The Top 50 Best Business Books To Read In 2021
- Let's take a look at 50 of the very best business books that you can read. Now, of course, you don't have to read all of the books, the idea here is to simply help you identify a handful of books that are most interesting and most relevant to what it is that you want to achieve in business. So I've sorted the books into eight categories, startups, business strategy, marketing, product development, leadership, management, productivity, and self-help. Now, before you jump ahead to any one category, let me just quickly explain that many of these books were very difficult to sort into just one category, and of course, many of the topics apply to multiple audiences, so my recommendation is that you go through the entire list at least once, I cover each book in 50 seconds or less, so this is your opportunity to find some hidden gems that you might otherwise never discover on your own.
So with that said, the first category is startup books, beginning with "The Start-up J Curve" by Howard Love. It's no secret that many startups fail, but what is less understood is that the path to success often involves making dramatic changes to the original startup idea. And unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are not prepared for this possibility, and as a result, they can end up feeling lost or even consider giving up when facing predictable setbacks.
"The Start-Up J Curve" by Howard Love can help you put common challenges into context. It explains how the startup journey unfolds in a predictable, six-step pattern. And by understand how each of these stages in the pattern operate, you increase your odds for success. Instead of feeling lost when you face inevitable setbacks, you'll have a clear sense of how to move your business idea forward. Next up, "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries. Many startup founders make the mistake of focusing their early time and energy on building a pre-defined product or service, and then, after months of hard work, they're often surprised to find out that the final result fails to attract customers.
People don't want to buy it, and the only way to save the startup at that point is to make expensive changes. "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries can help you figure out the right thing to build, the product that people want and are willing to pay for as quickly as possible. The book stresses the value of identifying key assumptions so that you can validate those assumptions as quickly and as inexpensively as possible. Done right, this approach can help you turn your idea into a sustainable business faster and with far less waste along the way. Next up, "The Mom Test" by Rob Fitzpatrick. One of the fastest ways to validate a startup idea is by discussing it with potential customers.
Unfortunately, many of these conversations backfire because most people would rather be supportive and socially polite rather than blunt and honest, and as a result, it's very easy to misinterpret their encouragement as a genuine interest in your idea. "The Mom Test" by Rob Fitzpatrick explains how to properly talk with people to gather honest and useful feedback. It can help you ask the right questions in the right way to gather the information that you need to validate or improve your idea, and it can help you avoid misleading information that could potentially send your startup in the wrong direction. Next up, "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz.
Startup life is hard. No matter how much planning or research you do, there will be unexpected surprises along the way. And unfortunately, there is no recipe or formula for how to deal with the most difficult challenges that founders face, not to mention the emotional struggles that often accompany them. "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz is a collection of advice, practical wisdom, and humbling experiences that can help founders better prepare for difficult challenges.
It tackles tough topics like having to fire friends when they're no longer a fit, poaching employees from competitors, and having to deal with the potential of bankruptcy. It's an absolute must-read for founders who are facing tough challenges or for those who want to be better prepared to do so. Next up, "Zero to One" by Peter Thiel. The goal of a startup is to create and capture new value. Unfortunately, generating value for customers doesn't always translate into business success.
A startup can fail to capture enough value in the form of revenue and profits to fund the operation, and as a result, they can struggle to survive even as customers benefit from their work. "Zero to One" by Peter Thiel is about how to turn a startup idea into a valuable business. While much of the advice is geared towards wildly ambitious startups, many of the insights can be equally applied to smaller startups and even small businesses. It's an inspirational read for anyone interested in building a more valuable business.
Let's continue on to business strategy books Beginning with “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, many businesses make the mistake of obsessing about their competition. And, as a result, they end up trying to win over the same customers with a similar product in an undifferentiated strategy. Now, unfortunately, this approach leads to cutthroat competition that destroys profit margins and limits future growth potential.
"Blue Ocean Strategy" by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne can help you avoid this fate by making the competition irrelevant. It explains how to create and capture new demand, how to break the value/cost trade-off and how to redefine market boundaries to create a leap in value for buyers. It's a must read for any business leader that wants to create or sustain healthy profit margins.
