The 20 Best Business Books

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 26, 2021 | Published January 3, 2020

Updated August 26, 2021

Published January 3, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Books about business and leadership are essential tools on your path toward career success and happiness. Reading a book written by a renowned entrepreneur or business leader, like Arianna Huffington or Tony Robbins, can help improve your business, personal finance and workplace habits — and it’s an inexpensive investment in your professional development.

In this article, we discuss the 20 best business books and some of their key insights, based on online ratings, readability and actionable content.

20 best business books

These books are helpful for a variety of professionals such as entrepreneurs, creatives, marketers, executives, designers, writers, photographers and influencers. Here is a comprehensive list of the best business books:

  1. “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers” by Tim Ferriss

  2. “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek

  3. “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport

  4. “Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Businesses and Influence-and How You Can, Too” by Gary Vaynerchuk

  5. “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosak

  6. “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz

  7. “The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage” by Daymond John

  8. “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries

  9. “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell

  10. “The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves up to Win” by Jeff Haden

  11. “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder” by Arianna Huffington

  12. “The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers” by Ben Horowitz

  13. “Money Master The Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom” by Tony Robbins

  14. “How to Win Friends & Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie

  15. “How to Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits” by Judy Robinett.

  16. “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success” by John C. Maxwell

  17. “Impact, What Every Woman Needs to Know to go from Invisible to Invincible” by Nancy D. Solomon

  18. “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam Grant

  19. “The Secret to Success: When You Want to Succeed as Bad as You Want to Breathe” by Eric Thomas.

  20. “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg Mckeown

1. “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers” by Tim Ferriss

This book is an exploration of the “How?” of over 200 of the most successful people in the world. Ferriss provides actionable advice in “Tools of Titans,” based on interviews from his podcast with the world’s most recognizable names in sports, business, medicine, the military and academia, among other industries. He discusses their routines, habits and tactics. For instance, he asks them what they do in the first hour of each morning and what are some mistakes made by novices in their field.

Key insights:

  • An important aspect to success is staying calm.

  • Meditation and mindfulness are essential tools for greatness.

  • Schedule time to learn every day.

2. “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek

Sinek examines why some organizations and people are more influential, innovative and more lucrative than others. The author presents his fundamental idea about “The Golden Circle,” which is a movement that helps individuals to become more inspired in their day-to-day work and turn inspires their colleagues, which inspires their customers. The center of this golden circle is why, and the why is a businesses’ or person’s purpose, belief or cause. From why, the circle widens to how and the outermost part of the circle is what.

Key insights:

  • “People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.” 

3. “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport

Newport’s “Deep Work” is a guide to minimizing distractions, maximizing productivity and avoiding burnout. Newport explains the ways you can free up that time to focus more on the work you suppress while doing other things such as listening to a podcast on your way to work, scrolling through social media or streaming TV shows.

Key insights:

  • “To learn hard things quickly, you must focus intensely without distraction.”

  • Committing to deep work allows you to produce the best work you are capable of. 

4.  “Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead” by Charlene Li

Li offers a fresh perspective to her readers about how their businesses can be more “open” in the digital era of social media. The author lays out steps that leaders should take to transform themselves and their organizations into being more open.

Key insights:

  • Openness requires leaders to convey their true values and share information with their customers to build trust. 

5.  “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosak

This book discusses how you can enhance your personal finances and increase your financial education. Kiyosak contrasts his real-life experience with two “dads,” his real dad (poor) and the dad of his best friend (rich), who gave him different viewpoints on money, investment and employment. The author details a path to financial prosperity as he describes the differences between an asset and a liability, good debt and bad debt.

Key insights:

  • “Money comes and goes, but if you have the education about how money works, you gain power over it and can begin building wealth.”

  • “Often in the real world, it’s not the smart who get ahead, but the bold.”

6. “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz

In “Psycho-Cybernetics,” Maltz describes the way taking risks and making mistakes can help you become more successful. He also outlines how to create success by changing your mental state and cultivating a productive mind and self-image. The central themes of Maltz’s book suggest that you should disinhibit yourself and allow your subconscious mind to do the work.

Key insights:

  • Happy habits lead to success.

  • Your mind is the most valuable asset you have.

7. “The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage” by Daymond John

John’s book demonstrates how to take advantage of available resources and how to use them efficiently, even when you operate on a small budget. The core of this book requires you to think creatively about the way you can become successful using relationships and tools that are at your disposal.

Key insights:

  • Challenges can help build perseverance and character.

  • Innovation comes from the bottom up, not the top down. 

8. “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries

“The Lean Startup” is based on lean manufacturing. The central idea is that startups need to be flexible enough to change direction at any moment since long-term strategizing isn’t always conducive when the future is unpredictable. Ries’ book gives you the necessary information to test your ideas and vision continually while allowing room for you to adjust without the costly risks.

