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Top 10 essential business books for 2023

Over the past three years, the business world has been changing at an accelerated pace.

Leadership, team management, talent retention, employee development and business growth have taken different directions and professionals at every career stage are facing challenges.

Continued learning has never been more important. That’s why we have curated the following list of the Top 10 must-read business books for 2023.

Read on to discover them.

Top 10 essential business books for 2023

1. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant  by Renée Mauborgne and Chan Kim

  • WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER
  • BUSINESSWEEK BESTSELLER
blue-ocean-strategy-book

Renée Mauborgne co-authored Blue Ocean Strategy with Chan Kim. The book shows the results of a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than 100 years across 30 industries. The authors conclude that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating blue oceans – untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.

Both Chan and Renée are Professors of Strategy at INSEAD, one of the world’s top business schools, and co-directors of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute in France.

Renée was named #1 Management Thinker in the world being the first woman to ever secure this spot on a global leadership list.

The book was published in a record-breaking 47 languages, is a bestseller across five continents and has been recognized as one of the most iconic and impactful strategy books ever written. Both authors received widespread recognition for their work in the form of various awards and distinctions.

You will learn:

  • How to create uncontested market space;
  • Strategies to make the competition irrelevant;
  • Frameworks to create and capture new demand;
  • How to break the value-cost trade-off;
  • To align the whole system of a firm’s activities in pursuit of differentiation and low cost.

Renée Mauborgne spoke at BRAND MINDS 2023 about how to adapt the Blue Ocean Strategy to reach new markets today. Here are 4 key takeaways:

2. Redesigning Work: How to Transform Your Organization and Make Hybrid Work for Everyone (Management on the Cutting Edge) by Lynda Gratton

redesigning work lynda gratton

Lynda Gratton is a Professor of Management Practice at London Business School where she directs the program ‘Human Resource Strategy in Transforming Companies’ – considered the world’s leading program on human resources.

She is an award-winning author on the future of work and the role of corporations. Her ten books have sold over 1 million copies and have been translated into more than 20 languages. ‘Redesigning Work’ is her latest book, released in 2022.

The book is based on thirty years of research into the technological, demographic, cultural and societal trends that are shaping work, including key takeaways from the global pandemic.

You will learn:

  • Lynda Gratton’s innovative 4-step framework for redesigning work;
  • To understand the challenges your business is facing;
  • Strategies to reimagine creative, new approaches and processes;
  • Model and test these within your organisation;
  • Act and create based on contemporary, data-led feedback.

Whether you’re working in a small team or running a multinational, this is the time to make lasting changes and equip your business for the future. We were excited to watch Lynda speak on the stage at BRAND MINDS about creating the work environment of the future.

3. SalesDogs: You Don’t Have to be an Attack Dog to Explode Your Income by Blair Singer

Blair Singer is a global sales expert whose sales system is based on 30 years worth of unique insights on how to achieve peak performance as a salesperson. He trained 200.000+ sales professionals and corporations on how to increase their sales, skills and income. Over the last 15 years, he has worked with sales executives all over the world helping them become world-class leaders and build champion teams.

Blair Singer is a member of the Rich Dad Advisor team and his role is that of the Business & Sales Expert. The team was originally assembled by Rich Dad Poor Dad author, Robert Kiyosaki, to provide him with business and investing advice.

‘SalesDogs’ teaches in a very fun and impactful way how to overcome the fears, the myths and the obstacles to selling your products, services or yourself. It then teaches a simple, time-proven process of selling that will generate great income in almost any business.

You will learn:

  • The 5 most important selling skills to master;
  • How to overcome any objection;
  • How to manage a territory and much more.

If you didn’t attend BRAND MINDS 2023, here are a few ideas from Blair on the key tactics to help you close big deals.

4. The Crux: How Leaders Become Strategists by Richard P. Rumelt

  • 2022 FINANCIAL TIMES BEST BUSINESS BOOK
  • 2022 FORBES BEST BUSINESS BOOK
  • 2022 THE NEXT BIG IDEA CLUB BEST LEADERSHIP BOOK
  • 2022 THE GLOBE & MAIL BEST MANAGEMENT BOOK
best-business-books-the-crux

Richard Rumelt is one of the world’s most influential thinkers on strategy and management. He is a Professor Emeritus at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. 

