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10 business books we’ll be reading this year (and you should too)

We’ll be reading these 10 books in 2020, and we think you should too.

No matter how long you’ve been in business, or how much you think you know, there is always more to learn.

To keep ahead of the curve and stay at the top of our game, we are constantly looking to innovate, be inspired and improve. With that in mind, we’ve scoured the web for all the very best-rated and most talked about business books on the market. We’ll be reading these 10 books in 2020, and we think you should too.

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

The Book

An inspiring, life-changing bestseller. Sinek starts with the fundamental questions; Why are some people and organisations more innovative, influential and profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?

People won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the ‘why’ behind it. In this book, Simon Sinek shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way – and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. He calls this powerful idea ‘The Golden Circle’, and it provides a framework upon which organisations can be built, movements led and people inspired.

The Author

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.

Simon Sinek teaches leaders and organisations how to inspire people – from members of congress and foreign ambassadors to businesses, and even Hollywood. He is the author of several bestselling books on leadership including Leaders Eat Last and Together Is Better.

 The Hype

Barnes & Noble bestseller.

Amazon bestseller in both the Ethics & Business and Economic History sections.

“Start with Why is one of the most useful and powerful books I have read in years. Simple and elegant, it shows us how leaders should lead.” – William Ury, co-author of Getting to Yes

 “Start with Why fanned the flames inside me. This book can lead you to levels of excellence you never considered attainable.” – General Chuck Horner, air boss, Desert Storm

“Each story will force you to see things from an entirely different perspective. A perspective that is nothing short of the truth.” – Mokhtar Lamani, former ambassador, special envoy to Iraq

This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See – Seth Godin

The Book

With this book, Seth offers the core of his marketing wisdom in one compact, accessible and timeless package. This is Marketing shows you how to do work you’re proud of, whether you’re a tech start-up founder, small business owner or part of a large corporation.

No matter what your product or service may be, this book will help you reframe how it’s presented to the world in order to meaningfully connect with people who want it. Seth covers building trust and permission with your target market, the art of positioning, how marketing is at the core of our social status and more.

The Author

Seth Godin is the author of 18 international bestsellers that have changed the way people think about work and have been translated into 38 languages – among them Unleashing the Ideavirus, Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, Tribes and All Marketers Are Liars. He was inducted into the New York AMA Marketing Hall of Fame in 2018.

Seth writes the most popular marketing blog in the world (named by Time among its 25 best blogs of 2009) and speaks to audiences around the globe. He is the founder of the altMBA and The Marketing Seminar, online workshops which have transformed the work of thousands. He is the founder and former CEO of, the former VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo! and the founder of the online start-up, Yoyodyne.

The Hype

#1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.

New York Times bestseller.

Amazon #1 bestseller in Web Marketing & Customer Services categories.

“This Is Marketing is a very accessible way into Godin’s thinking… Godin writes in pacy, jargon-free prose and this book is interesting and useful for anyone who wants an insight into how, and why, we buy things or change our habits in any way.” – The Financial Times

“Seth joined us via skype for our final RBC of 2018, brilliantly articulating the importance of focusing on your ‘smallest viable audience’ and making something specifically for them… An easy, story-driven and insight-laden read.” – Rebel Book Club

Shortcut Your Startup: Ten Ways to Speed Up Entrepreneurial Success – Courtney & Carter Reum

The Book

‘An indispensable guide to starting your business from scratch.’ As early investors in the likes of Lyft, Pinterest and SpaceX, as well as founders of a multi-million-dollar company, Courtney and Carter Reum have seen what makes some businesses thrive, and others fail.

With this book, they use what they’ve learnt to offer a holistic guide to building your business, revealing that most of the received wisdom is wrong – and offering counterintuitive examples from the likes of Airbnb, Uber and Facebook that chart a different path. From initial idea to exit strategy, these start-up shortcuts offer an unexpected new route to success.

