This past year, the business world has accomplished many great and wonderful things. Several companies not only survived the pandemic but thrived in its presence. Others achieved feats well beyond our imagination, ranging from space to climate change solutions. And of course, some have surprised in less desirable ways as well, teaching us some important lessons. In the process, many of this year’s business developments have been chronicled in some of the best business books ever. This includes not only historical accounts but also some exceptional business management books. With this in mind, the following lists what Bold Business believes to be the best business books of 2021.
- Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire – Brad Stone
Brad Stone follows up his initial bestseller about Amazon with an update on the online megastore’s latest developments. For those who enjoy business management books, Stone covers both the good and not-so-good for the company and its founder.
- The Unfair Advantage: How You Already Have What It Takes to Succeed – Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba
While many believe a hard work ethic will lead to success, Ali and Kubba share another important secret. It’s actually a comparative advantage that we have over others that often is the key ingredient. The challenge is recognizing this advantage and tapping into it.
- Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power – Brooke Baldwin
From a gender perspective, women leaders often leverage collaboration and teamwork to achieve success. With this in mind, and with excellent examples, CNN’s Brooke Baldwin shows just how powerful this can be. Especially for businesswomen, this is one of the best business books of the year.
- This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race – Nicole Perlroth
Advances in technology are awesome, but as Nicole Perlroth reminds us, they come with some concerns. In the coming years, businesses must increasingly invest in cybersecurity and data privacy protections. (Take a deep dive into data privacy protections in this Bold story.) For those who appreciate this, this is a must-read among business management books.
- The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion – Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell
Perhaps not among the best management books, the incredible story behind WeWork is certainly compelling. The power that a single charismatic individual can have in hyping a company is truly amazing. And the story is one that might just help you avoid some serious mistakes in business and in life.
- Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know – Adam M. Grant
Have you ever heard of stretch goals? If not, you definitely should consider reading Adam Grant’s take on self-reflection. In this book, he demonstrates just how important it is to continually question yourself about your beliefs. Challenging yourself in this way is a key in the pursuit of ever-increasing success.
- Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals – Oliver Burkeman
Being productive and efficient is great. But when it gets in the way of your over-arching mission in your business career, it can be a problem. This book by Burkeman is one of the best business books to help you maintain perspective on what’s truly important and what’s not.
- Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX – Eric Berger
Who doesn’t love hearing more about Elon Musk? Good or bad, he attracts an audience. And Eric Berger is the perfect guy to tell Musk’s story when it comes to the billionaire space race. This previous editor of Ars Technica provides engaging stories from both direct interviews and personal experiences.
- Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone – Sarah Jaffe
As far as business management books go, this may not be a feelgood one. But nonetheless, Sarah Jaffe shows us how over-commitment to our jobs can ultimately be detrimental. Careers are important, but so are many other aspects of life that deserve our attention.
- A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload – Cal Newport
This is among the best business books for those who obsessively feel the need to be constantly connected. Instant response expectations by email or other forms of digital communications are growing. For our own sake, it’s important to realize this and choose a different path.
- An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination – Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang
Some may prefer business management books that are uplifting and inspirational. If so, this is not the book for them. This literary work reveals just how much Facebook has leveraged its power to achieve its objectives. And indeed, it’s not a pretty story.
- Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon – Colin Bryar and Bill Carr
In contrast, this book from two long-term insiders at Amazon tell a much rosier picture about a dominant enterprise. This is one of the best business books describing how core principles and commitment to culture led to Amazon’s success.
- The World For Sale: Money, Power, and the Traders Who Barter the Earth’s Resources – Javier Blas and Jack Farchy
If you’re looking for something intriguing and surprising, you might love this book by Blas and Farchy. The book shows just how powerful those who control precious resources have become. In fact, those dealing in things like cobalt, alumina, and bauxite are among the most powerful individuals in their world.
- Empire of Pain – Patrick Radden Keefe
Perhaps, one of the worst stories in recent times also makes for one of the best business books. In this book, Keefe tells the unthinkable story of Purdue Pharma and its role in creating an opioid epidemic. Without question, it’s a story about greed, lost ethics, and misguided pursuits.
- How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need – Bill Gates
Bill Gates is well known for his climate activist beliefs and efforts. But in this book, he goes beyond conservation and challenges businesses everywhere to take an additional approach. Specifically, he details why businesses collaborating to solve world poverty can make a much bigger impact.
- My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future – Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi broke many barriers to become PepsiCo’s CEO and take the company to new heights. Thus, it’s not surprising her book about her life is among the best business management books this year. This is not only true for women business leaders but for anyone with aspirations of managing a major corporation.