Top 11 Little Business Books With Big Impact

Use These Short Books to Master Topics that Will Improve Your Career

One trend in business books is the short management book, often written as a story or fable. These business books are approachable, useful, and may help encourage more people to read. And, as an employer, that's what you'd like to see—right? You're in favor of ongoing career development.

These business books pack a solid punch in a small package. Read some of the favorites that managers and HR staff recommend. You'll quickly agree with their assessment and understand why they have such universal appeal.

of 11

High Five! The Magic of Working Together

A group of employees high fives each other as predicted by following the directions in a small business book.
stocknrol/E+/Getty Images

by Kenneth V. Blanchard, Sheldon Bowles, others (Morrow/Avon) ISBN: 0688170366 -

Fired from his job for failure to be a team player, Alan Foster helps a boy's hockey team learn both team secrets and hockey. Help from a retired girl's basketball coach, chants, cheers, focus, skill development, and knowing that, "None of us is as good as all of us," help Alan learn so he can teach. I love this book.

of 11

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

by Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass) ISBN-13: 978-0787960759 -

Assigned to lead a dysfunctional Silicon Valley executive committee, Kathryn Petersen, a traditional manager, appointed CEO, watches and observes the effect of the group's interactions on its members and on the company's progress and results.

Following her instinctive knowledge about people and using her skill in building teams, she identifies the factors that are undermining the group's effectiveness. In story-style,

Lencioni tells how to overcome the human behaviors that corrupt this executive team's success: the lack of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of personal accountability, and inattention to results. A must-read for teams that strive for optimum success.

of 11

The 1% Solution for Work and Life

by: Tom Connellan (Peak Performance Press) ISBN-13: 978-0-9769506-2-2

Feeling a bit discouraged about your life and work? Not getting as excited as you once were? You can change this by doing one small thing just 1% differently than you are right now. Sound easy? It's not, but if you do one small thing differently for thirty days, it becomes part of your available toolkit.

And, 1% plus 1% plus 1% adds up. Follow Ken on his journey as he meets and learns from six One-Percenters, people who have transformed their lives using the ideas shared in this book. Even if you're after just a small improvement, each chapter gives you ideas that you can adapt now. For me, my new 1% shift? No email in the morning until I have published something. I am on the path.

of 11

Just Do Your Best

by Chuck Harwood (Group Fare Productions) ISBN - 13:978-0881971019

In just 108 pages, the essence of performing successfully on your job is distilled and shared. In an out-of-the-ordinary management setting: a visit to a cattle ranch, Mr. Harwood identifies the five critical factors in job success.

Knowing your job well, and continuously improving what you know, is the first. The second factor is making good decisions. Enjoy attending the management meeting with the ranch employees - the daily lunch table at the ranch. Visit 15 additional workplaces he uses as examples for the five factors. Insightful, fun book.

of 11

Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results

by Harry Paul, Stephen C. Lundin, John Christensen (Hyperion) ISBN: 0786866020

Based on the fun-loving fishmongers at Seattle's Pike Place Market, a supervisor learns how to create an environment in which employees are excited to serve customers and each other. Find out how she transformed a toxic work environment!

of 11

The One Minute Manager

by Spencer Johnson, Kenneth H. Blanchard (Morrow/Avon) ISBN: 0688014291

Can several million people be wrong? Read the book that spawned the dynasty! Timeless tips for supervisors and others who want to increase their effectiveness with people. Learn how to catch people doing something right and the power of clear, understandable goals. Though deceptively simple, this is a great read!

of 11

Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment

by William C. Byham (Development Dimensions International) ISBN: 0962348317

This continuing favorite may be hard to find but it's worth the search. Join a supervisor who is transported to a state in which he can suddenly "see" the real impact his actions have on whether staff is enabled to think, contribute, and find meaning in work. Experiment and learn with him as he changes.

of 11

Please Don't Just Do What I Tell You: Do What Needs to Be Done

by Bob Nelson (Hyperion) ISBN: 0786867299

Written directly for employees, the book has great tips about how to express individual initiative and self-empowerment at work. "Doing what you're told," no longer brings success for the individual or the organization - if it ever did! Everyone has the capacity to fulfill this "ultimate expectation." Share this book to help people find out how!

of 11

Gung Ho! Turn on the People in Any Organization

by Kenneth Blanchard, Sheldon Bowles (Morrow/Avon) ISBN: 068815428X

The story, told as a fable, provides a three-part strategy for motivating employees. Make sure people know why their work is important, give them control over how they do their jobs, and provide encouragement are the success factors. The story is told by a plant manager who learned these truths from a Native American manager.

of 11

The Peon Book

by Dave Haynes, Chief Executive Peon (Berrett-Koehler) ISBN: 1576752852

Not just a regular management book, written by an executive or a consultant, The Peon Book recommends you get the information you need to lead and manage people from the people you are trying to lead and manage. If all else fails, ask! What a concept!

of 11

Who Moved My Cheese?

by Spencer Johnson (Penguin Putnam, Inc.) ISBN: 0399144463

Explores positively approaching change through a parable populated by mice and "littlepeople," mouse-sized people. If you're an expert in change management, give it a chance; the book will make you smile and remind you of key change issues.

Others will find change management tips, real encouragement, and the sense that change is "doable." It's a book for everyone. Enjoy!