The 31 most influential books ever written about business
Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
- Reading is an important common denominator amongst many of the biggest names in business.
- It's a fast way to acquire new information, think creatively, and diversify your perspective.
- Below, we've chosen and compiled 31 of the most influential business books of all time, from "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries to "The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith.
Warren Buffett - arguably the most skilled investor of our time - said reading 500 pages a day was the key to success. "That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest," he explained.
That's probably why so many important businesspeople make reading a daily ritual. It's why Bill Gates reads 50 books every year (roughly one per week) and perhaps why Mark Zuckerberg kicked off 2015 with the goal of reading one every other week.
If you want exposure to new ideas, modes of thinking, and a compounded aggregate of diverse knowledge, then reading is important. And it's going to help you in business, be it by a mixture of accounts on other corporate successes or failures and lessons on lean startups, or a 2,500-year-old military tome that has been known to influence tactics in boardrooms as much as in war.
We researched and cross-referenced lists of the best business books according to influential business people and major media outlets to bring you this list.
Descriptions provided by Amazon and edited for length.
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"Business Adventures" by John Brooks
"The Intelligent Investor" by Benjamin Graham
"The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business" by Clayton M. Christensen
"The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success" by William N. Thorndike
"Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think" by Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, and Ola Rosling
"Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant" by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
"How to Win Friends & Influence People" by Dale Carnegie
"Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup" by John Carreyrou
"The Art of War" by Sun Tzu
"Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action" by Simon Sinek
"Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ" by Daniel Goleman
"Think and Grow Rich!" by Napoleon Hill
"Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead" by Sheryl Sandberg
"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey
"Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead" by Brené Brown
"The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries
"Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't" by Jim Collins
"Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder" by Arianna Huffington
"The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Too Big to Fail" by Andrew Ross Sorkin
"The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith
"Barbarians at the Gate" by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar
"The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron" by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
"When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management" by Roger Lowenstein
"Guerrilla Marketing" by Jay Conrad Levinson
"In search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies" by Thomas Peters and Robert H. Waterman
"Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies" by Jim Collins and Jerry I Porras
"Den of Thieves" by James B. Stewart
"Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution" by Michael Hammer and James A. Champy
"The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Fourth Edition" edited by Lawrence A. Cunningham
"First, Break All The Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently" by Jim Harter
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