As we close out another busy and eventful year, you may be looking for that perfect gift for a colleague, friend or family member. What better gifts than new ideas and wisdom! I’ve read some great books this year, and I’m happy to recommend 10 titles that should appeal to the most entrepreneurial minds on your list.
Top 10 Books on Entrepreneurship and Business:
I loved this terrific book by neuroscientist Ogi Gas and music producer and neuroscientist Susan Rogers, who also collaborated with Prince on Purple Rain.What does music cognition have to do with business? Well, your taste in music and why you prefer jazz over reggae, or punk over classic rock, can reveal a lot about how your one and only brain works, and in turn, how your style, originality, and personality influence everything you do and the experiences you want to have — as a person, as a leader, and in the world. Want to know more about someone else? Ask about their favorite songs.
University of Pittsburgh professor Michael Meyer lays out the fascinating story of how Franklin, on his death, gifted $2,000 pounds to each of his hometowns of Boston and Philadelphia to establish microloan funds to jumpstart the careers and businesses of coopers, blacksmiths, carpenters and others in the “leather apron” class. What happened after that is a fascinating tale of two cities.
Roving grammarian Ellen Jovin visited all 50 states with her folding Grammar Table and fielded questions from interested and interesting visitors. Turns out a LOT of people care about grammar and Jovin’s entertaining and engaging explanations of Oxford commas, sentence starting conjunctions, and non-referential pronouns–among many others–make for informative and fun reading. This book is for the language lover on your list … or “whomever.”
HBS Professor George Serafeim tells leaders that they can and should deploy their own skills and knowledge to improve the world. The purpose and focus of business is changing from a model of shareholder primacy toward a broader expectation that companies contribute to society. Serafeim provides plenty of data and lots of examples of how companies and investors can implement purpose driven initiatives.
CNBC’s Julia Boorstin chronicles the challenges, qualities, and insights of more than 120 successful women leaders. The book is unique for its breadth, depth and data, and Boorstin’s storytelling of how and why inspired women tend to build strong, purpose-driven companies while establishing new patterns in male-dominated markets is sharp and insightful.
The Man Who Broke Capitalism: How Jack Welch Gutted the Heartland and Crushed the Soul of Corporate America
In this provocative, thought-provoking book, New York Times business reporter David Gelles traces Welch’s ascent at GE and his unrelenting focus on maximizing shareholder value, which meant pretty much exclusively an always-increasing stock price. Gelles envisions an emerging inclusive and mission-oriented business model for future corporate leaders.
Entrepreneur Magazine Editor Jason Feiffer shows and tells us how we can best adapt to continuing and sometimes uncomfortable change. The numerous stories, examples, and use cases are fun to read and Feiffer’s advice is spot on.
An incredibly absorbing and insightful new book by leadership experts Justin Zorn and Leigh Marz. Readers will value their countless examples and practical tips on recognizing opportunities for restorative silence every day, every week and all the time.
George Mason University Professor Todd Kashdan traces the history and theory of dissent and change in a variety of contexts. This is an easy-to-read, step-by-step playbook on how to become a persuasive and patient dissenter.
Yale Professor Zoe Chance’s smart, practical book shows how to build and use your unique influence. You don’t need to be a celebrity, YouTube influencer, or celebrated expert to give actionable advice and shape behavior.
This year, whether your list includes audio or old-school book readers, give the gift of insight and innovation and support your local independent bookstore. We’ll all be better off if you do.
Read in the Boston Business Journal
Authors & Innovators is an occasional column by Larry Gennari, a transactional lawyer, law professor, and chief curator of Authors & Innovators, an annual business book and ideas festival. Gennari also teaches Project Entrepreneur, a business fundamentals bootcamp for returning citizens, at BC Law School.