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7 Business Fables You Should Read

Posted by Megan Habel on May 19, 2016

7 Business Fables You Should Read

business fables

These business fables will teach you a thing or two about success.

In recent years, business fables have become trusted resources for companies, entrepreneurs, and professionals looking for some thoughtful advice and genuine inspiration. But wait — what is a business fable? Though you may not be familiar with the genre, you’ve more than likely heard of a few popular business fables or even read a few yourself. A business fable combines the enjoyment and readability of a story with the wisdom and advice of a business book. To give you an idea of what this genius formula is all about, we’ve put together a list of classic business fables and included some of our new favorites.

7 Inspiring business fables:

1. The Greatest Salesman in the World by OG Mandino

the greatest salesman in the world

Published in 1968, The Greatest Salesman in the World is the original business fable. Using ancient scrolls to tell the story of impoverished camel boy Hafid, the tale teaches readers how drive and determination lead to true success.

2. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

the five dysfunctions of a team

With several business fables under his belt, there's no doubt that Patrick Lencioni knows how to craft a story that’s full of advice but also entertaining. In one of his most popular business fables, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Lencioni uses the gripping tale of a CEO about to lose it all to lay out the key principles behind creating a successful team.

3. The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard, PhD & Spencer Johnson, MD 

new one minute manager 2

Originally written thirty years ago, The One Minute Manager is such a sought after classic that it was updated in 2015 for today's modern workforce. This business fable focuses on what most professionals are looking for: strong management. Its emphasis on leadership and the success good leadership creates makes it an essential read for all companies and organizations.

4. Animals, Inc.: A Business Parable for the 21st Century by Kenneth A. Tucker & Vandana Allman

animals inc: a business parable for the 21st century

We’ve all read the classic education title Animal Farm, but have you read the story about these barnyard animals trying to run a business? The business fable, Animals, Inc. uses the barnyard structure to offer both hilarity as well as essential business advice, like how to conduct employee surveys, develop new projects, and work with shortcomings.

5. Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results by Stephen C. Lundin, PhD; Harry Paul; & John Christensen

fish! a remarkable way to boost morale and improve results

The mention of fish in the title may totally throw you off, but don’t worry, this business fable is all about business! Drawing inspiration from Seattle’s famous Pike Place Fish Market and its enthusiastic employees, a fictional manager applies simple leadership principles to create a much more effective and cooperative workplace.

6. Rain: What a Paperboy Learned about Business by Jeffrey J. Fox

rain: what a paperboy learned about business

Much like other bestselling business fables, Rain uses the simple story of a seemingly straightforward occupation to reveal the keys to success for every entrepreneur or organization. Not only is the story of this paperboy entertaining and funny, but it also includes 40 lessons on how to create a successful business and navigate the business world. 

7. The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni

the ideal team player

While Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team lays the essential groundwork for what it means to be a great team player, his newest business parable, The Ideal Team Player, dives in even deeper into the topic. His trending new business fable follows the story of Jeff Shanley, a man attempting to repair his uncle’s struggling construction company. Why is the company struggling? Lencioni reveals that it all comes down to a lack of teamwork. Now Shanley has to identify the core values of this company and build a team around those key components if he wants any hope of turning the business around!

Want to share these business fables with your employees?

Select one of these business fables as the spotlight title for your company book club, and purchase business books in bulk from us to save. If you don't have a book club already, we highly recommend starting one! Hosting a book club for your business is the best and most simple way to share a great insight-packed title with your entire team. But wait — that's not the only benefit!

Download our free Company Book Club white paper to learn about the benefits of running a book club for your business and find out how starting a program is actually easier than you might think:


This post was written by Sydney Moorhead, the product specialist at BookPal. She is currently reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.