Theodore Roosevelt once said, “If you want to lead, you must read.” This is especially true for anyone who wants to start or lead a successful business.
Reading can make you a more informed and prepared leader, and the best business books can inspire you and your team to take your business to new heights.
24 Best Business Books
Here are our top picks for the best business books to read in 2021.
1. The Empathy Edge by Maria Ross
Maria Ross explores the necessity of empathy in shaping your workplace culture, leadership style, and even your branding strategy.
She reveals how this trait makes organizations and brands more successful, and gives practical habits and traits that help cultivate loyalty and productivity.
2. The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman
LinkedIn and PayPal cofounder Reid Hoffman explains how becoming an entrepreneur is not limited to the few, but actually encoded in our DNA. Learn from this serial entrepreneur who also invested in Edmodo, coupons.com, and Airbnb.
3. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
TED Talk speaker Simon Sinek first touched people’s lives in 2009 with a movement to spur people to become more inspired in their workplace, and to inspire others.
In this book, he explores the basic question of why some organizations and people are more influential and innovative than others.
4. Leadership Is Language by L. David Marquet
David Marquet is a former US Navy Captain who shares effective leadership principles in this Wall Street Journal bestseller. He encourages a collaborative climate that lets people speak up and work together.
5. Competition Overdose by Maurice Stucke and Ariel Ezrachi
The authors of Competition Overdose are self-professed free-market thinkers who explore the dangers of an overdose of competition: people falling victim to chicanery and greed.
Instead of the toxic rivalry often pushed by powerful lobbyists and corporations, they advocate for a healthier form of competition.
6. Deep Work by Cal Newport
In this book, Cal Newport differentiates between “shallow work” and “deep work,” which allows us to produce higher quality and more creative output.
The book will challenge you to rethink your work habits and aim for greater productivity, free of all the daily distractions.
7. The Innovation Stack by Jim McKelvey
Jim McKelvey was cofounder of Square, a small-merchant payment company that fought—and won over—the rise of ecommerce giant Amazon.
He explores the reasons behind Square’s success and unpacks it as a strategy he names the “Innovation Stack.”
8. Multipliers by Liz Wiseman
Liz Wiseman explores the difference between leaders who are “Multipliers” and those who are “Diminishers.”
She shares case studies to demonstrate how Multipliers maximize the intelligence of people in an organization, while Diminishers squash people’s thinking with their micromanaging.
9. Ditch the Act by Leonard Kim and Ryan Foland
In this book, the authors emphasize the importance of showing your vulnerabilities to connect with others.
A helpful guide for being yourself, this book will help you garner real success by being who you really are.
10. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
In The E-Myth, Michael Gerber unpacks the most common challenges behind small business failures. He also shares the skills that any aspiring entrepreneur needs to learn in order to grow the business to its full potential.
11. What It Takes by Stephen A. Schwarzman
This New York Times bestseller shares the path that Schwarzman took from being a student to becoming the CEO of Blackstone, one of the world’s most successful investment firms. This book is an especially great read for those who are just starting out in their careers.
12. Humanocracy by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini
In this book, the authors explore the need for removing bureaucracy in place of something better. They lay out a detailed plan for building organizations that are as ingenious and inspired as the people who run them.
13. The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
In this book, Ryan Holiday presents the power of converting trials into triumphs. Drawing inspiration from the ancient Greek philosophy of stoicism, the author challenges us to endure pain and focus instead on the things that we can control while letting go of those we can’t.
14. The Coffee Bean by Jon Gordan and Damon West
This quick and light read shares valuable lessons on living a happy life and helping others to have the same opportunity.
The idea of helping others will surely form a good foundation for any business idea you want to pursue.
15. The Bezos Letters by Steve Anderson
The author effectively breaks down 14 principles that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos used in growing his company into the giant it is now.
The book offers valuable lessons from one of the most successful businesses in history and shows how to apply them in your own business.
16. Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss
Tackling the issues of health, wealth, and wisdom, this book compiles the knowledge of more than 200 guests interviewed on “The Tim Ferriss Show,” a podcast dedicated to lifestyle and business. The book contains many practical tips that can immediately be applied in your business.
17. The Proximity Principle by Ken Coleman
National radio host Ken Coleman offers a simple outline to position yourself with the right places and people to help you find the career you love.
He teaches how to make intentional but genuine connections, and how to grow, practice, and give your all to reach the role of your dreams.
18. Measure What Matters by John Doerr
One of the early investors in Google, venture capitalist John Doerr shares some of his insights into goal setting to achieve strategic results. This leadership guide will be a great help for any business or organization leader.
19. The Connector Manager by Jaime Roca and Sari Wilde
Discover the four types of managers and see what makes “Connector Managers” star performers among their peers.
This book unlocks what these kinds of managers do differently and how their approach impacts employee performance.
20. Master of One by Jordan Raynor
In this sequel to his first book Called to Create, Jordan Raynor explores what makes someone excellent in a profession.
He encourages readers to find the one thing that they want to devote themselves to and offers practical tips on how to develop expertise in that field.
21. Pre-suasion by Robert B. Cialdini
This book looks into “invisible cues” that affect your decision making. The tools shared in this book will help give you a boost in the choices you make for your business.
22. Payoff by Dan Ariely
Exploring crucial questions about reward and productivity, this book looks at the factors behind the nature of motivation, both in our personal and professional lives.
The author delves into the complexities behind motivation, helping you to harness its true power.
23. Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh
Co-written by LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, this book explores the process of massive growth in an uncertain business environment.
It challenges us to think in an unconventional way, giving us interesting insight into business model innovation.
24. The Right It by Alberto Savoia
Alberto Savoia presents the possibility that most startup failures might be prevented if the whole process started correctly: first in developing ideas that the market actually wants.
He presents his methodology, which he called Pretotyping, to help you minimize the risk of diving into products or services that the market does not want.
Best Books About Business
As you build your business or workplace, reading the best books will surely improve your skills and boost your leadership capabilities.
You can also check out our picks for the best leadership books that will help you lead your team to success.
Do you have a favorite book on business or leadership? Share it with us in the comments below!
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Yen Cabag is the Blog Writer of TCK Publishing. She is also a homeschooling mom, family coach, and speaker for the Charlotte Mason method, an educational philosophy that places great emphasis on classic literature and the masterpieces in art and music. She has also written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her passion is to see the next generation of children become lovers of reading and learning in the midst of short attention spans.