Up next, “The Innovator's Dilemma” by Clayton Christensen. It's no secret that many successful businesses fail in the face of disruptive innovation. But what is surprising is that this outcome isn't necessarily due to bureaucracy, arrogance, poor planning, or even short-term investments, like you might suspect.
Instead, it's often the strengths of well-managed customer driven businesses that, ultimately, cause them to fail. "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton Christensen explains how a relentless focus on serving customer needs can cause a great business to be overtaken by an innovative startup. Most important of all, it covers practical strategies for avoiding this kind of disruption. So, it's a must read for the leaders of well-established businesses, as well as founders of disruptive startups.
Next up “Understanding Michael Porter” by Joan Magretta. The goal of a great company is to earn profit, not to take business away from rival brands. Yet, even if you're focused on creating value and earning profit you will inevitably face competitors who try to emulate your success and eat into your margins. So, it's critical to understand how to deal with competitors so that you can maintain healthy profits.
"Understanding Michael Porter" by Joan Magretta is a practical guide to Michael Porter's best business strategy advice. It explores how to create a competitive advantage, how to sustain healthy profit margins, and ultimately how to deal with competitors. The book can help you craft a strategy for building and sustaining profitability, even in a competitive market. Up next, “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey A. Moore.
Many innovative businesses fail to attract a mainstream audience to their product or service. They build initial momentum with enthusiastic early adopters, but are unable to win over the broader, more lucrative mainstream market. And as a result, they severely limit future business growth and fail to capture the full profit potential of what they've built. "Crossing the Chasm" by Geoffrey A. Moore explains how to market disruptive products to a mainstream audience. The insights apply to any product or service that requires that customers change their habits or behaviors in order to use it.
So, if your solution breaks with industry norms or challenges the status quo, then this is a must-read book for you. Up next, “Good Strategy/Bad Strategy” by Richard Rumelt. Many business leaders fail to establish an effective plan for their organization.
They mistake the process of defining a bold vision, or setting ambitious goals with creating a business strategy. And, as a result, they fail to identify the true challenges that they face and they have no concrete plans for dealing with them. "Good Strategy/Bad Strategy" by Richard Rumelt can help you craft an effective plan.
One that takes advantage of your organization's strengths and your rivals' weaknesses to create a competitive edge. And by demonstrating the difference between good and bad strategies the book makes it easier to avoid common mistakes along the way. Up next, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.
Every once in a while, a relatively average company makes the leap from good results to great results. And they do so independent of industry trends or other external factors that might otherwise help to explain their sudden success. So, this phenomenon begs the question, how can a good company become a great company? Well, "Good to Great" by Jim Collins helps to explain why some companies make the leap and others do not. It explores six powerful business concepts that were identified during a comprehensive study of companies that had already made a good to great transformation. And the book makes each of these insights very accessible for others looking to achieve similar results. Let's continue on to Marketing books beginning with “Traction” by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares.
The most common reason why new businesses fail is due to a lack of customers. Many are able to bring a product or service to market, but of course, that alone doesn't guarantee success. So even before you establish a new business or a new product, it's very important to think about how you plan to attract customers in a reliable and predictable way.
"Traction" by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares covers 19 proven marketing channels, including organic, paid, and social strategies. It also explains how to select and execute on the best marketing opportunities for your specific business. So whether you're starting something new or you're just looking to attract more customers to an existing business, the advice in this book can help. Next up, "Marketing Made Simple" by Donald Miller. Many businesses fail to communicate a simple and effective offer. Their websites use industry jargon or flowery language that just confuses people, and as a result, any effort to direct attention to their product or service falls flat because no amount of awareness can make up for a weak or confusing sales message.
"Marketing Made Simple" by Donald Miller can help you create an effective sales funnel, one that makes it easy for people to understand what you do and why they need your product or service. The book explains how to put together five essential marketing tools, including a great website so that you can convert more prospects into paying customers. Next on the list, "Contagious" by Jonah Berger. Word of mouth referral is arguably the most powerful marketing strategy in business.
