skill that we love and making sure that we are truly going to make an impact on our worlds and leave, at least, a small yet important legacy for the future.

You might ask yourself: " Jay, where does your credibility come from?"

Well, although I may not be on the radar for Time magazine's top 100 most influential people of the past 100 years I still have done a decent job building a pretty solid resume.

I started in college by building and running my own business (remember there was no internet back then) which I sold off to join the corporate world.

Through the years, I successfully worked my way through a series of management and sales positions (considered the easiest job you make no money at or the toughest job you make lots of money at) spending the last 15 years in middle management positions with a couple of Fortune 200 companies.

And all of this time I have read.

I love to read and I love to learn.

I have read most of the books on the Forbes and Time Magazine and Huffington Post "must read" business books lists.

I have books in my office, in my bedroom, in the study and even in my bathroom.

My philosophy is to not waste time, so, if all else fails, I read.

That being said, I will share my list with you not so much as the consummate authority on which books are the best ever written on the subject but to offer you some insight from someone just like you.

You won't be a failure if you don't read these books and you won't become a success either just by reading them.

That comes from within.

My hope is that you take what you read in these books and build an entire life success path from their teachings.

But, I would be just as satisfied to know that you found at least one lesson or idea from just one of these books and you used it for a few months or even a couple of years to better yourself.

If I can take just one idea and implement it to become more successful then, to me, that is money well spent.

Most of these books have changed my way of thinking, given me strength to take risks I never would have and some have given me specific knowledge on how to improve my "under nourished" life skills that I was not using to their potential previously.

Each book I read allowed me to grow in different ways.

This list is in reverse order with the most influential book being listed last.

Top 10 Greatest Business Books of All Time

I hope you enjoy them.

10. Hard Sell (2005) by Jamie Reidy is the best example of how not to learn by example.

Reidy writes about his experiences as a pharmaceutical sales rep during the time when Viagra exploded on the drug scene.

His humorous look at big drug corporations and the ways in which their sales reps spent more time trying to work less is a testament to the fact that perception is not always reality.

9. Crush It! (2009) by Gary Vaynerchuck has a raw inspiration for driving you to believe in what you do and making sure that you enjoy yourself as you pursue your true passion in life.

This was one of the key books in my decision to finally launch my own website and blog.

Gary writes in a "no excuses" style as he takes you through developing your own "brand," building support communities, marketing your passion and most importantly making money while you are at it.

8. Outliers - The Story of Success (2008) by Malcolm Gladwell

I wish I thought like Malcolm Gladwell.

This book launched the notion of taking 10,000 hours to get good at something.

Malcolm looks at success in a completely different (yet factual) way summarizing that it is achieved through a combination of intelligence (both IQ and emotional intelligence), luck (opportunities and timing), cultural context and hard work (the much-reported 10,000 hours).

I have read all of Malcolm Gladwell's books (Blink, The Tipping Point, What the Dog Saw, David and Goliath) and recommend them all.

7. Jack Straight From the Gut (2001) by Jack Welch

If you want to learn about the world of big business why not learn from the best Jack Welch, former CEO of GE for 20 years.

This is a straight forward exercise on his rise to power, the pitfalls he encountered, the mistakes he made and the business systems that he forged and built.

No one can ever talk about modern business without referring back to his "Six Sigma" process, the "boundary less" leadership style and his "give and take" decision making style that centered around his intense focus on people.

6. In Business As In Life - You Don't Get What You Deserve, You Get What You Negotiate (1996) by Chester L. Karrass

This book is built upon the foundation created by his previous two books "The Negotiating Game" and "Give and Take" as well as the world renowned Karrass Negotiation Seminars.

The title says it all.

I read all three books and took both levels of the Karrass Negotiation Seminars.

There isn't a business or person decision I make now without utilizing something I have learned from this man.

Whether it's striving for a "Win-Win" solution, handling deadlocks or negotiating for long-term goals I am constantly using the tools and techniques I gained through his instruction.

5. The 4-Hour Workweek (2007) by Tim Ferriss has got to be the 'bible' for those looking to live more and work less, leave the corporate rat race, become location independent and/or fund the lifestyle you have been dreaming about.

This is a nuts and bolts approach to building a business that works for you and not the other way around.

When you read this book you will realize that it's not so much about working 4 hours a week but creating a business and lifestyle where you direct what happens as opposed to being pushed along by what happens.

There are a multitude of practical tips and case studies that help you reinvent how you should do business from ecommerce shortcuts to outsourcing repetitive tasks to taking frequent "mini-retirements."

This book remains on my desk still today and I refer to it constantly for direction.

4. The Little Red Book of Selling (2004) by Jeffrey Gitomer

In my opinion, Jeffrey Gitomer is the guru of sales.

This book as well as his entire "Little Book" series is a must have sales book for anyone working as a sales person or aspiring to become one.

It is loaded with small bite-sized pieces of expert "how to sell" information and sales techniques that inspire and encourage the reader to become the expert in sales as well as in the industry in which they sell for.

It is an excellent refresher for the seasoned sales person.

This sales book is such an easy read, although it is not something that you will read in one sitting.

If there is such a thing as a "devotional" for sales, then the Little Red Book of Selling would be that book.

As I read through it, almost each chapter (if not every page) encourages the reader to stop and think.

It gets the wheels of the imagination turning on how to improve and master the sales techniques that you are now using or if you are a beginner in sales, it turns the light on to what you should be doing to succeed.

This is one book that I would not pass by.

Having this on your bookshelf will be a key sales tool that will be referred to again and again.

3. The Art of Strategy (1988) by R.L. Wing

This is, in my opinion, the best in a long line of books translating the strategies and tactics outlined in the classic "The Art of War" by the Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu.

This is a book that needs to be reread every couple of years.

The Art of War touches all aspects of life not just business.

Sun Tzu believed that victory (in any circumstance) is won long before confrontation and insisted that a skilled warrior (businessman, sales person, etc.) observes, calculates, outwits and outmaneuvers his adversaries averting the destruction and fall out from direct battle.

This translation by R.L. Wing is a clean and crisp direct translation of the original 13 "Chapters" written by Sun Tzu which lends itself to the original harmony and rhythm of the words and philosophies.

2. Think and Grow Rich (Original 1937) by Napoleon Hill

This is the single best selling personal success book of all times.

It is a "Must Read".

I have given copies to my entire family as gifts.

Every chapter and every paragraph outlines the basic money making practices of over 500 extremely wealthy people that Napoleon Hill analyzed and examined over long periods of time.

This book outlines the "secret" to success which is really no secret at all.

Think like the rich.....think how you can be rich......think, think, think.

If you are clueless as to how to become successful in your life then read this book and convince yourself that you can be successful.

1. The Little Engine That Could (Original 1930) by Watty Piper.

You will probably never find this book listed on anyone else's top 10 best business books or any other top 10 books list.

I don't know why since it brings to life in a most simplistic way the single most important lesson to be learned by anyone that wants or needs to be successful.

Even before reading all of the proceeding 9 books, if you don't master the wisdom of "I Think I Can" then everything else is fruitless.

I realize that it is a child's book but the message is ageless.

If you have made a decision to change your life, master your future and experience your life to the fullest then start with reading this book.

I knew you could !!!

So there you have it, my Top 10 Greatest Business books of all times.

Did you notice that a great majority of these books are not only platforms to improve your business skills but your life skills as well?

If you don't become the best person you can be then your business and financial success will never be the best either.

I am sure that everyone who reads this list has read books that have changed their lives and redirected their business strategies.

I would love to hear your choices.