Woman reading a book while in a hammock

Don’t leave for your vacation without one of these six business reads that will help you recharge and get inspired. (Liam Norris/Getty Images)

Pursuits | Books

Top business books to add to your summer reading list

Looking for some good business reads for your vacation? Here are our top six picks.

A Facebook IconFacebook A Twitter IconTwitter A Linkedin IconLinkedin An Email IconEmail

Summer is for unwinding, recharging, possibly soaking up some sun, and definitely soaking in some new inspiration.

These six business books will not only entertain you; they will give you insights that you can bring back to work with you.

BOOK COVERS: Bad Blood + The Geometry of Wealth

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Bad Blood chronicles the spectacular rise and precipitous fall of Theranos, a Silicon Valley biotech start-up, with an intriguing concept for making blood testing faster and easier. Its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, was sometimes compared to Steve Jobs and the company was valued at $9 billion. The problem was, the technology was nowhere near being able to deliver on its promises—a fact the company managed to dissemble by various means, including outright lying.

In the book, prize-winning journalist John Carreyrou details all the red flags that were ignored, right up until the story was exposed. It’s a chilling reminder of the sometimes-overwhelming power of wishful thinking and the need for due diligence to counter it.

The Geometry of Wealth: How to Shape a Life of Money and Meaning by Brian Portnoy

Brian Portnoy is a behavioural finance expert with both a doctorate and a CFA designation. In the Geometry of Wealth, he looks at what it means to be truly wealthy. At the heart of his message is that being rich is not the same as being wealthy; while one can be a never-ending battle, the other can lead to what he sees as funded contentment.

Drawing on disciplines ranging from ancient history to neuroscience to build his argument, Portney concludes that true wealth is within reach for many people, even those who believe otherwise. It all has to do with knowing what matters to you, and what you need to do to get there.

BOOK COVERS: Start With Why + Off The Clock

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Although it came out almost nine years ago, Start With Why remains a solid must-read for budding entrepreneurs and anyone who wants to inspire others. Not only did the book itself become a bestseller, but it spawned a TED talk that is now the second-most viewed TED video of all time.

Sinek’s basic premise is that in order to inspire others, you must understand the why (the purpose) behind your product, company or idea. If you know your why, and you align all your actions with it, you will automatically separate yourself from the competition. In fact, you may find that you don’t need to worry about it at all.

Off the Clock: Feel less busy while getting More Done by Laura Vanderkam

As the author of several books on time management and productivity, Laura Vanderkam has plenty of insights to offer any professional who is overworked or simply suffering from too much busyness.

In Off the Clock, Vanderkam’s main message is that you have more time than you think, and you can feel more relaxed while also doing more. It all has to do with doing the right things well. As one reader put it, “For every minute you spend inside this book, you’ll get back 10.”

The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers by Alex Banayan

Alex Banayan was only 18 and a freshman in college when he hacked—and won—The Price is Right. A year later, at 19, he ended up working at venture capital firm Alsop Louie. Now, at 25, he is on Business Insider’s list of the most powerful people under 30.

In The Third Door, Banayan explains how he tracked down Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Steve Wozniak, Quincy Jones and many other well-known people in order to find out how they had launched their careers. As he discovered, successful people don’t always take conventional paths to success; they find a way that others might not necessarily see. Based on his own life story to date, it’s safe to say Banayan is a good example of what he discovered interviewing others.

Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart by Shane Snow

Why do some teams soar while others struggle? In Dream Teams, journalist and entrepreneur Shane Snow takes readers on a trip through history, neuroscience, psychology and business to explain what makes great groups stand out.

Using a wide range of examples, Snow explains what works and what doesn’t. You’ll learn, for example, what the Wright Brothers’ daily arguments can tell us about problem solving; why the Wu-Tang Clan succeeded while the DaimlerChrysler AG union flopped; and the little-known factor behind most failed mergers, marriages and partnerships. But mainly, you’ll learn how to build a team that gets better together.


Keep yourself entertained—and inspired!—on your way to the office or after-hours with these intriguing financial blogs, books and podcasts.