30+ best books on business, work and productivity

best books on business, work and productivity

Everyone wants to work smarter, increase their productivity, and improve their business. This selection of books regroups the all-time best-sellers and up-and-coming books on work and business, developing productivity, motivation, and leadership to perform better in your professional life.

Bringing you the most useful, tried-and-tested knowledge and best practices, the popular and best-rated books listed below will bring you to new enlightenment for your work and business. These books not only demonstrate how to improve your productivity and business acumen, but they also do it in an interesting manner through well-narrated and stories and daily-life examples.

With a hall of fame of the world’s most popular authors and businessmen, including Eric Shmidt, Jocko Willink, Simon Sinek, Jon Gordon, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferris, Malcolm Gladwell, and Robert Iger, these books will bring you the best insights from the most insightful mentors, businessmen, and leaders.

Carefully selected from thousands of work and business books, this list of hand-picked best-sellers is grouped by topics. From junior employees to senior managers, from independent workers to business owners, you can be sure to find a book that will help you improve your career, develop your professional expertise, or simply expand your business horizon.

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Note that this post is part of a series of reviews for online learning and self-development:

Productivity and motivation

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Captivating users for more than 25 years, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the most motivating and impactful books on productivity. It has changed the lives of millions of people around the world, including CEOs, directors, parents, and teachers. The timeless wisdom gathered in this motivational book is commemorated in the twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of Stephen Covey’s best-seller.


High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That WayHigh Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way

High-performing workers succeed thanks to a clear set of characteristics; to emulate them you should seek clarity, develop your energy, create necessity, boost productivity and influence, and demonstrate courage. This book explains how to develop these habits and put them into practice. Those who can acquire these habits can transform their lives, relations, and careers in exceptional dimensions, they will greatly help you to achieve more, become a better leader, learn new skills, or develop your confidence.


Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less TimeEat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

Decision, discipline, and determination are at the center of time management. Eat That Frog! presents the best way to organize your day to focus your productivity for each task and become more efficient. In this completely refreshed edition, Tracy includes two new sections: the first shows how to use technology to focus on the important and discard the superfluous. The second new section provides guidance to protect yourself from distractions.


The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary ResultsThe ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

The ONE Thing will teach you how to cut through the clutter, be more efficient, build momentum toward your goal, reduce and manage your stress,  overcome the sensation of being overwhelmed, boost your energy, stay focused and master what matters to you. The ONE Thing can bring extraordinary results in each aspect of your life: work, personal, family, and spiritual.


The Infinite GameThe Infinite Game

In this life-changing work, Simon Sinek offers a system to lead with an infinite mindset. None of us can oppose the temporary excitements of a promotion or a competition won, yet these satisfactions rapidly fade. Focusing on the longer term, we can dream up a more engaging vision that we will be able to build wit consistency, week after week, month after month, year after year. Despite not exactly knowing what this future will encompass, progressing towards a vision can bring meaning to our work and our life.


Outliers: The Story of SuccessOutliers: The Story of Success

In this exceptional book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on a journey through the world of “outliers”: the best and brightest, the most famous and the most successful. Analyzing what makes high-achievers so exceptional, he finds that too much consideration is given to what successful people are like, and too little to where they come from: their culture, their generation, their family, and the specificities of their upbringing. In this journey, he takes a more focused look at tech billionaires, soccer stars, why Asians are good at math, and why the Beatles became the most popular rock band.


The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New RichThe 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

In this manual for lifestyle design, Tim Ferris details how he changed his life from an 80 hours work week earning $40,000 a year to $40,000 per month working 4 hours per week. He explains how to remove unproductive tasks and outsource the rest so as to focus on what you like, how to work from abroad; how to cut your workload with the principles of a forgotten Italian economist; how to exchange a long-term career for short work burst and “mini-retirements”.


The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and FailureThe 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure

Slicing through business stereotypes and risk-avoidance, The 10 X Rule uncovers the rule of “Massive Action” to advance towards your dreams with concrete steps. Bypassing the hurdles that keep people from moving beyond the first three steps, the book presents how to make the 10X Rule a discipline for everyday life. Discover where to start, what to do, and how to keep going forward after every move you make to reach Massive Action results.


The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive EnergyThe Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy

In this international best-seller, Jon Gordon inspires its readers with 10 enlightening secrets for life and work, together with the positive thinking that leads to a fulfilling personal and professional life. The Energy Bus presents a roadmap to bypass obstacles and draw out the best in yourself and your team. It is the story that will make a pleasant read become your everyday life’s ride.


Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates UsDrive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

With the experience of forty years of scientific research on people’s motivation, Pink details the discrepancy between science and business, and how that gap impacts people’s lives. Through the analysis of the three components of true motivation, autonomy, mastery, and purpose, he provides interesting techniques to put them into action. This book will change the way you think and the way you live.


