Our Best Business Books for 2021 include something for everyone. Whether you are looking to take your sales and marketing to the next level, start a business or land the perfect promotion, we break down the top business books to read in the year ahead.
#1 The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
In addition to being the best business book we have ever read, this may be one of the most life-changing books we have read. If you want to open your mind to think in new ways, this book is perfect for launching a successful journey to wealth and prosperity. If you have ever worried that you may be losing sight of the big picture or frittering your life away with unimportant and inefficient busy work, you won’t be able to put this book down.
We have taken this book to four different continents. It is not a fast read and you won’t find secret growth hacking formulas. But, you will find excellent words of wisdom from one of the most successful corporate titans of the past century. If you like Warren Buffet’s investing philosophy, you’ll love Jack and Suzy Welch’s approach to life and business. If we were going into an interview, this would be one of the first books we would read, as we have modeled both our personal and professional lives around the book’s recommendations for “candor” and “authenticity”.
#3 How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
If we were going to give one book to someone who was just entering the business world, this would be it. The time-tested knowledge and wisdom that are passed down from generation to generation can be found in Dale Carnegie’s famous work. It may take you back a little and you may want to grab an old fashioned cocktail or a rocking chair, but the advice in this book is timeless and just as relevant today.
#4 Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
Whether you are just starting off or have an established business and employees, Good to Great will give you the tools to take your business to the next level. We consider this a foundational work for managers and executives of all levels and the book’s advice on hiring is better than we have heard from some of the most accomplished HR professionals.
#5 The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
As far as we are concerned, Malcolm Gladwell wrote the book on viral marketing. While buzzwords come and go, this book really explains the essence of what it meant to “go viral” and why some things take off and others do not. It was a disruptive book when it was written and it remains one of the best works in business literature to this day. If you haven’t read it, get caught up.
#6 Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
Our first five recommendations were mostly safe picks. But, Ryan Holiday’s work might be the most interesting. While the book may appear to empower the reader to help discern how we are being manipulated by the media, it is so much more than that. If you have ever wanted to see the dark arts of advertising, sales and marketing at work and extrapolate how you can ethically use these time-tested strategies to expand your own practice, this is a fantastic work.
#7 One Simple Idea, Revised and Expanded Edition: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work by Stephen Key
Have you ever had an invention that you knew would be a hit? If so, you need to read Stephen Key’s One Simple Idea. From helping to determine which ideas are marketable to applying for and securing patent protection and ultimately licensing your invention, there is not a better book on the market. If you have always thought it would be too hard to make a business or living out of inventions, this book will break down those barriers and show you just how easy it can be.
#8 CA$HVERTISING: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone by Drew Eric Whitman
This may be the most highlighted of all our business books. Seriously, one of our highlighters ran dry. As we read through the pages on “consumer psychology” and “Ad-Agency Secrets” we noted several ideas for new business we could start and many additional ideas for strategies we could employ to grow our existing businesses. There are hundreds of invaluable tips in this book and it is our “go to” book for advertising tools, tips and strategies.
#9 The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Okay, there is timeless and then truly timeless. Written more than 2,000 years ago, The Art of War contains numerous strategies for winning. While the focus is on war, the concepts can easily be extrapolated to business, competition and ultimately, sales, marketing and advertising. Whether your war is outselling the competition, running for public office or receiving the next promotion in the office, if you haven’t read Sun Tzu’s work, get a copy and start plotting to win.
#10 Trump-Style Negotiation: Powerful Strategies and Tactics for Mastering Every Deal by George H. Ross
We knew this choice would be controversial. Written well before Donald Trump ever ran for president, George Ross’ book takes us back to The Apprentice days and highlights the different strategies he has observed in working with Donald Trump. If the reader can put the man, the last five years and their own personal political beliefs aside, there are some great negotiating strategies and tactics in this book which merit the addition to this list.