When customers actively recommend your product or service to other people, sales can explode with very little effort on your part. Now, unfortunately, few marketers understand how to increase organic referrals, and as a result, many mistakenly believe that this just comes down to luck or having a better product. "Contagious" by Jonah Berger explores the science of word of mouth referral. It covers the six principles of contagiousness, six factors that can cause a product, a service, or an idea to be more likely to spread through social transmission. The insights can help you engineer vitality into your work to increase the rate at which people remember and recommend your brand to other people. Up next, "The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing" by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
Many businesses struggle to gain traction with their target audience, and meanwhile, one or two other brands are consistently dominating the market and taking the lion's share of revenue and profits. So this begs the question, what causes some brands to be so much more successful than others? "The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing" by Al Ries and Jack Trout is about the power of positioning. It explains how customers think when selecting brands and what you can do with your brand to have it stand out in the marketplace. It's a short and powerful read that I highly recommend to anyone interested in business, branding, or marketing. Next up, "This is Marketing" by Seth Godin. One of the great challenges with launching something new is getting enough people to care about what it is that you're offering.
Now, unfortunately, many people make the mistake of trying to appeal to everybody right from the start, and as a result, they spread their marketing efforts too thin and they're unable to build meaningful momentum. "This is Marketing" by Seth Godin is about how to create a movement. It explains that a better strategy is to start by targeting a small audience that will benefit most from your work. That way you can attract brand evangelists, generate word of mouth referrals, and build the momentum that you need to reach a much larger audience.
Next is “They Ask, You Answer” by Marcus Sheridan. Advertising can be a great way to attract new customers. However, many businesses make the mistake of becoming overly reliant on third-party ad platforms that can change their policies and pricing at any time. So as your business grows, it's wise to invest in alternative marketing channels that provide greater freedom and control.
"They Ask, You Answer" by Marcus Sheridan is about how to use content marketing to attract loyal customers to your business. It explains how to create articles, videos, podcasts, and other content to build trust and authority in your market. When done right, this approach results in a reliable and predictable source of new leads for your business. Next up, "Building a Story Brand" by Donald Miller. Businesses often fail to communicate clearly about what they do and how they create value for customers.
Many of them seem to assume that people already understand what they do or that there'll be willing to go out of their way to figure it out, yet the only thing that people genuinely care about is how your business can help them solve a problem. "Building a Story Brand" by Donald Miller can help you better communicate the value that your business provides. It explains how to use the universal elements of storytelling to clarify your message so that it resonates with customers. It's a simple, yet powerful way to make it easier for people to understand how your business can help them. Next up, "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Dr. Robert Cialdini. It's a mistake for marketers to abuse manipulative persuasion techniques for personal gain.
Not only is it ethically wrong, but it can also damage brand reputation and hurt internal culture. Now, with that said, it's also a mistake to remain ignorant of human psychology and the many implications within marketing, social media, and other aspects of business. "Influence" by Dr. Robert Cialdini
covers six powerful principles of persuasion. Each one plays a role in the way that we are influenced throughout our everyday lives. So, if you want to have a better understanding of the sometimes invisible factors that guide our choices, this is widely considered to be one of the very best books on the subject. Next is, "The Language of Trust" by Michael Maslansky. Today, people are more skeptical than ever before. Many have been burned by businesses or institutions or even their government, and as a result, they often assume the worst when engaging with brands or public figures, and they're quick to share their assumptions and opinions with other people on social media.
"The Language of Trust" by Michael Maslansky is about how to overcome skepticism by communicating with people on their own terms. The insights apply to any situation where you need to build trust with customers, critics, or even the general public. The book is an absolute must-read for leaders or marketers or almost anyone active on social media.
Let's move on to Product Development books. Beginning with “Sprint” by Jake Knapp. The development of a new product or service is often unpredictable. Random issues can crop up, the scope of the project can grow out of control, or the team can simply lose focus on the original vision. Regardless of the cause, it's very easy to get stuck in a rut that kills momentum, and in some cases even threatens the future of the project. “Sprint” by Jake Knapp details Google ventures, unique five-day process for overcoming difficult challenges.