Get Sh*t Done: The Ultimate Guide to Productivity, Procrastination, and ProfitabilityGet Sh*t Done: The Ultimate Guide to Productivity, Procrastination, and Profitability

Complete with the analysis of what prevents us from succeeding, Get Sh*t Done provides tools and strategies to reach your goals. Going beyond its title, this book is a method to break the chains of accomplishment, the GSD Secret Formula. This book will teach you how to recognize and implement the components of superior productivity: removing the sources of procrastination, and reach the best possible outcomes in business and everyday life.


Leadership and team management

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and WinExtreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

A must-read in many organizations and part of the training programs of multiple business teams, military units, and first responders, Extreme Ownership shows how to apply U.S. Navy Seals mindset and principles in any team or organization, and any environment. With compelling storytelling, Extreme Ownership pushes leaders to realize their mission: lead and win.


Principles: Life and WorkPrinciples: Life and Work

In this book, Ray Dalio shares what he’s learned throughout his career. Throughout Principles, he explains how life, management, economics, and investing can be understood as a system of rules and understood like machines. He presents how individuals can make decisions, tackle difficulties, and build strong teams with hundreds of practical lessons. Likewise, he describes the tools used by companies to support a meritocracy of ideas and the scientific decision-making process that leads to the most rational choices.


Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take ActionStart with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why, analyses how the leaders who have the most influence around the world have a way of thinking, acting, and communicating that’s contrary to most people. He names this the “golden circle”, and presents a structure that can serve as a foundation for organizations, a target for change, and an inspiration for people, and this all starts with why.


Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field ManualLeadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual

Leadership Strategy and Tactics presents how to use the theory of leadership, interpret it rapidly into applicable strategy, and implement leadership with a tactical approach. This book provides the guidelines for leaders at every level, not just to grasp the leadership mentality, but also to engage in being a leader and succeed at it.


The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership FableThe Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

In this story, Patrick Lencioni uncovers the five dysfunctions that cause the struggles of even the best teams. He presents a useful system and actionable steps to bypass obstacles and consolidate a team’s cohesiveness and effectiveness. As in his other books, he writes a convincing tale with simple and thought-provoking lessons for people who want to build and lead extraordinary teams.


The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow YouThe 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You

A world-renown expert in leadership, John C. Maxwell has updated every Law of Leadership of his best-selling book. With an extra seventeen stories, two new laws, new tools to evaluate your leadership strengths and weaknesses, and new exercises to apply each law, this book, already sold in the millions, is an up-to-date must-read for leadership and team-building.


Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill CampbellTrillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell

Google top executives Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle relate how Bill Campbell, or Coach Bill, built strong relationships, fostered personal development, inspired courage, and resolved people’s tensions in competitive and stressful environments. In honor of Coach Bill, they have published Trillion Dollar Coach as a guide to spread his approach to leadership.


The Power of a Positive Team: Proven Principles and Practices that Make Great Teams GreatThe Power of a Positive Team: Proven Principles and Practices that Make Great Teams Great

Researching and personally collaborating with some of the world’s most successful teams, Jon Gordon has developed a deep understanding of how and why teams become great. In The Power of a Positive Team, he presents a critical method with demonstrated practices to make teams more collaborative and effective, drawn from his experience and discussions with some of the best teams in history.


Companies stories and entrepreneurs biographies

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NikeShoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

After finishing his business school, Phil Knight borrowed 50$ from his dad and started a business with a simple goal: import low-cost quality running shoes from Japan. Earning 8,000$ in the first year by selling these shoes from his car, Knight started what would grow over $30 billion in annual sales. An inspiration for startups, Nike’s journey is a model of growth and one of only a handful of brands that are instantly recognized around the world.


The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney CompanyThe Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company

Robert Iger relates in The Ride of a Lifetime what he learned at the head of Disney and its 200,000 employees, and he investigates the principles of leadership. Positive thinking, courage, decisiveness, and fairness. Facing any obstacle, an optimistic leader will discover and stay focused to reach the best outcome. Leaders must take risks and bet on the future. Decisions need to be made on time, regardless of how difficult they seem. People must be treated fairly and leaders need to be available for them.


Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupBad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

In 2014, Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, was a Stanford dropout whose “unicorn” startup would disrupt the medical industry with an innovative device that managed the entire array of lab tests from a single drop of blood. Supported by investors including Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos was valued above $9 billion, making Holmes worth about $4.5 billion. Just one problem: the tech didn’t work.


The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and GoogleThe Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are the world’s four most influential companies. Everybody thinks they know how they became successful, but most almost everybody is wrong. With his signature irreverent style, Scott Galloway deconstructs the Four companies’ strategies. He explains how they use and control the emotions and needs that drive people for their own benefit, and how you can do the same for your business or career.


Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

Ron Chernow has reconstructed The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. through the careful analysis of his private paper, from his difficult origins with a less than exemplary father to his quest for wealth. He also reveals the deep religious sentiment that drove him “to give all I could”, his devotion to his father, and the very humor that made him so popular in his latter days. A sublime biography, Titan is well balanced and revelatory.


