The economy looks better than ever so now is the time to stock up on some of the top business books to rev up your entrepreneurial spirit. Of course, between the wealth of classics and the seemingly constant stream of new groundbreaking titles promising to make you an overnight billionaire, it can be pretty tough to figure out where to start. Founder and CEO of Brainscape, Andrew Cohen suggests, “Every industry, product, founder, company and stage is different, so why should you accept a blanket book recommendation from some generic blogger?” He adds, “You will get much more benefit by seeking business books based on specific challenges that you are facing in the short or medium term.”
We’ve narrowed the field a bit for you with our list of 10 top business books that offer a different perspective reflecting today’s focus on small business and self-starters.
Read Related: 10 Books on Creativity to Get You Thinking in New Ways
1. The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster • Darren Hardy
By his mid-twenties Darren Hardy, the publisher of SUCCESS magazine, was a self-made millionaire so he knows first-hand what’s involved in starting and growing a successful business. He shares his unique insights as well as the secrets of other business leaders like Donald Trump and Jeff Bezos.
2. Rising Strong • Brené Brown
Social scientist Brené Brown’s latest offering goes on sale August 25. In Rising Strong she shares stories of people ranging from business leaders to parents who have dared to be vulnerable, risked falling down and found power in getting back up even stronger than before.
3. The Business Romantic • Tim Leberecht
The Business Romantic is a refreshing change from the usual warrior, ninja, testosterone driven take on business. Chief marketing officer of NBBJ, a global design and architecture firm, Tim Leberecht argues that the key to success lies in finding ways to make business meaningful to you and to your customers.
4. Elon Musk • Ashlee Vance
Elon Musk — founder of Paypal and Tesla Motors — is one of the most exciting Silicon Valley entrepreneurs whose inventions have revolutionized business and daily life. This biography delves into the importance of creativity and brilliant ideas.
5. Mistakes I Made at Work • Jessica Bacal
Many of the top business books these days focus on failures for a very good reason — they’re inevitable and that’s how we gain strength and learn some of the best lessons. Here Jessica Bacal interviews 25 influential women about their biggest work mistakes.
6. Leadership is Half the Story • Mark & Samantha Hurwitz
She’s a businesswoman and he’s got an MBA as well as a Ph.D. in neuroscience — together they’ve come up with an approach that stresses “co-flow” or collaboration over sticking to a strict hierarchy.
7. The Signal and the Noise • Nate Silver
Super statistician Nate Silver — who went from predicting baseball stats to nailing the 2008 presidential election results — explores the nature of predictions and how to hone in on true signals without being distracted by all the noise.
8. The Eureka Factor • John Kounios & Mark Beeman
Written by two neuroscientists, the Eureka Factor isn’t technically a business book but it’s a fantastic insight into the ‘Aha’ moment and how we make creative breakthroughs.
9. Penguins Can’t Fly • Jason Kotecki
Jason and Kim Kotecki founded Escape Adulthood to inspire businesses and individuals to break the rules, break out of ruts, eliminate stress and remember life is an adventure.
10. The Human Age • Diane Ackerman
Believe it or not a poet, essayist and naturalist can also write good business books. There’s no greater innovator than Mother Nature. Diane Ackerman examines how humans are changing the environment (good and bad) as well as how our technical innovations are inspired by the natural world.