It covers practical tips for rapid prototyping and testing ideas with customers. It can help you build a minimum viable product, solve a complex issue, or, gather much needed feedback to keep your project moving forward. Next up, "Hacking Growth" by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown. Many businesses are slow to react to the evolving needs of their customers. They may have talented people, but teams are often isolated based upon professional roles or departments. And as a result of this, diversely skilled people rarely have an opportunity to share information or collaborate towards addressing emerging customer needs.
“Hacking Growth”, by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown, is about how to accelerate business growth by building a culture of continuous experimentation. It really stresses the value of building small, cross-functional teams that can gather insights, generate ideas, and run experiments. Plus, the book is packed with detailed tactics for acquiring activating, retaining, and monetizing customers.
Up next, "Start at the End" by Matt Wallaert. Many products fail to create real value for customers. Even those that are selling very well, can end up being buried in a desk drawer, or stuffed in a closet somewhere, rather than being used as intended. And as a result of this, the people buying them are unlikely to provide positive reviews, word of mouth referrals, or repeat business in the future. "Start at the End", by Matt Wallaert is about how to create products and services, that people will actually use.
It explains that the goal with any new solution, is to change customer behavior. And it provides detailed advice, on how to make that happen. So, if you wanna build something that creates real value in the world, this book can help.
Next is, "Hooked" by Nir Eyal. Strong customer engagement is key to the success of many businesses, especially, those offering subscription services or consumable products. Now, unfortunately, the dream of predictable recurring revenue, often requires expensive marketing campaigns, and other ongoing efforts to drive product usage. And these costs can quickly eat into profits.
"Hooked" by Nir Eyal, introduces a different approach for increasing engagement. It explains how to help people establish a habit around using your product or service on a regular basis. The goal is to have customers automatically reengage with your solution without the need for expensive marketing campaigns or other external triggers. Next is "Friction" by Roger Dooley.
Many products and services are needlessly complicated. The amount of time and effort required to pay for them, get everything set up and start benefiting from them is often very inconvenient. And as a result, people are less likely to make use of them or to recommend them to other people. "Friction" by Roger Dooley, is about finding ways to eliminate steps, reduce confusion, and address uncertainty for customers.
This is important because, when something is easy, people do more of it. And when something is difficult or time consuming, people do less of it. So, if you want to attract and retain loyal customers to your business, look for opportunities to reduce or eliminate friction whenever possible. Next up, "Perennial Seller" by Ryan Holiday.
Many new products make an initial splash. They achieve limited success and then quickly fade in popularity. In fact, this is so common today that is tempting to blame it on the pace of change, or perhaps on our shortening attention spans, but either way, some businesses are reacting to this by chasing (indistinct) and pursuing other shortsighted opportunities. "Perennial Seller" by Ryan Holiday, is about how to create timeless products.
It explains why some solutions like Adobe Photoshop Fender, Stratocaster guitar, and even movies like the Shawshank Redemption, remain relevant and actually perform better over time. The book is a practical guide for how to build products that stand the test of time. Let's move ahead to Leadership books. Beginning with, “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. Leaders often rely on subtle manipulations to get people to take action.
For example, they might provide special bonuses to motivate employees or they might offer deep discounts to entice people to buy their products. But in either case, this approach can quickly turn into an expectation. Resulting in it becoming less and less effective over time. "Start With Why" by Simon Sinek is about how to inspire action by sharing the deeper purpose behind your organization. It's a powerful approach for unlocking the passion, persistence and creativity of your team. And by sharing the same message with like-minded customers, you can transform them into loyal brand advocates.
Next is “The Dichotomy of Leadership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Leadership often involves striking a balance between two different extremes. Some examples include confidence versus humility, working hard versus working smart, discipline versus creativity and in some cases leading versus following. So it can be challenging to identify the best course of action when either option has its pros and cons. "The Dichotomy of Leadership" by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin is about how to strike the right balance in difficult situations. It covers 12 principles divided into three categories, balancing your people, balancing the mission and balancing yourself.
Plus it covers practical examples of how each principle can be applied in the real world. Up next, “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek. There are two kinds of threats or dangers that people face when working within an organization.
