It’s the beginning of the year and, although you may already be feeling those back to work blues, it’s the perfect time to maximise your business acumen. Having said that, it can be hard to know where to start. There are a lot of great business books that can be either inspirational or serve as cautionary tales. These are five of the best books to read throughout January and February to get the right start to the year. These five books will help you brush up your business skills and give you inspiration for the rest of the year.
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
Tools of Titans is the new book from the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, which makes it a must-read in the business world. The book is based on the interviews that Ferriss has given for his podcast, so it’s a direct link to his thought-processes and opinions. The book is a manual on productivity, detailing the routines and habits of a plethora of talented people who are outstanding in their field. It ranges from scientists to athletes, so there’s a range of people and situations with which to identify.
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
As the co-founder of global sportswear brand Nike, Phil Knight is a certified expert on starting a successful business from scratch. His book is a memoir of his experiences, following his journey from a 24-year-old traveller with a head full of dreams to the 24th richest person in the world. He details the risks and setbacks of starting Nike, as well as his early successes. The book bares a lot about Knight himself, as well as his company’s rise to worldwide success. It’s a fascinating journey, and one that can teach a budding entrepreneur a lot about overcoming challenges.
Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business by John E. Mackey and Rajendra S. Sisodia
This book definitely falls into the inspirational pile of business books. Mackey is the co-founder of the coveted upscale American supermarket Whole Foods, which has led the way for conscious capitalism. His co-author Sisodia is equally qualified to argue intelligently on the topic, as the co-founder of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. Both men argue that capitalism and business can both be great positive forces working towards adding value for all tenets of society. Using a multitude of examples, the authors illustrate how the four principles – higher purpose, stakeholder integration, conscious leadership, and conscious culture and management – benefit everyone. The book is motivational, both for its management tips and for the future of ethical business that it envisions.
Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull
Another inspirational co-founder, Ed Catmull co-founded the hugely successful Pixar Animations Studio and decided to share his insights. This is a book about how to cultivate a creative culture and it has some powerful messages that should be required reading for managers and employees alike. Creativity, Inc details Catmull’s journey from a student with a dream of making the first animated movie to the worldwide animation success of Pixar. Bring out your highlighter for all the fantastic advice on communication, leadership, the creative process, transparency and much more.
Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal by Nick Bilton
You can’t think of social media these days without thinking of Twitter (particularly with Trump as US President), yet the company shot to success in only six short years. Nick Bilton draws on extensive investigative journalism to unveil what happened behind the scenes of Twitter’s explosive rise to social media stardom. The book is a compelling narrative of the birth of a $11.5 billion from a failed podcast company, and the tumultuous relationships between the four founders; Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, and Noah Glass. Fans of The Social Network will be riveted by this true tale.