8 Highly Impactful Business Books I’m Revisiting Before the New Year

As I write this, Q4 of 2023 is almost here, and I’ve already completed my “to read” list for the entire year. In January, I set out to read 22 personal development or business books before the year ended. 

Rather than seek a few more to add to the pile before December 31st arrives, I created a list of books I’ve previously read that I’m super keen to revisit for several reasons. 

In all my years as a Customer Experience expert, I’ve learned that revisiting things with fresh eyes, new growth, and changed thinking is always valuable. Whether you’re re-examining a customer offer journey or returning to your why, it’s vital to re-center and re-evaluate what you’re doing occasionally. 

With that in mind, I wanted to revisit books that profoundly impacted me when I first read them. Now, I’m eager to re-read them with a new perspective and see how they speak to me differently than they did the first time. 

This list started as a whooping 27 books, but I’ve narrowed it down to 8 that I want to share with you today. (You’re welcome!) 

In no specific order, here are the business books I’ll be revisiting before the new year arrives:

Read People Like a Book by Patrick King

Dark blue book cover with broken statue for Read People Like a Book by Patrick KingI received this book as a Christmas gift in 2020 from a friend who always told me I could “read them like a book.” It was primarily meant to be a joke between friends, and if I’m being honest, I put it aside without much intention to read it.

Then, one snowy Saturday afternoon in February, I read the first 30 pages to see if I really wanted to commit. By dinner on Sunday, I had finished the entire book. 

While much of the information and ideas shared weren’t new to me, Patrick King did an incredible job of adding context, data, and examples to almost everything — which reeled me in and kept me hooked.

Because I devoured this book so quickly the first time I read it, I KNOW I likely missed numerous golden nuggets. It’s been on my radar for the past year to re-read, so now’s the time to see what else I can absorb.

The CX connection:
An essential element of great customer service and support is the ability to understand people, and this book will help you do just that. From interpreting non-verbal cues to the importance of emotional intelligence, this book will improve your interpersonal skills.

The Confidence Code by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman

White, red and black book cover of The Confidence Code by Katty KayI first read The Confidence Code shortly after its release in the spring of 2014. It was a transformative experience and helped me recognize that I was allowing others to negatively impact my self-belief and confidence.

This book was instrumental in helping me realize that I had more potential and the ability to “play bigger” in life. Reading The Confidence Code served as a catalyst for me to step out into the world of entrepreneurship. I left my corporate job in resort management within a year of reading it.

Today, I struggle with visibility as an entrepreneur and, like many others, get held down by limiting beliefs. I know I need a huge confidence boost — just like I was back in 2014 — so what better time to bring this one off the bookshelf for a re-read?

The CX connection:
Offering excellent customer experience isn’t all about sunshine & unicorns. It also involves receiving constructive (and sometimes not-so-nice) feedback and holding difficult conversations. This doesn’t come easy to anyone, but having a strong foundation of confidence and self-assurance will help to make these situations less stressful.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Red and white book cover of Start With Why by Simon SinekThis business book was pivotal for me when I read it five years ago. At the time, I was struggling with having clarity and vision for where I was going with my business and was even reconsidering if entrepreneurship was right for me. I had lost sight of my mission, my Why. 

Start with Why helped me to recenter and refocus on the reason I started my business in the first place. It reminded me of the importance of defining my why — not just for my own motivation — but so I could articulate it to others.

Now, I know it’s time to revisit this one to get further clarity around my why, communicate it strongly, and inspire others with it.

The CX connection:
To truly build a strong following of raving, loyal fans for your business, your why needs to be extremely clear to your audience. It’s one thing to offer them a fantastic service or product, but if you want them to be lifetime customers and advocates, they need to believe in your mission just as much as you do!

Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani

Red and cream book cover of Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani

Brave, Not Perfect helped me re-embrace my courage and sense of adventure.  It gave me the permission slip I needed to stop striving for perfection in my work. It helped me recognize that the desire to achieve perfection was actually stopping me from being of great service and impact to others.

Knowing I will likely always struggle with limiting beliefs and high expectations of myself, I’m sure that re-reading this book at this stage of my entrepreneurial adventure will offer me even more insight. 

Also, this book perfectly complements The Confidence Code, which makes me even more excited to revisit both before the year is out.

The CX connection:
When we put aside our fear of failure, we allow ourselves to move forward in authenticity — seeking empathy and understanding for ourselves and others. This, in turn, supports effective communication and problem-solving, which are vital for excellent customer experience.

Grit by Angela Duckworth

White, grey and red book cover of Grit b Angela DuckworthI received Grit from a friend in late 2019 after a conversation where I mentioned I wasn’t sure I had it in me to be a long-term entrepreneur. During the conversation, they tried to reassure me that I had what it takes and that it was more a matter of me recognizing my own character and abilities.

