By Phil Klutts
November 16, 2023

Impactful business books

From Dale Carnegie's timeless advice to Stephen R. Covey's effective habits, these books are guides to professional success.

I picked up almost every book I own last weekend. My wife and I burdened ourselves with preparing our house for new carpet, which is a good thing but took some time and effort. This meant every book had to be moved off the bookshelves so we could clear out our bedrooms and office for the refresh. We didn’t count the books, but the sack of boxes in the garage is impressive! 

This gave me the opportunity to reflect on so many of the books I’ve read for the past three decades – at least the ones I felt compelled to keep hard copies of in my library. I’ve rounded up a few of the books I’ve felt have been most impactful to my business career. Some are inspiring, while others are practical, but each has led me to be successful and enjoy the work that I do. 

There are more books than I can fit in one post, so I’ll spread this over the next couple of months. This month’s books are some of the foundational books that started my enjoyment of reading and sharing about business books. 

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Dale Carnegie, 1936.

Carnegie was a thought leader before the concept existed. He influenced thousands of people and continues to impact new generations. This book is foundational to treating people well and gaining positive relationships. I’m often reminded that the difficult situations I face could be avoided if I would remember to follow the principles in this book. Carnegie shared over 30 tips broadly grouped into three categories: becoming a friendlier person, winning people to your way of thinking, and being a leader.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Stephen R. Covey, 1989

Like Carnegie’s tips, Covey’s 7 habits are almost universally accepted as foundational principles for successful people. I credit my dad for introducing this to me. I’m not sure he did it directly, but seeing him read it and be an example influenced me before my teenage years. I’m not the only one this book has influenced, with over 40 million copies sold. One reference I said the book has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for over 400 weeks.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: John Maxwell, 1998

Just as the first two books are foundational to being a successful person, this book is foundational to being a leader. John Maxwell is one the best-known authorities on leadership. Maxwell’s 21 laws are never far from my mind when I face challenges and work for success. Some of the best insights I have received in leadership are from hearing mentors discuss these laws and what their experience has been with particular laws.

Never Eat Alone: Keith Ferrazzi, 2005

If the popular saying, “Your network is your net worth,” is true, then I knew I needed to figure out how to grow my network. This book grabbed my attention as an introverted young professional looking to grow. Ferrazzi’s concepts and stories were easy to read and simple to implement. He outlines the right mindset and skills needed to be a connector. My wife will testify that I almost never turn down a coffee or lunch invitation, and this book is the reason why.

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About Phil Klutts

Phil is an Edmond native and has managed to keep his wife here instead of traveling the world, which they both enjoy. They have two boys who love the outdoors, adventures, and learning new things. Phil is a problem-solver at heart and enjoys connecting people to the resources they need.

In addition to being the co-owner of Edmond Business, Phil founded the CK Group LLC after working for large and small businesses in the Energy, Construction, and Fitness industries. He focuses on helping small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their systems and processes. CK Group LLC's mission is to eliminate chaos and create clarity for small business by connecting vision, strategy, and implementation.