25 Amazing Business Books From 2014
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Whether you're planning a much-needed vacation or gearing up to visit the family during the upcoming holidays, now is the perfect time to find a book to help you kill the time during your travels. But why not get something more out of your reading?
1. "The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership" by Richard Branson
As the founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson is currently estimated to be worth $5 billion. That’s why the latest book from this eccentric entrepreneur and adventurer is a must read. Branson shares his unorthodox leadership techniques that have made him one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the last forty years.
2. “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution” by Walter Isaacson
Author Walter Isaacson follows-up his incredible Steve Jobs biography with a chronicle of some of the most disruptive minds in the technology industry. It begins with computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, who developed computer programming back in the 1840s. It also explores the minds of everyone from Robert Noyce to Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
Related: Bill Gates' 5 Favorite Books of 2014
3. “How Google Works” by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg
Were you ever curious about how Google’s business model worked? If so, check out this informative book from Google executive chairman and ex-CEO Eric Schmidt and former SVP of Products Jonathan Rosenberg. It illustrates how you can make a business successfully by fostering a creative environment.
4. “The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers” by Ben Horowitz
As of one of Silicon Valley’s most respected entrepreneurs, Ben Horowitz has proven throughout this career that he knows how launch and manage startups. This is easily one of the essential books every business leader should read if they’re looking for proven and honest management advice.
5. “Economics: The User’s Guide” by Ha-Joon Chang
Written by Cambridge University economist professor Ha-Joon Chang, this book breaks down the history and real-world applications of the real-world economy in a lively and easy-to-understand context.
6. “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
While this is intended for entrepreneurs, this book has info useful for anyone in the business world. It offers practical and original advice for anyone starting a business - all in under 200 pages.
7. Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris
How could anyone take-on the powerhouse that was Nintendo? Blake J. Harris chronicles how a scrappy business named Sega took on Nintendo with a vision to become a market leader in a matter of years. Whether you’re a Gen X gamer or starting a business, the origin stories of how Nintendo and Sega are entertaining and inspiring.
8. "The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned — and Have Still to Learn — from the Financial Crisis" by Martin Wolf
Martin Wolf, the chief economic commentator for the Financial Times, explores the origins of the recent financial crisis, analyzes why we may still be in trouble and examines how the global economy has since changed.
9. “How We Got to Now: Six Inventions That Made the Modern World” by Steven Johnson
This fascinating book takes a look at how innovation has changed our world. Perhaps most intriguing is how Johnson can relate seemingly unrelated inventions - such as the invention of air conditioning - to the largest migration of humans in history.
10. “The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems” by Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel B. Rasmussen
Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel B. Rasmussen explain how human behavior has led to ineffective problem-solving methods. By using the social sciences, the authors introduce a new methodology known as sensemaking.
11. “The Power of Habit:Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg
This best-selling book from New York Times investigative reporter Charles Duhigg takes a look at how identifying patterns in our daily life can help us become successful. Duhigg states once we are aware of these habits, we can become able to change them and become more successful.
12. "A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas" by Warren Berger
This thought-provoking book examines how successful individuals are also expert questioners. By asking questions, we are able to solve problems and develop innovative ideas.
13. "Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)" by Christian Rudder
Rudder, co-founder of the dating site OKCupid, argues how we can use big data to monetize and optimize. While that may sound like a dull topic, Rudder is an entertaining and witty author who presents a completely original book.
14. "The Intel Trinity: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World’s Most Important Company" by Michael S. Malone
Through extensive and unprecedented access to Intel's archives, Malone describes how each of these vital members of Intel brought various skills and talents to the company to make it the giant it is today.
15. "Location Is (Still) Everything: The Surprising Influence of the Real World on How We Search, Shop, and Sell in the Virtual One" by David Bell
Even if you run an online business, it's still important to understand how your location can determine it's success. Through years of research and experience, Wharton professor David Bell explains how the online and offline worlds are connected and how you can ensure your business will succeed.
16. "Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success" by Shane Snow
Serial entrepreneur and journalist Shane Snow explains how successful individuals use "lateral thinking" to think outside of the box and grow their brands and companies faster than the normal rate.
17. "Smart Tribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together" by Christine Comaford
By using neuroscience techniques, Comaford will help you figure out how to hire the right people for the right positions so you can build a company culture that motivates, inspires, and brings out the best in team members.
Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell suggests we should stop paying attention to what successful people are, and pay more attention to where they came from. By examining everyone from Mozart to Bill Gates, Gladwell argues that successful people aren’t lucky, they “rise on a tide of advantages”.
19. "Crazy Is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags" by Linda Rottenberg
Between research, inspiring research and the personal experience of author Linda Rotenberg details how all businesses should embrace the mentality of an entrepreneur - meaning that they take calculated risks, being flexible and unique.
20. “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein
This powerful and profound book examines how we need to make changes to the current economic situation in order to save the planet.
21. “The Motivation Manifesto” by Brendon Burchard
What makes this such an inspiring read is that Burchard doesn’t just provide tactics that will make you successful. Instead, he explores the inner psychology of humans and discusses how doubt and fear hold us back and how you can break free to live the life you want.
22. “Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less” by Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao
By using case studies and examples of industry leaders, Sutton and Rao explain how you can create a successful business by looking at every aspect of your company or startup.
23. "Me, Inc.: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business" by Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons is more than the bass player from KISS. He’s an extremely successful businessman that delivers honest, and actually words of wisdom, for entrepreneurs and anyone aspiring to launch a business empire.
24. “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t” by Simon Sinek
Sinek, author of the best-selling book Start with Why, details how biology makes us feel secure in groups. When leaders create an environment built on trust, cooperation, and security, employees will actually love going to work.
This inspiring book follows Adam Braun, the founder of Pencils of Promise, and how he turned $25 into over 250 schools by combining a for-profit business approach with social sector idealism for an idea known as "For-Purpose."
Every book on this list has inspired me to become better today that I am tomorrow. Ever since I became an entrepreneur I have been reading business books and learning from entrepreneurs who have been there. I hope you find this list as inspiring as I did.