What are the top business books to read in 2019

Removing red-tape, looking east and bullshit jobs feature on our list of recent and upcoming titles that should be on every boss's bookshelf.

by Claire Warren
Last Updated: 08 May 2019

1. Philosopher and technologist David Weinberger wonders if we should all stop worrying and just let technology do its thing in Everyday Chaos: Technology, Complexity, and How We’re Thriving in a New World of Possibility (Harvard Business Review Press).

2. Paul Hargreaves, a UK B Corp ambassador, asks if companies can be Forces for Good: Creating a Better World Through Purpose-Driven Businesses (SRA Books).

3. In Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases and Transform Industries (St Martin’s Press), physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall posits that "phase transition", could help breakthroughs.

4. In Thinking in Bets (Portfolio), meanwhile, Annie Duke – World Series of Poker champion turned consultant – explores whether your decision-making should be influenced by worrying about odds.

5. An Economist Walks into a Brothel: and Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk by Allison Schrager (Portfolio) takes on the question of how to measure risk; it includes an interview with a war general who led troops in Iraq.

6. Chris Clearfield and András Tilcsik’s Meltdown: What Plane Crashes, Oil Spills, and Dumb Business Decisions Can Teach Us About How to Succeed at Work and at Home (Penguin Books) examines how mistakes and failures can often have the same root cause: the complexity of our systems.

7. Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World (HBR Press) sees Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall expose big fibs about workplaces. 

8. Mafia Organizations: The Visible Hand of Criminal Enterprise (Cambridge University Press) by Maurizio Catino takes a look at another kind of workplace: structured illegal mafias. 

9. Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (HBR Press) by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic – chief talent scientist at ManpowerGroup – tackles a tricky question.

10. Aaron Dignan, founder of design and transformation firm The Ready, has penned a Brave New Work (Portfolio Penguin) in which he discusses how to remove red tape and bureaucracy. 

11. The Future is Asian (Simon & Schuster) by Parag Khanna, managing partner of FutureMap, explains how we’re heading into an ‘Asianised’ 21st century.

12. Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe (HarperCollins) is investor Roger McNamee’s takedown of the company he once championed.

13. Finally there’s Bullshit Jobs: The Rise of Pointless Work, and What We Can Do About It (Penguin) in which David Graeber, professor of anthropology at the LSE, reveals that up to 40 per cent of us "secretly believe our jobs probably aren’t necessary".

Image credits: noipornpan/Gettyimages


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11 business books to read in 2019

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