A good book is like food for the soul. When you want to curl up by the fire with a truly great one, look no further than this list furnished by members of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
If you’ve got an entrepreneur or two in your life, these might make good holiday gifts, too:
Collins and his team did a rigorous study of businesses that excelled as compared to those that stayed mediocre. In his words, “Some of the key concepts discerned in the study fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”
2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, by Ben Horowitz
Cofounder of VC firm Andreessen Horowitz keeps it real in this practical book that draws heavily on his own experiences in the Valley. It lives up to its description as “wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover.”
Don’t let the title fool you—this book is more entertaining than it seems. Part biography, part adventure story, part history book, it really is, “[t]he epic story of how science went ‘big’.”
JetBlue chairman Joel Peterson has spent a tremendous amount of time, money, and energy building a culture of trust, and teaches you how to do the same. In his words, “When a company has a reputation for fair dealing, its costs drop: Trust cuts the time spent second-guessing and lawyering.”
6. Lead and Disrupt: How to Solve the Innovator’s Dilemma, by Professor Charles O’Reilly and Michael Tushman
Blockbuster, Kodak, and RadioShack: all huge companies that ultimately failed. The authors here argue that to be truly resilient, companies must develop what they call ambidexterity—the ability to win new domains while staying true to your core competencies.
Jackley has spent years learning from the poorest of the poor. Here, she outlines the most remarkable lessons drawn from the most unexpected of places. As she puts it, “The greatest entrepreneurs succeed not because of what they possess but because of what they are determined to do.”
8. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, by Adam Grant
This brilliant and insightful tome pulls from established research studies as much as it does from compelling stories from sports, business, politics, entertainment, and more. Uplifting and entertaining, it’s no wonder it became a #1 New York Times bestseller.
10. The Fissured Workplace: Why Work Became So Bad for So Many and What Can Be Done to Improve It, by David Weil
Weil, former Wage and Hour Administrator in the U.S. Department of Labor and current professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, sheds light on the dismaying trend of corporations eroding pay and basic safety conditions of workers—and what can be done about it.
Goldacre, known for exposing biased research studies, “quack” doctors, and bogus credentialing programs, teaches you the practical skills you need to recognize bad scientific studies yourself … in a fun and engaging way.