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News | February 24, 2021

Top 5 Ecommerce & Business Books You Must Read in 2021

Time is a precious commodity for both budding and experienced eCommerce business owners and professionals, to be invested wisely. So when it comes to the best books to spend time reading, it really depends how deep down the rabbit hole you want to go.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed this down somewhat, the human interaction that comes from attending as many of the eCommerce industry meetups, networking and educational events as possible cannot be underestimated either.

At these events you can share advice, war-stories, successes and failures with your eCommerce peers, meet marketers and merchants small and large, and pick the brains of various technology and implementation partners and consultants – many of whom may be authors of management and business books as well!

In the absence of physical events in 2021, business books and reading material for eCommerce entrepreneurs are a good substitute. There are hundreds of books you could read on every facet of business, sales, operations, leadership, UX, B2B, marketing, start-up life, investment, product development and so on.

Distilling down to just five is a difficult task, so I’ll simply suggest here some of the books that Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, frequently shared with his top Executives. These are notable because they provide the framework that Bezos used to shape the future of the company, and provide a good guide to the question, “What books do millionaires read?”.

1. The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker

The Effective Executive book

Consider this book as the ultimate guide to productivity. Drucker explains how effectiveness can be learned like any other skill.

Read this book and then, more importantly, practice its top tips for productivity:

  • Record where your time goes;

  • Focus on what you can contribute;

  • Make your strengths more productive, rather than building on your weaknesses;

  • Do the things that are important, not merely urgent;

  • Take rational actions.

Get “The Effective Executive” on Amazon

2. The Innovator’s Solution by Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor

The Innovators Solution book

Many eCommerce business owners dream of being a disruptor. Now, naturally, The Innovator’s Solution cannot guarantee success, but this book explores the concept of “how can” and “why should” companies become disruptors?

The core principle underpinning this is identifying how to create and sustain business growth over the long term. The authors pinpoint the common key forces that cause managers and business owners to make bad decisions that negatively impact the ability to grow, based on in-depth research and test theories in hundreds of companies across many industries.

What the first recommended book here was to productivity, The Innovator’s Solution is to disruption and sustainable growth – the ultimate guide to long-term scalability.

Get “The Innovator’s Solution” on Amazon

Pro tip: A previous book from the same author, called The Innovator’s Dilemma, was apparently the only business book that Steve Jobs ever actually liked. A companion read definitely worth checking out as well.

3. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

The Goal A Process of Ongoing Improvement book

Okay, so this one is very different compared to the above, and different from most other business books, which can sometimes be very dry and matter-of-fact.

The Goal is actually a novel about a failing manufacturing plant and how it is turned around by its manager. We all love a good story, and the narrative format of The Goal makes it easy to digest these fundamental business theories.

Published in 1984, the business messages present in this bestseller are as relevant today as ever, including the need to develop a process to manage system constraints, learning how to drive continuous improvement, and promoting better collaboration between teams.

The lessons imparted in this book can be applied to many business processes, including:

  • Operations Planning

  • Accounting & Management Reporting

  • Process Improvements

  • Sales & Marketing Operations

  • Achieving a Better Work-life Balance

For an exercise in seeing how tenacity and working smarter, not harder reaps rewards, The Goal is a real page-turner!

Get “The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement” on Amazon

4. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos

Delivering Happiness book

First published in 2013, four years after Zappos’s acquisition by Amazon, Tony Hsieh shares the different lessons he has learned in business and life. Fast-paced and down-to-earth, Delivering Happiness shows how a very different kind of corporate culture is a powerful model for achieving success — and how by concentrating on the happiness of those around you, you can dramatically increase your own.

Get “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose” on Amazon

5. Catch of the Decade: How to Launch, Build and Sell a Digital Business by Gabby and Hezi Leibovich

Catch of the Decade book

Two of Australia’s most successful online superstars, brothers Gabby and Hezi Leibovich, started with no money and no connections but went on to build, launch, merge, and sell some of the most disruptive businesses in Australia today, including Catch, Scoopon, Menulog and Luxury Escapes. This book reveals how they did it, with little-known secrets and strategies to help you shorten your learning curve, avoid mistakes, and bring your business dream alive.

Get “Catch of the Decade: How to Launch, Build and Sell a Digital Business” on Amazon


This article is taken from an expanded extract originally featured on For bonus book recommendations, please do check out the extensive book list in the source article, grouped into categories: Specific to Ecommerce, Business Management, Business Development and Strategy, Marketing/Communication, Consumer Behavior/Psychology, Data/Testing/Usability, Business Biographies, Relationships and Audiences and Miscellaneous.

International eCommerce web development agency SmartOSC provides iconic brands with scalable, cost-effective enterprise commerce solutions. Contact us today.

Adrian Wakeham
By Adrian Wakeham

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