The Authors

Courtney Reum is an entrepreneur, product developer and co-founder (alongside his brother, Carter) of the investment firm M13. Courtney featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 list and Goldman Sachs Builders + Innovators 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs list.

Carter Reum is an author and entrepreneur who, with Courtney, built VEEV Spirits and investment firm, M13. VEEV was listed in Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. Carter has appeared as a guest and a commentator on a variety of networks including CBS and FOX.

The Hype

Featured in Waterstones’ Best Books for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses.

“Owning a business is a gladiator’s game and in today’s modern economy, success requires both the mind set and strategies embodied by Courtney and Carter Reum. They have generously pulled back the curtain to reveal the tools and tactics that many of the most successful start-ups use to disrupt, scale and succeed.” Tony Robbins, bestselling author of Awaken the Giant Within

“Shortcut Your Start-up shows you how to launch a sustainable start-up so that both you and your business can thrive.” – Arianna Huffington

“The Internet’s Third Wave is upon us. Shortcut Your Start-up is a helpful guide for entrepreneurs who want to lead the way.” – Steve Case, co-founder and CEO of AOL

“What makes this book great is that it is both practical and personal. Sharing their life and business lessons openly is a gift to all us entrepreneurs. Thank you Courtney and Carter!” – Blake Mycoskie, founder & CEO of TOMS Shoes

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

The Book

First published in 1989, this is deemed to be one of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written. It has captivated readers for close to 30 years, transforming the lives of Presidents and CEOs, educators and parents – millions of people of all ages and occupations.

In the book, Covey explains that we see the world entirely through our own personal perceptions of it. He shows how, in order to change a situation, we must first change ourselves and alter our perceptions.

The Author

Recognised as one of Time magazine’s 25 Most Influential Americans, Stephen R. Covey (1932–2012) was an internationally respected leadership authority, family expert, teacher, organisational consultant and author.

After receiving an MBA from Harvard and a doctorate degree from Brigham Young University, he became the co-founder and vice chairman of FranklinCovey, a leading global training firm. His books have sold more than 25 million copies in 40 languages.

 The Hype

International bestseller.

Listed as one of Time’s Most Influential Business Management Books.

The first non-fiction audiobook in US publishing history to sell more than one million copies.

Bill Clinton invited Covey to Camp David to counsel him on integrating the themes of the book into his presidency.

“Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ played a major role in the development of Saturn’s operating systems and philosophy. Our commitment to quality and to our customers has its roots in The 7 Habits.” – Skip LeFauve, president of Saturn Corporation/General Motors

Dare to Lead – Brené Brown

The Book

Four-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown has spent 20 years studying the emotions and experiences that give meaning to our lives, and the past 7 working with transformative leaders and teams spanning the globe. She has found that leaders in organisations ranging from small entrepreneurial start-ups and family-owned businesses to non-profits, civic organisations, and Fortune 50 companies all ask the same question;

How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture?

With this book, Brown uses research, stories, and examples to answer these questions in the no-nonsense style that millions of readers have come to expect and love. This book is for anyone who wants to step up into brave leadership.

The Author

Dr Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston. She has spent the past 2 decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of four #1 New York Times bestsellers; The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong and Braving the Wilderness.

With over 35 million views, her TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top 5 most viewed TED Talks in the world

 The Hype

One of Bloomberg’s ‘best books of the year’.

New York Times bestseller.

“Brené brings decades of research to bear in a practical and insightful guide to courageous leadership. This book is a road map for anyone who wants to lead mindfully, live bravely, and dare to lead.” – Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook & founder of LeanIn.Org

“Dare to Lead will challenge everything you think you know about brave leadership and give you honest, straightforward, actionable tools for choosing courage over comfort.” – Tarana Burke, senior director of Girls for Gender Equity & founder of the #MeToo movement

“Brené cuts through the noise and speaks to what makes us human and makes the mission happen. Dare to Lead is about real leadership: tenacious, from the heart, and full of grit.” – Brigadier General Brook J. Leonard, United States Air Force

I Can Start Your Business: Everything You Need to Know About Running a Limited Company or Self-Employment – For Locums, Contractors, Freelancers and Small Businesses – Russell Smith

The Book

This book, with its very long title, is easy to understand and answers the most common questions a small business accountant is asked; from whether to be a limited company or self-employed to the parts of business finance you really need to understand (and which parts can you ignore).

