Top 10 Business Books for 2018

Top 10 Business Books
Top 10 Business Books

Top Ten Business Books of the Year

What are the top 10 business books for 2018? And what is your book of the year?

Each year, I aim to read 50 books. In 2018, I fell a few short and read 40 books. Still a good result. From this list of books I’ve selected my top ten business books – and also my Book Of The Year.

To make my list of top 10 business books:

  1. I need to have read the book.
  2. It needs to have triggered fresh insights and a new way to look at life.
  3. It needs to have a special or unique slant on it’s topic.
  4. For bonus points – it needs to have a special design, layout or set of visuals. (Note: none of my top ten business books this year scored any bonus points.)

Here is my list with descending order:

1 Brendon Burchard – High Performance Habits

Brendon Burchard - High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Became That Way

This is one of the most inspiring books I’ve read in a decade.

I was only half way through it and I was already picturing it as my business Book of the Year – and that was way back in July. Yes, it was that far ahead of the competition.

Habits are a hot topic right now. I first started putting in habits for myself in 2012 after I rapped Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habits over at Book Rapper. I’ve included them in Project Done, helped Taruni Falconer create the Leadership Habits program and coached a number of people to create new habits. Plus I’ve built a few for myself. They’re an important part of my daily life.

And here’s the biggest rap I can give this book… Despite all of this, all of the work I’ve already done on habits, this book shows that I had been operating on a scale of 1-10 instead of 1-100. I can see so many more opportunities to accelerate my performance from this book.

The book is authored by Brendon Burchard – one of the top people on the planet for high performance over the past decade. He’s inspired thousands through his programs, books and content. Plus, mountains of research back up this book with real people and real high performance superstars.


My Book of the Year for 2018 is Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits – it’s my bible for 2019.

Read it if you want more from life.

PS: Thanks Felicity for the gift of this book.

2 Donald Miller, Building a Story Brand

Donald Miller - Building a Story Brand: Clarify your message so customers will listen

Over the past ten years I’ve probably read over 20 books on branding and story telling. Some were good, some were great and this is the only one that brings them together in a practical and powerful way.

At a simple level, this book is the Hero’s Journey applied to your business.

And at the practical level, I was able to take this and apply it to Project Done. It was from doing the exercises in this book that I created the jumping man on Done and Weekly Done. I realized that I need to pitch my brand story higher and to that ultimate point of jumping for joy when your project was done.

Now, I’m re-using it to invent my next brand story.

Read this if you want to clarify your message so your customers can hear you.

3 Sarah Robb O’Hagan – Extreme You

Sarah Robb O'Hagan - Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kiss Ass. Repeat.

I bought this book recently at one of those seconds (remainders) book places for only $7. I’d never seen it before or heard of the author either.

Two days later I bought another copy as a gift for a colleague. I don’t do that very often.

The title caught my eye: What does Extreme You look like? That’s a big question.

If you live your life with the hand brake on, then this book could set you free. And even if you don’t then there is always a time to choose a bigger mountain to climb.

That’s my big learning from this book. It’s inspired me to rethink how I’m playing. I know I can take on more – I’m now considering a dramatic change in what I do. Stay tuned.

This book is filled with the author’s journey and plenty of inspiring examples from the people she has met along the way.

Read this if you want to be all that know you can be.

4 Mark Sisson – The Keto Reset Diet

Mark Sisson - The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot your metabolism in 21 days and burn fat forever

One of the biggest health/food trends in the past few years: the ketogenic diet.

If you haven’t heard of it, you soon will. It’s almost the opposite of traditionally what we eat. It’s backed by some emerging science that has some big implications for illness and disease.

Rather than thinking of this as a food diet, it’s really a lifestyle change.

Mark Sisson is a former elite athlete and coach. I’ve been following his work for a number of years. He researches thoroughly, writes clearly and his work is ahead of the curve.

This book has both the reasons why you might follow a keto approach plus how to do it – complete with yummy recipes.

It makes my list of top 10 business books because I meet too many unhealthy business people struggling to generate the energy they need to get through their day.

Read this if you want better health. Be warned, it will challenge your current beliefs.

[Update May 1, 2022: 18 months ago I completely flipped my diet. From pursuing a ketogenic diet with lots of meat and oils, I have since switched to a plant-based diet. It’s about as opposite an approach as you can get. I found the Keto diet wasn’t helping my gut. Now, after lots of fasting and lots of plants, my gut has significantly improved – I’m no longer constantly constipated and my bloating has gone. A big victory. Many thanks to Dr Patterson Stark for this shift.]

