10 Best Business Books for Professional Development and Higher Performance in Your Workby 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:
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
By Greg McKeown
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.
Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts—Becoming the Person You Want to Be
By Marshall Goldsmith
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.
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
By Adam Grant
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.
The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
By Sean Covey, Chris McChesney, and Jim Huling
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.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
By Charles Duhigg
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
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
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.
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
By Steven Pressfield
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.)
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
By Daniel Pink
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.
The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance
By Tony Schwartz
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.
Enjoy reading these best business books.