Smith covers topics like whether to become VAT registered, when your tax is due and how much it will be, HMRC regulations, setting up bank accounts, getting paid by your customers, managing your cash flow and getting your pricing right.

The Author

Russell Smith has worked with over 400 clients all across the UK and is a national expert on small business tax and accounts. He is a prolific writer and the only chartered accountant in the world who blogs every day.

After 7 years working for larger firms, Russell set up his own business at the age of 28 – the trouble was he didn’t have any clients so had to learn how to start a business from scratch. 11 years later, he has over 400 clients across the UK from a wide range of businesses including doctors, dentists, psychologists, web-designers, musicians, marketing agencies, IT contractors, artists, graphic designers and many more.

 The Hype

Amazon bestseller in Small Business & Entrepreneurship > Accounting & Finance

“The first accountant I’ve worked with that I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending” – Stuart Bruce

“I have just set up my own business and this book has proved invaluable to me. It is written in a way that anyone can understand what you need to do in order to make your business successful… I would recommend anyone starting out on their own to read this book, you can’t manage without it!” – Howard D Salinger

 “The most readable accounting book ever! It is peppered with links to Russell’s email address if you need any advice (which I did, and he responded personally). Amazing book, amazing chap, great communication in the scary world of finance. If you’re starting up in business I highly recommend it.” – Sally Somerville

Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women – Otegha Uwagba

The Book

Packed with fresh ideas and no-nonsense practical advice, it’s your go-to resource for building the career you want. The writer, Otegha Uwagba, takes you through everything you’ll need to build a successful self-made career; from negotiating a pay rise to building a killer personal brand via a crash course in networking like a pro, and tips for overcoming creative block.

You’ll find a wealth of advice on how to thrive as a freelancer and an entire chapter dedicated to helping you master the art of public speaking. With contributions from trailblazing creative women including acclaimed author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Refinery29 co-founder Piera Gelardi, The Gentlewoman‘s editor in chief Penny Martin and many more, Little Black Book is a curation of essential wisdom and hard-won career insights.

The Author

Otegha Uwagba is the founder of Women Who, a platform that connects and supports creative working women worldwide – an endeavour inspired by her time working at some of London’s top ad agencies and cult youth brand, Vice Media.

She was included on Forbes European 30 Under 30 list. Besides running Women Who, she is also a freelance writer, speaker and brand consultant.

The Hype

Sunday Times bestseller.

“A must-read for anyone looking to be as prolific as Uwagba herself.” – Sunday Times

“Otegha Uwagba is one of London’s new generation of female CEOs.” – Evening Standard

“Otegha Uwagba has the answer to all your creative career challenges… this book is a must-read guide for all creative women looking to navigate the world of work.” – Elle magazine

“If, like me, you love talking and thinking about your career – and hope to constantly evolve it – this one is for you.” – Natasha Lunn, Red Magazine

“Inspiring, insightful, ambitious.” – Porter Magazine

“A travel-sized pocketbook full of professional gems and expert advice.” – Fader

Who – Geoff Smart & Randy Street

The Book

In business, you are who you hire. In Who, Geoff Smart and Randy Street offer simple, easy-to-follow steps that will put the right people in place for optimal success.

Whether you’re a member of a board of directors looking for a new CEO, the owner of a small business searching for the right people to make your company grow or a parent in need of a new babysitter, it’s all about Who. Based on interviews with more than 20 billionaires and 300 CEOs, this book presents Smart and Street’s ‘A Method for Hiring’. Refined through the largest research study of its kind ever undertaken, the ‘A Method’ stresses fundamental elements that anyone can implement – and it has a 90 percent success rate.

