20 books by the most influential thinkers in business

Seth godinBrad Barket/GettySeth Godin speaks at the WIRED Business Conference 2015 in New York City.

Since 2001, the Thinkers50 organisation has hosted what the Financial Times has dubbed the “Oscars of management thinking,” an award ceremony for the top 50 management thought leaders whose work has most affected the business world.

From elite business school professors to insightful career coaches, these thinkers have affected millions of professionals from around the world, from upstart entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 CEOs.

One of the primary ways they spread their ideas is through their writing, and so we gathered some of the best books from this year’s winners.

See below for some of the best business books on leadership and career success in recent history.

'How Will You Measure Your Life' by Clayton Christensen

Amazon

Christensen is a Harvard Business School professor and is considered one of the premiere experts on innovation.

His 2012 book 'How Will You Measure Your Life?,' co-written with James Allworth and Karen Dillon, deviates from the rest of his work and is his most personal.

Drawing from both his research and his private life, Christensen explores what it means to be truly successful, and what causes some talented people to flourish and others to despair.

Find it here >>

'Linchpin' by Seth Godin

Amazon

Godin is a serial entrepreneur, marketing expert, and the highly successful author of 22 books.

His 2010 book 'Linchpin' was his fastest selling book yet. It's a guide on how to become a linchpin at your company, how to differentiate yourself from other 'cogs in the machine' to become truly indispensable.

Find it here >>

'Presence' by Amy Cuddy

Amazon

Cuddy is a social psychologist at Harvard Business School who got plenty of mainstream attention from her 2012 TED Talk, 'Your body language shapes who you are,' which has been viewed online about 40 million times.

Her upcoming book 'Presence' explains the ways that our brain's self-perception can be manipulated to overcome insecurity to allow us to be more confident and assertive.

Find it here >>

'Blue Ocean Strategy' by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

Amazon

Kim and Mauborgne are INSEAD professors who first published 'Blue Ocean Strategy' in 2005. It proposed a system that would allow businesses to 'create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant.' In the past decade, they have worked with INSEAD to develop a robust Blue Ocean Strategy network that has inspired leaders across industries and sectors, from Box CEO Aaron Levie to the mayor of Orlando, Florida.

Find it here >>

'Give and Take' by Adam Grant

Penguin

Grant is an organizational psychologist at Wharton whose research has shown that it's not selfish, Machiavellian types who are at the tops of their industries, but rather it's those who are 'givers.'

In his 2013 book, he explains that givers are those who create value for others without expecting anything in return, and it's an approach that when done properly results in very valuable professional networks.

Find it here >>

'The Lean Startup' by Eric Ries

Amazon

Ries is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who shook up the Valley with his 2011 book 'The Lean Startup.' It advocates for an approach to business where founders or managers experiment before finding something that sticks and pursuing it aggressively as a way to maximise the potential of scarce resources.

Find it here >>

'Good to Great' by Jim Collins

Amazon

Collins is a business consultant whose 2001 book 'Good to Great' has sold more than 4 million copies, making it one of the best-selling business books ever.

In it, he uses 11 massive corporations as case studies for determining the ways they created cultures of discipline to scale.

Find it here >>

'Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader' by Herminia Ibarra

Amazon

Ibarra is an INSEAD professor whose 2015 book is an unconventional career guide on how to take advantage of today's fast-moving job market to rise to a position of leadership.

For example, she challenges the importance of having 'authenticity,' a recent buzzword in leadership, saying there is such a thing as being too honest and the line can be perilously thin.

Find it here >>

'Power' by Jeffrey Pfeffer

Amazon

Pfeffer is a Stanford Business School professor who has made it part of his mission to push back against feel-good philosophies he considers more idealistic than practical.

His 2010 book is a study of power, and how some of the world's most influential people use tactics like acting and bravado to enhance others' perception of them.

Find it here >>

'Drive' by Dan Pink

Amazon

Pink is the bestselling author of some of the past several years' most popular and insightful career guides.

His 2011 book 'Drive' argues that the typical rewards-based approach to motivating employees (or yourself) is insufficient, and instead needs to tap into autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Find it here >>

'Playing to Win' by Roger Martin

Amazon

Martin is the former dean of the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management and current chair of Productivity and Competitiveness research.

His 2013 book 'Playing to Win' is co-written with former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley and tells the story of how together they 'doubled P&G's sales, quadrupled its profits, and increased its market value by more than $US100 billion in just 10 years.'

Find it here >>

'Competitive Strategy' by Michael Porter

Simon and Schuster

Porter is a Harvard Business School professor and sought-after management consultant who Think50 considers 'the father of modern business strategy,' and which is part of the reason they gave him this year's No. 1 spot.

Since the first edition of 'Competitive Strategy' was published in 1980, it has become the foundational text on strategy taught in business schools around the world.

Find it here >>

'Multipliers' by Liz Wiseman

Amazon

Wiseman is a former Oracle executive who is now a leadership consultant based in Silicon Valley.

Her 2010 book, co-written with Greg McKeown, uses insight from her career along with profiles of leaders like Mitt Romney and Steven Speilberg to illustrate that those who selflessly promote their subordinates end up more successful than those who place prime importance on advancing their own careers.

Find it here >>

'Value Proposition Design' by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur

Strategyzer

Osterwalder, an entrepreneur, and Pigneur, a professor at the University of Lausanne, have been working together for the past several years.

Their 2012 book 'Value Proposition Design' is a visual guide to corporate organisation and includes the highly practical Business Model Canvas tool for managers.

Find it here >>

'Triggers' by Marshall Goldsmith

Amazon

Goldsmith is a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and bestselling author of 35 books.

His 2015 book 'Triggers,' co-written with Mark Reiter, lays out a daily guide to staying productive and focused, regardless of what challenges may arise.

Find it here >>

'The Rise of the Creative Class' by Richard Florida

Amazon

Florida serves as the director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Business and is best known for his work on the creative class and its relationship to cities.

In his 2002 book 'Rise of the Creative Class,' updated last year, Florida argues that the most successful cities will evolve to attract young talent, foster the technology sector, and pass liberal social policies.

Find it here >>

'Total Leadership' by Stew Friedman

Amazon

Friedman is a Wharton professor who has been at the forefront of work-life balance policy research since the early '90s.

His 2008 book 'Total Leadership' is a practical guide to increasing one's productivity, efficiency, and impact.

Find it here >>

'Collective Genius' by Linda Hill

Amazon

Hill is a professor at Harvard Business School, where she chairs the school's Leadership Initiative.

Her 2014 book 'Collective Genius' -- co-written with Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove, and Kent Lineback -- explores case studies on how large organisations can use their size as an advantage to compete with highly innovative startups.

Find it here >>

'The End of Competitive Advantage' by Rita McGrath

Amazon

McGrath, a Columbia Business School professor, has served as a leadership consultant to companies like Coca-Cola, GE, and Pearson.

Her latest book, 2013's 'The End of Competitive Advantage,' argues that the most successful companies need to aggressively take opportunities and move on from them before they're exhausted, in order to keep the competition constantly playing catch-up.

Find it here >>

'Reverse Innovation' by Vijay Govindarajan

Amazon

Govindarajan is a Tuck School of Business professor who worked with General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt in 2009 to develop an approach of 'internal disruption.'

In his 2012 book 'Reverse Innovation,' he argues that innovations made in the developing world due to a lack of resources should be adopted by major corporations as a way to stay nimble and efficient.

Find it here >>

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