Books are an important part of my life. Most books I read are business, history, or biography. I also read mysteries and thrillers and westerns. Professionally, I help people find and create great business books. I help my clients write their books, improve their writing so they can write a great book, and structure their book in the most effective way. I evaluate manuscripts for publishers and individual authors. And I write book reviews.
Five of the books on this list are books that I read for the first time in 2020 and which I reviewed on this site. They’re listed in the order I read them. I also point you to another book I read this year, that’s not exactly a business book.
You’ll love Range if you think the world is becoming over-specialized. You’ll pick up lots of ammunition for your arguments. You’ll love this book if you want to learn and think more effectively. You’ll love this book if you feel like the advice, to specialize, practice, and never give up doesn’t work for you.
If you’re a leader or you want to be, buy The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO Of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger and read it. You’ll absorb lessons from the interesting story that is Bob Iger’s life. You’ll also learn from the explicit lessons.
That Will Never Work is for you if you want to look at the reality of start-ups and innovation. There are no bulleted lists of key points, but there’s a lot of wisdom packed in the stories.
Winners Dream is a great business autobiography. There’s value here for you whether you are just starting out or in a senior corporate position. There’s wisdom about making career choices. And there are many nuggets about how to be successful that you can use in business and other parts of your life.
If you want to become the best leader you can be, you should read Humble Leadership. You’ll be introduced to a system that will seem familiar because you already use it in your personal life. The humble leadership idea doesn’t require wholesale transformation of entire organizations. It doesn’t ask you to defy human nature by eliminating hierarchy. You can do it all without assuming the role of wild-eyed reformer.
The next one isn’t exactly a business book, so it’s not part of my top five. But it’s a a great book and you can learn a lot about business and society.
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. may seem daunting at 800 pages, but if you make the effort, you’ll reap several benefits. You’ll gain insight into one of the great leaders of American business and world history. You’ll learn about his humanity, his strengths and his faults, and the way they interact much as they do in each of us. And you’ll learn about how business and society interact to form the world that we know.
Here are links to “best” lists from earlier years.