1) Atlas Shrugged (1957) by Ayn Rand, Penguin Modern Classics
Who is John Galt? Read this brilliant, controversial and inspiring book to find out. It's not a business book per se but at its core it is about industry, human endeavour and the battle against bureaucracy – stuff most business people can relate to. The prescience of what she wrote more than half a century ago makes it all the more valid today. It inspired me to work harder and have the courage of my convictions. It's also a terrific holiday read.
2) Eat That Frog (2007) by Brian Tracy, Berrett-Koehler Publishers
There have been many times over the past five years when I've been too busy chasing chickens to mend the fence. This book has helped me stay on point. Part of my problem was that I used to think that working really hard, nearing workaholic status, was a badge of honour, but this book helped me realise it's unnecessary. I still get as much done but I have more time for things that are ultimately more important than work.
3) Lessons from Private Equity Any Company Can Use (2008) by Orit Gadiesh and Hugh Macarthur, Bain & Company
This short book highlights the power of increasing value through the relentless pursuit of just one or two key strategic initiatives, not 10. The PE approach: create a target, a plan to hit it and the right team to deliver the plan. Business 101 when it's put like that but it's the authors' unerring focus on results and the creation of a repeatable formula that make this book special.
Meet Gregor Lawson, co-founder of MorphCostumes, at MT Live in London on 25 June: www.managementtoday.co.uk/go/mtlivelondon