Business School

The Big 40: Business Books You Really Should Read – Part 2

As promised, here is Part 2 of my Big 40: Books You Really Should Read. There is a story behind this list of books and why it’s important. You can check it out in Part 1 of this post.

So without further delay, here is the second half of my Big 40….

I have hyperlinked all these books to the best deals on Amazon to save you the time and hassle of searching for the best price.

1. So Good They Can’t Ignore You

By Cal Newport

ISBN-13: 978-184112765  MY RATING: 10/10

Shockingly smart thoughts about your business career. A MUST-READ for anyone who is not loving their work, wanting to quit their job and follow their passion, or not sure what to do next.

I recommend this book to anyone looking to know how to move forward with their passions. Best book I’ve ever read on the subject.


2. Antifragile

By Nicholas Taleb

ISBN: 0140280197 MY RATING: 9/10

Bold perspectives, unusual ideas, and surprisingly wise advice around an interesting subject of the “opposite of fragile.” Looking through that lens at health, education, governments, business, and life philosophy. Very inspiring, and sparks a lot of further discussion.


3. The Icarus Deception

By Seth Godin

ISBN:0452267560 MY RATING: 9/10

Again, I LOVE Seth Godin. A VERY interesting read. Seth is moving from talking about business to talking about being an artist in the broad sense of anyone who creates (and ships!) something daring and new.

I loved the distiction between the industrialist and the artist, as it helped me give a term for something I’d experienced: not being able to relate at all to those who just wanted to grow a business for business sake. I always saw my business as a creative art project. The book stays very high-level, so don’t look for “TO-DO” type tips.


4. Switch

By Chip Heath and Dan Heath

ISBN:0307887898 MY RATING: 10/10

A GREAT psychology book about real ways to make a change last – both personal and organizational. So many powerful insights, based on fact not theory. Inspiring counterintuitive stories of huge organizational change against all odds.

Highly recommended for everyone. PERIOD.


5. 5 Elements of Effective Thinking

By Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird

ISBN:1591843170 MY RATING: 10/10

Short and brilliant book with tips on being a better thinker. Being persistent, thorough, being rooted in fundamentals, creative, and being a more active learner. Surprisingly inspiring.



6. Drive

By Daniel Pink

ISBN:0446691437 MY RATING: 9/10

Essential for all managers or soon to be managers (business owners). A deep study of motivation at work. Extrinsic vs intrinsic. Work vs play. When money is used as an external reward for some activity, the subjects lose intrinsic interest for the activity.

An easy read, once you get into it.


7. The Power of Full Engagement

By Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

ISBN:1585424331 MY RATING: 10/10

The authors worked with the best athletes and executives for years, and found that the best ones knew how to push themselves, then recuperate, push, recuperate. Take this same approach to your emotional, mental, physical, and even spiritual life, and it’s a powerful metaphor.

Think of marathons, not sprints. Be fully into whatever you’re in, then give yourself time to recuperate. But push further each time and go past your comfort zone, like a good exercise plan.


8. Outliers

By Malcolm Gladwell

ISBN:0671027034 MY RATING: 7/10

A profound study of why some people are so much more successful. Often people assume success is due to circumstances and early opportunities, but it really comes down to the fact that it takes about 10,000 hours of hard work to master something.

Again, Gladwell is not a an easy read. Gladwell is dry (hence the 7/10 score) but the concepts are intriguing and useful.


9. The E Myth

By Michael Gerber

ISBN:9780316346627 MY RATING: 9/10

Everything needs to be a system. Think of your business as a franchise prototype. You should be able to hand the “how-to” manual to just anyone to do it as good as you. 



10. Small is The New Big

By Seth Godin

ISBN:0307887898 MY RATING: 8/10

A collection of his short insightful posts from his blog, all thought-provoking and inspiring for anybody marketing anything, even music.

There are a lot of great insights in this one I’d like to share, but they are the kinds of insights that work better if you read them on your own in your own mind.


11. Give and Take

By Adam Grant

ISBN:1118103521 MY RATING: 8/10

If you feel you are too generous, or too greedy, or are wary and insist on reciprocation, consider reading this research-based look at the subject of these different personality types.

Counter-intuitive findings. Crazy stuff.


12. Decisive

By Chip & Dan Heath

ISBN:1451639619 MY RATING: 9/10

An interesting and insightful dive into the subject of how to make big decisions. Specific useful advice.

This book will address decisions that take longer than five minutes to make. Read it and thank me later.


13.The Power of Habit

By Charles Duhigg

ISBN:9780307465351 MY RATING: 8/10

A great dissection and analysis of what creates habits, and the power of changing just one of the three steps in the habit loop.

This is one of the best productivity books you can read.


14. Talent is Overrated

By Geoff Colvin

ISBN:0618785914 MY RATING: 8/10

Talent is not innate – it comes from thousands of hours of deliberate practice: focused improving of your shortcomings. That’s it.

If you can get past the first 20% of the book that just asks questions, the next 60% is quite good. And the last 20%  you can skip all together.


15. Never Eat Alone

By Keith Ferrazzi

ISBN:1591842336 MY RATING: 9/10

A good book that’s mostly about networking, but also some general business smarts.

Definitely read it if you need more work on being social.


16. Strengths Finder 2.0

By Tom Rath

ISBN:0684852861 MY RATING: 10/10

Strengths Finder 2.0 is an approach by scientists of The Gallup Organization to provide users with a tool to identify their strengths, or more precisely, their talents. Tom Rath explained it as follows: “We were tired of living in a world that revolved around fixing our weaknesses.” Brilliant!

Read this book. It works.


17. Reality Check

By Guy Kawasaki

ISBN:0743201140 MY RATING: 10/10

A great book about the importance of planning and rolling with the punches that come your way.

Guy is a very personable and entertaining, making this book one of the easiest reads on this list.


18. You, Inc – The Art of Selling Yourself 

By  Harry Beckwith

ISBN:0312284543 MY RATING: 10/10

Great author and a massive inspiration. It’s all top-notch insights on making life easier by being more considerate, whether you call that marketing or just life.

Read this one in one sitting.


19. Linchpin

By Seth Godin

ISBN:1401301304 MY RATING: 10/10

For someone who has a job at a company, I would call this essential reading with my highest recommendation. Since I didn’t have a job when I read this, I couldn’t apply many of his great points to my life. Still I loved his reminder of the value of brilliant workers instead of systemized workers.


20. Seeking Wisdom

By Peter Bevelin

ISBN:0066620996 MY RATING: 10/10

Incredibly rich. It’s a great overview of the lessons of Charlie Munger (partner of Warren Buffett) – and his approach to checklists of multi-disciplinary models to guide clear thinking.

Main point: if you can just avoid mistakes, you’re doing better than most. So it’s a catalog of the most common or important mistakes. Focused on investing, but can be applied to life.

Read this book twice in one month. So good.


Well there you have it…my Big 40.

If you have any comments on any of these books or your own personal opinions on them, let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this post with your friends, you’ll look well read : )

Want to get out of the dark and know how to nail your business idea with our Free $100 MBA Video Course & Workbook? 



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