Needless to say, this book packed a heavy punch for me — especially at the time I received it. Honestly, I still flip through this book occasionally when I need to remind myself of my determination and ability to persevere and adapt.

Even though I already refer back to this book from time to time, I’ve yet to properly re-read it, and being in a significant period of growth in my business, I think this is the perfect time to do so.

The CX connection:
This book emphasizes the importance of passion, perseverance, and the ability to adopt a growth mindset — all key elements for offering an exceptional customer experience — especially when those not-so-fun situations eventually pop up. 

She Sells by Megan DiPiero

Book cover of She Sells by Megan DiPiero with Megan on the cover wearing a pink blazerFull transparency here… I found this book at a free book swap event two years ago. The book looked like it had never even been opened, let alone read. 

When I asked the book owner if they had read it, they said, “Nope, my husband bought it for me thinking it would help me with my business, but it’s written for photographers, and I’m not a photographer, so it’s wasted on me.” 

I vividly remember her saying, “It’s wasted on me,” because it was such a close-minded statement. 

At the same time, I was intrigued — especially because the book’s tagline was “The Empathy Advantage.” Something told me this book had wisdom to share with me, so I grabbed it. After all, regardless of the intended industry, any great business book should provide transferable insights and advice (as long as you read it with an open mind).

Let me tell you that this book did not disappoint! Despite speaking to photographers, 95% of what’s shared in this book is transferable to any business. The author does an excellent job of reframing the power and intention behind selling in a way that feels good while also helping you price your services to match your worth.

I’m excited to re-read this one because I read this book when I was a bit distracted, and I know I read several parts very passively, so this time, I’ll be sure to digest all that is shared fully.

The CX connection:
For those of us who lead with a heart of service, selling can be difficult because it suggests that we are putting dollars ahead of people. At the center of this book, though, Megan reminds us that what we do is ultimately about building connections with others and acting in service of them. 

Unapologetically Ambitious by Shellye Archambeau

Red and white book cover of Unapologetically Ambitious by Shellye ArchambeauI pre-ordered this book in the fall of 2020 after reading a compelling article about the author’s career in Silicon Valley. When I pre-order books, they often end up on my bookshelf for a couple of months, but not this one. I read the first five pages directly after opening the box and was immediately hooked.

I’ve often felt guilty and selfish for having ambition, and this business book was exactly what I needed to recognize: that my ambition is a gift and not something that requires an apology.

This book also emphasizes that ambition isn’t the only thing we need to succeed in business. The author, Shellye Archambeau, focuses on the importance of mindset, planning, networking, risk-taking, and more.

After reading this book the first time, I told myself I should revisit it every year because the golden nuggets within will take new shape for me over time. So, although it’s been over a year, it’s time for me to see what this book has waiting for me again.

The CX connection:
Offering a legacy-worth customer experience requires having a business with a solid foundation. Regardless of the age of your business, the foundational business guidance offered in this book will help you establish (or re-establish) strong practices to support an outstanding customer experience.

Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

Black, white, blue and gold book cover of Small Giants by Bo BurlinghamThis book was published in 2005 and is one of the most well-known books for business owners. And when I first started on my entrepreneurial adventure, several people recommended it to me. But I was resistant because I tend to be disappointed by things that have great buzz surrounding them. 

I finally caved and read Small Giants in my 4th year as a business owner when it was gifted to me by my dear friend, Erin Kelly (co-founder of MemberVault). And if I’m being truthful, I’m still kicking myself for not reading it sooner!

This book is a game-changer for recognizing that, as entrepreneurs, we don’t need to build a massive company to create a significant impact. As I contemplate how I want to grow my business in the coming years, I know re-reading this book will help me regain perspective, clarity, and appreciation for the impact and legacy I want to create.

The CX connection:
This book should be required reading for any heart and service-centered entrepreneur, as it will quickly remind you about the importance of your mission and the potential to make a great impact even while staying small. It’s essentially your permission to not compare yourself to others in your space who are bigger and perceived to be more successful and, instead, do things your way!

What about you? Have you read any of the books I shared? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts and whether or not they made a lasting impression on you.

Also, are there any business books on my list you haven’t read but are you keen to now?

I challenge you to select three books you’ve read in the past and revisit them in this last quarter of 2023. You can do it! That’s only one book per month, and you can re-read a book you’ve already read much faster than the first time.

Trust me when I say it’s almost impossible to revisit a personal development or business book and not take something new away from the experience. After all, you aren’t the same person you were when you first read it — no matter how long (or not so long) ago that was.

Want to dig even further into the importance of customer experience in the online space?

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