A business book for every situation: 14 business books to read before the end of the year

By   Hannah Bickerton 3 min read

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There have been so many books published over the years that tell you how to run, scale and perfect your business. But how do you find the one business book that is not just genuinely insightful, but right for your situation? Here are some suggestions from the whitefox team of titles that have helped us most in our moments of need:

1. Sara Milne Rowe – The SHED Method

As much about lifestyle as leadership, this is a brilliant step-by-step business book to achieving confidence, positivity and success from an exceptional performance coach.

2. Clayton Christensen – How Will You Measure Your Life?

This is an innovator’s guide to maintaining a professional work/life balance. Christensen’s mantra is: ‘Your relationships need your attention. Always.’

3. Sheryl Sandberg – Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead

It’s all about leaning in and seizing the day now. But, back in 2013, it was Sandberg who first articulated what she perceived as the ‘leadership ambition gap’. She wanted to bring the continued gender inequalities at the top of business out into the open.

4. Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler – Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High 

Don’t shy away from those difficult, awkward conversations, and harness the power of being persuasive rather than abrasive.

5. Michael Watkins – The First 90 Days

‘Don’t just do something! Stand there!’ A brilliant business book focusing on that all-important first quarter. Time spent making those critical first impressions, assessing your own vulnerabilities and being proactive in ensuring that new relationships work.

6. Mike Brearley – The Art of Captaincy

England’s Ashes-winning cricket captain from the 1980s reveals how superior management skills and creating an environment for shared goals and clarity of thought can create a winning team mentality, on and off the field of play.

7. Lisa MacCallum and Emily Brew – Inspired Inc.

A business book showing how leaders can inspire trust and belief in their businesses and brands, in a world of increasingly empowered consumers and influential stakeholders.

8. Phil Knight – Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

We’ve waxed lyrical about this book before. It’s not just open, inspirational and authentic, it’s also brilliantly written. An incredible journey that really gets under the skin of how to scale from a pair of track shoes to a global brand.

9. Michael Lewis – Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

A slightly left-field choice maybe, but ultimately, this book is about understanding that, as Jeff Bezos famously said: ‘data trumps instinct every time’.

10. Charles Handy – Understanding Organizations

This one is over 40 years old now, but it’s a perennially best-selling classic for a reason. It still gets to the heart of the issues around listening, empathising and making tough decisions.

11. David Rock – Your Brain at Work

A book based on thousands of hours of neuropsychological studies where Rock explains how best to minimise distractions, stay focused and maximise the precious resource of thinking time.

12. Ben Horowitz – The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Another book we’ve long held in high regard at whitefox: a personal, warts-and-all take on the difficulties of starting and running a new business from a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

13. Richard Rumelt – Good Strategy/Bad Strategy

Rumelt explores why developing a strategy for your business should not be confused with ambition, goal-setting or having a vision. It’s all about how you get to where you want to go.

14. Brad Stone – The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

Never forget to really, really understand the customer; hire with focus and make sure you are always ‘raising the bar’. Do the hard work to simplify your products and messages to make sure they are understood. That’s the way to accumulate an individual net worth of well over $100 billion.

Hannah Bickerton
Hannah Bickerton
Hannah has worked in marketing for nine years, specialising in strategy development for start-ups and EdTech companies. Having recently jumped across industries to join the Whitefox team, Hannah isn’t a complete stranger to the publishing world with previous employment at Macmillan and TES Global. She is now dedicated to ensuring that anyone who has something interesting to say knows all about whitefox.