Each year there are over 10,000 business books that compete for your mind. Here is a list of 7 that are all different and will give you, as an entrepreneur or corporate citizen, a well-rounded view of what it means to work in this VUCA world (that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous). Along with good business books, open your mind to some powerful journey stories.
- Likeonomics: The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, influencing behavior and Inspiring Action by Rohit Bhargava. While social media has changed so many ways we relate to each other to buy or sell our products and services, one aspect of life still stays the same. People still buy from and want to work with people they know, like and trust. Real relationships can be forged in many ways as we use Twitter or post on Facebook or communicate on LinkedIn. Learn more about the power of relationships in this day of rapid technology.
- Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. This amazing book is long and chock full of insights about how teams operate. In this time of politics 24/7 this is a great time to read about how Lincoln overcame adversity to lead his country through turbulent years. This should be required reading for all candidates and all leads in the business world to help you find new ways to deal with sticky situations.
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. A novel that will help you understand the legacy aspects of who we are and where we come from. This is a multi-generational story about two half-sisters who are separated in Ghana and where their lives lead. It gives you a powerful look at how a change in one generation will impact many generations to come. You will gain insight into yourself and your own family history and how that impacts your choices today.
- Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. A profound book that sparked the new Broadway hit musical Hamilton. While it is a long book, it is also fun to read. Hamilton is a full-blown human being and Chernow writes in an engaging way, showing one of the main characters in the making of the United States, warts and all. If you found history boring in school this book is the best civics course you will ever get, aside from see the play.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. A book to be read and reread that is the bible of internet marketing. It is rigorous and evidence-based research that makes you want to change your behavior in how you think you can persuade others in a positive way. Written ten years ago before all the newest neuropsychology was made available, it stands the test of time and will change how you act and talk with customers and colleagues.
- Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. A great novel that starts when a private plane goes down after leaving Martha's Vineyard. You get a glimpse into the lives of those who were on board, those who perished and those who survived. Great look at the fact that everyone, yes, even you, have secrets. This will give you both a great thriller to read, as well as an understanding of human nature. Like a graduate course in psych with the desire to keep turning pages to get to the conclusion of what makes people tick.
- An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey. Some fascinating ideas about how to create an organizational culture that fits the 21st century. The search for meaningful work is more evident today than it has ever been. The big questions are about fusing personal development into an organization that still has performance and profit as the key indicators of success. This will give you many different perspectives about how to make your workplace more competitive while enriching those who work with you.
There you have it. Pick and choose. However, my suggestion is to read from a variety of works and not just stay with business as the only business of your reading. Learning about yourself through a juicy novel along with your business books is a great way to learn about yourself and the human condition.