Holiday | Books

Greet the new year with these top business reads

Looking for some inspiring books for your holiday wish list? These 6 picks are sure to fit the bill.

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Stack of books, wrapped with bow, sitting on a festive backgroundThese six books are sure to pique your curiosity, stoke your creativity and give you plenty to think about in 2020

After all the excitement of the holiday rush, many of us could use a good pick-me-up by the time the new year comes into view. It’s the perfect time to stock up on—and settle down with—some great business reads. 

This season, we’ve chosen six books that are sure to pique your curiosity, stoke your creativity and generally give you plenty to think about in 2020.

THE RIGHT IT: WHY SO MANY IDEAS FAIL AND HOW TO MAKE SURE YOURS SUCCEED

by Alberto Savoia

Have you ever been so wrapped up in an idea or venture that you forgot to see if there was actually a market for it? If so, you would be in plenty of company.

According to author Alberto Savoia, up to 90 per cent of most new products, services, businesses and initiatives will fail soon after launch—no matter how promising they seem or how well we execute them. The reason? Their creators have not built “the right it.”

In this book, Savoia taps into his experience as an entrepreneur, consultant and Google alumnus to explain how market research and “pretotyping”—getting meaningful feedback about an idea for a new product or service very soon after having the idea— can help you avoid putting years into a venture that will never go the distance. One reviewer called the book “a must read for any entrepreneur or innovator who wants to radically increase their odds of success.” 

RANGE: WHY GENERALISTS TRIUMPH IN A SPECIALIZED WORLD 

by David Epstein 

Many experts contend that to master a skill or become a leader in a field, you need to get an early start, practise with determination and never stray from your path. If you tune in too late, you’ll fall hopelessly behind. But in this bestseller, David Epstein convincingly shows why that is not so.

After looking at the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors and forecasters and scientists, Epstein found that it’s often the generalists, not the specialists, who achieve the greatest success. Generalists often find their path late and tend to be renaissance-type people, rather than laser-focused specialists. Because of their creative agility, they can make connections their more specialized peers can’t see.

A bestseller, this book offers a convincing case for cultivating breadth in a world that celebrates specialization. As Malcom Gladwell put it, “For reasons I cannot explain, David Epstein manages to make me thoroughly enjoy the experience of being told that everything I thought about something was wrong. I loved Range.”

GAME-TIME DECISION MAKING: HIGH-SCORING STRATEGIES FROM THE BIGGEST NAMES IN SPORTS

by David Meltzer

Coaches have plenty of lessons to offer the business world about motivation, team spirit and how to rise to the challenge when the going gets tough. After all, they work in some of the most difficult conditions possible, and under constant pressure to win. 

In this book, David Meltzer offers a play-by-play guide on how to turn the wisdom of some of the greatest coaches into positive results for your business. Among other subjects, he explains how to put together an all pro team, build a positive mindset, develop an awareness of “the playing field,” learn from failure and create both offensive and defensive strategies for branding and marketing. In short, he provides everything needed to build a championship-level business and to thrive in times of change. 

THE INTELLIGENT INVESTOR: THE DEFINITIVE BOOK ON VALUE INVESTING

by Benjamin Graham

For anyone set on reaching their financial goals, this classic investment guide could well be considered essential reading. Authored by Benjamin Graham, one of the best-known financial advisers of the 20th century, it teaches investors how to develop long-term strategies and avoid substantial error—a philosophy known as value investing. 

In this revised edition, the main text is retained but commentary is included that incorporates the realities of today’s market. By making connections between Graham’s examples and today’s financial headlines, the book gives readers a more thorough understanding of how to apply Graham’s principles to current conditions. No wonder Amazon refers to it as the “stock market bible.” 

THINK LIKE AMAZON: 50 1/2 IDEAS TO BECOME A DIGITAL LEADER 

by John Rossman 

Who would know better how Amazon thinks than a former exec who has led some of its most important initiatives? In this practical playbook, John Rossman takes a good look at what makes this digital behemoth tick. Thanks to the distilled advice contained here, you’ll learn how to: 

  • Become a platform company with the right platform strategy. 
  • Give your customers superpowers. 
  • Experiment, fail, and start over. 
  • Use decentralization as a path to digital greatness. 
  • Capture the magic of small autonomous teams. 
  • Make better decisions—and make them more quickly. 
  • Use AI to reengineer customer experiences.

With Think Like Amazon, you’ll gain a rare glimpse into the unique mindset and inner workings that drive Amazon’s success. Best of all, you’ll learn how to incorporate its strategies into your own business in order to transform your culture, spark innovation, and ultimately stand out in a crowded digital marketplace.

THE INFINITE GAME: HOW GREAT BUSINESSES ACHIEVE LONG-LASTING SUCCESS 

by Simon Sinek

Are you playing the finite game or the infinite game? Finite games, such as hockey or chess, have known players, agreed upon rules, clear objectives, and a start, middle and end. Infinite games, such as politics, business or even life itself, have players who come and go, rules that can change, and no defined endpoint: when you leave the game can continue.

In this bestselling new book, Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why and Together is Better, explains why the key to long-lasting success in business is to lead with an infinite mindset—by building long-term value and focusing on enduring growth. This, in his view, is how great businesses succeed in the long run. Leaders who cultivate an infinite mindset build more resilient, durable and innovative organizations. They are the ones who have what it takes to show the way to the future.

MORE READING INSPIRATION 

Find more food for thought with these classic sports books that have lessons as applicable to the boardroom as to the playing field. Or go on a literary adventure with these fictional accountants.