The business landscape is constantly changing -- and you must change along with it. Successful businesspeople are always looking for what's next, but it can be difficult knowing what that is, especially if no one's taken the same path you're on.

Maintaining success is often just as much about having the right mindset as it is about predicting the next trend. I often coach business leaders who want to be great leaders and grow their companies, but they don't know where to start. For some, even discussing going off the beaten path scares them -- it seems like a sure road to failure. I work with them to see that merely copying others guarantees watered-down versions of their results. 

These books can help you shed your fears and look forward to forging your own path -- overwhelming as it may be.

1. You Don't Have to Be Ruthless to Win: The Art of Badass Selfless Service by Jonathan Keyser

The title, You Don't Have to Be Ruthless to Win, says it all. In this book, Jonathan Keyser explains how a change in attitude turned his real estate brokerage career upside down and made him more successful in the process. A Wall Street Journal Best-Selling Book, this resonated as it helped see the power of putting people first.

2. Acting Up: Winning in Business and Life Using Down-Home Wisdom by Janice Bryant Howroyd

Acting Up is a masterclass in overcoming the seemingly impossible -- Janice Bryant Howroyd overcame the racism and sexism of growing up in the segregated South to become the first African-American woman to own and operate a billion-dollar company. This book is a must-read for any entrepreneur looking to thrive in the face of setbacks.

3. The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change by Al Gore

In The Future, the former Vice President offers his take on how the world will change, focusing on hot-button issues like climate change and economy-wide digitization. He paints an uncomfortable picture of what comes next, but his insights are invaluable for anyone looking to stay on the bleeding edge -- regardless of political leanings.

4. Bitcoin Pizza: The No-Bullshit Guide to Blockchain by Samantha Radocchia

For many of us, blockchain seems like a flash: One day, it was nothing; the next day, it was everything. If you've felt left behind by the blockchain revolution, Bitcoin Pizza is an invaluable book for making the technology work for your business. I've recommended blockchain research to clients and watched it pay off in each instance, even if they ultimately didn't utilize it.

5. Don't Save for Retirement: A Millennial's Guide to Financial Freedom by Daniel Ameduri

You might wince at the title, but Daniel Ameduri's new book is loaded with sound financial advice for helping the newest members of the workforce keep their accounts in check. Technology and the gig economy have changed the way people work, and Don't Save for Retirement is trying to change our financial planning habits along with them. This book gave me a new perspective on building both careers and businesses.

6. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David J. Epstein

It can sometimes seem like the people who found their path early and followed it diligently are the ones who come out on top. David Epstein's bestseller shows that's simply not reality. Range makes a compelling case for keeping your interests broad and your mind open -- a valuable philosophy for staying alive in a constantly fluctuating business world.  This book challenged my thinking on generalists to see new patterns for success. 

7. The Gen Z Effect: The Six Forces Shaping the Future of Business by Ted Koulopoulos and Dan Keldsen 

The youngest generations always effect change, and Gen Z is no different. As marketers scramble to find ways to appeal to this ever-growing consumer base, Ted Koulopoulos and Dan Keldsen have assembled a helpful guide for understanding how changing demographics and consumer demands affect business. Understanding The Gen Z Effect is important for not just hiring talent, but also knowing where society is headed.

8. The Future of Business: Critical Insights into a Rapidly Changing World from 60 Future Thinkers edited by Rohit Talwar 

No one's an expert at everything, but so many technologies promise to change the future that it's hard not to feel like you have to be. The Future of Business is a great book for understanding which trends and developments will have outsized impacts going forward, with experts on everything from renewable energy to 3D printing offering insights. I took notes on at least six different things I wanted to change while reading this book.

As a leader, trailblazing is never easy. While nothing can ever truly prepare you for seismic shifts in your industry, others' insights can give you the knowledge to face whatever comes next -- especially on the path less traveled. 

Published on: Sep 25, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.