The 5 Best Books for Business Leaders that I Read in 2018

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My professional purpose is helping 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 books in the best possible way. I evaluate manuscripts for publishers. And I write book reviews.

The books on the list are books for business readers, but they’re not all business books. Most of the successful businesspeople I know read business books, and other kinds of books, too. History and biography are favorites, but many business leaders relish a good book on technology or a well-written novel.

The books on this list are books I read in 2018. Sometimes, I don’t get around to a book for a while. I read one book on this list five years after the author wrote it.

That’s enough preamble. Here’s the list.

Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, And Thrive with The New Science of Success

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for books on productivity and improving performance. I’ve read a lot, and this is one of the best. There’s nothing that’s new. What made Peak Performance great is the way the authors brought many strands of research and writing together. They presented their information and recommendations in clear text and in easy-to-use summaries.

Here’s a link to my full review of the book.

Leonardo da Vinci

I thought I knew most of the basics about Leonardo, but I didn’t. Leonardo da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson taught me a lot about one of history’s most fascinating individuals. I enjoyed reading the book, and I learned a lot. You will too. With a little effort, you can improve the way you see the world and develop disciplines so you can become more like Leonardo than you are today.

Here’s a link to my full review of the book.

Good Strategy/Bad Strategy

Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters came out in 2011, but I didn’t read it until last year. I might never have read it if my friend Art Petty hadn’t insisted was one of the best strategy books he ever read. Author Richard Rumelt gives you a roadmap that will help you evaluate a strategy and develop better strategy. That will make your work harder, not easier. Thankfully, it will also increase your odds of success.

Here’s a link to my full review of the book.

Powerful: Building A Culture of Freedom and Responsibility

You can read this book for the story of Netflix where Patty McCord was a key player for more than a decade. You’ll learn something about how cultures develop and what the workplace of the future may be like.

Here’s a link to my full review of the book.

Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work

This is another first-rate book from Chip Heath and Dan Heath. In Decisive, they show how we often decide and how we could do it better. The beauty of the book is that they create a simple process with an acronym to help you remember it. They present an array of tools to help make the process work.

If you want to improve your decision-making, this book is a must-read. You will find many places in the book where you say, “Oh yeah, that’s me” and slap your forehead. But then you’ll learn how to improve.

If you don’t think you need to improve your decision making, read this book anyway. You will be amazed at how much you can improve.

Here’s a link to my full review of the book.

I’ve put my notes and highlights for the books above on GoodReads. Check my page there to dig a little deeper.

Those are the five best books for business readers I read in 2018. I’d love to know what you thought of these books and what other books were on your “best” list.

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