7 Books Every Business Owner Must Have

We at RipCord Communications love to write, which means we also love to read. When working with our yummy clients, one question comes up over and again: what books ought our clients be using to support their everyday writing?

We scoured our overflowing bookshelves to make a list of “must haves” for every entrepreneur. (To be clear, we recommend that you purchase them and read them.)  Each speaks to a different aspect of communication that can be leveraged to effectively attract and interact with current or potential clients.  We’ve compiled for you a summary for each.  Happy reading!

  1. Your Attention, Please. How to Appeal to Today’s Distracted, Disinterested, Disengaged, Disenchanted, and Busy Consumer by Paul B. Brown & Alison Davis

Audiences are so busy and overloaded with information that they now ignore most of the communication they receive. So, if your success depends on reaching people and getting their attention, you can’t keep doing things the same old way. The definitive guide for communicating with distracted audiences, it details the factors that have contributed to America’s attention-deficit disorder and describes how to break through the clutter to get people to stop and listen to your messages. The book practices what it preaches, demonstrating the techniques the authors advise, showing examples of what to do and not to do, and gives you practical tips that can put into action immediately.

  1. Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White

A classic style manual for writing in the English language, Strunk and White’s unique tone, wit and charm have conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers. Professional writers and academics have looked here for proper writing technique for decades.  A short read with big impact.

  1. All Marketers are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works–and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All Paperback by Seth Godin

Godin asks three essential questions of every marketer: what’s your story, will the people who need to hear this story believe it, and is it true?  In Godin’s words, “Stories make it easier to understand the world. Stories are the only way we know to spread an idea. Marketers didn’t invent storytelling. They just perfected it.” Great marketers don’t talk about features or even benefits. Instead, they tell a story we want to believe, whether it’s factual or not.  It’s the difference in believing a higher-priced item really is worth more than a knock-off, even if it is virtually the same.

  1. That First Client: How Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurs Can Find and Attract Their First Ideal Clientby Jill Celeste

If you’re a new entrepreneur starting out and struggling with finding your first clients, then this is perfect for you. It will teach you the marketing fundamentals you need to land that first “ideal” client. Celeste takes you step-by-step through a practical process on how to identify who your ideal client is, how to ask for referrals, and how to sell without “feeling icky.” It includes assignments you’ll complete in the book, as well as access to additional resources to supplement your growth.

  1. Made to Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

The Heath brothers offer an entertaining, practical guide to effective communication drawing extensively on psychosocial studies on memory, emotion and motivation. The “sticky” theme deals with the art of making ideas unforgettable. In the end, it’s all about storytelling, and they take you through how to craft a compelling narrative. They lightheartedly analyze examples of urban legends and advertisements and why they are memorable vehicles to convey stories that will stick with you.

  1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

This classic book on persuasion explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings. Cialdini is the seminal expert in the field of influence and persuasion. You’ll learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader, and how to defend yourself against them. As a business owner undertaking the task of persuading clients to buy your product or service, this will help you understand the psychological foundations of marketing.

  1. Associated Press Stylebook by The Associated Press

The journalist’s bible – ‘nuff said. A writing style guide for journalists updated annually to reflect changes in writing style and new guidelines.  A must-have on-the-desk reference resource for all professional writers and editors. It provides fundamental guidelines for spelling, language, punctuation, usage and journalistic style. You may have noticed AP’s changes being debated by the writing community due to the ever-changing use of our language, slang, and broken rules that are so common, they become accepted.

What books would you add to this list of “must-haves”?

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