The business books CEOs should be reading: Autumn 2019

Our list of upcoming or newly released titles explores trust, AI and the East India Company.

by Claire Warren
Last Updated: 24 Oct 2019
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Food for thought

Traditional hierarchical businesses are dead, according to Arthur Yeung and Dave Ulrich in Reinventing the Organization (Harvard Business Review Press). But don’t worry: these two professors outline an alternative "market- orientated ecosystem". In Talking to Strangers (Penguin), New Yorker journalist Malcolm Gladwell investigates the way we trust – or don’t – people we don’t know, with examples including the man who saw through financier Bernie Madoff ’s fraud.

The Real Business of Blockchain (HBR Press), by Gartner’s David Furlonger and Christophe Uzureau, aims to uncomplicate blockchain and show how it can revolutionise business. Ken Allen, the CEO of global delivery behemoth DHL, has penned Radical Simplicity (Penguin), imparting the philosophy of the company on its 50th anniversary.

In The Infinite Game (Portfolio), self-proclaimed optimist Simon Sinek says business leaders need "an infinite mindset" to help them leave their organisations better than when they found them; whereas venture capitalist Ben Horowitz argues in What You Do is Who You Are (Harper Business) that a good legacy stems from a company’s culture.

Rebel Ideas: the Power of Diverse Thinking (John Murray) sees journalist Matthew Syed ponder whether we could solve the world’s biggest problems by pooling our mental resources. Iain Anderson, the founder and chairman of Cicero Group, hasn’t held back with F**K Business: The Business of Brexit (Biteback Publishing), a startling account of the disconnect between the British government and the businesses affected by our convoluted attempts to leave the EU. 

The Wall Street Journal’s Gregory Zuckerman peers behind the curtain at Jim Simons’ secretive hedge fund, Renaissance, in The Man Who Solved the Market (Portfolio), examining how the financier was accidentally responsible for the Trump presidency. 

JetBlue chairman Joel Peterson takes readers through The 10 Laws of Trust: Expanded Edition (HarperCollins Leadership). Examples include creating a "common dream" and embracing "respectful conflict". Less trustworthy, perhaps, are the companies in Rana Foroohar’s Don’t be Evil: the Case Against Big Tech (Allen Lane), which uncovers less-than-admirable behaviour among the biggest tech giants. 

Further tech troubles – this time hailing from the rise of robots – might not be as bad as we think, argues economist Roger Bootle in The AI Economy (Nicholas Brealey Publishing). Finally, there’s a look back at arguably the world’s first multinational powermonger in The Anarchy: the Relentless Rise of the East India Company (Bloomsbury Publishing) by William Dalrymple.

Image credit: Penguin

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