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April 1, 2016

The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: BIG IDEAS

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 1:42 PM – Filed under: Innovation & Creativity, Management & Workplace Culture

These books take you to unexplored crossroads, connecting common knowledge with the most advanced understandings of the world. New insights appear at these intersections when the walls of academic discipline are removed. The future of business books lies here.

The Age of Unreason: Reflections of a Reluctant Capitalist by Charles Handy

In an era when change is constant, random, and, as Handy calls it, discontinuous, it is necessary to break out of old ways of thinking in order to use change to our advantage. Handy examines how dramatic changes are transforming business, education, and the nature of work. We can see it in astounding new developments in technology, in the shift in demand from manual to cerebral skills, and in the virtual disappearance of lifelong, full-time jobs. Handy maintains that discontinuous change requires discontinuous, upside-down thinking, and discusses the need for new kinds of organizations, new approaches to work, new types of schools, and new ideas about the nature of our society.

Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World by Kevin Kelly

Out of Control chronicles the dawn of a new era in which the machines and systems that drive our economy are so complex and autonomous as to be indistinguishable from living things.

A quest for the basic principals defining artificial evolution (what will be common in the next century),  the first phantasmagoric look, not just at the science of spontaneous self-organization, but actually into the phenomenon itself.

The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida

Initially published in 2002, The Rise of the Creative Class quickly achieved classic status for its identification of forces then only beginning to reshape our economy, geography, and workplace. Weaving story-telling with original research, Richard Florida identified a fundamental shift linking a host of seemingly unrelated changes in American society: the growing importance of creativity in people’s work lives and the emergence of a class of people unified by their engagement in creative work. Millions of us were beginning to work and live much as creative types like artists and scientists always had, Florida observed, and this Creative Class was determining how the workplace was organized, what companies would prosper or go bankrupt, and even which cities would thrive.

In the decade since, we have endured a series of world shattering events—from the collapse of the tech bubble to 9/11 to the economic meltdown of 2008—any one of which might have been sufficient to derail the forces he described Instead, the drive towards creativity as only intensified, both in the US and across the globe. In late 2011, the social media site LinkedIn reported that the word most used by its members to describe themselves was “Creative.” In The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited, Florida further refines his occupational, demographic, psychological, and economic profile of the Creative Class, incorporates a decade of research, and adds five new chapters covering the global effects of the Creative Class and exploring the factors that shape “quality of place” in our changing cities and suburbs.

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Matters More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

Everyone knows that high IQ is no guarantee of success, happiness, or virtue, but until Emotional Intelligence, we could only guess why. Daniel Goleman's brilliant report from the frontiers of psychology and neuroscience offers startling new insight into our "two minds"—the rational and the emotional—and how they together shape our destiny.

Through vivid examples, Goleman delineates the five crucial skills of emotional intelligence, and shows how they determine our success in relationships, work, and even our physical well-being. What emerges is an entirely new way to talk about being smart.

The best news is that "emotional literacy" is not fixed early in life. Every parent, every teacher, every business leader, and everyone interested in a more civil society, has a stake in this compelling vision of human possibility.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation--each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives--and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic.

To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design by Henry Petroski

How did a simple design error cause one of the great disasters of the 1980s—the collapse of the walkways at the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel? What made the graceful and innovative Tacoma Narrows Bridge twist apart in a mild wind in 1940? How did an oversized waterlily inspire the magnificent Crystal Palace, the crowning achievement of Victorian architecture and engineering? These are some of the failures and successes that Henry Petroski examines in this engaging, wonderfully literate book. More than a series of fascinating case studies, To Engineer is Human is a work that looks at our deepest notions of progress and perfection, tracing the fine connection between the quantifiable realm of science and the chaotic realities of everyday life.

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki

In this fascinating book, New Yorker business columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea: Large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant—better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.

With boundless erudition and in delightfully clear prose, Surowiecki ranges across fields as diverse as popular culture, psychology, ant biology, behavioral economics, artificial intelligence, military history, and politics to show how this simple idea offers important lessons for how we live our lives, select our leaders, run our companies, and think about our world.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the “human scale principle,” using the “Velcro Theory of Memory,” and creating “curiosity gaps.”

In this indispensable guide, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds—from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony—draw their power from the same six traits. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures). Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas—and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.