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The Top Six Business Books of the Last 12 Months

Leading business books reveal where business is and where it’s heading. They provide in-depth examinations of long-term trends and practical advice for managers.

What are the top business books of the last five months? Here is a look at picks from the long-time business magazine, Fortuneand follower and explicator of start-ups, Fast Company, for an even half-dozen. 

Fortune’s Five

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight – Wear running shoes or like Nike and its whoosh symbol? Shoe Dog is Nike founder Phil Knight’s autobiography as seen through his company’s journey from an Oregon-based shoe business to global icon. Nike caught the crest of the running wave and is a symbol of how fitness is embedded into our everyday life.

Grit by Angela Duckworth – The thesis of Grit would make Thomas Edison’s heart glad. (He’s the one who said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”) Perseverance and persistence are far more important to success than being talented or being in the right place at the right time. This is also a Fast Company pick.

Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss – From a much-followed podcast, the title of Tools of Titans is pretty much self-explanatory: people in business leadership and how they got there.

Building the Internet of Things by Maciej Kranz. The IoT is here. It will have major impacts on business and consumer life going forward. This book is intended as an entrepreneurial how-to but also contains food for thought.

Fast Company’s Three 

Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton M. Christensen, Karen Dillon, David S. Duncan, and Taddy Hall. Christensen literally wrote the book on disruption theory – and his theory is quite different than contemporary usage that thinks of it as a synonym for “change.” The book is a deep look at how companies who meet customer needs can innovate.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport. The author believes that the decades-long focus on multitasking does, indeed, affect our ability to focus. He also posits that it makes our brains work less effectively. The good news? You can train your mind to focus more efficiently.

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. Will innovative forays into deep learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and robots free us or enslave us? This book is on the “free us” side of this venerable debate, with less emphasis on the “hollowing out” of the workforce by automation and more on realizing individual potential. An excellent look at how technology is changing the way we work and how it is likely to change it in the future– with a side dish of how it will help increase individual and workforce potential.