Listen to this article
Our social media debate over what is the best business book to read elicited a range of reader comments. Here is a selection:
The Age of Cryptocurrency by Paul Vigna and Michael Casey
There have been as many books minted on bitcoin as perhaps bitcoins themselves. But Vigna and Casey take a dispassionate look at precisely what is innovative about new cryptocurrencies and where they might stand the test of time beyond the rush to make a quick buck.
Joshua Gans, professor at Rotman School of Management
Good to Great by Jim Collins
I took away two points from this book: 1) get the right people on your bus, then find the right seat for them; and 2) identify the one thing your company can do better than anyone else in the world.
Student poll respondent
Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
In the world of preaching self-help business books, Contagious was an absolute breath of fresh air. Berger has achieved a perfect balance of art and science behind why things go viral.
Abhijit Shaha, product owner at Philips
The Partnership Charter by David Gage
I have recommended [this book] more often than I can remember to growing businesses as a frame for setting out underpinning values, vision and governance. It gives the partners, stakeholders and/or shareholders a platform for discussing difficult subjects that need addressing for clarity and focus.
Laura McHarrie, business strategist
In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman — In 1983 I became chief executive of a start-up in Brazil and successfully used the basic ideas of the book. The book was later discredited because most of the examples of best companies lost their lustre over the years. However, the principles are sound and still valid today. Ronald Degen, professor of entrepreneurship
Business Strategy: Managing Uncertainty, Opportunity, and Enterprise by JC Spender — While unconventional, Spender’s book builds its arguments on decades of research. It allows one to account for the evolution of the business environment and the corresponding strategy tools used along the time. Nonetheless, the book is not a theoretical diatribe; it offers practical applications with instructive examples such as IBM and Apple. What makes me think this is the best business book I have read is the fact it embraces uncertainty, which is a common factor of our current business environment, and puts an emphasis on the managerial rhetoric for navigating this uncertainty. Andreea Bordianu, teaching fellow at Leeds University Business School
The Culture Map by Erin Meyer — The Culture Map gives the manager of today a brilliantly pragmatic book where different actions/ tasks/functions are positioned on eight different scales. These scales have been drawn /adapted from the seven classic cultural dimensions and have been used to illustrate the pitfalls of cross-cultural management. The book is fun, pragmatic and to the point. Case studies are used to great effect and it holds an interest for anyone in any type of industry. Jan & David Henson
The Wellness Syndrome by Carl Cederstrom and Andre Spicer — With startling precision and tragic-comic clarity, the authors show that in the 21st century business environment, sometimes the unhealthiest thing one can be is well. The real sickness of modern capitalism is that it forces us to cure ourselves and not the system. Peter Bloom, lecturer at The Open University Business School
Adventures of a Bystander: by Peter Drucker — This book lays the historical context for the management philosophy of the great (and first) management thinker of our time. By stepping out of contemporary concerns it calls out what is timeless and universal in the most human of professions, management. William McColgan
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand — Not strictly a business book, however it has a fantastic lesson of being yourself and not wavering from your beliefs, no matter what. I think a lot of business people (and politicians) would benefit from reading this if only to give them new perspective. Student from Chicago Booth
Give and Take by Adam Grant — This book convinced me of the importance of ‘giving’ and ‘helping others’ as an ethical way to build your own success and career. Without becoming a ‘pushover’ of course . . . Student from Vlerick Business School
The 10-Day MBA by Steven Silbiger — The book summarises a 12-month MBA curriculum into 10 days. It is very handy when you need a quick reference to tested business principles. Student from Lagos Business School
Managers Not MBAs by Henry Mintzberg — This book dispels the myth that great managers must have MBAs. In addition, it is by an author whose books I read when I completed my MBA! Student from Oxford Saïd
Profit Patterns by Ted Moser, Kevin Mundt, James Quella, Adrian Slywotzky — Every day I listen to new, big ideas that will create millions of dollars of profit for the lucky shareholders that have the unique opportunity to invest in it. I keep my copy of profit patterns close and that makes me save a lot of time. It is the ultimate business cookbook. Student from Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni — Most business books are very superficial and teach you little you didn’t already know. This is one of the few that really gets under the skin of why teams don’t function — trust — and teaches you ways of transforming team dynamics. Student from Judge Business School