Chief Executive Magazine’s CEO Readers List Their 10 Favorite Business Books Of All Time 

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Looking for a good read or a great present this holiday season? Your peers have some suggestions.

From inflation and recession fears to talent fights and trade wars, 2022 has been a tumultuous year for corporate leadership. Next year? Probably more of the same. 

To help you prepare for whatever’s coming next, take a breath over the holiday, or at least nail down some last-minute shopping for your team, we compiled a list of the 10 best business books with the help of the CEO community nationwide. 

In a poll of our readers, some 200 CEOs, owners or presidents listed books in a variety of categories that they would most highly recommend to their peers in five key categories: Strategy, leadership, operations, sales/marketing and personal development. Haven’t read some of them? Tis the season: 

 

Strategy 

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, by Jim Collins 

Good to Great was selected as the #1 leadership strategy book as well as the top overall recommendation across all categories. In this business classic, Collins and his research team identified the key common traits that companies have embodied to make the transition from good, average, or even bad, to great, and laid out a roadmap of concepts to help you get there. Order now > 

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras 

Collins and Porras famously examined the history of some extraordinary long-lasting companies to find out what made them different. The result “remains one of the best strategy books ever written” as one of our poll respondents put it, a blueprint for success over the long haul. Order now >   

 

Leadership 

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek  

Sinek inspired millions over the past decade to rethink the purpose of work and their business, providing a framework for how organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. As Sinek says: “It all starts with WHY.” Order now >  

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni 

Lencioni is a frequent—and favorite—Chief Executive contributor and keynote speaker at many of our events, so we’re hardly surprised that his Five Dysfunctions of a Team makes the list. It’s an uber-useful look at what makes teams click—and break—told in a deceptively simple style that sticks with you. Order now >   

 

Personal Development 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey  

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has remained among the top business and self-help books since it was first published in 1989. In this “foundational book needed by all,” as one reader put it, Covey presents a coherent, seven-step strategy for effectively solving problems and achieving goals. Order now >   

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful, by Marshall Goldsmith 

Executive coach and Chief Executive columnist Marshall Goldsmith’s classic What Got You Here Won’t Get You There outlines the twenty behavioral habits that hold back almost every rising executive—and details how to break free of them. Order now > 

 

Sales/Marketing 

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini 

Cialdini identifies and explains the six universal principles of influence: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity—how to recognize them, use them ethically in sales and marketing, and not fall prey to deceitful influences. Order now >    

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!, by Al Ries and Jack Trout

Described by one of our readers as “easy to digest, memorable, and practically applicable,” The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing establishes twenty-two rules that must be followed to succeed in global markets. Order now > 
 

Operations 

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, by Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox 

This fast-paced business novel about a plant manager’s fight to save his plant from corporate shutdown is required reading material in many companies and management schools. Order now >  

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, by Ben Horowitz  

In his candid and humorous style, Horowitz analyzes the difficulties leaders confront and offers insights on building and running a startup for veteran and aspiring entrepreneurs. Order now > 


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