A long time ago in a Scotland far, far away, Adam Smith, the patron saint of capitalism, wrote about an ‘invisible hand’ that could turn a self-interested free market into social good, while all successful business leaders would aspire to ‘loveliness’ in the eyes of their customers.
One hundred and fifty years later, ‘loveliness’ is considered to be a liability by rogue traders and a weakness by the leader of the free world. The invisible hand, meanwhile, is allegedly a Russian algorithm rigging elections in other countries.
At a time like this, when CEOs are conflicted - pulled between purpose and profit, short term gains and long term vision – the right books provide invaluable insights to leaders: direct, private conversations with diverse, brilliant minds.
For those of you who value creativity and collaboration, who want to learn from the past, make the most of the present and imagine a better future together, these are the titles that leaders like you are reading this month.
AIQ: How artificial intelligence works and how we can harness its power for a better world
NIck Polson and James Scott
If you want to prosper in the modern world, then you have to learn to converse and collaborate with intelligent machines.
Damaged Goods: The Inside Story of Sir Philip Green, the Collapse of BHS and the Death of the High Street
2017 Business journalist of the year Oliver Shah transfers his Sunday Times investigation into a book, sure to be talked about in the light of more high street retailers going under.
Tesla: Inventor of the Modern
Nicola Tesla was Thomas Edison's biggest rival. Eccentric, obsessive, handsome and germophobic, he had no business sense and could not capitalise on his early success: his most advanced ideas were unrecognised for decades.
Gigged: The Gig Economy, the End of the Job and the Future of Work
The full-time job is disappearing. Today more workers than ever are going freelance – driving for Uber or cycling for Deliveroo, developing software or consulting for investment banks. Sarah Kessler goes under the bonnet of the gig economy.
Making Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side
Why do we think and do evil? What can modern science teach us about why humans do bad things? And what do our reactions to deviance teach us about ourselves? An illuminating exploration of our dark sides.
Society Elsewhere: Why the Gravest Threat to Humanity Will Come From Within
Society's biggest problem will be figuring out how to manage our emotional lives when intelligence, brains and consciousness become irrelevant.
Room To Dream
David Lynch and Kristine McKenna
The co-creator of Twin Peaks and writer and director of groundbreaking films like Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive opens up about a lifetime of extraordinary creativity.
Creative Superpowers: Equip Yourself for the Age of Creativity
Laura Jordan Bambach, Mark Earls, Daniele Fiandaca and Scott Morrison
Unlocking many of the key traits lost during childhood (such a fearlessness and curiosity) as well as discovering new powers will help you solve your biggest business problems.
Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart
From pirate gangs and buddy cops to underdog activists and communist artists, Shane Snow tours the hidden science of team dynamics, revealing the counterintuitive reasons that some groups break out while far too many break down.
The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time
New ideas are surprising at first, and slowly become familiar as we get used to them. Allan Gannett reveals the sweet spot between what feels familiar and safe to us, and what is innovative and new: the point of optimal tension between safety and surprise, similarity and difference.
Lessons in Leadership - The 12 Key Concepts
Leadership and change go hand in hand, but during times of change, the basic building blocks of leadership remain the same. Regardless of the size of the team to be led - whether it is five or 5,000 - Lessons in Leadership offers guidance, inspiration, reassurance and insight.
The World As It Is, Inside The Obama White House
The inside story of what it means to work alongside a radical leader; of how idealism can confront reality and survive; of how the White House really functions; and of what it is to have a partnership.
Richard Kilgarriff is editorial director of Bookomi.
Main image credit: jakkaje808/Shutterstock
Book images: The publishers