If you're looking to fill up your e-reader or shelves with books that will make you a better businessperson, there is no shortage of recommendations out there. Famous bookworms from Bill Gates to Marc Andreessen regularly share their picks, organizations like TED compile lists, and critics continually recommend titles.
But what if you only have time for the best of the best? Which business books are truly the most impactful and talked about? Each year, consultancy McKinsey and the Financial Times team up to winnow down the entire year's worth of business books to choose the number one most important read of the year. (Here is last year's.)
They won't come out with their final pick until November 22nd, but they recently released their short list of the six top contenders. Read up until November and decide for yourself which deserves the top honor.
1. What Works: Gender Equality by Design by Iris Bohnet
Diversity isn't just morally right, it's also lucrative, but companies often struggle to recruit and maintain a diverse workforce due to unconscious bias among staff. Diversity training largely doesn't work to fix the problem, so what does? That's the topic of this book by Harvard public policy professor Iris Bohnet.
2. Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark
Alibaba is "an engrossing, insider's account of how a teacher built one of the world's most valuable companies--rivaling Walmart and Amazon--and forever reshaped the global economy," according to Amazon.
3. Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business by Rana Foroohar
"As the next US election looms, one of the most important questions that voters will need to ask is what is wrong with the American economy--and what can be done to fix it. Foroohar's book is required reading for this," said Gillian Tett, US managing editor of the FT, of this book. "With deft storytelling and clear analysis, she explains how America's economy has become stealthily 'financialized'--and why this process has been so debilitating for American growth, not to mention the lives of ordinary people."
4. The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War by Robert J. Gordon
Much debated, this bestselling book by Northwestern University economist Robert J. Gordon, argues that current tech innovations just aren't as life-changing (or prosperity-producing) as those of the past, like cars, electric lighting and indoor plumbing. Reviewers have called it "magnificent," "magisterial," and a "lightning bolt of a new book."
5. The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott
In announcing the shortlist, Lionel Barber, editor of the FT, described this book by a pair of London Business School professors as, "a lively exploration of policy dilemmas around longevity." Harvard historian Niall Ferguson called it, "brilliant, timely, original, well written and utterly terrifying."
6. The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan by Sebastian Mallaby
The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin calls this biography of the former Fed chair, "one of the best books I've read recently," noting that "Greenspan is a fascinating subject because for so long he was considered a genius, only to later be blamed for the financial crisis. Mr. Mallaby does an exquisite job going beyond these two versions of the Greenspan narrative and taking the reader inside the complicated mind of a man who may have had one of the largest ever influences over our economy."
Let us know which book you think deserves the title of 'best business book of the year' in the comments.