5 Ryan Holiday – The Ego is the Enemy

Ryan Holiday - Ego is the Enemy: The fight to master our greatest opponent

I was eager to grab this book because I was so inspired by Ryan’s previous book The Obstacle is the Way.

Naturally, I didn’t think I had a problem with my ego, I just thought it would be a great read.

It didn’t take many pages to prove myself wrong.

This book will challenge you and call you to play bigger than you have previously. It’s filled with inspiring stories and this will help move you forward.

Read this if you want to cut the excuses running your life.

Ryan’s previous book The Obstacle is the Way was number five on my list for Book of the Year 2016.

6 Brian Merchant – The One Device

Brian Merchant - The One Device: A Peoples history of the iphone

Ever wondered how that iPhone finished up in your hands? And I don’t mean Santa sliding down the chimney and sticking it in a stocking on your mantelpiece.

This book is the extraordinary journey of the world’s best ever selling piece of technology: the iPhone and it has won a number of international awards.

And it’s not just a story about Apple. It’s starts way before Steve Jobs came along. It reviews the full range of origins of all the core components of the iPhone from the glass production; touch technology and the use of icons.

Further, this book takes us on a worldwide tour from France to China, Chile and Kenya to source the materials, manufacturing and design.

This book was ten years in the making – and I’m not surprised – it’s an amazing tour of modern engineering and technology.

Read it if you want to know what it takes to create a product masterpiece.

PS: Thanks James for the gift of this book!

7 Amy Cuddy – Presence

Amy Cuddy - Presence: Bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges

It seems like we just had to have at least one book on this list that came from a TED talk and here it is…

Amy’s TED talk has been watched – wait for it – 50 million times. That’s huge!

For me, this book is super important for all leaders. Mostly, when we talk about leadership we only talk about what they do and what they say – not how they hold their body – and not their personal presence.

Presence is a silent force that gives or takes credibility to your message. I’ve even included her Power Poses in my next issue of Weekly Done.

Read this (and do this) to be more influential with every person you meet and work with.

8 Robert McKee – Story

Robert McKee - Story: Substance, structure, style and the principles of screenwriting.

This book is THE bible of story for screenwriters.

I probably could stop there with my rap.

It’s dense, it’s thorough and it probably needs to be read, dog-eared and studied for years. One quick read doesn’t do it justice.

And the real reason to keep digging deeper: this book is really about the human condition – story is just the lens for viewing this.

If you’re over the Hero’s Journey’s as the one and only way to tell stories then grab this and deepen your story creation abilities.

This book makes my top 10 business books list because story and narrative are crucial for leadership, branding, marketing and engagement. It might be more than most people need and if you want the best then this is it.

Read this (many times) if you want to become a master storyteller.

9 Daniel Coyle – The Culture Code

Daniel Coyle - The Culture Code: The secrets of highly successful groups

There is a lot of talk about culture at the moment. It’s definitely a buzzword in organisational circles.

But from most of my conversations about ‘culture’, it seems that many people don’t know how to presence it, point to it or worse of all, put it into action.

This book can help. It’s full of engaging case studies and practical guidelines you can use in your organisation.

Read this if you want to design a workplace culture that you want to be part of because it’s a great place to belong to and because it produces spectacular results.

Daniel’s previous book The Little Book of Talent was number nine on my list for Book of the Year 2016.

10 Daniel Pink, When

Daniel Pink - When: The scientific secrets of perfect timing

Daniel Pink is one of my favourite authors. I’ve read all six of his best-selling books and rapped two of them over at Book Rapper. (A Whole New Mind and Drive.)

Naturally, I was keen to read this one. As per usual, this is an entertaining read filled with thought-provoking ideas. Pink suggests that normally, we think of our success as being based on our skill, but the less obvious role of timing has a lot of sway.

I also added several examples out of this book into my book Weekly Done.

Read this if you want to know how to time your efforts to perfection.

Daniel Pink – A Whole New Mind – Blog post book summary via Book Rapper

Summary: Top 10 Business Books

As you can see there’s a lot of diversity in my list of top 10 business books for 2018:

  • Two are about story telling (Story and Story Branding) – but with very different perspectives
  • One is the story of an iconic product and an expose of what it takes to be innovative (The One Device)
  • Three are for developing the self (Extreme You, The Ego is the Enemy and High Performance Habits)
  • One is a nutrition and health book (The Keto Reset Diet) – which you might say is not a best business book at all.
  • Two speak to big issues in business (The Culture Code and Story Branding)
  • And another is a general book that can be applied to life and business (When).

What are your top 10 business books? Add a comment below.

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