The Best Business Books About Leadership, Personal Development, Sales, Case Studies, Culture & More


Reading business books is one of the best ways to pull from the collective knowledge and experiences of many great thinkers before us. It can be tough to sort through the entire library of available titles, though.

I’ve created a list of some of the best business books about a variety of topics, from selling like a superstar to leveraging consumer behavior to developing top-notch leadership skills.

These recommendations are based on what others in my network have suggested as well as celebrated books commonly included in educational curriculum.

Take a look, and add some of these incredible business books by a diverse group of authors to your reading list!

[Did you miss my article on the best business books about marketing and content? Read that one here.]

General Business Books

Covers of 5 of the best books about general business: Radical Candor, Blue Ocean Strategy, Contagious, Everybody Lies, Behind the Cloud

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1. Contagious: Why Things Catch On

By Jonah Berger

“Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 percent to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.”

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2. Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry

By Carlye Adler

“It’s always wise to play the visionary card. Everyone roots for you. If there is no Goliath in your industry, go after the status quo.”

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3. Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

By Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

“The power in Google data is that people tell the giant search engine things they might not tell anyone else.”

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4. Always Day One: How the Tech Titans Plan to Stay on Top Forever

by Alex Kantrowitz

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5. Billion Dollar Brand Club: How Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker, and Other Disruptors Are Remaking What We Buy

by Lawrence Ingrassia

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6. Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments

by Stefan H. Thomke

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7. No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram

by Sarah Frier

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Quote by Jonah Berger in his book Contagious: "Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions."

8. No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer

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9. A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond

By Daniel Susskind

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10. Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution

By Robert Chesnut

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11. Blue Ocean Strategy

By W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne

“Value innovation occurs only when companies align innovation with utility, price, and cost positions.”

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12. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t

By Jim Collins

“Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is not markets, or technology, or competition, or products. It is one thing above all others: the ability to get and keep enough of the right people.”

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13. The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary

By Joseph Michelli

“Companies benefit when all employees understand business priorities and look for ways to bring their individual creativity and passion to meet those objectives.”

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14. Think Big, Act Small: How America’s Best Performing Companies Keep the Start-up Spirit Alive

By Jason Jennings

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15. Extreme Revenue Growth: Startup Secrets to Growing Your Sales from $1 Million to $25 Million in Any Industry

By Victor Cheng

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16. Black STILL Matters in Marketing: Why Increasing Your Cultural IQ about Black America is Critical to Your Business and Your Brand

By Pepper Miller

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Leadership & Management Books

Image of the covers of 5 of the business books: Radical Candor, Lead from the Outside, Start with Why, The Lean Startup, Influence

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1. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

By Simon Sinek

“There is a big difference between repeat business and loyalty. Repeat business is when people do business with you multiple times. Loyalty is when people are willing to turn down a better product or a better price to continue doing business with you.”

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2. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

By Kim Scott

“If you lead a big organization, you can’t have a relationship with everybody. But the relationships you have with your direct reports will impact the relationships they have with their direct reports. The ripple effect will go a long way toward creating—or destroying—a positive culture. Relationships may not scale, but culture does.”

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3. Lead From the Future: How to Turn Visionary Thinking Into Breakthrough Growth

by Mark W. Johnson and Josh Suskewicz

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4. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

By Eric Ries

“What differentiates the success stories from the failures is that the successful entrepreneurs had the foresight, the ability, and the tools to discover which parts of their plans were working brilliantly and which were misguided, and adapt their strategies accordingly.”

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5. Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change

By Stacey Abrams

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6. Influence: Science and Practice

By Robert Cialdini

“A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”

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7. How to Lead: Wisdom from the World’s Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers

By David M. Rubenstein

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Business Books About Selling

Quote by Zig Ziglar by his book Secrets of Closing the Sale: "There are five basic reasons people will not buy from you. These are: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, and no trust."

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1. The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies

By Chet Holmes

“If you touch it, take action. That’s the first step to great time management. Don’t open that email or letter until you’re ready to deal with it.”

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2. The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost your Sales

By Dan S. Kennedy

“The goal is understanding. To persuade someone, to motivate someone, to sell someone, you really need to understand that person.”

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3. Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale: For Anyone Who Must Get Others to Say Yes!

By Zig Ziglar

“There are five basic reasons people will not buy from you. These are: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, and no trust.”

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4. The Sales Magnet: How to Get More Customers Without Cold Calling

By Kendra Lee

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5. The Challenger Sale

By Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson

“The thing that really sets Challenger reps apart is their ability to teach customers something new and valuable about how to compete in their market.”

