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Top business books as ranked in our 2020 survey

December 17, 2020

At MarksNelson, we value professional growth and development and encourage our people to continually further themselves by looking for opportunities to learn and expand their knowledge and skillsets. Books can be an excellent resource for this, but based on the volume of available options, it can be overwhelming. So, we decided to compile a list of business books that are most recommended by our people for personal development. And then we decided, “why not share it?”

Here are five great books to spark your thinking and grow professionally.

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Brown’s #1 New York Times bestseller book on daring leadership is full of nuggets of wisdom from incorporating accountability into task management to how to get everyone on the same page in completing a task. Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, where she studies courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy.

The book shows courage as a set of teachable skills and gives actionable tools to learn brave leadership.

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

This New York Times bestseller is a must read for managers, providing a compass for candid conversations. Radical candor requires caring personally and challenging directly.

Bad bosses can kill a work environment, great bosses foster relationships. The book provides a framework to guide your conversations to a more productive place, avoiding behaviors like obnoxious aggression and manipulative insincerity.

Scott is a well-known CEO coach in Silicon Valley.

The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey

Former CEO and New York Times bestselling author Covey brings us a book on collaboration and trust. It goes into great depth on what makes up trust and how to build it internally and externally.

People are the core of any organization and there’s nothing more impactful on their work and performance than trust. If you’re looking to improve productivity and accelerate growth, trust is a key element. Building a foundation of trust can transform a company’s culture.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

Neuroscientist and sleep expert Walker delves into the most important aspect of our lives: sleep.

Good sleep aids in memory performance, decision making, creativity, and health, which has a massive impact on our work and daily life.

Walker’s book is an exploration of sleep and how it permeates into our lives. He provides actionable steps to learning how to get a better night’s sleep, helping us improve learning, energy levels, and more.

True Professionalism by David Maister

In True Professionalism, Maister provides solid, timeless advice for any professional on career, client relationships, and firm matters. Maister, a consultant to professional service firms, delves into the question: What is true professionalism?

How do you find the strength and courage to do what we know to be right and to act as a true professional? Never compromising on values and standards, caring, and whole-heartedly believing in what you do are keys to seeking true professionalism.

Others mentioned:

Mindset by Carol Dweck

Getting Things Done by David Allen

The Trusted Advisor by David Maister

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Just Listen by Mark Gouldston

The Coaching Habit by Michael Stanier

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

We plan to turn this into an annual survey. It will be interesting to see the new books that land on the list and the books that drop off as time evolves, new books are released, and different development needs evolve. Happy reading!

Woman rejoices at cliff


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