What passes for strategy in too many businesses, government agencies, and military operations is a toxic mix of wishful thinking and a jumble of incoherent policies. Richard P. Rumelt’s breakthrough concept is that leaders become effective strategists when they focus on challenges rather than goals, pinpointing the crux of their pivotal challenge—the aspect that is both surmountable and promises the greatest progress—and taking decisive, coherent action to overcome it. 

You will learn:

  • How Elon Musk found the crux that propelled the success of SpaceX;
  • The mental manoeuvre that focuses energy on what makes a difference;
  • How to create an effective response that leads to the breakthrough.

Rumelt defines the essence of the strategist’s skill with vivid storytelling. Musk’s core challenge, for example, was rocket reusability. His intense focus on the soft landing of SpaceX’s rockets enabled them to be used again—radically reducing the cost of putting a pound in orbit. Musk’s strategy was not based on how value is created or how to position SpaceX in its industry. It was a design for action.

Book Description Source: The Crux Book

5. The Unicorn Within: How Companies Can Create Game-Changing Ventures at Startup Speed by Linda K. Yates

best business books 2023 the unicorn within

Linda Yates is the founder and CEO of Mach49, the growth incubator for global businesses, with clients including Goodyear, Gundersen Health, Hitachi, Intel, Pernod Ricard, Schneider Electric, Shell, and many more.

She is a seasoned CEO and board member with over 30 years of experience bridging Silicon Valley and the Global 1000, creating global strategy, building companies, and driving innovation for large multinationals around the world.

In ‘The Unicorn Within’, Linda Yates empowers large companies to beat startups at their own game—to build a pipeline and portfolio of new ventures to drive meaningful growth.

You will learn:

  • A teachable, repeatable, scalable method focused 100 per cent on execution across the spectrum of venture creation;
  • The most effective process: Ideate, Incubate, Accelerate, Scale;
  • Strategies to manage the Mothership and seize its advantage;
  • Steps to ensure your ventures reach escape velocity and thrive.

And don’t stop at just one venture. Yates also lays out her blueprint for building a Venture Factory capable of becoming your company’s growth engine for years to come.

The next Unicorns don’t have to come from Silicon Valley. Regardless of your company’s industry, geography, or history, they can come from you. Whether you’re the CEO, a member of the C-suite, or an internal entrepreneur, you can help your company grow.

Book Description Source: The Unicorn Within

6. Negotiate Like A CEO: How to Get Ahead with Lessons Learned From Top Entrepreneurs and Executives by Jotham Stein

best business books negotiate like a ceo

Jotham Stein is an expert attorney with more than 25 years of experience representing entrepreneurs, C-Suite executives, board members, venture capitalists, private equity principals, investment bankers as well as employees of companies of all types and sizes.

Mr Stein has negotiated numerous M&A agreements, change-in-control agreements, stock option agreements, restricted stock agreements, management carve-out agreements, non-compete agreements, and much more.

What does it mean to negotiate like a CEO? How important are offer letters and employment agreements? How can you protect yourself and your family if the worst happens? These are all questions that Jotham Stein addresses in ‘Negotiate Like a CEO’.

A lively, engaging read, ‘Negotiate Like a CEO’ outlines how employees, executives, and entrepreneurs protect themselves and will give you eye-opening advice on how to make sure you won’t get taken advantage of.

You will learn:

  • How to equip yourself with the right tools to safeguard you & your family in business and employment;
  • Best practices;
  • Common pitfalls;
  • Sky’s-the-limit possibilities at any stage in your career, whether you’re just a middle manager or you’re going for that C-suite job.

Book Description Source: Negotiate like a CEO book

7. The Coaching Effect: What Great Leaders Do to Increase Sales, Enhance Performance, and Sustain Growth by Bill Eckstrom and Sarah Wirth 

best business books the coaching effect

Authors Bill Eckstrom & Sarah Wirth have spent a decade researching the activities, behaviours, and performance of leaders. After studying more than 120,000 coaching interactions in the workplace, primarily of sales teams, they have determined how coaching affects team outcomes and growth. 

