Competing Against Luck – Clayton M. Christensen, Karen Dillon, David S. Duncan and Taddy Hall

The “Theory of Jobs to Be Done” unlocks the mystery of successful product innovation – a mystery often dismissed as luck. “Jobs Theory” holds that people don’t merely buy goods, they “hire” and “fire” products based on whether those products do the “job” that consumers need done. Companies practicing Jobs Theory know their understanding of …

Good Strategy / Bad Strategy – Richard Rumelt

Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to sit down for an extended session with a top business thinker while he discusses the fine points of corporate strategy with you? You can, at least in an editorial sense, when you read Richard Rumelt’s work on business strategy. The prestigious McKinsey Quarterly calls Rumelt “strategy’s strategist,” and The Economist includes him on its …

Against Happiness – Eric G. Wilson

In this candid and unconventional book, English professor and humanist Eric G. Wilson positions himself as melancholy’s champion. He does everything but wave gloomy pom-poms as he extols its role in creativity and invention. As counterintuitive and loopy as his view may seem, Wilson makes a strong, lucid case for feeling glum. Indeed, reading Wilson’s …

The 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene

This book is amoral, hauntingly true and indispensable. It should be on the bookshelf of anyone who aspires to any level of success in any organization or profession. It should not gather dust but should be read regularly, according to a plan – one law a day, for example, absorbed slowly and contemplated deeply. Author …

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – Al Ries and Jack Trout

Using actual examples and sharp analysis, Al Ries and Jack Trout offer 22 “laws” that amount to a basic, concise distillation of their marketing experience and wisdom. Their examples are pithy enough to keep the most jaded marketing person engaged. And their lessons are embedded verities that would be hard to dispute. The only drawback …

It Worked for Me – Colin Powell and Tony Koltz

Colin Powell is an American icon. A former US secretary of state and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this four-star general rose from modest beginnings as a child of immigrants to the heights of power as a military and civilian leader. In this autobiographical book of observations on leadership, Powell, collaborating with …

Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely

This is surely one of the decade’s best books on decision making, economics, psychology and behavior – because it touches all of those topics. Author Dan Ariely is a distinguished academician, but his style is so clear, accessible and straightforward that he does not seem to belong to academia at all. Although he recounts numerous …

Misbehaving – Richard H. Thaler

Economics is as mathematical as ever, and it remains rife with unrealistic expectations about human behavior. For theoretical convenience, economists assume that everyone behaves rationally and makes the best possible choices at all times. But, says economist and Nudge co-author Richard H. Thaler, real human beings act in predictably irrational ways. He argues convincingly – and with …

Influence – Robert B. Cialdini

Psychology and marketing professor Robert B. Cialdini incorporates extensive scholarly research in this 1984 classic in applied psychology, practical rhetoric and marketing. The impetus of the book was his desire to figure out why others always influenced him so easily. He weaves together personal stories and examples from sales, politics, history and public life as …