No matter what you want to do or who you want to become, more knowledge and perspective will help. Reading books is an excellent way to get where you want to go.

If you think that you don’t have enough time to start reading, you’re wrong. Because we can always allow time for the things that are important to us. There’s no excuse not to start reading on a regular basis. The benefits far outweigh the costs.

Here's a roundup of books that have inspired thriving careers and lives:


2018


Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies

LinkedIn cofounder, legendary investor, and host of the award-winning Masters of Scale podcast reveals the secret to starting and scaling massively valuable companies.

What entrepreneur or founder doesn’t aspire to build the next Amazon, Facebook, or Airbnb?  Yet those who actually manage to do so are exceedingly rare. So what separates the startups that get disrupted and disappear from the ones who grow to become global giants?

The secret is blitzscaling: a set of techniques for scaling up at a dizzying pace that blows competitors out of the water. The objective of Blitzscaling is not to go from zero to one, but from one to one billion –as quickly as possible.


Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

The daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Angela Duckworth is now a celebrated researcher and professor. It was her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience that led to her hypothesis about what really drives success: not genius, but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.

In Grit, she takes us into the field to visit cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, teachers working in some of the toughest schools, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance.


Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight “offers a rare and revealing look at the notoriously media-shy man behind the swoosh, illuminating his company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

Fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his car in 1963, Knight grossed eight thousand dollars that first year.


Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs

Legendary venture capitalist John Doerr reveals how the goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) has helped tech giants from Intel to Google achieve explosive growth—and how it can help any organization thrive.

In the fall of 1999, John Doerr met with the founders of a start-up whom he'd just given $12.5 million, the biggest investment of his career. Larry Page and Sergey Brin had amazing technology, entrepreneurial energy, and sky-high ambitions, but no real business plan. For Google to change the world (or even to survive), Page and Brin had to learn how to make tough choices on priorities while keeping their team on track. They'd have to know when to pull the plug on losing propositions, to fail fast. And they needed timely, relevant data to track their progress—to measure what mattered.


The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World's Most Successful People Launched Their Careers

The Third Door takes readers on an unprecedented adventure--from hacking Warren Buffett's shareholders meeting to chasing Larry King through a grocery store to celebrating in a nightclub with Lady Gaga--as Alex Banayan travels from icon to icon, decoding their success. After remarkable one-on-one interviews with Bill Gates, Maya Angelou, Steve Wozniak, Jane Goodall, Larry King, Jessica Alba, Pitbull, Tim Ferriss, Quincy Jones, and many more, Alex discovered the one key they have in common: they all took the Third Door.

Life, business, success . . . it's just like a nightclub. There are always three ways in.


The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

Where does great culture come from? How do you build and sustain it in your group, or strengthen a culture that needs fixing?

In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations—including the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO, and the San Antonio Spurs—and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation, and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind.


How to Make Sh*t Happen: Make more money, get in better shape, create epic relationships and control

Is your daily life chaotic and out of control? Do you struggle with work/life balance? Does it feel like there are never enough hours in the day to accomplish all your goals? Does it feel like no matter how hard you try it's never good enough? Are you looking for a simple yet executable roadmap to create the life you've always desired?


12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Humorous, surprising and informative, Dr. Peterson tells us why skateboarding boys and girls must be left alone, what terrible fate awaits those who criticize too easily, and why you should always pet a cat when you meet one on the street.

What does the nervous system of the lowly lobster have to tell us about standing up straight (with our shoulders back) and about success in life? Why did ancient Egyptians worship the capacity to pay careful attention as the highest of gods? What dreadful paths do people tread when they become resentful, arrogant and vengeful?


2017


HBR's 10 Must Reads Ultimate Boxed Set (14 Books)

HBR's 10 Must Reads, available as a 14-volume paperback boxed, is the best selection from hundreds of Harvard Business Review articles on topics such as emotional intelligence, communication, change, leadership, strategy, managing people, and managing yourself and selected the most important ones to help you maximize your own and your organization's performance.


Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.

With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Timesbestseller, Harari maps out our future.


Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat

As a child, Sarah Robb O’Hagan dreamed she could be a champion. Her early efforts failed to reveal a natural superstar, but she refused to settle for average. Through dramatic successes and epic fails, she studied how extraordinary people in sports, entertainment and business set and achieve extremely personal goals. Sarah became an executive at Virgin Atlantic and Nike, and despite being fired twice in her twenties, she went on to become the global president of Gatorade and of Equinox—as well as a wife, mother, and endurance athlete.


Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success

A few common principles drive performance, regardless of the field or the task at hand. Whether someone is trying to qualify for the Olympics, break ground in mathematical theory or craft an artistic masterpiece, many of the practices that lead to great success are the same. In Peak Performance, Brad Stulberg, a former McKinsey and Company consultant and writer who covers health and the science of human performance, and Steve Magness, a performance scientist and coach of Olympic athletes, team up to demystify these practices and demonstrate how everyone can achieve their best.


Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations—whether in the boardroom or at home.

Life is a series of negotiations you should be prepared for: buying a car, negotiating a salary, buying a home, renegotiating rent, deliberating with your partner. Taking emotional intelligence and intuition to the next level, Never Split the Difference gives you the competitive edge in any discussion.


Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders create environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things.

In his work with organizations around the world, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives are offered, are doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?


Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

Combat, the most intense and dynamic environment imaginable, teaches the toughest leadership lessons, with absolutely everything at stake. Jocko Willink and Leif Babin learned this reality first-hand on the most violent and dangerous battlefield in Iraq. As leaders of SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser, their mission was one many thought impossible: help U.S. forces secure Ramadi, a violent, insurgent-held city deemed “all but lost.” In gripping, firsthand accounts of heroism, tragic loss, and hard-won victories, they learned that leadership―at every level―is the most important factor in whether a team succeeds or fails.


Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

From the time we learn to speak, we’re told that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. When you become a manager, it’s your job to say it--and your obligation.

Author Kim Scott was an executive at Google and then at Apple, where she worked with a team to develop a class on how to be a good boss. She has earned growing fame in recent years with her vital new approach to effective management, Radical Candor.


Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing - Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth

With battle-tested lessons learned from successes and failures in the field, Blue Ocean Shift is critical reading for leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs alike. You'll learn what works, what doesn't, and how to avoid the pitfalls along the way. This book will empower you to succeed as you embark on your own blue ocean journey.


Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography

Richard Branson’s Losing My Virginity shared the outrageous tale of how he built Virgin from a student magazine into one of the greatest brands in history. No challenge was too daunting, no opportunity too outlandish to pursue. And each new adventure started with five simple words: “Screw it, let’s do it.

”Now, fifty years after starting his first business, Branson shares the candid details of a lifetime of triumphs and failures and what he really thinks about his unique life and career. Finding My Virginity is an intimate look at his never-ending quest to push boundaries, break rules, and seek new frontiers—even after launching a dozen billion-dollar businesses and hundreds of other companies.


You are a Badass (Deluxe Edition): How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

With over 2 million copies in print, Jen Sincero's You are a Badass has inspired even the snarkiest of skeptics--encouraging them to embrace their awesomeness, give fear the heave-ho, and start kicking some serious ass. Now it's dressed up in a deluxe hardcover edition, with a new foreword by the author. But it's the same "classic" book that helps you create a life you love via hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word.


2016


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.


7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy

7 Powers breaks fresh ground by constructing a comprehensive strategy toolset that is easy for you to learn, communicate and quickly apply. Drawing on his decades of experience as a business strategy advisor, active equity investor and Stanford University teacher, Hamilton Helmer develops from first principles a practical theory of Strategy rooted in the notion of Power, those conditions which create the potential for persistent differential returns.


Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less

Drawing on inside accounts and case studies and academic research from a wealth of industries-- including start-ups, pharmaceuticals, airlines, retail, financial services, high-tech, education, non-profits, government, and healthcare-- Sutton and Rao identify the key scaling challenges that confront every organization.  

They reveal how the best leaders and teams develop, spread, and instill the right mindsets in their people-- rather than ruining or watering down the very things that have fueled successful growth in the past.


2015


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?


Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant

Recognized as one of the most iconic and impactful strategy books ever written, Blue Ocean Strategy, now updated with fresh content from the authors, argues that cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves (spanning more than 100 years across 30 industries), the authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating “blue oceans”―untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.


Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder

As more and more people are coming to realize, there is far more to living a truly successful life than just earning a bigger salary and capturing a corner office. Our relentless pursuit of the two traditional metrics of success--money and power--has led to an epidemic of burnout and stress-related illnesses, and an erosion in the quality of our relationships, family life, and, ironically, our careers. In being connected to the world 24/7, we're losing our connection to what truly matters. Our current definition of success is, as Thrive shows, literally killing us. We need a new way forward.


David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a pebble and a sling-and ever since, the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David's victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn't have won.

Or should he?

In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, suffer from a disability, lose a parent, attend a mediocre school, or endure any number of other apparent setbacks.


2014


The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential.

At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.


The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies.


2013


The Alchemist: 25th Anniversary Edition

Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.

Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined.

Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.


Thinking, Fast and Slow

In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

This twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Stephen Covey’s cherished classic commemorates the timeless wisdom of the 7 Habits.

One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has captivated readers for 25 years. It has transformed the lives of Presidents and CEOs, educators and parents— in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations.


The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness

The Slight Edge is a way of thinking, a way of processing information that enables you to make the daily choices that will lead you to the success and happiness you desire. Learn why some people make dream after dream come true, while others just continue dreaming and spend their lives building dreams for someone else.

It’s not just another self-help motivation tool of methods you must learn in order to travel the path to success. It shows you how to create powerful results from the simple daily activities of your life, by using tools that are already within you.


2011


Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

In 2009, Simon Sinek started a movement to help people become more inspired at work, and in turn inspire their colleagues and customers. Since then, millions have been touched by the power of his ideas, including more than 28 million who’ve watched his TED Talk based on START WITH WHY -- the third most popular TED video of all time.

Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?


Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That's a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others). In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.


2009


How to Win Friends & Influence People

You can go after the job you want—and get it! You can take the job you have—and improve it! You can take any situation—and make it work for you!

Dale Carnegie’s rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time.


2007


The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives.


Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps. Along the way, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds—from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony—draw their power from the same six traits.


2001


Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?