Here are the 20 economics, self-help, and strategy books C-suite execs are reading to get their firms through a black swan summer
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced firms around the world to shut down their offices and their employees to work from home – with many wondering what the future holds. Perlego – the "Spotify for textbooks" – analyzed data from more than 600 of its C-suite customers to find out what business leaders were reading in these strange times. Standouts include books by Nike cofounder Phil Knight and tech investor Ben Horowitz. Perlego CEO Gauthier Van Malderen said senior execs had used their time in isolation to learn the "crucial skills" needed for businesses to survive. Click here for more BI Prime stories.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in businesses all around the world shutting down their offices and telling employees to work from home. The change of pace has forced senior executives to strategize the future of their firms while relying on video-calls and text messages. Perlego – an online library startup dubbed the "Spotify of textbooks" – has analyzed the most popular books read by more than 600 C-suite executives using its platform. Titles include bestsellers by the likes of Nike cofounder Phil Knight and Ben Horowitz, one of the best-known investors in Silicon Valley. "[Executives] are reading books on leading in times of crisis, dealing with stress, engaging a remote workforce, preparing for a post-COVID world and many more topics," Perlego CEO Gauthier Van Malderen told Business Insider. We broke down the 20 most popular books being read by C-suite executives this summer: 20. "Uncertainty and Strategic Decision Making" by Kristian J. Sund, Robert J. Galavan and Anne S. Huff
Read it here >> Released in 2017, this book brings together best practices as outlined by three National University of Ireland business experts, working through ideas such as the role of intuition in decision making, managerial biases, and strategic change. 19. "Managing Oneself" by Peter F. Drucker
Read it here >> Widely regarded as the "father of modern management", Peter F. Drucker's 2017 tome is just the latest in his back catalogue of 39 books on management. A short but solid read, "Managing Oneself" promises to help employees at every level take control of their careers. 18. "Resilient Organizations" by Erica Seville
Read it here >> In "Resilient Organizations", author Dr Erica Seville poses the question: "Do we need to wait until a crisis strikes to see how resilient an organization is?" Founder of the Resilient Organizations research programme, Dr Seville provides readers with the essential knowledge needed to allow businesses to thrive in the toughest of circumstances. 17. "Leadershift" by John C. Maxwell
Read it here >> Released less than one year ago, "Leadershift" is the latest work by New York Times bestselling author John C. Maxwell. In "Leadershift", Maxwell helps leaders make the changes the current fast-paced environment demands, including continual learning, speed, the big picture and uncertainty. 16. "Get a Life!" by Rick Hughes
Read it here >> Striking the correct work-life balance for you can be a hard task – and even harder to maintain, especially as circumstances change around you. "Get A Life!" is a practical handbook to help you get on top of it. Written by internationally renowned coach, counselor and wellbeing consultant Rick Hughes, his book covers everything from assessing your needs, workload management and roundly debunk the myths of perfectionism so prominent in places like Silicon Valley. 15. "The Age of Influence" by Neal Schaffer
Read it here >> In many ways, social media has been a democratizing force, upending traditional notions of authority and influence, even as new information is created and consumed all around us. In "The Age of Influence", Neal Schaffer – the internationally recognized social media marketing expert – outlines what part that shift has played in online marketing in "the Influencer Era". "The Age of Influence" is a handbook for anyone who wants to successfully spread a message in the age of social media. 14. "Trailblazer" by Marc Benioff
Read it here >> When Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff called for greater regulation on the tech industry at the Davos World Economic Forum – going so far as to say Facebook ought to be reined in "the same way you regulated the cigarette industry" – he found himself at the center of a media frenzy. In "Trailblazer", Benioff outlines a model for others to follow if they want to thrive in the modern business environment, with criticism of corporate greed bringing new pressures to bear on industry leaders. "Trailblazer" is a cutting-edge guidebook to help us all prepare for the arrival of "business for good". 13. "The Future is Faster Than You Think" by Peter H. Diamadis and Steven Kotler
Read it here >> Technology is accelerating far more quickly than anyone could have imagined. During the next decade, we will experience more upheaval and create more wealth than we have in the past hundred years. In this gripping and insightful roadmap to our near future, Diamandis and Kotler investigate how wave after wave of exponentially accelerating technologies will impact both our daily lives and society as a whole. What happens as AI, robotics, virtual reality, digital biology, and sensors crash into 3D printing, blockchain, and global gigabit networks? How will these convergences transform today's legacy industries? And what will happen to the way we raise our kids, govern our nations, and care for our planet? 12. "Coronavirus: Leadership and Recovery: The Insights You Need from Harvard Business Review"