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Life Lessons and Personal Development

5 of the best business and personal development books: Give and Take, What I Know for Sure, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Future Proofed, Thinking Fast and Slow

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1. Break the Wheel: Question Best Practices, Hone Your Intuition, and Do Your Best Work

By Jay Acunzo

“Attempting to learn from others only goes so far. It’s the same as simply relying on conventional thinking. All of this merely provides us with possibilities, not answers, and then it’s up to us to vet those possibilities to ensure they’ll work for us.”

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2. Thinking, Fast and Slow

By Daniel Kahneman

“People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by the ease with which they are retrieved from memory—and this is largely determined by the extent of coverage in the media.”

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3. Managing Oneself

By Peter Ferdinand Drucker

“One should waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence. It takes far more energy and work to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.”

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4. Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success

By Adam Grant

“New research shows that advice seeking is a surprisingly effective strategy for exercising influence when we lack authority.”

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5. How to Win Friends and Influence People

by Dale Carnegie

“So the only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”

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6. Feck Perfuction: Dangerous Ideas on the Business of Life

by James Victore and Danielle LaPorte

“Make the work you want to make, dance like a fool, and leave your ego at the door.”

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7. Public Speaking to Win: The Original Formula to Speaking with Power

By Dale Carnegie and Mitch Horowitz

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8. It’s About Damn Ti me: How to Turn Being Underestimated Into Your Greatest Advantage

By Arlan Hamilton

“Being so deeply truly yourself, as a nonnegotiable, is the answer to everything.”

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9. The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires

By Dennis Kimbro

“Millionaires form the habit of seeing things not as they are but as they perhaps will be, as they could be, as they insist they be.”

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10. Strategize to Win: the New Way to Start Out, Step Up or Start Over in Your Career

By Carla A. Harris

“The key to successfully getting through an interview and acquiring a job is actually highly dependent upon your understanding of what the buyer (the interviewer) is really buying and how well you sell it (your background and experience) to them.”

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11. Invaluable: Master the 10 Skills You Need to Skyrocket Your Career

By Maya Grossman

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12. Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life

By Daymond John

“Truth is, there is one common trait I notice in all the people I meet who are thriving and striving: every single one of them has got a killer work ethic.”

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13. What I Know For Sure

By Oprah Winfrey

“If life teaches you nothing else, know this: When you get the chance, go for it.”

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Quote by Arlan Hamilton in her book It's About Damn Time: "Being so deeply truly yourself, as a nonnegotiable, is the answer to everything."

14. The Pursuit of Happyness

By Chris Gardner

“Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something.”

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15. Expect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace

By Carla Harris

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16. The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life

By Shawn Achor

“Constantly scanning the world for the negative comes with a great cost. It undercuts our creativity, raises our stress levels, and lowers our motivation and ability to accomplish goals.”

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17. Future Proofed: How to Navigate Disruptive Change, Find Calm in Chaos, and Succeed in Work & Life

By Natalia Peart

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18. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

By Daniel Pink

“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”

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19. Think and Grow Rich

By Napoleon Hill

“Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do.”

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20. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

By Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

“Effective negotiation is applied people smarts, a psychological edge in every domain of life: how to size someone up, how to influence their sizing up of you, and how to use that knowledge to get what you want.”

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21. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

By James Clear

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

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22. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead

By Brené Brown

“The greatest casualties of a scarcity culture are our willingness to own our vulnerabilities and our ability to engage with the world from a place of worthiness.”

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23. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

By Stephen R. Covey

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

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Not Necessarily Business Books, But Game-Changing Ideas

5 of the best business books: Antifragile, Expect to Win, The Paradox of Choice, Daring Greatly, The Tipping Point

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1. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

By Malcolm Gladwell

“The Law of the Few says that there are exceptional people out there who are capable of starting epidemics. All you have to do is find them. The lesson of stickiness is the same. There is a simple way to package information that, under the right circumstances, can make it irresistible. All you have to do is find it.”

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2. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

By Nassim Nicholas Taleb

“Further, my characterization of a loser is someone who, after making a mistake, doesn’t introspect, doesn’t exploit it, feels embarrassed and defensive rather than enriched with a new piece of information, and tries to explain why he made the mistake rather than moving on. These types often consider themselves the “victims” of some large plot, a bad boss, or bad weather.”

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3. Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber

By Susan Fowler

“Telling myself that there was some purpose or meaning behind the loss made me feel better; if there was something more, if there was something else in store for me, then there was a chance I could survive the hurt and learn to find peace with the loss.”

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4. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade

By Robert Cialdini

“Trust is one of those qualities that leads to compliance with requests, provided that it has been planted before the request is made.”

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5. The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness

By Morgan Housel

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6. Future Shock

By Alvin Toffler

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7. The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less

By Barry Schwartz  

“According to a survey conducted by Yankelovich Partners, a majority of people want more control over the details of their lives, but a majority of people also want to simplify their lives. There you have it—the paradox of our times.”

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Read another post: List of the Best Books About Marketing & Copywriting

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Categories: General