I am, of course, a supporter of the 70/20/10 model for learning, in which 70% of your development comes from challenging assignments, 20% from developmental relationships and 10% from course books and training. However, not everybody has the opportunity to work for great leaders in great companies and great assignments at the early stages of the professional career where true meaningful development is needed to build the capabilities required to lead in the future. Therefore, supplementing your development with great business books is a key building block for your professional career.
In the last few years, I have been approached by many people asking for recommendations on great books and I thought it was useful to go through the exercise of selecting the most impactful books I have come across. The picture above is a section of my home catalogue of business books I have read throughout the last 25 years. I have to admit that I have also thrown away many (typically left on planes’ seats) and only kept those that I believe to be truly meaningful and worth reading a second or a third time.
Now, I believe reading these books means taking out the two or three insights you could relate to and apply to your business and incorporate those in your thinking for the future. I don´t believe on reading business books for intellectual satisfaction; I’d rather read the classics for this, which are a great read as well. However, one thing that does happen with great books is that, in many, you could find the inspiration and the will to introduce changes and improvements in the way in which you operate, think and lead every day.
I have organised the list through selecting the best single book (in my opinion) by subject although for some topics it is a real challenge as there are many great competing options. The list goes like this:
1) Management: «The Effective Executive» by Peter F. Drucker
2) Human Resources: «The Leadership Pipeline» by Ram Charan and Stephen Drotten
3) Leadership: «Good to Great» by Jim Collins
4) Processes and manufacturing: «The Goal» by Eliyahu Goldratt
5) Entrepreneurship: «Zero to One» by Peter Thiel
6) Collaboration and teamwork: «The Anatomy of Peace» by the Arbinger Institute
7) Strategy: «Blue Ocean Strategy» by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
8) Investment: «The Intelligent Investor» by Benjamin Graham and Jason Zweig
9) Stock Markets: «Business Adventures» by John Brooks
10) Sales Management: «Accelerating Sales Force Performance» by Andy Zoltners and Prabha Sinha (ZS Associates)
11) Networking: «How To Win Friends And Influence People» by Dale Carnegie
12) Starting on a new job: «The First 90 Days» by Michael D. Watkins
13) Antidote for Buzz B: «Why Business People Speak Like Idiots» by Brian Fugere and Chelsea Hardaway
14) Innovation: «The Innovator´s Dilemma» by Clayton M Christensen
15) Miscellaneous: «The Tipping Point», «Blink», «Flow», «Freakonomics», «The Undercovered Economist» and «What The Dog Saw»
I know…there are 20 books on the list…I couldn’t help it…I hope you’ve found at least one you haven’t heard about. All of them are great in their own ways. Enjoy!