Key insights:

  • Learn what works quickly, discard what doesn’t. 

  • “Success is not delivering a feature; success is learning how to solve the customer’s problem.”

9. “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell sets out to answer the question about what makes successful people different. He examines the families of successful people, their personal traits, generation, culture and their ability to seize opportunities. Gladwell proposes that success is a gift, putting the myth of the self-made professional to the test.

Key insights:

  • “Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from.”

  • The only difference between the success of two top-performers is how hard one works compared to the other. 

10. “The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves up to Win” by Jeff Haden

In this book, Haden challenges Malcolm Gladwell’s theory about hard work and the 10,000-hour rule that leads to success. Instead of consistent hard work to achieve a goal, Haden suggests that motivation as you know it is a myth. If you want to stay motivated, you have to succeed in the daily tasks that lead up to your goals and dreams.

Key insights:

  • “The paths to both happiness and success are one and the same.”

  • “Success is repeatable and predictable.”

11. “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder” by Arianna Huffington

The book is written openly and honestly about the struggles of prioritizing a career and a family. Huffington presents scientific research findings about sleep, meditation and mindfulness so readers can revolutionize their culture and workplaces and rethink what it means to truly be successful. 

Key insights:

  • “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.”

  • “Imagine how our culture, how our lives, will change when we begin valuing go-givers as much as we value go-getters.” 

12. “The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers” by Ben Horowitz

This book gives a realistic view of the struggles Horowitz had when starting his business. He provides real-life experiences that he had as one of Silicon Valley’s most experienced entrepreneurs, offers advice and analyzes the problems that confront leaders daily, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, buying, selling, managing, investing in and supervising technology companies.

Key insights:

  • “The only thing that prepares you to run a company is running a company.”

13. “Money Master The Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom” by Tony Robbins

Robbins helps readers to define and understand their journey and financial needs and provides tools to help readers accomplish financial success. The book provides a step-by-step seminar-like guide that readers can apply to their own lives with advice from financial giants. 

Key insights:

  • “You can’t manage your health if you can’t measure it. And the same goes for your finances.”

  • “Earn more and invest the difference. Make a rule to invest more of your income as it increases.”

14.  “How to Win Friends & Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie

This classic best-seller is still relevant in today’s digital age. Carnegie’s book helps readers to enrich their business and personal lives by providing key advice about how to handle people, make them like you, win them over to your way of thinking and change them without resentment.

Key insights:

  • “Never show others that you are not interested in what they have to say.”

  • “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

15.  “How To Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits” by Judy Robinett

Robinett uses her wide range of experiences to reveal the secrets of her trade of connecting high achievers with one another to build valuable relationships. The author shows readers, based on research, how to find their best network and reach unreachable people to boost their network into possible profits. 

Key insights:

  • “When building your network, look for diversity and depth.”

  • “One of the quickest ways to deepen a relationship is to identify and solve a problem by sharing relevant information, a key introduction, a piece of strategy, a referral, mentor, or other support. “

16. “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success” by John C. Maxwell

Maxwell assesses the real reason for success. He notes that the difference between average and achieving people is the way that they overcome failure. He aims to teach readers how failure can be an ally in their lives and career paths. 

Key insights:

  • “Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.”

  • “Even if a failure isn’t your fault, take responsibility for your future success.”

17. “Impact, What Every Woman Needs To Know to go from Invisible to Invincible” by Nancy D. Solomon

Solomon provides a step-by-step life guide for the way people can succeed personally and professionally by teaching readers how to let go of “fitting in” so they can become who they are instead. The author also teaches readers how to unlock their personal power, live with purpose, identify gifts and talents, ask for what they want and most importantly how to be seen. 

Key insights:

  • “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”

18. “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam Grant

Grant offers readers a comprehensive book about how to battle conformity and speak openly about original ideas without risking it all. He gives examples from the lives of successful entrepreneurs, athletes, entertainment professionals and business owners. He addresses the challenge of improving the world with originality. 

Key insights:

  • “The greatest shapers don’t stop at introducing originality into the world. They create cultures that unleash originality in others.”

  • “When we’re determined to reach an objective, it’s the gap between where we are and where we aspire to be that lights a fire under us.” 

19. “The Secret to Success: When You Want to Succeed as Bad as You Want to Breathe” by Eric Thomas

Thomas offers his readers important advice on how to beat the cycles of hopelessness, crime and despair so that they can be successful. Thomas uses experiences from his upbringing in Detroit to present a unique and inspiring business book to help others reach their full potential. 

Key insights:

  • “The only way to get out of mediocrity is to keep shooting for excellence.”

  • “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”  

20. “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg Mckeown

Mckeown gives readers a dynamic look at essentialism and how to eliminate everything that is not essential. He forces and empowers readers to reclaim their choices so they can decide what is essential. This book allows readers to focus on a whole new way to do everything.

Key insights:

  • “Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done.”

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