Reading remains the most important skill to develop as a business professional. Few other hobbies or activities can provide timeless wisdom and knowledge like reading a good book.
In our latest post, we’ll cover a few of the most noteworthy books to look into this year, whether you’re starting a business or an experienced entrepreneur. Instead of organizing them as a numbered list, each one is categorized according to the book’s theme and topic.
On Freelancing and Creativity
Most graduates tend to shy away from creative careers. Why? The common belief is that creative work doesn’t pay. In reality, the most successful artists are businesspeople, who never struggled but found ways to monetize their talent.
Jeff Goins’s book, “Real Artists Don’t Starve”, is perfect for freelancers and entrepreneurs who may doubt their talents due to financial security.
On Work Culture
Ever wonder what elements make a group successful? What separates some of the top corporations, military forces, and creative agencies from the thousands around the world?
Author Daniel Coyle studied the world’s leading groups, from the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six to Disney Pixar, to understand the common thread that binds teams together. Coyle learns through anecdotes and case studies about creating an environment that encourages problem solving and innovation.
Daniel Pink has built a reputation for his expertise on human motivation, with his previous works “Drive” and “To Sell Is Human” becoming New York Times bestsellers.
His latest work, “When”, shifts towards the science of “perfect timing”. Pink draws on his experience in psychology, biology, and economics to understand the best times for success. When is the best time to quit a job? How do people tell when to get married? Why is the afternoon the worst time to go to the hospital? Pink finds answers through a compelling and thoroughly-researched narrative.
On Customer Service
Customer service has changed in the 21st century. The problem is that companies continue to use outdated forms of supporting customers, such as telephone and email, and are ill-equipped to tackle the problems of this generation, from handling “trolls” to maximizing social media.
Jay Baer’s Hug Your Haters represents the first book that seeks to guide businesses to a new form of customer service. Whether it’s an independent store, a freelancer, or an entrepreneur, everyone can benefit from turning bad news into good news.
On Big Data
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has built a steady career, first as a Harvard-educated economist, then as a data scientist for Google, before becoming a writer for the New York Times. Now, he’s using his experience to understand how we can better analyze large sets of data.
In the past, data used to be collected through surveys and personal testimonials. With the dawn of the Internet and “Big Data”, data scientists need new technology and methodologies for comprehending large sets of data. Stephens-Davidowitz presents new data from the traces left on Google, social media, even pornography websites to revisit how we see ourselves and those around us.
On Happiness and Well-Being
What causes us to be happy? How might the world be different if public policies promoted happiness?
The Origins of Happiness explores income, education, employment, family, and more to understand how mental health shapes our society. Contrary to conventional belief, happiness may be more dependent on social relationships and mental happiness than we think.
Most books on leaderships tend to draw on business or professional case studies, but “On Grand Strategy” draws from its author’s background in history and education.
John Lewis Gaddis, a distinguished Cold War historian and co-educator of grand strategy at Yale University, condenses his lessons into one masterwork of strategic theory. From the early philosophies of Herodotus, Octavian, Sun Tzu, to the modern contributions of the American Founding Fathers, Tolstoy, and Lincoln, “On Grand Strategy” explores strategy and decision making through history’s most distinguished leaders.
It’s time to rethink our approach to networking. Instead of constantly networking just to build your stack of business cards, Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh are promoting a new way to harness your network. “Superconnectors” are a new breed of professionals who understand how to solve problems through social capital. Superconnectors understand how to rally different communities towards a single common goal and build value.
Want to learn how to talk to anyone, and manage your relationships more efficiently? “Superconnector” is the book for you.
A Skill Worth Practicing
Reading can be difficult to fit into a busy schedule, but continuous reading is the best way to maintain your reading speed and comprehension. The more you read, the easier it becomes. Also, consider downloading audiobook versions of these books. Listen on the go- in the car, on the train, or while working out.
Either way, investing time in reading can help develop your understanding of the world and teach you skills that take years to learn.
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