Eleven titles that share hard-won wisdom from great business minds.
The information golden age has its pros and cons. Yes, there is no shortage of business wisdom in the public sphere. And it’s never been easier to buy a book. But the sheer volume of choice is the downside: Where do you start? And which book is right for your circumstances?
Fear not. We’ve created a list of the most readable, essential business books and have broken them down by category:
A perennial presence on manager’s bookshelves, this classic book tackles the scourge of productivity - procrastination. With 21 methods for being more productive and efficient, this handy tome has been embraced by legions of businesspeople.
Good habits can apply to a person or a business, and the beauty of an effective habit is that it becomes automatic over time. This well researched and influential book looks at how habit forms our daily and business lives, how to create the right habits and the positive repercussions of this mindset.
One of the best known business tycoons of his generation, Branson built his multi-billion fortune in music, aviation and telecoms, among other industries. Losing My Virginity covers his early years building the Virgin brand, with Branson’s trademark humour and candour.
John Wood was on vacation from his Microsoft job in Nepal when he discovered his next path in life - improving reading and education standards in impoverished schools. He changed the direction of his life, and now Room to Read has built more than 2,600 libraries. This book shows the several potential paths your life can bring you to, and how to change your own life and those of others.
David Alliance arrived in Manchester at 18 years old in 1950 with £14 in his pocket. Six years later, he had acquired a textile factory and not long after that turned the loss making business into an international empire. This book covers his remarkable story, peppered with life lessons and business wisdom.
Citing behavioral research and case studies, The One Minute Manager is a practical, accessible book for anyone who wants a more efficient, profitable workplace. Like many of the best ideas, most of the management methods suggested in this book are simple to follow and understand.
Renowned essayist Malcolm Gladwell looks at successful people across all fields - from business to sport to music and beyond - to find out what these outliers have in common. Probably the only book on this list to discuss The Beatles, Korean pilots and software billionaires.
As you probably know, there’s no shortage of expenses when setting up your own business. The Lean Startup helps you navigate these choppy waters by outlining potential hazards and how to avoid them. This book will teach you, among other things, how to shorten the product development cycle and run an innovative business.
Written in clear language and filled with practical advice, Rework challenges some traditional notions of business. It outlines how you can forge a path without depending heavily on investors, how to build a company’s profile without breaking the bank and how to work smarter, not harder.
Helen Gurley Brown’s memoir looks at how she managed Cosmopolitan magazine, rebranding it into a less frivolous and more bankable brand. It’s a hugely influential business memoir, examining the changing workplace for women and how to rejuvenate a failing business.
The title of this book is a question that was asked by the author’s young daughter. It’s a collection of interviews and writings from some of the most prominent and eminent female voices of this past century, including Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, and Melissa Etheridge. The discussions with writers, politicians and thought leaders look at feminism and politics through the lens of this provocative question.
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