The new year is fast approaching, and many of us are probably feeling a subtle desire to make some sort of personal or professional improvement in the year to come. Whether you are interested in launching a new business venture or simply want to grow your existing entrepreneurial endeavors, this list of inspiring and informative books is for you.
The 10 books on this list were all published in 2017. Each book has the ability to provide readers with insights that can be used to motivate personal or professional achievements in the year to come.
1. “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” by Adam Alter
A recent study cited in CNN found that roughly 50 percent of respondents felt addicted to their phone. Popular platforms like Facebook and Candy Crush have developed interfaces that cause users to spend countless hours consuming content.
The author of Irresistible, an NYU professor named Adam Alter, deconstructs how addictive platforms are made, and in so doing helps those interested in building platforms to create “stickier” products and services.
2. “Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing — Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth,” by Renée Mauborgne and Robert D. Austin
As billionaire investor Peter Theil wrote, “competition is for losers.” When investors think about potential investments, they usually prefer businesses situated in a “blue ocean” as opposed to a “red ocean.”
A red ocean is a crowded market — the wearable smart device market is an example of a market with many competitors vying for customers. A blue ocean was the ride-sharing market before Lyft and Uber came along.
This New York Times best-selling book relies on extensive research to show readers how to create business growth opportunities by finding new markets instead of competing in highly saturated ones.
3. “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness,” by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler
No choice is presented as neutral. As a result, people are predisposed to make certain choices based on how options are presented. This is the hypothesis at the heart of Nudge.
The authors, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, use a variety of real-world examples to explain how choices related to our fundamental well-being can be altered to encourage us to make better long-term decisions. The authors refer to this process as creating an optimal “choice architecture.”
Though Thaler is a Nobel Prize–winning economist and Sunstein is a Harvard Law School professor, they have written a highly accessible book, and one that encourages readers to rethink how they structure their lives in order to prioritize what matters most.
Related: The Rise of ‘Nudge’ Advertising
4. “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy,” by Sheryl Sandberg
David Goldberg was vacationing with his wife in Mexico when he passed away as a result of an unforeseen accident. Goldberg, the CEO of Survey Monkey, was the husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
It was this shocking life event that motivated Sandberg to write her second book, Option B. In it, Sandberg discusses research-supported strategies to cope with and overcome grief and sadness.
5. “The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone,” by Brian Merchant
Over 215 million iPhones have been sold so far in 2017, and the year isn’t even over. The iPhone has become a ubiquitous part of daily life for hundreds of millions of people across the globe. The device is also the primary reason for Apple’s tremendous success. Today the company is valued at approximately $ 900 billion (and is considerably more profitable than other tech rivals as a result of iPhone sales).
The One Devicedetails the inside story of how the iPhone came to be. From Steve Job’s innovative ideas to challenging production roadblocks and everything in between, this is a must read for those interested in learning from one of the world’s most successful tech companies.
6. “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t,” by Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek is a well-known business writer who has penned a number of best-selling business books. Leaders Eat Lastis his attempt to explain why some organizations are more successful than others.
He argues that successful organizations have cultures in which leaders are expected to sacrifice for and coach their teams. Rather than establishing top-down chain of commands, successful organizations rely on leaders who put the interests of their employees or teammates first.
7. “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,” by Ashlee Vance
What can’t Elon Musk do? He was a co-founder of PayPal and SpaceX, and was an early investor in Tesla and Solar City. It is also reported that he is working on a new business called The Boring Company, which hopes to ease traffic congestion.
Elon Musk provides readers with an inspirational tale of determined entrepreneurship and visionary innovation. It is the perfect read for those in need of some business motivation in early 2018.
8. “Principles: Life and Work,” by Ray Dalio
Bridgewater Associates is one of the world’s most successful financial institutions. Founded in 1975 by Ray Dalio, the company now manages roughly $ 150 billion. In Principles, Dalio shares his secrets to building a highly successful team.
Dalio approaches most problems differently from most leaders. As a result, the book offers novel pieces of advice about how organizations can become more meritocratic by using analytics and even machine learning to evaluate employee performance. Dalio also discusses why running a radically transparent organization is a competitive advantage, and how other organizations can implement a similar approach to management.
9. “Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual,” by Jocko Willink
Jocko Willink served as a Navy SEAL for 20 years. He was a SEAL Team 3 commander during the Iraq War, and as a result he has developed a personal code of conduct that governs how he lives his life.
Willink translates the life lessons learned as a SEAL in his book Discipline Equals Freedom. As the title indicates, Willink believes that the key to personal and professional success it taking extreme ownership of our lives. We have no one to blame but ourselves if life does not turn out as we desire.
This book is a great read for those interested in finding some personal motivation in order to achieve ambitious resolutions in 2018.
10. “Energy and Civilization: A History,” by Vaclav Smil
When asked to name his favorite books of 2017, Bill Gates named Energy and Civilization as one of them. The need for alternative energy solutions has never been more pressing, and Energy and Civilization comes to market at an ideal moment.
The book provides a retrospective on humans’ use of a variety of energy sources to develop increasingly sophisticated societies. It may inspire readers to think of innovative energy solutions that will be needed in the years to come.
The 10 books listed above should serve as an ideal jumping-off point for those interested in starting 2018 the right way. Each book is packed with hard-won wisdom that will benefit readers interested in advancing their careers, starting a new business or creating the next disruptive technological innovation.