My pick of the “Best Book” lists for 2016

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Every year, more people and publications than I can count publish lists of the best books from that year. Here’s my pick of the lists for 2016.

I tried to select a limited number of lists that included books that my readers and clients would want to read if they knew about them. So, I picked lists of books that people who read business books would enjoy reviewing. Only one of the lists is specifically about business books, though. Most of the books on the list are nonfiction, but not all.

I made my final choices based on who put the list together and how the selection was made. I’ve included notes about each list and list creator.

From Daniel Gross: Best Business Books 2016

“In an age of 140-character snippets, vanishing texts, video on demand, and limited attention spans, the prospect of actually reading a book — a long document, often printed and bound in physical form, full of nuance and depth — may seem to be a quaint convention. And yet. Books manage to convey insight, storytelling, knowledge, and even wonder, in a way that other media can’t quite match. Maybe that’s why, despite the continual proliferation of diversions, the number of books sold in the U.S. actually increased in 2015, as it did in 2014, according to the Association of American Publishers. But it’s important to discern the specific quality amid this quantity, especially because books require a significant time commitment. Fortunately, for this, the 16th edition of s+b’s Best Business Books of the year section, we’ve assembled a team of learned, expert, and stylish guides.”

Wally’s Comment: This is the list portal at Strategy+Business, where the Business Literature section is worth a look every week or so. I called this a “portal” because it’s the entry point to eight lists, seven subject areas and a “Top Shelf.”

From Paul Sohn: These Are the Best Books of 2016

“I read an average of 1-2 books per week. Books are a major source of acquiring cutting-edge knowledge on topics that I’m passionate about: leadership, vocation, and Christian faith. As an avid reader, I’ve been always curious what type of books my tribe enjoys. So, a few days ago, I asked my followers on my personal Facebook page. Over 50 people responded with the best book they’ve read in 2016. I was surprised and pleased with the variety of books and genre. As we enter this Christmas season, I hope you get to spend time of solitude and enjoy a few of the books from this list.”

Wally’s Comment: The savvy folks at Smartbrief on Leadership pointed me to this list. Paul asked his Facebook followers for recommendations and the result is an array of books that come from a variety of subject areas and span more than a half century.

From Bill Gates: My Favorite Books of 2016

“If you’re looking for a book to enjoy over the holidays, here are some of my favorites from this year. They cover an eclectic mix of topics—from tennis to tennis shoes, genomics to great leadership. They’re all very well written, and they all dropped me down a rabbit hole of unexpected insights and pleasures.”

Wally’s Comment: I love Bill Gates blog, Gates Notes, and his reading recommendations. He reads a wide variety of books and always gives you a clear idea of why he thinks you should read a particular book.

From Greg Satell: Great Books Every Innovator Should Read

“That’s why I’m writing this book, to give managers a more complete account of how to match problems with solutions. To do so, I’ve cast a wide net, talking to a diverse array of executives and researchers about their work. There have also been many books that I’ve found helpful. So for this summer’s list, I’d like to highlight 17 books that I think innovators should read.”

Wally’s Comment: Greg Satell is one of my favorite writers because he does a marvelous job of combining clear-eyed common sense with deep knowledge. You’ll notice that in his selection of books.

From Shane Parrish: The Sixteen Best Books of 2016

“Rewarding reads on love, life, knowledge, history, the future, and tools for thinking. Out of all the books I read this year, here is a list of what I found most worth reading in 2016.”

Wally’s Comment: Shane Parrish describes his blog, Farnam Street, this way: “Farnam Street is devoted to helping you develop an understanding of how the world really works, make better decisions, and live a better life.” As you might imagine, that results in a particularly delightful list of the best books of 2016.


Those are my picks for the best lists of best books in 2016 for business readers. Is there a list you want to share? What great books did you read in 2016?

Follow this link to the Five Best Business Books I Read in 2016.

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