The idea for The Coaching Effect came about when Bill & Sarah were having a career development discussion, and Sarah mentioned that a goal of hers was to one day write a book. Unbeknownst to her, Bill then submitted their writing and research to Greenleaf Publishing. It didn’t take long before the book deal was official.

You will learn:

  • To understand the necessity of challenging people out of their comfort zone;
  • How to develop a trusting relationship with your team;
  • Frameworks to drive accountability and leverage growth experiences;
  • Strategies to propel your team members to the highest levels of success.

Book Description Source: The Coaching Effect

8. The Manager’s Dilemma: How to Empower Your Team’s Problem-Solving by Irial O’Farrell

  • 2022 AMAZON BESTSELLER
best business books the manager's dilemma

‘The Manager’s Dilemma’ is the second book in a 2-part series called Performance Development Series by author Irial OFarrell. The first book in the series is ‘SMART Objective Setting for Managers: A Roadmap’ (also Amazon Best Seller) where managers learn the difference between setting a goal for themselves and setting a goal for their team.

‘The Manager’s Dilemma’ is based on Irial’s insights arising from her 25+ years of experience in developing hundreds of managers, designing organisational processes and implementing change.

The book teaches managers essential management skills like how to show their team the right way of presenting escalated problems, diagnose which problem-solving step their team member is stuck at, coach their team members, empower their team member to sort out a chunk of their issues, build their confidence and free them up.

Free themselves up from overwhelming themselves with frustration, decision fatigue, and lots of interruptions.

You will learn:

  • The 3 valid reasons for escalation;
  • The steps of problem-solving (there’s more than you think!);
  • How your mindset is contributing to the dynamic and what are your options;
  • The 5 most common team member profiles and prompts on how to empower each of them;
  • A bonus team profile;
  • Guidance on how to introduce this leading-edge approach to your team.

Book description source: Amazon

9. CEO Excellence: The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest by Carolyn Dewar, Scott Keller and Vikram Malhotra

  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER
  • USA TODAY BESTSELLER
  • PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER
best business books ceo excellence

Authors Carolyn Dewar, Scott Keller and Vikram Malhotra are senior partners with McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s most influential management consulting firms.

Under their guidance, McKinsey & Company led a research effort to identify those CEOs whose companies grew demonstrably healthier during their tenures. They looked across more than 20 years’ worth of data on 7,800 CEOs from 3,500 public companies across 70 countries and 24 industries to further identify those whose actions have led to breakaway success.

After they have conducted detailed interviews with a representative sample of 67 high-performing CEOs, the authors have synthesized their findings in their new book, ‘CEO Excellence: The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest’.

You will learn:

  • Unique insights brought by the research findings;
  • 6 mindsets that helped top chief executives deliver extraordinary impact;
  • Conversations with global leaders including Mary Barra (GM), Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (Nestlé), Ken Chenault (American Express), Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase), Herbert Hainer (Adidas), Reed Hastings (Netflix), Marillyn Hewson (Lockheed Martin), Kaz Hirai (Sony), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), and Peter Voser (Shell).

Book Description Source: CEO Excellence book

10. If you want something done: Leadership lessons from bold women By Nikki R. Haley

  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • USA TODAY BESTSELLER
best business books if you want something done

In her instant bestselling book, Nikki R. Haley offers inspiring examples of women who worked against obstacles and opposition to get things doneincluding Haley herself.

As a girl of Indian descent growing up in Bamberg, South Carolina, no one would have predicted she would become the first minority female governor in America, the first female and the first minority governor in South Carolina, or the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Her journey wasn’t an easy one. She faced many people who thought she didn’t belongand who told her so. She was too brown. Too female. Too young. Too conservative. Too principled. Too idealistic. As far as Nikki was concerned, those were not reasons to hold her back. Those were all reasons to forge ahead.

She drew inspiration from other trailblazing women throughout history who summoned the courage to be different and lead.

You will learn:

  • How 10 remarkable women dared to be bold;
  • Stories from Haley’s childhood.

Book Description Source: Amazon

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