The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive AdvantageThe Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage

Daymond John needed to find out-of-box tactics to promote his products, as he only has a budget of $40. Fortunately, necessity is the mother of innovation, and so he imagined a creative campaign that spurred the Fubu brand to become $6 billion global success. However, it could have never happened if he hadn’t begun broke, with only hope and a drive for success by any means conceivable.


Structuring business and products

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business WinThe Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

With the updated and extended edition, co-author Gene Kim dives deeper in The DevOps Handbook and integrates a new afterword. The IT manager of Parts Unlimited, Bill, has to take charge of a critical project for the future of the company, code named Phoenix Project. But the project is far behind schedule and budget. Bill must fix this mess in 90 days or face the outsourcing of his whole department.


Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming ProductsHooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Based on Nir Eyal’s research and experience, this book summarizes his real-life practice to build better products. Written for product managers, designers, marketers, start-up founders, and those interested in how products influence behaviors, Hooked explains how to generate user habits that stick and actionable methods to create products that people love with examples from the iPhone, Twitter, Pinterest, the Bible App, and many more.


The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to FailThe Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

Clayton Christensen explains how even the best companies can do everything right and still lose market leadership in this best-selling business book. He shows how most organizations miss new innovations, and how they can get disqualified. Whatever the kind of business, if the managers can’t get rid of traditional business practices when it will be needed, even companies with well-established, market-leading products will get pushed aside.


Traction: Get a Grip on Your BusinessTraction: Get a Grip on Your Business

This book will teach you how to strengthen the six key parts of your company. In Traction, you will find straightforward yet powerful approaches to run your business. It will provide you and your company’s leading team a better understanding of how to focus, grow, and enjoy the process of developing your business. Numerous companies apply the methods presented in Traction on a daily basis to be more profitable and frustration-free. And so can you.


Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don'tGood to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

Good to Great brings many insights that will surprise readers and illuminate every aspect of management strategy and practice. Going from good to great implies the transcendence of competence: only with discipline and an entrepreneurial mindset will extraordinary success happen. Companies that manage to go from good to great often have simply changed their view on technology, while those who design ambitious transformation programs often fail to enact them.


The Unicorn ProjectThe Unicorn Project

In The Unicorn Project, Maxine, a lead developer and architect, is punished by her management to join the Phoenix Project for taking part in a payroll outage. She fights to get things done in a rigid bureaucracy, struggling against endless committees, paperwork, and approvals. A group of rogue colleagues one day approaches her to break the company’s chains, free developers, bring happiness back in work, and push the business to become a winning digital disruptor.


Selling and negotiating

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On ItNever Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Chris Voss, lead international kidnapping negotiator for the FBI, relates his experience in Never Split the Difference. He reveals his approach to high-stakes negotiation and the skills that helped him save lives. Throughout this book, Voss presents 9 counter-intuitive tactics and strategies, principles that you can also use to become more convincing in your professional and personal life.


Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and ImpactExactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact

A customer’s choice between you over someone else like you is often tilted by your capacity to know precisely what to say, when you say it, and how to make it most impactful. Having trained more than 2 million people all over the world, Phil M. Jones has become an expert in the art of speaking. In Exactly What to Say, he presents the tactics that will help you convince and obtain more.


Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in LifeSell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life

Selling your company’s products in a meeting or selling yourself for healthy eating, every one of life’s moments can be considered as a sale. Sales expert, Grant Cardone develops in Sell or Be Sold how knowing how to sell is a necessity to reach any kind of success.  He analyses the selling tactics for every situation, teaching how to deal with rejection, flip negative situations into positive ones, sell faster, how to sell in a bad economy, and reach success.


Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales GreatnessLittle Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness

Salespeople are rarely avid readers. The Little Red Book of Selling is made for them. It is short, sweet, and to the point. The Little Red Book of Selling contains all the answers that salespeople look for to help them make faster and better sales now, and for the rest of their lives.


Marketing and communication

Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, TooCrushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too

Intended for working individuals from all walks of life, this energetic and goal-oriented guide analyses all the major social media platforms with the goal of optimizing personal branding. Gary Vaynerchuk provides theoretical and practical advice to gain traction on the most popular networks like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat; platforms dedicated to podcasts like Spotify, Soundcloud, iHeartRadio, and iTunes; and new upcoming platforms like Musical.ly.


The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big DifferenceThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

The special moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior becomes a global sensation, is thoroughly analyzed in The Tipping Point. As a single sick person can start a pandemic, so can precise nudges create new trends for fashion, spread the need for new products, or cut the crime rate. In this bestseller, Malcolm Gladwell sheds light on the tipping point phenomenon, transforming how people approach the sales of their products and the spreading of their ideas.


Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social WorldJab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World

Managers and marketers designing social media strategies usually plan the “right hook”, the moment they will effectively sell and beat their competitors. Even businesses that “jab”, patiently creating a relationship with their customers on social media, want to land their right hook that will bring down their customer’s resistance and crush their competitors. Right hooks generate sales and easily demonstrate relates. Except when they don’t.

Here is our selection of the best books for business, work and productivity, and business. Did we forget any? Have you read any of these books? How did you benefit from it?  Which one would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

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