First, there are outside dangers including things like direct competition, alternative solutions or market conditions. Then there are inside dangers, which include things like personal conflict, intimidation, or even in some cases, humiliation. "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek is about how great leaders build a strong culture by establishing a circle of safety within their organization. The goal is to minimize internal dangers so that individuals and teams can direct more of their energy towards external dangers.
When done right, the organization is both more united and more effective. Next is, “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr. As an organization grows, it can become challenging for leaders to establish and communicate strategic goals.
Unfortunately, increased size often leads to increased bureaucracy. And as a result, progress can slow to a crawl as teams struggled to identify and act on the most important tasks or opportunities. "Measure What Matters" by John Doerr is about how to use objectives and key results or OKRs to set and communicate goals more effectively.
It's a proven approach used by Google, Slack, Disney, Spotify, and others. That can help your organization become more effective by boosting transparency, accountability and collaboration. Next is, “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek. Some leaders approach business as if it's a fixed game that can be definitively won or lost. They identify other brands as their adversaries, they select common metrics on which to compete and then they set out to beat the competition.
But of course, unlike a game of baseball or football, business competition doesn't have a clear beginning or end point. "The Infinite Game" by Simon Sinek is about how to build a stronger business by focusing on the big picture. It explains that leaders who maintain an infinite mindset are less prone to aiming for short-term wins that can weaken their organization and instead are more likely to make long term decisions that can strengthen their position over time.
Let's continue to Management books Beginning with "The Making of a Manager" by Julie Zhuo. Many new managers are somewhat surprised to find themselves in a leadership role. They didn't set out to manage other people and instead, they were promoted into the position as their team grew.
So one of the key challenges that they face is getting clear on their new responsibilities and figuring out how to be effective in their new role. "The Making of a Manager" by Julie Zhuo is a practical guide to getting up and running as a new manager. It covers essential topics, including how to build trust within a team, what to focus on within the first few months, how to get better results from other people, and how to cope with increased responsibility. It's an absolute must read for any new manager.
Next is "The Coaching Habit" by Michael Bungay Stanier. As a manager, when a team member is facing a difficult challenge, it's often very tempting to wanna jump in and offer our expertise or our advice, and in some cases, we may even wanna take direct action to solve the problem on our own. But of course, this approach almost always limits the personal growth of other people and it creates a reliance on us to be there to solve future problems. "The Coaching Habit" by Michael Bungay Stanier is about how to help people develop and grow by using a coaching mindset. It covers seven powerful questions that you can use to support others as they take on greater responsibility, and it provides tips on how to build a habit around using this approach on a consistent basis. Next, we have "First, Break All the Rules" by Marcus Buckingham.
It can be challenging to identify the best practices in management. Many highly effective managers have their own unique approach. And of course, every team is different and every organization has its own difficulties. So this begs the question: Are there proven methods or practices that can benefit all managers? "First, Break All the Rules" by Marcus Buckingham uncovers what the best managers have in common. It's based on a massive study of over 80,000 managers across many types of organizations, and it included both top-level leaders as well as frontline supervisors. And the insights from the study can help any manager become more effective in their role.
Next is "Multipliers" by Liz Wiseman. At a high level, there are two distinct approaches for managing a team. The first is to focus on being the genius that everybody turns to when they're in a bind.
And the second is to focus on unlocking the genius that can be found in others. "Multipliers" by Liz Wiseman is about how great managers help everyone become smarter, more capable, and more effective as a team. The book provides actionable tips for getting more done with fewer resources, developing and attracting talented people, and achieving superior results through a multiplier mindset. Next on the list is "Who" by Geoff Smart and Randy Street.
The right hire can take your business to the next level, but, of course, the wrong hire can set it back months or even years. Now, unfortunately, many managers have weak or non-existent hiring practices. They might look up an article or two regarding great interview questions but they lack a consistent and reliable process for hiring great people. "Who" by Geoff Smart and Randy Street introduces the A method for hiring. It's a practical and actionable approach that covers how to define the outcomes that you want, how to generate a flow of talented people, and how to ask the right questions to identify the best candidate for the role.
