Best Business Books to Read This Summer
Now that summer’s begun, you’re probably looking for a good beach book. You can still learn a thing or two while you relax: it’s a great feeling to be productive without spending all day running errands or studying. Even if you’re not involved in finance, you can pick up lessons from business books to apply to many aspects of life. We selected our five favorites below for some pleasurable and beneficial summer reading.
How do you think JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll got to where they are? The underlying theme among these three is grit. In her book, MacArthur “Genius” Award winner Angela Duckworth argues that the synthesis of passion and perseverance plays a crucial role in shaping one’s success. Taking examples from past and present, Duckworth presents a comprehensive argument worthy of your read.
Workplaces often have two overlapping hierarchies: one set in place by the company’s structure and another established through competition, personal inadequacies, and office politics. The latter can lead to an environment where employees don’t reach their full potential. With An Everyone Culture, Kegan and Lahey explore companies called Deliberately Developmental Organizations (DDOs), which have aligned their work culture to foster employee growth. DDOs create an organizational culture that is engineered with personal development as a priority in everyday operations. Whether the notion seems radical or simplistic to you, Kegan and Lahey demonstrate the effectiveness of this structure and demonstrate how it can be implemented.
Going against the grain isn’t easy. However, those that fight conformity successfully are celebrated, whether in business (like Steve Jobs) or beyond it (like Martin Luther King, Jr.). Adam Grant, the youngest to reach “full professor” at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, explores the minds of those extoll novelty over safety and comfort. In Originals, Grant discusses how rejecting conformity raises the status quo, and explain how you can summon the strength to do so as well.
Problem solving can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task, especially when the problem becomes worse the longer it takes to solve. Jake Knapp designed a five-day process that helps accomplish challenges through answering these questions: “What’s the most important place to focus your effort, and how do you start? What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution?” Knapp is joined by colleagues at Google Ventures in Sprint, which taking its name from Knapp’s accelerated problem-solving tool and shows you how to implement this method in your projects.
We’ve all wanted to tell our coworkers off at one point or another. Well, Jim Koch takes it a step further with his “F– You” rule. The founder of Boston Beer Company and brewer of Samuel Adams, he encourages his employees to say “F— you” to others in the workplace when they feel justified. Koch asks his employees to share with the person why they said it, but also to listen to the other person explain themselves. In doing so, his goal is to create a culture of openness and frankness. Quench Your Thirst is Koch’s story of leaving his consulting job to start a beer company that ultimately grew to be worth $2 billion. In telling his journey, Koch also shares his business strategies with the entertaining bluntness you’d expect of a man who embraced a “F— You” rule.
So you’re a speed reader? Business Insider has a list of 17 more business books here.
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