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5 Must-Read Business Books to Inspire You In 2018

Feb 08, 2018


Whether you’re plotting your path to business success from your bedroom or you’re hard at work designing a new product in a London co-working space, every budding entrepreneur needs some inspiration from time to time.


From an examination of ‘grit’ as a positive characteristic to the inside story of the iPhone, these are the most inspiring books for business-minded folks to start 2018 off with the right attitude.


Grit – Angela Duckworth

The book that turned ‘grit’ from a meaningless buzzword into a clear, recognisable and effective personal attribute – one capable of taking people right to the top. Following years of research, Duckworth reached the conclusion that grit – a combination of determination, passion and perseverance to achieve long-term goals – was the real key to success, rather than any mysterious innate talent or blind luck. It’s an inspiring, informative account of how the right determined mindset can be the greatest weapon of all when it comes to climbing the business ladder.


Shoe Dog – Phil Knight

Shoe Dog is the gripping, unvarnished story of how Phil Knight went from selling shoes out of the back of his car, to heading one of the world’s most successful, instantly recognisable brands. Frankly honest about the highest and lowest points of his journey to success, Knight’s engaging, lively book will make you realise that it doesn’t matter if you’re starting out from a London coworking office or your mother’s garage – it’s the perseverance and belief in your ideas that can carry you right through to the top.


Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s accessible, fascinating analysis of the two cognitive systems that shape our judgments and decision-making has been a best-seller ever since it was released in 2011 – and with good reason. Kahneman compares and contrasts the two systems, one fast and intuitive, the other slower and more deliberative, to show how they shape every one of our thoughts and decisions, whether at work or at home. He shows that, by understanding how we think, we can maximise the positives and guard against mental pitfalls. 


Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change – Ellen Pao

If the majority of books on this list are about finding the right attitude and state of mind for approaching the world of business, Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change is about transforming that world for the better. An account of Pao’s lengthy, ultimately unsuccessful discrimination case against the venture capital giant Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, it’s a significant and timely reminder of the importance of pushing for a more ethical, inclusive approach to business.


The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone – Brian Merchant

You might not think that a behind-the-scenes account of the invention of Apple’s iPhone would be either gripping or particularly inspirational, but in Brian Merchant’s book, it’s both those things. With all the drama of a great novel and plenty of take-home business lessons along the way, Merchant explores the hard work, business savvy and blue-sky thinking that went into creating one of today’s most ubiquitous and popular products.


If these inspiring business books have one thing in common, it’s the insistence that it doesn’t matter whether you’re starting out from scratch or have the resources of a London office space to hand – brilliant ideas, and the mindset to pursue them with determination, is what really counts.