It's an absolute must read for anyone making critical hiring decisions. Let's continue to Productivity books Beginning with "The One Thing," by Gary Keller. It's easy to make the mistake of measuring productivity based on the amount of time that we spend working. But of course, real productivity should be measured by the results that we produce, not the time or energy that we invest.
Otherwise we can fall into the trap of working long hours with relatively little to show for it. "The One Thing" by Gary Keller is about how to increase your results through focus and prioritization. It can help you identify the one thing that you must do on any given day to make everything else in your life much easier. So if your time and energy are being pulled in a million different directions and you're feeling overwhelmed, this is a must-read book for you. Next is "Digital Minimalism" by Cal Newport.
Today, we are more distracted then at any other time in human history. Between mobile app, notifications, email alerts and social media updates. It's getting much harder to make productive use of our time. And of course, things may continue to get much worse as more and more technology today is being designed to be highly addictive.
"Digital minimalism" by Cal Newport is about how to be more intentional when using technology. It's packed with actionable advice for reclaiming time and improving focus. So if you ever find yourself mindlessly browsing social media or endlessly checking your email inbox or just being distracted by random notifications, this book can help you take back control.
Up next is "Flow" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The issue's caused by digital distractions go well beyond the time that we spend refreshing social media or endlessly checking our email. And that's because these quick interactions shorten our attention span and limit our ability to focus. And as a result, it's more rare that we get to experience the unique satisfaction that comes from deep meaningful work.
"Flow" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi popularized the concept of a flow state, a mental state in which we are fully immersed in a single challenging activity. The book explains how flow works, how to get into flow, and how flow relates to both happiness and productivity. So if you wanna fight back against the impact of digital distractions, or if you simply wanna regain the joy that comes from deep, meaningful work, then this book can help. Next is, "Your Brain at Work" by David Rock.
Two of the most valuable skills in business today include being able to do creative work and having the ability to collaborate effectively with other people. Now, unfortunately, many of us are experiencing increasingly high levels of stress in the workplace, and as a result, we're less creative and we're more likely to experience conflict when working with others. "Your Brain at Work" by David Rock explains how to boost creativity, collaboration, and productivity by understanding how the brain works.
It's a very approachable guide to understanding both the strengths and the limitations of how our minds operate. And it provides very practical examples of how to adjust the way that we work to perform at our best. Next on the list is "Who Not How" by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy. As entrepreneurs we often have a limited view of how to improve our productivity.
We learn new skills. We try to get more done in less time, but we get stuck on the idea that we have to do everything or at least most things on our own. And as a result, every time we pursue a new opportunity, our workload increases, or we have to let some things go. "Who Not How" by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy is about how to achieve better results through collaboration with others. Rather than always asking, how can I solve this when we face a new challenge or a new opportunity, this approach is based on asking who can help me solve this.
The goal is to tap into the skills, capabilities and experience of other talented people so that we can achieve more through effective teamwork. Let's move to the last category, self-help books. Beginning with "Atomic Habits" by James Clear. A common misconception is that setting goals is the key to achieving success in life.
But unfortunately, there's a big difference between having ambitious dreams and putting in the actual time and effort required to make them happen. And as a result, many people have goals that are completely disconnected from the reality of their daily routines. "Atomic Habits" by James Clear is about how to create habits that support and contribute to the achievement of your goals. It explains how small changes in your daily routine can help you make consistent progress towards even the most ambitious goals. And, while changing a habit isn't easy, the book provides practical and actionable advice that can help. Next is "Mindset" by Carol S Dweck.
We often set artificial limitations on our skills and abilities in life. For example, deep down we may believe that we will never be good at creative writing, or public speaking, or leading other people. And in many cases, we reach these conclusions based on one or two attempts that didn't go as planned, and ended up being negative experiences. "Mindset" by Carol S Dweck is about how to unlock our full potential, by maintaining a growth mindset. So, rather than assuming that our abilities are static or unalterable, this mindset recognizes that new skills can of course be developed over time.
So by switching from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, we can unlock new options for ourselves and others. Next up is, "So Good They Can't Ignore You" by Cal Newport. Many people have the mistaken belief that the key to success and happiness at work, is to follow your passion.
