10 Best Business Books for Professional Development and Higher Performance in Your Work

by Scott Jeffrey

If you’re an entrepreneur or a creative professional interested in your development, you probably read (or listen to)  business books.

Here are my selections for the best general business books to help you improve your daily performance and work at your best.

(Note: Most of my clients now listen to audiobooks more then they read. Whenever possible, I’ve included links to Amazon’s Audible versions below. If you’re not already an Audible customer, you can start a free 30-day trial and get two free audiobooks.)

Best Business Books for Entrepreneurs and Creative Professionals

Listed in no particular order:

best business book essentialism

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
By Greg McKeown

Hardcover | Kindle | Audible

McKeown addresses a central concern in a culture that’s obsessed with doing more, faster, and bigger. Every step you make from being what McKeown calls a non-essentialist to an essentialist is a movement toward a more fruitful way of being.

best business book triggers

Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts—Becoming the Person You Want to Be
By Marshall Goldsmith

Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook

In the recent survey I sent to you, many of you expressed interested in changing behaviors. Goldsmith is considered one of the top executive leadership coaches in the industry. His exclusive focus is on helping business leaders make essential changes to their behavior. Triggers provides many valuable insights.

best business book originals

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
By Adam Grant

Paperback | Kindle | Audible

This instant bestseller from 2016 is filled with numerous truths delivered through enchanting stories that inspire us to create at our best. For example, Grant points out that creative individuals arrive at more ideas instead of trying to refine a few, and successful people understand how to balance risk in a portfolio.

best business book 4 disciplines of execution

The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
By Sean Covey,‎ Chris McChesney, and‎ Jim Huling

Paperback | Kindle | Audible

Getting the right things done is an art and science. Any professional can benefit from 4 Disciplines—especially entrepreneurs who manage a team. The book highlights the importance of keeping score and outlines a practical process for driving toward critical results.

best business book power of habit

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
By Charles Duhigg

Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook

The Power of Habit is another instructive (and entertaining) read on the topic of behavioral change. Another similar title I recommended in a previous book review post is The Willpower Instinct. Both are worthy of your time, in my opinion.

See also: How to Stop Bad Behaviors

best business book the one thing

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook

This book covers lots of key principles that I’ve been writing about and using in my coaching practice for two decades. The One Thing overlaps with Essentialism in many ways, but both are worthwhile reads if this is an area of interest to you.

best business book war of art

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
By Steven Pressfield

Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook

Being a skilled professional at anything requires you to become intimate with a force that enslaves many of us: resistance. Pressfield, a master of his writing craft, provides instruction and inspiration on overcoming this demon in The War of Art. (See also my guide to self-mastery.)

best business book drive

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
By Daniel Pink

Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook

Through engaging research and storytelling, Pink draws on lessons from self-determination theory to illuminate what drives us—especially in the context of our work. Here’s a three-second summary: the answer is purpose, autonomy, and mastery.

best business book tony schwartz

The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance
By Tony Schwartz

Paperback | Kindle

Schwartz, one of the two authors of the bestseller The Power of Full Engagement, highlights how virtually everything we do is hijacking our performance and our ability to get consistent results. This book is full of useful insights and strategies you can apply right away.

What Qualifies as the Best Business Books?

How do you select the best business books?

For this review, I’ve focused on professional development. These business books provide essential strategies, ideas, and tips to help you be more effective at your work.

You’ll notice a theme in the selections above. The best business books (in my opinion) give you clarity. They help you cut through the noise so you can focus on what’s most important.

The best business books like Essentialism, The One Thing, and The Four Disciplines of Execution help you eliminate unnecessary distractions.

Triggers and The Power of Habit are the best business books because they help you improve your behavior.

The best business books like Originals and The War of Art help inspire your creative potential.

And books like Drive and The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working show you how to improve your work game.

Enjoy reading these best business books.

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