The most successful entrepreneurs know that in order to rise to the top of their field, they must not only improve their companies but also themselves. Through networking, mentoring, attending conventions, and taking classes, you can expand your skills and learn more about your field.

Another successful tactic is to be a voracious reader. From books to business blogs, reading is the easiest way to keep up with the cutting edge of marketing and technology developments in your industry. You can learn from the greats in your field, even if you never get the chance to meet them in person.

I have compiled a list of five brand-new business books for you to read before the end of the year that will help you in business and life:

1. Caroline Webb, How To Have a Good Day

Many books and articles tell us that we should balance the needs of our work and personal lives, but few books tell us how.

In Caroline Webb's new book, How To Have A Good Day, Webb ties together the most recent research in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics to tell us how to manage our days and be productive.

There have been a variety of books published recently that talk about the science--reviewers reference Thinking Fast and Slow and Blink--but Webb's book stands out for the way that it turns the science into practical advice that entrepreneurs can implement in their daily lives.

Webb tackles seven different situations, from setting intentions to boosting energy, and uses the latest science to talk about how to improve management of each of these situations in day to day life.

2. Sydney Finkelstein, Superbosses

As more and more Millennials admit that who they work for is as important--if not more important--than where they work, it's crucial that bosses put the personal work into being the very best leaders that they can be.

Finkelstein's book includes 200 interviews with Superbosses. These aren't just leaders in their respective fields; they have consistent reputations for finding, nurturing, leading, and finally letting go of great people within their organizations. Ralph Lauren, Alice Waters, and Lorne Michaels serve as examples.

Finkelstein doesn't just talk about why these people are great. He distils their greatness down into actionable tasks for being a great leader and manager.

3. Emma Seppala, The Happiness Track

According to Emma Seppala, most people want to be both happy and successful--but trying to achieve both of these goals has become more and more difficult in our modern world.

The Happiness Track draws on neuroscience and cognitive psychology to reconsider the current ideas about what success means. It suggests that instead of trying to always do more, we need to reconsider what is feasible.

The ultimate thesis of the book is that instead of expecting success at work to make us happy, we need to strive for happiness to fuel our success in the workplace.

The book is broken up into manageable and actionable sections. It's a quick and satisfying read, and you'll be able to put its advice into immediate practice.

4. Robert Koch and Greg Lockwood, Simplify

Released just a few months ago, this new book from Robert Koch (author of The 80/20 Way) and venture capitalist Greg Lockwood suggest that the formula for business success is much more simple than many people believe.

Koch and Lockwood write that instead of using complex calculations and theorums, companies from Apple to Uber have made their names with one simple strategy: Simplify.

The book provides a simple framework which allows all other business decisions and growth possibilities to feel clear and straightforward. It doesn't just suggest streamlining on price, although this can help, but also simplifying other factors, such as service proposition or product range.

Although many of the companies presented in the book may be familiar, the elements of their history presented will be novel to many readers.

5. Phil Knight, Shoe Dog

Every best business book list needs an inspirational memoir, and one of the best released this year was Shoe Dog, Phil Knight's insider story of taking shoe brand Nike from intrepid start-up to iconic brand.

Many of you likely started your business journey with the story of Phil Knight borrowing $50 from his father and selling his first pairs of shoes from the trunk of his car. How his business grew from there may be less familiar to you.

The book is honest, intriguing, and a great read.

If you struggle to find time for reading in your busy work schedule, consider adding an audiobook to your daily commute. Many of these books--and other business classics--have audio versions available.

What's on your reading list to finish before the end of the year?

Published on: Dec 7, 2016