With technology and industry transforming at seemingly breakneck pace, I was disappointed by the ho-hum nature of business books released this year. It seemed like most were the same old regurgitations on how to be a more effective leader, have a more effective product, run a more effective business, be a more effective whatever-whatever-whatever.
Nevertheless, there were a few new titles that got me excited. Their commonality: an emphasis on the future of business.
- Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella – While the book started slow (too much cricket talk!), I was all-in by the end. Microsoft’s CEO lays out where technology is headed, and why embracing the human element will be vital on this journey.
- Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao – Ellen’s lawsuit against a top Silicon Valley venture capital firm kicked off a long-overdue movement to bring diversity and inclusion to technology. There’s much more work to do, but the future of women and people of color in tech looks much brighter due to Ellen’s bravery.
- Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz – Believe it or not, data can be super fun. This easy read will delight and surprise with some of its geeky-math anecdotes. And it will also leave you thinking about the data trail we leave, and how it’s being used by others both today and in the future.
- The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone – Along with bitcoin and blockchain, sharing economy may be one of the most exhausting words used in the business press this year. That said, there is something to it. As consumers, we are doing less owning and more sharing. And as workers, we are becoming less monogamous in our employment, moving towards multiple income streams. This read is a good primer on the two biggest players of the movement.
- WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us by Tim O’Reilly – As the guy behind the mega-brand of technology books and media, O’Reilly has seen it all. Which, unfortunately, he likes to remind the reader excessively. However, I still respected his take on what the future may hold, both celebrated advancements and negative consequences.
How does this worker-bee/soccer-mom/rickety-runner find time to read 50 books a year? This is my secret.