But unfortunately, it's rare to have an existing passion that relates to a valuable career or business opportunity. And well, many successful people are indeed passionate about what they do, it's a mistake to assume they started that way. "So Good They Can't Ignore You" by Cal Newport, explains that passion is often the result of first mastering a rare and valuable skill. And that's because mastery unlocks opportunities for greater autonomy, competence, and social connections.
So by starting with a rare and valuable skill, you can create the foundation required for greater passion and happiness at work. Next is "Essentialism" by Greg McKeown. We live in a time of incredible abundance and yet never before have we had our attention pulled in so many different directions.
We're constantly trying to do too much in our personal lives, in our work lives, and even in our social lives. And as a result, we often feel both overwhelmed and unsatisfied at the same time. "Essentialism" by Greg McKeown, is about how to gain satisfaction through the disciplined pursuit of less. It's not about being more efficient or more productive, instead, it's about being more intentional about the few things that matter most, while eliminating everything else. In short, it's about doing fewer things better. Up next is "Futureproof" by Kevin Roose.
Many people today understand that artificial intelligence and automation, are set to transform the economy. But few people realize that the process is already well underway. Not only are workers being replaced, but less noticeable, is the fact that far fewer are being hired into many roles compared with the past. So, it's essential today, to identify the career and business opportunities that are likely to remain relevant. "Futureproof" by Kevin Roose, is about how to thrive in a world that is increasingly dominated by machines. It makes the case that the key to a happy rewarding life in the age of automation, is not competing with machines, but rather strengthening our own uniquely human skills.
In other words, ensuring that we're equipped to do things that machines can't. Next up, "Ultralearning" by Scott H. Young. Many of the best and most rewarding opportunities in life, require that we master new skills and yet developing an entirely new skill from scratch is very difficult and time-consuming.
And as a result, few people make the effort, even if it means staying locked in to a dead end job or sticking with hobbies that have outlived their passion. "Ultralearning" by Scott H. Young, is about how to rapidly acquire new skills, abilities, and knowledge. It covers nine powerful principles that you can use to learn almost anything faster, and more effectively. So, if you've always wanted to learn a new language or start a new hobby, or even unlock new career or business opportunities, this book can help. Next on the list is "Chatter" by Ethan Kross.
We all have an inner voice that can help us evaluate our actions, learn from past mistakes and better prepare for the future. But unfortunately, all too often, this inner voice can turn into a steady stream of negative thoughts and emotions. And rather than helping us improve, it can hold us back in life by causing rumination, anxiety, and in some cases, self sabotage.
"Chatter" by Ethan Kross, is about how to tame and properly harness your inner voice. It covers practical tips for enjoying the many benefits of self reflection and introspection, while greatly reducing the unproductive and negative self-talk. So if you have a harsh inner critic that is stifling your growth or holding you back in life, this book can help. Up next is "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman.
Very few people appreciate just how often their choices and behaviors are directly influenced by factors that are invisible to them. We like to believe that we're in control, or at very least that we understand the different factors that are at play in the choices that we make in life. And yet the truth is, that we can easily be influenced or manipulated in many different ways. "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman is about how we process information and make decisions in everyday life. It explains the two distinct systems that we use while thinking, and the many surprising factors and biases that influence our choices. So if you wanna dive deep into the details of how your mind operates, this is the book for you.
Last but not least is, "Never Split The Difference" by Chris Voss. There are many times in life where we want something from somebody else, and the only way to get it is to negotiate a deal. For example, when buying a home, or asking for a raise, maybe selling a car, doing a business deal, or even just asking for a small favor. Now, unfortunately, many people either don't know how to negotiate or are just very uncomfortable with the process. "Never Split The Difference" by Chris Voss is about how to properly negotiate for the things that you want in life. It covers nine powerful principles that you can use in both personal and professional situations.
And contrary to what you might expect, many of the tools can be used without burning bridges or hurting important relationships. So those are 50 of the best business books that you can read. If you have a favorite book that you think should be added to this list in the future, let me know in the comment section, I do plan to update and revise the list over time, also, if you're interested in learning even more about business I do publish video summaries of some of my favorite books, so be sure to subscribe and visit RickKettner.com, that's where I publish companion articles and other helpful resources.