The Authors

Geoff Smart is the chairman and CEO of ghSMART, the management assessment firm for CEOs and investors.

Randy Street is the president of ghSMART Executive Learning and a top-rated international public speaker.

The Hype

New York Times bestseller.

“70% of the game is finding the right people, putting them in the right position, listening to them and alleviating what gets in their way. Who is a practical guide to making sure you get the right people to start with! Excellent advice and guidance.” – Robert Gillette, president and CEO of Honeywell Aerospace

“A great read, it really is all about finding, keeping, and motivating the team.” – John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media Corporation

“The key point in this book is that those of us who run companies should include Who decisions near the top of the list of strategic priorities.” – John Varley, group chief executive at Barclays

“Who is the only book you need to read if you are serious about making smart hiring and promotion decisions. It is the most actionable book on middle and upper-management hiring that I’ve read after twenty years in HR.” – Ed Evans, executive vice president and chief personnel officer at Allied Waste Industries

“This book will save you and your company time and money. In business, what else is there?” – Roger Marino, co-founder of EMC Corporation

The Lean Startup – Eric Ries

The Book

Learn how constant innovation creates radically successful businesses. The Lean Startup presents a new approach to business that is being adopted around the world – changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

Eric discusses what your customers really want, testing your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it’s too late. Now is the time to think Lean.

The Author

Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and the author. He has founded a number of start-ups including IMVU where he served as CTO. He has advised on business and product strategy for start-ups, venture capital firms and large companies including General Electric where he partnered to create the FastWorks program.

Eric has served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School, IDEO and Pivotal and he is the founder and CEO of the Long-Term Stock Exchange.

 The Hype

Amazon #1 bestseller in the Venture Capital category.

Translated in to 30+ languages.

“Every so often a business book comes along that changes how we think about innovation and entrepreneurship. The Lean Startup has the chops to join this exalted company.” – Philip Delves Broughton, Financial Times

“If you are an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are just curious about entrepreneurship, read this book.” – Randy Komisar, founding director of TiVo

“The Lean Startup will change the way we think about entrepreneurship.” – Tom Eisenmann, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School

“This book is the guided tour of the key innovative practices used inside Google, Toyota, and Facebook, that work in any business” – Scott Cook, founder and chairman of Intuit

The Financial Times Guide to Social Media Strategy – Martin Thomas

The Book

The FT Guide to Social Media Strategy will help you understand how social media works, how to use it to build your networks and deliver business growth. It’s great for leaders, middle managers, and entrepreneurs interested in social media, marketing, leadership, branding, and networking.

Presented in a user-friendly language with clear guidelines, informative case studies and practical advice, each chapter features a mix of case studies, the latest research, and intelligence from leading social media specialists, business leaders and industry commentators.

The Author

Martin Thomas is a highly-experienced marketing communications consultant, trainer, author, public speaker, and non-executive director. He has enjoyed a successful career in advertising, PR, sponsorship, and media including senior management roles with some of the world’s leading marketing services agencies.

Much of his work has been focused on helping organisations respond to the opportunities and challenges posed by digital media. He is digital and social media course leader for the Institute of Directors.

The Hype

“Whether in today’s corporate world, in the public sector or in civil society, leaders must fully appreciate both the strategic impact and risk social media can mean for them. This book needs to be on top of their reading list!” – Thomas Schultz-Jagow, senior director campaigns, and communications at Amnesty International

“A wealth of practical advice to navigate the complexities of social media and minimise the risks.” – Guy Lawrence, CEO of Mast-Jägermeister UK

“Martin Thomas grasps the social media nettle and details the steps for leaders to master it for personal and business results. Read – and implement – this book by a respected master marketer.” – Tom Trainor, chief executive of the Marketing Institute of Ireland

 “For newbies, this is a really helpful guide, but in the footnotes and discussion areas, as well as with embedded articles from the FT, there is also a lot more depth and useful observations for the more seasoned social media users too… Well worth reading.” – Simon Cocking, Irish Tech News

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