Read it here >> As the pandemic wreaks havoc with the global economy, forward-looking organizations are moving past crisis management and positioning themselves to leap ahead in a transformed economy after what this book dubs "Great Pause." This book, distributed by from Harvard Business School, provides you with essential thinking about managing your company through the Covid-19 pandemic, keeping your employees – and yourself – healthy and productive, and challenging your business to continue innovating and reinvent itself ahead of the recovery. 11. "The Insider's Guide to Culture Change" by Siobhan McHale
- "Crisis Leadership" by Tim Johnson
Read it here >> From the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the oil disaster of Deepwater Horizon, to the global pandemic now gripping the world, corporations are coming to realize that the impossible can happen all too easily. "Crisis Leadership" examines the challenges faced by leaders at each stage of the crisis "lifecycle," from the instant they learn of the crisis, through to moments of critical decision-making and the final tumultuous days. 9. "Hardiness" by Steven J. Stein and Paul T. Bartone
Read it here >> Published in December, "Hardiness" is the latest book from clinical psychologist Steven J. Stein and research fellow Paul T. Bartone. The book uses case studies – including artists, athletes, first responders and soldiers – to demonstrate what they call "the three Cs" of hardiness in action: control, commitment and challenge. "The Diversity Bonus" by Scott E. Page
Read it here >> In "The Diversity Bonus" Scott Page, a professor of social science and management at the University of Michigan, argues that a diverse workforce is key to a company's success — that means hiring people with different expertise, backgrounds, perspectives and ways of problem solving. Page lists examples of companies with a diverse workforce that outperform firms with more homogeneous teams. He labels this improved performance, which he sees in both complex problem solving and in coming up with new ideas, a "diversity bonus." The book also discusses the different ways people analyze, perceive, and organize the same tasks, and how this is affected by gender, race, and identity. 7. "Can You Hear Me?" by Nick Morgan
Read it here >> In Washington Post bestseller "Can You Hear Me?", Nick Morgan explains why the quality of human connection we experience in many forms of virtual communication is so subpar. Morgan outlines five big problems with communication in the virtual world — lack of feedback, lack of empathy, lack of control, lack of emotion, and lack of connection and commitment — sharply highlighting what is lost in our accelerating shift to a more virtual world. 6. "Get Sh*t Done: The Ultimate Guide to Productivity, Procrastination, and Profitability" by Jeffrey Gitomer
Read it here >> Published last year, "Get Sh*t Done" tells you why you're failing to achieve your goals in business and life, and suggests strategies that can help. One of Amazon's best-selling authors, Gitomer outlines a step-by-step guide to becoming more motivated and productive, with the aim of boosting your income and help you build better work habits. 5. "Disrupt It Yourself" by Simone Bhan Ahuja
Read it here >> Today, driving innovation from within an organization is the single most important factor for a company's success. In Disrupt-It-Yourself, Simone Ahuja delivers a clear and practical playbook for harnessing and cultivating this essential practice of "intrapreneurship. " Based on hundreds of interviews as well as on her consulting work in Fortune 500 companies, Ahuja describes the competencies of successful intrapreneurs, and how they must be supported– before they leave. 4. "Work Together Anywhere" by Lisette Sutherland and K. Janene-Nelson
Read it here >> Released in June, "Work Together Anywhere", Lisette Sutherland, an international champion of virtual-team strategies, offers a complete blueprint for optimizing team success by supporting every member of every team. Packed with hands-on materials and actionable advice for cultivating agility, camaraderie, and collaboration, this book is a thorough and inspiring must-have guide for getting ahead in today's remote-working world. 3. "Inclusive Talent Management: How Business can Thrive in an Age of Diversity" by Stephen Frost and Danny Kalman
Read it here » In "Inclusive Talent Management", Stephen Frost, head of diversity and inclusion at major UK accountancy firm KPMG, and Danny Kalman, director of global talent at Panasonic, team up to deliver practical measures for improving diversity in the workforce. Firms should, for example, launch apprenticeships and partner with networks comprising people from under-represented groups. Leaders should not just say the right words, but take the right action, the book says. 2. "Shoe Dog" by Phil Knight
Read it here >> In this New York Times bestseller, Nike cofounder Phil Knight reveals what it was like in the early days of his intrepid startup – and how it evolved into one of the world's most iconic brands. Bill Gates named "Shoe Dog" as one of his five favorite books of 2016, calling it "an amazing tale". He said: "[It's] a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like." 1. "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz
Read it here >> Top of the list is "The Hard Thing About Hard Things", the 2014 bestseller by one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, Ben Horowitz. Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, Horowitz's book is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from his personal and often humbling experiences.