The 5 Business Books You Need To Read

Ready to add some new titles to your list for our 2016 reading challenge? These career classics and new arrivals are reads that every one of us should have on our book shelf! Many of these favorite titles do double duty giving us advice for a great career and a great life.

Need some additional business reading recommendations? The Financial Times has one of the best round-ups, listing the best business books of the year for the past 10 years.

1. How to Have a Good Day

If the old adage is true that how we spend our days is how we spend our lives, then Caroline Webb does us a major favor by letting us know how a few small tweaks to our daily behavior can have a major impact on our life. As an economist, Webb takes an almost technical approach to having a good day and uses both neuroscience and psychology to explain and test her suggestions. Along the way, you’ll find it marvelously comforting that such an abstract idea can be broken down to a practically applicable science.

2. Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office

Think that avoiding office politics and asking permission to take on projects is the way to get ahead? Hold it right there, nice girl!  Dr. Frankel tells us otherwise, and explains a distinct set of 130 behaviors that we learn as girls—and that ultimately sabotage our career efforts as adults. You’ll find yourself bookmarking page after page in this easy read, which basically ends up functioning as your roadmap to effective self-assessment. Bottom line: Don’t let the little things we do get in our way of where we want to go.

3. The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

Told as a modern parable, Mann and Burg give us a powerful new take on a classic idea: Give and you will receive. The main character, Joe, is focused on closing a sale, but instead a fortuitous connection with a mentor connects him to a series of other successful people. They teach Joe how the laws of value, compensation, influence, authenticity, and receptivity will contribute to his own success. This reminder to put others’ interests ahead of our own is one that resonates for our lives, both inside and outside the office!

4. Thinking Fast and Slow

This book nearly begs to be read old school style, with a big highlighter and a notebook nearby to jot down little nuggets you’ll want to refer to again and again. As a world-renowned psychologist and Nobel Prize-winning economist, Kahneman expertly addresses the way we think about and make choices. He explores the two systems of our mind: The first that is fast, intuitive, and emotional and the second that is deliberate, logical, and slow. Once read, you’ll better understand your own biases and quickly catch yourself thinking about how you think!

5. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

We’ve got this little gem on pre-order and are looking forward to May when we’ll get to read it! Grit explores how it’s actually passion and persistence that lead you to success, not necessarily intelligence alone. Until then, soak in Duckworth’s brilliance through her Ted Talk and get prepped by taking your own “grit” self-assessment, which she developed at her character lab while working at the University of Pennsylvania. Be ready for this read to draw big buzz this spring!

Did we miss any of your favorites? If you have a favorite book that inspires your leadership style or gives great career guidance, let us know!

  • Naz

    One of my favorites is The Transformative Leader, written by Amir Ghannad. I found that its not only a good business book, but a good book on how to be a good leader in any area of life where we have a leadership position, traditional or not. I got it on amazon, but it’s also available through the author’s website. Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll add them to my list!

    • Thanks for the recommendation Naz! Those are exactly the types of leadership books I love too.

  • Zoë Elizabeth Blogg.

    I purchased ‘thinking fast and slow’ while at university and never fully got into it. About time i gave it another go i think!

    Will defo look into ‘Nice girls don’t get the corner office!’

    Has anyone read ‘Predictably Irrational’ by Dan Ariely? Really recommend it!

    • Totally worth giving it another try and Nice Girls is a must! Putting Predictably Irrational on my list! Is it a behavioral psych type read?

      • Zoë Elizabeth Blogg.

        Yeah it is behavioral psych, i find the way he writes really easy to follow! Let me know what you think 🙂

  • I will buy the 1st and 4th one for sure. I’m reading 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman. Teaches you to focus on what you want to do, how to organize and also tells you why you aren’t doing these things and how to correct.
    http://www.pippihepburn.etsy.com

    • Thanks Pippi! That sounds like a great book! Anytime an author gives that insight into the “whys” I find it so helpful.

  • Briana Clara

    Fantastic collection. I’d heard great things about Thinking, Fast and Slow.
    I’m currently finishing Barbara Cocoran’s book “Shark Tales” and it’s absolutely fantastic. Finished the 300 page book in two days. FULL of knowledge and anecdotes that are continuously backed up by her life experiences.

    • Shark Tank fan right here! Barbara has had an amazing career.

  • Vicki

    Are there any recommendations for books on starting your own business? I have been hesitant to read business books because I am not in the “corporate world.” I am a therapist and am looking to open my own animal rescue and a lot of the business books I come across are related to success in the corporate world of business. Any suggestions would be appreciated 🙂

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  • Vicki

    Thank you so much Elle! 🙂

  • Looking forward to reading Go-Giver! Another one on my list is Essentialism. I’ve read the first chapter so can’t wait to dig into the rest – it’s brilliant!

    http://www.soulandsparkle.com

  • Amy Liu

    “good to great” is also an amazing business book. I really recommend that one, too. :))