We’ve rounded up some of the best business books of all time, with a little help from Goodreads reviews. Consider this list your personal MBA, each book packed with so many nuggets of information that you’ll want to come back and revisit them every couple of years.
Selecting a business book off the shelf is always a bit of a gamble — is it going to be worth your while, or will it be padded with the same pop psychology that personal development seminars and coaches have been peddling for decades?
There are lots of greats out there if you’re willing to weed out the stinkers. But there are a select number of business books that outshine the rest — ones that you’ll want to leave on your office desk permanently to flip through or reread time and time again.
1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Go ahead and ask any business leader, and they’ll probably tell you they’ve read Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People at least half a dozen times.
This classic business read dates back to 1989 and was named the No. 1 Most Influential Business Book of the 20th century for its approach to leading and managing both your professional and personal life.
Purchase a copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People here.
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People
Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is another time-tested classic that remains well-loved by contemporary businesspeople and anyone keen to understand what it takes to be a successful leader.
It details how to make people like you, improve your way of thinking, and influence those around you for the better.
Purchase a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People here.
3. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t
Jim Collins’ Good to Great was born out of just one question: Can a good company become a great company, and if so, how?
The study and its findings showed that mediocre companies — and even bad companies — can achieve lasting greatness through mindful tweaks and discipline.
Purchase a copy of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t here.
4. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity is essentially a productivity methodology that’s conveyed by just a few shockingly simple concepts that will revolutionize the way you work — if you’re willing to learn.
Author David Allen walks readers through the fundamental ideas required to compartmentalize your brain in order to be productive without pressure.
Purchase a copy of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity here.
5. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
In The Tipping Point, author Malcolm Gladwell takes readers through exactly how to take a small idea or thought and turn it into an action or concept to build upon.
In short, Gladwell’s take is that every hugely successful business or corporation once started as a fleeting thought. The key is to hold onto them and pursue them.
Purchase a copy of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference here.
6. Think and Grow Rich
Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich comes as the exact intersection between business and the art of manifestation.
The timeless guidebook dates back to 1937 — and some of the language will definitely reflect that — but it continues to be read time and time again for its positive nuggets of inspiration and actionable advice for business and life.
Purchase a copy of Think and Grow Rich here.
7. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Written by psychologist Robert B. Cialdini, the bestseller Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a must-read for anyone in the business or sales fields.
In short, it’ll teach you how to persuade people to say yes — ethically, of course — in business.
Purchase a copy of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion here.
8. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
In terms of classic business books, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience is one of the best for anyone looking to enjoy their time and work more, no matter what field or position they’re in.
Written by legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, this uplifting business book shares exactly how to get into the flow state at any moment and feel happier and more fulfilled in the workplace.
Purchase a copy of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience here.
9. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
Originally published in 2002, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable is a new kid on the block but has already earned a reputation as a classic business book.
This thoughtful read will take readers through a series of stories that outline why and how even the best teams struggle sometimes, and how to overcome common workplace hurdles when building a strong team.
Purchase a copy of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable here.
10. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently
First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently is a literary case study of the unique characteristics and practices trailblazing leaders possess and follow in order to foster happier, more productive teams.
The practical takeaways can be applied at any level of leadership, from business leaders to mid-level managers.
The article was originally published on The Ladders.