8 Surprising must-reads for all MSPs and small business owners

In an effort to be the best in the business, MSPs and small business owners alike are looking to constantly improve. When a reporter once asked Elon Musk how he learned to build rockets, he said: “I read books.” Oh, right. With that in mind, here is a list of some of the most current and groundbreaking books on marketing, leadership, and the art of business.

1) Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

“Never Split the Difference” is a compelling guide to negotiating effectively and persuasively in any business setting. Drawing from his vast experience as a former FBI hostage negotiator, Voss presents practical techniques that emphasize active listening, empathy, and emotional intelligence to achieve favorable outcomes in even the most challenging negotiations.

Why it matters to YOU: This is sales and marketing gone tactical, to great effect. Voss provides invaluable insights into the art of negotiation, emphasizing the importance of understanding the other party’s perspective while also standing firm on your objectives to create win-win solutions.

2) Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink, retired Navy SEAL and leadership consultant, delivers a powerful and transformative message on taking full responsibility for success and failure in both personal and professional life in his book “Extreme Ownership”. Drawing from his battlefield experiences, Willink outlines essential principles that emphasize the importance of accountability, discipline, and decisiveness in leadership.

Willink at TMT Producers Club, displaying his new release, “Leadership Strategy & Tactics”. (Photo/TMT)

Why it matters to YOU: General George Patton once said that “Battle is the highest form of human competition.” So, to better understand battle is to better understand any other human competitive endeavor, where the stakes are different, if not less dire. Through the lens of Special Operations and battlefield experience, this book serves as a comprehensive guide for individuals and organizations seeking to develop a culture of extreme ownership (what some might call accountability) ultimately fostering market resilience and remarkable results.

3) Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

Donald Miller got famous for writing memoirs read by twenty-something’s back in the day, and took what he learned about the art of storytelling to craft a powerful idea on what kind of marketing most captivates people, most notably his brand of millennial readers, and why. Human beings crave meaningful story, Miller writes in “Building a Story Brand“, and brands are best served when they make the story they’re telling not about the product, but about the customer. Drawing upon the age-old principles of storytelling, Miller demonstrates how businesses can position themselves as the ‘hero’s guide’, resonating with their target audience and helping them see themselves as the hero of even something as banal as the consumer story.

Why it matters to YOU: Through a clear and actionable framework, this book empowers entrepreneurs and marketers to create a cohesive brand narrative that elevates their impact, resulting in increased customer engagement and personal loyalty.

4) The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe, the baritone “Dirty Jobs” television host and storyteller, presents a captivating collection of intriguing tales, blending history, mystery, and wit. With his down-home narration and keen observation, Rowe shares a series of captivating stories, revealing little-known facts and anecdotes about famous figures and events in “The Way I Heard It“. Each brief narrative unravels with a surprising twist, leaving readers entertained and enlightened by this delightful journey through untold stories of the past.

Why it matters to YOU: Mike Rowe is one of the voices leading the charge for trade-based jobs coming back to life in the United States. His recounting of history helps readers see through a different lens, and makes you think that maybe there is a different way.

5) Find A Way by Diana Nyad

Nyad, the legendary long-distance swimmer, shares her remarkable and inspiring journey to becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage in “Find A Way“. Nyad’s gripping memoir chronicles her unyielding determination, unwavering spirit, and triumph over multiple challenges, including numerous failed attempts, jellyfish stings, and pure exhaustion.

Nyad with Robin Robins at a TMT event, 2014. (Photo/TMT)

Why it matters to YOU: Rethink the possible. Through her awe-inspiring account, Nyad imparts valuable lessons on perseverance, resilience, and the sheer power of the human spirit, making “Find A Way” an uplifting and motivational read for anyone seeking to overcome adversity and achieve their dreams.

6) Cold Hard Truth by Kevin O’Leary

Cue ‘Mr. Wonderful’. In “Cold Hard Truth“, O’Leary, who is the renowned entrepreneur and Shark Tank personality known for grilling contestants and dishing strong opinions backed by cold facts, delivers candid and practical advice on achieving financial success and navigating the world of business. Through personal anecdotes and no-nonsense wisdom, O’Leary emphasizes the importance of discipline, financial literacy, and strategic decision-making for building and preserving wealth.

Why it matters to YOU: O’Leary’s book serves as a valuable resource for aspiring entrepreneurs and investors, offering insightful tips and hard-earned lessons from one of the business world’s most evidence-driven minds. What are your monthly sales? What is your acquisition cost per customer? Don’t know? Maybe it’s time to find out. In his book, “Mr. Wonderful” explains why.

7) The Way of the Wolf by Jordan Belfort

As the newspaperman in the John Wayne classic “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” famously said of the American west: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” Jordan Belfort seems to be a living embodiment of that saying.

Nicknamed the “Wolf of Wall Street” and immortalized by Leonardo DiCaprio on screen, Belfort may seem to some like a born salesman, but there just may be a method to his madness that produces extraordinary sales results. The Way of the Wolf is about mastering the art of sales and persuasion. Drawing from his colorful life experiences, Belfort outlines his “Straight Line Selling System,” which focuses on building rapport, identifying customer needs, and closing deals with unmatched precision.

Belfort and Robins on stage at Producers Club, 2023 in Franklin, Tenn. (Photo/TMT)

Why it matters to YOU: Through a combination of dynamic storytelling and practical techniques, Belfort equips readers with the tools and mindset needed to excel in the competitive world of sales, making this book a captivating resource for sales professionals seeking to elevate their game.

8) Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

Did you know Roger Federer played soccer before tennis? In fact, the “Swiss Maestro” and King of Wimbledon, arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, didn’t start playing highly competitive tennis until he was a teenager.

Is this part of what made him great?

In Range, David Epstein challenges the conventional wisdom that success is solely derived from hyper-specialization. Through a compelling analysis of diverse case studies, from athletes to scientists and artists, Epstein argues that individuals with varied interests and experiences often outperform those narrowly focused on a single field.

Why it matters to you: A resumé can be deceiving. Your best salesperson, or tech, or leader may not be the person with the most straight-lined background. In fact, Epstein argues, they’re probably not. Range advocates for embracing a broader range of skills and interests, ultimately encouraging professionals to thrive through a holistic approach to life and business in an ever-changing and complex world.

Got a hot tip for us? We want to hear from you. Send your ideas, comments, or other thoughts to [email protected].

Ben Liebing is the lead writer for MSP Success, the gold standard in the MSP space, providing timely and meaningful content that gives readers the tools they need to be the BEST in the business. Have a tip, story, or comment? Ben would love to hear from you! Prior to joining MSP Success, Ben worked as a Marketing Director for Tesla Motors, reported for The Cincinnati Enquirer, and served in the United States Air Force. He has lived, worked, and traveled in over 40 countries around the world.



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