I'd rather read a cereal box than most business books. They either put me to sleep faster than an antihistamine overdose, or retell the same wilted business ideas. Who has time for that?
Now I only read books recommended by people I admire. People like those at the Business of Software Conference. They consume an elephant's weight in books every year, so they make a great filter for recommendations.
Every year, I ask the folks at the conference what books they've read in the last year that really made an impression on them. Most of these suggestions come from attendees, but a few were mentioned in the talks too. If one of the books below catches your eye, it will almost certainly be worth your time.
Oversubscribed: How to Get People Lining Up to Do Business with You by Daniel Priestley.
Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman.
Predictably Irrational, The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions, by Dan Ariely.
Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious, by Gerd Gigerenzer.
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, by Ann Handley.
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath.
Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, by W. Chan Kim.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight.
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, by Sebastian Junger
The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Program to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence, and Happiness, by Dr. Steve Peters.
The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business, by Clayton M. Christensen.
Consumption Economics: The New Rules of Tech, by J.B. Wood.
Crossing the Chasm, 3rd Edition: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers, by Geoffrey A. Moore.
The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business, by Patrick M. Lencioni.
Badass: Making Users Awesome, by Kathy Sierra. If you want to improve anything, you probably need to read this book. Or watch Kathy's Business of Software talks. Not only does Badass tell you how to get your customers great results, it teaches you how learn skills.
Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.com, by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler.
Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud, by Lisa Earle McLeod.